11 Aug 2014, 00:59

Quest - KOM again by one second - 5.2 miles @ 29.2 mph

Nice ride today with Alexis and Greg Gross who are here for a couple of days from Fort Worth.

Greg is faster than all get out, rides an M5, and has been encouraging me to try and retake the KOM I lost recently. Alexis is on a new Bacchetta CA 2 and is no slouch herself.

The Strava KOM Retake

So this morning (Sunday) we get up before sunrise and get the bikes ready to roll just as the sun comes up. The KOM segment is about 10 miles away which gives us a little over 30 minutes to warm up.

Temperatures started in the high 70s and before the ride was over we’d reach 113 on the black pavement.

At a decent pace we accomplish the 10 mile warm up and upon arriving at the start of the KOM segment Greg and I pull over to get everything ready to start the segment.

I get the Contour camera out and mount it to the side of my Giro Air Attach helmet. After the ride I find out the Contour camera’s storage card was full and I was not actually recording any video from the ride (bummer). I also put the Kayak style cockpit cover on for the first time while I’m in the Quest.

The Kayak style cockpit cover completely covers the hole in top of the Quest leaving just enough space for your head to stick out.

The top of the cover overlapped the bottom of the shield on the Giro Air Attack helmet by about 1/2 inch. There is also about 1/2 inch of space all around the sides my helmet.

Immediately after I start peddling the temps inside the Quest increase tremendously causing the shield to fog up.

I'm constantly tilting my head back and peeking out the bottom of shield so that I can at least see something ahead.

We start the segment and Greg is right on my butt. I’m peddling for all I’m worth trying not to get embarrassed by Greg and his M5. The Kayak cover obscures the view of my garmin and I have no idea what speed I am going, what my cadence is, or even how much my heart rate is zooming through the roof. Through the fogged up helmet shield I can see Greg hanging right on my butt and I’m wondering why I’m having such a hard time breathing.

Although I don’t know it at the time, I find out later looking at Strava that the first 1.7 miles of the segment I average 30.4 miles per hour and I am behind the KOM leader (Ryan Coover) by 6 seconds.

Ryan Coover - a very fast Cat3 Triathelete in Austin Texas

The next part of the segment is the best downhill section with a couple of small hills. I’m able to get the speed of the Quest up over 40 mph and rollerize the small hills never dropping below 20 mph. My max speed on the segment is 43.2 mph. I absolutely crush this 2.2 mile segment averaging 31.6 mph - about 17 seconds faster than Coover. I also achieve my fastest ever one mile split on this segment with a one mile 36.4 mph average covering the mile in 1 minute and 39 seconds.

My fastest ever one mile split lap

Now comes the last 4 percent grade hill and my lungs are bursting and the legs are feeling like lead. I reach up and pull the lip of the kayak cover down to just below my chin. I no longer care about the aerodynamics, I need to breath some fresh (80 degree) air while climbing the hill. I’m getting slower and slower and thinking the game is over, at this speed I don’t stand a chance of getting the KOM back.

I’m a little disappointed with my performance climbing that last hill. At the end of the Strava segment I immediately pull over, rip the kayak cover off and start trying to take some deep breaths. Is my heart ever going to stop pounding? I won’t know how I did on the Strave segment until much later in the afternoon with I upload the data to the Strava website.

BOOM! I take the KOM from Ryan by one second!

The Strava KOM segment - 5.2 miles at 29.2 mph.
bordered http://www.strava.com/segments/3322479?filter=overall

It’s all about the bike. The Quest is a beast.

Onwards to Salado!

Much too soon Greg pulls up and then Alexis. Of course they want to keep riding further. I just want to lay in the grass and die. They trick me by first saying “lets just go a few more miles to ahead to IH35”, and then once we get there “lets just go a couple of more miles into Jarrell”, and then at Jarrell “how do you feel about going the rest of the way to Salado?”. We end up going another 20 miles further into Salado.

At Salado (33 miles into the ride) we stop at the Valero gas station and refill our water bottles but quickly get back onto the bikes to head back. It is now slightly uphill and slightly into the wind. The temperatures are starting to get hot. Pulling into Jarrell on the way back we stop at the new strip center and spend some time in the air conditioned food court refilling our water bottles with Gatorade.

Inside the quest in the shade (but close to the pavement) my garmin is reading 113 degrees. I’m peddling as easy as I can. There is only another 22 miles left to go. Twinges of cramps here and there. I’m popping endurolyte pills like crazy and on the downhills I’m able to really stretch my legs to keep they somewhat loose.

Sometime around noon, in the middle of the heat, I’m trying to change screens on the garmin and I’m having all kinds of trouble swiping my finger across the front of the screen. I notice all this crud all over the front of the garmin - it was very crusty. The screen of the garmin turned out to be covered with salt from all the sweating! Fortunately, I had a dry rag to wipe the salt from the screen.

We stop a few times along side the road to just cool off. Finally, the last hill before getting home, climbing up from the bottom of the dam on DB Wood, I have to put the Quest in the lowest gear and spin as easy as possible (4.5 mph) up the hill so that I don’t cramp up into a pretzel.

What a wonderful day!

There is nothing like riding with friends. We ended up having a great time and covering 66 miles. It takes us some amount of time to cool down and take a shower. But then on to the biker bar (Hardtails Bar and Grill) for a well deserved beer and good lunch.

Aerodynamic Improvements

Yesterday on FB Charles Snyder (Portland Oregon) had given me some good advice on increasing the aerodynamics of the Quest. So I spent a little time washing and polishing the Quest. Fitting the Kayak style cockpit cover and exploring how it works. Putting the cover into the rear left wheel well so I could use it during the KOM segment.

I must say it was probably these adjustments that got me enough of those precious seconds to get the KOM back.

Ride by the numbers Strava:

bordered http://www.strava.com/activities/178350023

Lost 10 miles on the garmin because I forgot to restart the garmin after stopping for drinks in Jarrell.

bordered http://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/562334324