After last week's disappointment on Old La Honda, I did a sprint workout the following day (Thursday), then rode in at tempo on Friday with Jason. But there was no riding through it. I was cooked. I needed some days off.
Saturday & Sunday were total "rest" (actually doing home stuff which absolutely needed doing). Monday and Tuesday I was still feeling fatigued, so I took the train to work, riding only to-from the train. Finally, today, I felt energetic again, ready for another try at Old La Honda.
Like last week, Greg and Kieran set a ferocious pace from the start, with Mark in tow. I let them go. But unlike last week, I wasn't in a chase pack, but rather solo. But also unlike last week, Mark didn't try to hang with the leaders too long. He dropped off and paced himself very nicely the rest of the way.
And the whole rest of the way I chased him. I focused on trying to maintain a steadier pace this time: keep a cap on it at the beginning when I felt good, then as it felt progressively less good, try to keep the power from dropping too much. I was successful at this, even if I was unsuccessful at catching Mark, who dangled in front of me the whole way.
Running average power tells the story. Despite feeling I was holding back at the start, I was actually doing about the same power I'd done the week before. But from there, while I did fade, I faded much less.
Here's the power itself, smoothed by 20 seconds. Up to 2 km I was holding it fairly well in the 285 range. From there I dropped back into the high-260's. I ended up with an average of 274.0 watts for the 18:56 it took me to reach the top. This was 1 watt shy of my 275 watt goal I'd set.
An interesting thing is my power was 3% higher but speed was only 1% higher, and I don't think I'm any heavier. This suggested wind was a factor, and indeed, looking at the wind map, it was a direct headwind. Old La Honda is substantially shielded from headwinds, but it's not completely immune. It doesn't take much for a 2% speed hit.
Here's the time advantage to the same altitude:
This shows a finishing 16 second gap instead of the actual 12 second gap because of differences in measured total altitude change (4 seconds of today's ride got truncated in this experiment). Consistent with my power data, my advantage this week was more towards the end. Note the advantage plateaus toward the finish, but that's partially an artifact of the altitudes not being synchronized (my rate of climbing increases towards the finish).
Anyway, not so bad, although the time reduction wasn't what I wanted. I'd love to be over 280 watts, but that doesn't come out of nowhere, and I've simply not been doing the miles necessary nor the intensity long enough to get there yet. But hopefully I'll improve some more by next week. Then comes the race.