I’ve been absent here for a week or so while I launch an affiliate website but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped riding. On the contrary, I rode pretty hard last week and had a good ride last night.

After some of my recent problems riding down at White Rock Lake (rude cyclists and races) I’ve done some riding around the loop we use for our Monday evening training rides. It is kinda boring but there’s no traffic and the only real hazard is gettingtaken out by an airplane. The picture below is of some of the flowers on the loop. It’s actually quite pretty and is like that for the entire .8 mile loop.

loop-flowers1I decided last week that I needed to step up my efforts in my rides because I felt like I was becoming accustomed to what I was doing. The first big change I made was to start riding on the big ring. I’m not exactly sure why I haven’t done this before now. I think I was holding back because of the hills (that I’m not used to). After the Monday evening training ride last week where we actually did some big ring work I felt more comfortable turning it.

Wednesday last week instead of doing my normal hill repeat day I decided to head to the loop and see how hard I could push myself. I did a warm-up of five miles that was probably in the 14 mph range followed by a hard 15 miles where at times I was averaging well over 20 mph a lap. In the end I rode the 20 miles at a 16.2 mph average which is huge for me.

Because the holiday weekend was over I decided to head down to White Rock Lake to get a ride in. I, again, wanted to push myself hard to see what I could do around the lake since I was riding a bigger gear now. The wind was supposed to be around 10 mph out of the SSE with gusts to 15 mph but an approaching thunderstorm had the gusts probably close to 20 mph and a steady wind of 15 mph. That’s all headwind on one side of the lake depending on the direction you ride. I rode into the headwind for the first half and pushed myself pretty hard all the way around staying in my 52T ring the whole way. All told I rode about 15 miles with a 15.2 mph average. I believe my previous best average around the lake is in the neighborhood of 14.5. I wanted to do another loop but the approaching thunderstorm didn’t look pretty.

I have to say the biggest change I’ve seen is my riding on the hills. I am now able to ride up them easier and more aggressive (I actually try to think of attacking them before I get to them). In fact, I rode all the hills last night in the big gear which really surprised me. I think I can contribute this to a couple of factors:

  1. I’m getting used to the hills.
  2. My fitness may be starting to improve.

I expected #1 to eventually happen but I think my biggest surprise is #2. Looking at the speed I was able to carry on the two rides I talked about above, along with the improved hill riding, I think my fitness maybe starting to turn around and be on an upward trend.

One of the biggest changes I’ve seen though is actually on my belt. I have been doing more riding the past 1.5 months (probably averaging about 70 miles a week) and have really tried to control my diet. There are days that my diet lapses but for the most part I’ve been very strict with it. I just need to tighten the belt (pardon the pun) and stick with the diet better.

Like I said, the biggest change I’ve seen is on my belt. I’ve already had to tighten it two holes and only have one left to go on this belt. When I moved out here from Florida I intentionally brought two smaller belts I’ve had for a while with every intention of being able to use them. I might be able to reach that goal in the next couple of months.