First Tempo TT Ride in Nearly Two Years!

>> Thursday, May 06, 2021

In my 2020 "year in review" post, I noted that "I don't think I did my 'go to' tempo loop at ALL in 2020!" So I made sure to get out last week and do that loop as only my 3rd outdoor ride all year.

First, I noticed I had some cat barf on my toe warmers once I got outside:

Gross. A good sign? I don't know.

I didn't have any big goals for this ride, other than to suffer hard. I had a brief thought that I'd like to hit 20 mph for my overall average. (It contains a climb up Ramsey Hill, and even though I've done this loop regularly for maybe 12-15 years, I didn't break 20 mph until 6.5 years ago. I thought my PR was 21.1 mph, but I just looked it up, and it's 21.9 mph.)

The Garmin "pace" map finally looks helpful on this ride, as I think that's because it was a "consistent" ride where I'm keeping the effort high the entire time. Many (MOST) times, the color-coded speed doesn't seem to be accurate/helpul, but this seems spot on:

My "tempo loop:" counter-clockwise.

That shows a couple of fast spots (red) heading NE from Hwy 5 through downtown St. Paul, a SLOW (blue) climb through the edge of downtown, a super slow climb up Ramsey Hill west of 35E, and then a bit of a sporadic ride straight west down Summit Ave.

Pace and elevation: a few fast spots in the middle, and a slow climb up Ramsey Hill.

I was at 23.0 mph a mile or 2 in, and I slowly watched that drop through Hwy 5 (around mile 5) when I was down to 21.4 mph (which is normal on this loop). I was ready for that to keep dropping, but I actually got it back up to 21.7 mph by the edge of downtown (just past mile 10)! At that point, it was a job to see if I could keep that from dropping too much more. I made it up Ramsey and was still at 20.6 mph (but it dropped to 20.5 mph shortly after). I was happy to see that above 20! Honestly, I didn't push super SUPER hard down Summit Ave, but I was happy with how much I'd pushed up to that point. I finished with a 20.6 mph average. Not bad for my 3rd outdoor ride of the year! A quick (possibly incorrect?) conclusion is that even though the majority of my trainer rides have been LOW EFFORT, the fact that I've been spending MORE TIME on the trainer than usual has helped to make me faster.

In the end, I hit the same average that I did in 2015 as I was preparing to race as an "elite" for the first time. And then after an injured 2016, I came back "with something to prove" and biked hard in 2017. Here are my best averages on that loop:

- 20.2 mph in September of 2014 (first time breaking 20 mph!)
- 20.5 mph in July of 2015
- 20.6 mph in November of 2015
- [Injured for most of 2016, so no data]
- 21.1 mph in early April 2017
- 21.3 mph in late April 2017
- 21.4 mph in May 2017
- 21.9 mph in June 2017

And then looking through my training log, here are all the times I did that loop in following 2 years:

- 21.2 mph in June 2018
- 20.7 mph in July 2018
- 20.5 mph in Aug 2018
- 20.7 mph in May 2019
- 20.5 mph in July 2019

So that means I seem to have only done that loop faster 7 times, and 4 of those were back in 2017 when I was in peak cycling shape. So I'm feeling pretty good about the start to this year! (But, worth noting is that it was about a perfect day last week: 47 degrees, sunny, with just a 3 mph wind from the west.)

Oh, and I saw that this ride placed me first in 2 "segments" of all other Garmin users. This first one I might believe: it's the little bridge/hill up to Otto on Shepard Road about 8-9 miles into my ride:

But I don't know if I believe this second one. Sure, I climbed Ramsey Hill at a pretty normal pace for me (1:22 from where I start and stop my time just to compare), but this has me as first overall. It's also hard to believe as they spelled both "Ramsey" and "Climb" incorrectly:

I don't know about this...

Anyway, just happy with a solid ride! Check back for some "Friday Funnies" tomorrow, a "month in review" post on Saturday, and a bit about my first track workout of the year next Monday.


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