Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Move on up to 'A'

"Slow it back to 19!" I called out to the rider in the lead as we zoomed along the East Drive in Central Park at 22 mph earlier this evening. I was on my first NYCC A19 training ride. Doug Moreira runs a "Tuesday Night Training Ride" series for NYCC. At the start, Doug went over the procedures: we were to take 20-second pulls; keep to the 19 MPH speed (on level ground -- faster downhill, slower uphill) and that on the Harlem Hill we would split up and everyone climb at their own pace but that we would regroup on the other side. Doug would ride alongside us as our coach, not in the pack. That means Doug works harder than those of us in the pack.

This ride was a very different experience than Linda's early-morning rides. The conditions were more challenging with many others on the road: pedicabs, sometimes two or three abreast; horse-drawn carriages; the occasional police or Parks vehicle; joggers (though they stayed in the recreation lane this became an issue when we had to use that lane because of obstructions). The riders were a mixed group: despite that A riders are supposed to have paceline skills, this wasn't the case for all (I'm no great expert but I know what to do from having done Linda Wintner's early-morning paceline clinic rides for several weeks whereas it seems two of the riders didn't have any such practice). After the ride, Doug reminded me to make minor steering adjustments by leaning -- use my hips rather than arms. I noticed myself that I had to remember to keep my right arm not only flexed but relaxed.

All issues notwithstanding, I had fun and I pushed myself. I don't think I've ever ridden up Harlem Hill that fast much less on 2 consecutive laps. I need to work on stamina and climbing ability: the third lap up Harlem Hill I just couldn't push so hard anymore: I down-shifted and spun up the hill at about 10 mph instead of trying to do 13. After riding out the downhill, I dropped my pace to just under 15 mph as I rode down the West Drive back to the Tavern on the Green start point. By the time I got there, I had recovered and could breathe normally.

I think its time I setup and used the trainer I bought. Tomorrow night...meanwhile, Doug invited me back for next Tuesday night.

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