That’s what you do at the circuit. You go round and round until your legs can’t take it anymore. Saturday was a brilliant day for the track. There was some mild assistance going down the Casino Straight, which naturally continued to assist going down the start/finish straight.
The start/finish straight, which officially begins immediately after the final chicane which in turn introduces the Wall of Champions, is a crafty piece of road. It’s a false flat. Even the Garmin with its high-tech wizardry calls it as 0.0% grade, but my legs know better. So do the legs of countless riders before me. That bastard is going uphill!
I did three laps of the circuit before heading back. Lap two was the fastest and it was a real test of both lungs and muscle. Doing the 180˚ at the hairpin, it was time to crank up the cadence while dropping down a number of gears. I was with two other riders, complete strangers both of them, and I decided to set the pace. And set it fast. We were going down Casino Straight at just over 50 km/h, slowing slightly for the chicane and past the Wall of Champions. At this point, Mellow Johnny took over the front (he did cut the chicane which I am sure is how he ended up in front of me!) and I had to stand and charge to get onto his time trial bike rear wheel. Third bloke was still in behind.
At the Senna S’s, MJ continued to set the pace, all of us standing in the pedals to go round the sharp right-hander which takes you up a short hill. 250 metres on we took a dive to the right, followed by a quick left and MJ waves me through. Apparently he’s spent because after going anaerobic for the next 3 1/2 minutes to maintain our pace (didn’t want to be the one to let everyone down) I notice he’s gone and only the bloke in red is still with me. Hmm….obviously the ‘Lance-inspired-Mellow-Johnny’s-bike-shop-jersey-wearing-dude’ has read the latest stories about it’s legendary sponsor and “given up”! (Cheap shot I know….he seemed like a good rider and for all I know he was on lap 45).
I split the day’s ride into three segments: the ride to the track, the three laps at the track and finally the ride back home. I stuck with the same out and return routes to allow for a proper comparison. You can clearly see the effect that wind has on the rider. Heading out my average speed was 30.6 km/h with a HR of 152 bpm and a cadence of 97, so a relatively light gear. Jump to the return segment and my speed is up to 33.1 km/h, HR almost identical however at 154 bpm and a lower cadence confirming the higher gearing, thus increased speed. Isn’t science wonderful.
The time at the track confirms the tale of exertion detailed above. High average speed over the three laps, awesome maximum speed (down the Casino Straight), and maxing my HR out at 180! It hurt…and the stats show that.
Sunday will be a day of rest as I plan to do some climbing Monday, Labour Day. In looking at my calendar I see that it has been over a week since I stretched the legs on a climb, so we’re due.