Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hills of the West Coast Ride Reports

On Sunday, February 8th, we had our second HOWC of the year, and just like last week it was well attended, considering the weather. Last week we had 11 riders, and on the 8th we had 8 brave souls venture out into the cold but dry weather.

Jeff led both of the rides. On the 1st, he came up with somewhat different route than the norm, taking us through Bellevue, and then up through Microsoft in Redmond. We dropped down the 520 trail, and then immediately climbed back up via Old Redmond Road. We finished off with a few short, steep climbs in Medina before heading back downtown.

For a lot of the ride we seemed to be split into two separate groups. I was with the gang of four up front, and as I looked around, I was pleased to see that I was the only rider not in their 30’s. That felt pretty good!

On the 8th, we mostly stuck together as a group, taking turns on the front as we normally do. On both days we rode pretty hard for early in February, but it felt great to be out on the ride.

On the second HOWC of the year, Jeff took us on what I like to call the South Lake Washington Loop Expanded. Riding in a clockwise direction, we headed west on 89th in the Newcastle area instead of just dropping down Lake Washington Blvd. and the trail to Renton. After a brief stint on May Valley, we headed south on 148th, eventually finding ourselves at the Cedar River Trail where it provides access to Jones Road. We were back downtown in just over three hours after the usual quick blast up Rainier, and then Lake Washington Blvd. up to the I-90 overlook and tunnel.

I am looking forward to seeing a lot of you at the Team HPC “Meet the Team” ride on 2/28, and/or the HOWC on the following day.

Happy Chilly Hilly to all.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2-7-09 Team HPC Powered by Cycle U Fitness Test

On Saturday, February 7th, we had 15 brave and competitive souls show up for a group fitness testing session at the new Cycle U facilities.

If you haven’t stopped by the new Cycle U shop, you are in for a surprise. The facility is a major upgrade from the old space, both in terms of size and finish. In addition to fitness testing, Cycle U offers spin classes and bike fitting, and they even have a small “pro shop” where they can sell you Specialized shoes and accessories at the special team discounted price.

It’s never easy motivating oneself to really go at it indoors. There is no one up ahead of you that you are trying to catch, or no one behind you pushing you to dig deep. Only the changing numbers on your little screen are there to spur you on, although Craig’s excellent choice of music must have helped.

After a lengthy warmup, the first test was an all out 5 minute effort, designed to give you an idea of your power at Vo2 Max. Following a cooldown, next up was an all out 15 minute effort. Taking 95% of your average power for this test is a good way to estimate your Functional Threshold Power (FTP), which is defined as the highest average power in watts that a cyclist can sustain for one hour. I guess the good news about the 20 minute test was…it was only 20 minutes.

Last, but certainly not least, was a one minute all out effort designed to find out if you are secretly a world class sprinter and just don’t know it.

Craig must have felt sorry for the crew. He decided to throw in a future free test for the riders who were bold enough to go for it in early February.

That will just give everyone another chance to suffer!