I have been saving this route this season until I felt strong. This morning at 7:00AM I picked up my riding buddy and off we went to tackle "The Wall". What makes this little gem of a route so special is that right in the middle is a 1000' climb over a distance of 2.6 miles with several spots of 11% grade. I have routes which have steeper grades in them and I have routes that climb 1000' without a break but over a longer distance - but this one packs it all in in one wallop. Put this smack in the middle of a 35 mile loop and you have one good workout. I was quite happy with the climb - I did most of it in a 39/24 gear, only used the 25 on the 11.6% grade spot and never dropped into the 30. On the way to the climb I kept my HR at 150 - saving myself for the attack. During the climb I kept it at 170 and it shot up to 178 on the 11.6%section. After the glorious downhill I cranked the HR up to 165 for 12 miles and then cooled down for the last 3 miles. The average speed for this ride was 16mph. I made a point never to draft my buddy - if I was following him I swung out wide to stay out of his shadow.
All I can say is the last month working with the Joe Friel books and following his principles has helped more than anything else I have done before. Thanks to those of you who have mentioned his books here before - I took that advice and acted on it. I feel as though I am at the peak of my cycling abilities - even when I rode in college was I able to maintain this level of endurance and speed. Life just gets better over 50.
On the 10th I have an 85 mile club ride in the Adirondaks (The TR Ride) with 5600' of climbing. We go over two mountains with a third climb thrown in for fun. This will be a fast group and a I know I will get dropped quickly - but I feel confident that I will be able to complete the ride and not feel like I was hit by a truck. I'll probably do "The Wall" again on Thursday night and then stay off the bike Fri & Sat.
The following weekend on the 17th is the Ididaride also in the Adirondaks - 75 miles and 5400' of climbing. I am hoping these two rides will set me up for a fast century on Sept 6th.