I just don't get it...
How on some days, a person can feel like crap and perform well, and other days, feel unstoppable and perform so poorly? Yesterday, I was just about to make a post with a subject along the lines of "Is this all the better it gets?" referring to a physical slump that I've been fighting lately.
Tuesday's club ride was a mixed bag. Gorgeous weather, a bit on the windy side, but sunny and dry with a temp around 80. I felt I sucked. Tired, washed out feeling, no power on climbs, just not a lot of energy. Still, it was a decent ride. I dutifully took my turns pulling at the front of the group and sucked wheels the rest. Finished with a respectable 19.3 mph average - not great, but not bad either considering how I was feeling.
Yesterday, Linda had a prior commitment, so as I sometimes do, I decided to take a solo ride. I headed out on one of our usual routes (it's actually a reverse route of one of our club rides). The temp is confortable, though humid, light winds from the east (into my face on the way back, of course), it looks cloudy out, and the forecast is for rain, but there's nothing close on the radar so I get suited up, fill up the water bottles and tires and out I go.
I'm not feeling particularly strong again this day. The legs are feeling tired and burn when I try to hammer, so I think I'll resist the urge to hammer. But as I warm up, the legs are feeling better, so I start to push a bit. Speed is coming easy despite my legs' protesting. On the flats, I'm maintaining 22-23mph with spurts of 25-26mph. At the halfway point, I see my average is 20.3. I'm really surprised by this, because like I said, I'm not feeling real strong today. But, what the heck says I, I'll take it, and on I go.
At about the 2/3 point, I'm starting to feel it. My legs are getting tired, and sprinting uphill is getting more difficult. The wind has picked up a bit, and I'm heading straight into it. There are some rollers ahead, long hills with a few good descents on the backside coming up. I press on.
With a few miles left, I can see my average is still above 20 mph and I'm looking at a personal best here. I've cracked 20mph for an average before, but it was always with a group, never solo, and my all time best is 20.3mph earlier this year, on a club ride, with a handful of other riders. My legs are really getting tired, standing is more like rising and falling on the pedals so sprints are a real challenge, but hell, I'm almost home so let's go!
The last couple of miles of this route are usually fun ones. Almost completely flat, except for some nice, gradual, long decents where a person can hit 30+ mph, and let me tell you, I'm taking full advantage of it. At this point, my cyclometer is showing an average of 20.3 mph.
Finally, ride over, I roll into the driveway and hit stop on the cyclometer. I know it was at least my personal best solo, but I take a look at average, and there it is - 20.5 mph!
Don't know why, on this day, not feeling my best, I could achieve a personal best, but I'll take it!
Tonight, another club ride, and I'm planning on catching someone's wheel all night long :)