August 10, 2008
The Valley Ride
those of you living in the Palo Alto, peninsula area are certainly aware of the Wednesday night Valley Ride. Wednesday worlds, good training ride, or waste of time - this ride is a staple of many a riders week. Like most group rides you get out what you put in - sorta. This past week I thought I'd try a little experiment on the valley ride and see how LITTLE work I could do on the ride...as measured by average watts, normalized watts, and maximum watts. So to make it somewhat reasonable I had the following criteria - I had to ride the whole time at/near the top 10% of the field, I had to finish in the top 20 up the Huddert Park climb, and I had to at least position well for each of the three sprints on the ride. So off I went...
The ride started easily enough - I averaged 160'ish watts til the turn onto Arastradero, for point of clarity my LT Power is about 315W so this wasn't too tough. I admit being a bit worried about the climb over Arastradero and up Alpine to Portola Valley. It seems, however, that my ability to not work very hard was pretty good! I hit the turn to Portola at approximately 170W (now this is average, not normalized, but we'll get to that), so it wasn't going too badly. True to my 'rules' i'd stayed in the front 10% most of the ride - although to be truthful I was probably a bit farther back on the Arastradero climb. Into the first sprint and I rolled to the front, but let the hard chargers go ahead...still I was not more than maybe 5-10 riders from the winner. Over Mountain Home and I found myself feeling pretty good, riding at the front and even taking a couple of hard pulls. From there I took it easy to the base of Huddert - quite a different feeling to hit the base of the climb feeling somewhat fresh. Knowing peak watts was a criteria of my ride, just like average watts - I started the climb slowly but managed to hit the top in about 7th - averaging just over 300W for the 6 minutes of the climb. On the return to Los Altos I took a couple of pulls, including over the two small bumps that preceed the third sprint. Anyway - the long and short is that I averaged 202 Watts and 267W normalized for the ride. My Max Wattage was just over 1000W (My 5 Peak is about 1300W). I'll post the power file shortly with a few more details...but in the end...the ride was pretty easy for about 90% - and kinda tough for 10%.