Friday, September 19, 2014

Winter Darkness Seems Early

I head out into the darkness.
My lights are my only guide.
A rocky path,
A low tree branch,
Slowly, imperceptibly, daylight creeps in.
The day awakes as my lights slumber.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I'm an Ugly Strava Whore - And Other Musings on the Range of Human Ability

Some people love Strava and some people hate it, OK, most people are most likely ambivalent.  I'm in the love it camp.  When a new segment pops up in my area I can't wait to get out and see what I can do.  As I approach the segment I get a little rush of excitement, like a race without an entry fee or getting up at 5:00AM.
I think of it as adding fun to interval training, something I probably wouldn't do if there wasn't some fun in it.  Why am I ugly?  That's because I'm not quite at the caliber of some of the other riders in the area, I'm not pretty enough to get the good tricks.  I can usually tell if I can get  a KOM by who's at the top of the leaderboard.

Now for the musings, I'm continuously amazed at the range of athletic talent.  As far as biking goes, among my friends, family and peers I am a biking god.  Not bad.  Except among other avid recreational cyclists I fall somewhere in the middle of the pack.  Compared to recreational racers I'm in the back of the pack and compared to pro athletes-I don't.  In all on a scale of 1-10 where a 1 can't bike and a 10 is a pro, I'd put myself at about an 8.  80% isn't bad.  But the scale isn't linear because the 8s, 9s & 10s are probably only 0.1% of the population.  Considering my own little town I might be one of the 5 strongest riders.  The population is about 5000 so 0.1% makes sense.  My point is that making the jump from an 8 to a 9 on my cycling scale takes a tremendous amount of work and I really respect all the riders in my area with KOMs that I can't beat! 

Which brings me to my ride.  I just "happened" to notice some segments not too far from work.  The names at the top of the leaderboard told me I wasn't going to be king but what the heck, lets see how I can do:
About 5 miles into my ride I hit the first popular segment, mostly up and 1.1 miles long.  I started slow and steady so I wouldn't burn out before the top.  Well that was the plan.  By the last 1/4 mile  my lungs were burning and my legs were getting rubbery.  I came in 41st out of 173.  That doesn't feel like the top 0.1%.  I'll be trying that again, maybe I can get 38th!  Nice work out there!

I finished my 32 mile ride with similar leaderboard placements...Not that it matters.  I still got to ride, stay in shape, feel the wind, burn off the last nights ice cream, think about nothing and everything.  And I got to see a nice sunset over Sebago Lake.