I thought I was bookin!- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    I thought I was bookin!

    So, since my race last season (yep, only one mtb race under my belt-raced at a cat 3 on road for a couple years though way back in the day) I have pretty much compared my pace over all 10 mile rides to my race pace to sort of judge where I am at as far as fitness.

    Yesterday I was in a bit of a dark place with some drama going on with my daughter so I decided that it was going to be a harder paced ride to help me blow off some steam. I must say, I felt pretty good and that was probably due to not being on the bike for a couple of days. Basically, I was well rested.

    I wasn't paying attention to my speed but knew I was going pretty hard as all turns seemed to come up on me faster and I rolled over just about all the climbs. I even heard comments from walkers out on the trail to their friends that I was flyn when I zipped past. In the end I rode 9.7 miles in 52:47 (something like that). I know it was no world record mind you but it was fast for me. Especially when you compare it to my race time which was 9,8 miles in 53:30 something. So in an effort to keep things simple, I basically did it in the same time!

    What makes that good is that I was not in a racing environment being challenged by anyone nor was I chasing someone. I was simply out riding by myself. Something I do all the time but I realize when riding on my local group ride, that I don't seem to push myself as much when riding alone. So to get the same time, means I must have just been pissed off and pushing myself finally.

    But then I started thinking. Was I really flying? Can I really compare the two times/distances? I started thinking more and came up with the following:

    1. While the distance is basically a wash, it does not account for the terrain. The race course had considerably more hills/climbing to it. Approximantely 1100 feet. I did not download the Garmin but I know for a fact that the loop I rode last night only has about 600 feet.

    2. Gearing-I did my race on my GT 26" w/ 32x18 gearing which is approximately 46 gear inches. I did my ride last night on my 29er w/ 33:18 gearing which equates to 53 gear inches. So I was/am now riding in a harder gear if you will. So, I should have been going faster since I can now pretty much ride the same terrain with this gearing and still find myself spinning out from time to time. At a minium I should be going about the same speed if my rpms are the same (should be going faster actually).

    So with both of those factors added into the mix, the reality is that I was going slower! I mean, I did not have to climb as much and I had a bigger gear. Both of those factors should have equaled a much faster time. The reality is that I am still going slow compared to my race pace. I guess the only real way to judge is to go back out and ride the actual race course again. But to make myself feel better, I can say that I beat my best time on this particular loop by almost 6 minutes! So while I may not have been at my race pace of last year, I can still say I was flying compared to the last time I rode this particular loop. I guess that will just have to do.

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Crosstown Stew's Avatar
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    I've had the same thing happen. Even returned to races the following year with a bigger gear, and IMO better shape, only to get the same time. Even gone to smaller gearing before in practice tt to get faster times. It doesn't logically seem normal but I guess you lose/gain more time through turns and climbs than you think.

    I did a race last year that I thought I would absolutely smash so I went with a bigger gear, training route usually about 750 ft climbing/ 10 miles and the race was going to be closer to 250/ 10 miles. Showed up to race with a bigger gear, without having chance to pre-ride the course, and although there was hardly and climbing, there wasn't a straight section to carry momentum the entire loop. I stood more and mashed more because I couldn't carry any momentum, needless to say was way off my normal pace and sore as hell the next day.

    After that I realized terrain and course dictate speed, not gearing.

  3. #3
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    Reputation: 1SPD's Avatar
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    Yep, I would agree!

  4. #4
    nothing to see here
    Reputation: Stevob's Avatar
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    The trick is to ride with someone you know is faster behind you. That'll get the legs pumping.
    I see hills.

    I want to climb them.

  5. #5
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    Normally that is not hard for me to do. I'm not that fast to start with.

  6. #6
    Ovaries on the Outside
    Reputation: umarth's Avatar
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    I have some vertical feet you can borrow, but you are going to need something like 34x21.

  7. #7
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    I hear you. I don't think I want those feet just yet! The gearing swap wold be a must for sure.

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