Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Heart Rate Based Training is only good until the Old Man passes you

A beautiful morning after a nice rain yesterday here in Portland. A little cloudy, a little cool, but no rain and dry streets. With nothing to do this morning I headed out for a short ride.

When I have 2 hours or less I like to do some variation of a loop that involves riding west toward Hillsboro and then slightly north and then back east until I climb up to Skyline. Today's road to the top was done via Old Germantown road--a stellar road for riding by the way.

Today was my first road ride with the Garmin heart rate chest strap. I decided to see if I could keep my average down below 150. I was doing just fine until I started climbing up Old Germantown. With my heart rate pegged between 172 and 180 beats per minute as I rolled up with as brisk a pace as I could muster, my average climbed above 150 to 152 when I hit Skyline. Skyline as its fair share of oscillations, but nothing too bad. I was trying to get my average back down to below 150 and so I was riding at a leisurely 130 to 140 bpm. No big deal.

I had my earbuds in, listening to Placebo when 50+ guy riding a Campy Record equipped Parlee catches me from behind. He said hello and we chatted for a bit. He asked where I had been riding and so forth. I said that I had recently come up from Old Germantown and was trying to get to my average heart for the ride back down, so just taking it easy for a mile or two. He says goodbye and I expect him to pull away from me. But he doesn't. Not really anyway. A hill comes up and I actually start to catch him a bit.

I don't really want to come off as an competitive jerk who suddenly speeds up when caught from behind on a casual ride. I mean I could pass this guy pretty easy at this point. But should I? Should I be that guy? I mean I only have about 4 or 5 miles left by this point until I get home and probably only about 2 more on the same road as Old Man on a Parlee. Surely, I can just sit back and play my heart rate zone game and chill.


Can't do it. Old Man on a Parlee is just too tempting while he remains just about 30 to 50 yards in front of me. I had to throw down and pass him. I mean if he had been going at a good clip that is one thing. But my normal pace was faster than his present pace so I had to do it right? Well, I thought so anyway.

I may have appeared to be a jerk to him, but I just couldn't sit behind his wheel looking at that blasted $10,000 bike when he was poking along. It is like he slowed down after passing me. What is up with that. Was he toasted from trying to catch me?

I attached a snip of my Garmin's output from the ride. Blue arrow is about where he caught me. Green arrow is where I got sick of see him in front of me and did something about it. Notice that my heart rate went up to nearly 180 bpm even though I was on semi-flat roads? Yeah, that is because I didn't want to get caught from behind by him after I attacked and passed. That would have been totally embarrassing. I waited until there was a bit of an incline on the road and then I attacked Old Man on a Parlee and passed him as fast as I could. I didn't do this to be a jerk. I just didn't want to be embarrassed if he caught me again if he decided to counter my attack. I laid the hammer down and made sure that there was no way he could catch me unless he was much more fit than he appeared. I looked back after a mile or so and couldn't see him. Whew. No more embarrassment.

So I learned that I am not secure enough to let rider pass me when I am trying to zone train. I just can't let any ol' schmo pass me just so that I can stay in zone 2 or 3. My pride is too great. I don't even know why it matters, but it does.


Anonymous said...

Yeah show that Parlee guy who's boss with your thousand dollar rear der.

Mr. Flynn said...

Ha ha. This bike has OLD dura ace.