Time trial: 16.8 mph - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

December 30, 2020

Time trial: 16.8 mph

Another pretty cold day, just above freezing when we get up.  It doesn’t look suitable to a long ride because it won’t warm up to fifty until about noon.  Especially since the winds look mild and I’m feeling pretty good physically, this seems like as good a day as any for my time trial.

Before going there though, let’s share in Rachael’s excitement.  We haven’t mentioned this before, but Rachael has been at her wits end for the last several days, trying to establish scheduled back-ups for the Cycle365 website, where she is the chief architect and tech support specialist.

We’ve been running Cycle365 for over 3 years now, as a platform primarily for day rides.  For those that don’t know the background, we created (she created) the site when we along with several other cycle journalists left or were ejected from another cycling website that hall not be named.  We had established a bit of a cycling community there by blogging our day and eBike rides, and we wanted to establish a platform so we could continue sharing our experiences with each other.

We’ve of course been running backups this whole time, but last week our hosting entity let us know that we would no longer be permitted to store backups created by the backup utility we’ve been using.  They gave us a few days to resolve the situation before they shut us down.

It’s been a stressful past five days for Rachael, who encountered one maddening technical barrier after another.  She spent pretty much all of yesterday in chat sessions with the three different vendors involved: WordPress, NameCheap (our hosting agent), and JetPack (our intended backup provider), trying to resolve issues with passwords, server addresses, authentications and grants, and the like.  It wasn’t helped by the fact that some of the installation software does not work on the iPad, which she finally discovered when on intuition she decided to start over using our laptop.

Finally, last night she leaned back in her chair with a sigh, and hopefully said she thought we had it.  This morning it was confirmed when she reviewed the app and verified that backups are being created successfully.  Cycle365 lives on!

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Rachael AndersonThanks! It’s great to have so many people using the site and especially now with COVID. It really feels like a family!
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2 weeks ago

The day warmed up a bit faster than we expected, and around 11 we rolled off, comfortably bouncing our way down Mabel Street on our way to the Loop.  My plan was to start the time trial just on the north side of the Grant Street underpass, bike north along the Santa Cruz for the first half of the run and then double back.  I intended to bike to either West Ina Road (9.2 miles away) or for about a half hour, which ever came sooner, before turning back.  I’d picked this course because it’s smooth, relatively level, and has few roadway crossings.  I’m biking both directions to equalize the effects of wind direction and elevation.

Rachael’s role in all this was to be team videographer, capturing footage at the start and again when I passed her on the way back, optimistically assuming I stayed ahead of her.  After that she planned to continue further north on her own.

It all went pretty well as planned, but not perfectly.  I didn’t have a specific goal in mind, but was hoping I could put in about 17 miles.  I did, about.  Now that it’s done though, I’m confident that I could do better next time with a bit better planning.  First, the day turned out windier than expected - perhaps 10 mph on the average, generally from the north.  It more or less averages out if you double back, but not quite - it’s like climbing and descending - you can’t really make up time for the slower leg on the faster one.

Second, I waited too long in turning around.  I biked north and into the wind for 34.5 minutes, covering 9.2 miles and averaging 16.0 mph.  On the way back I covered 7.6 miles in 24.5 minutes, for an average of 17.9 mph.  I should have turned back about a half mile sooner to equalize out.  If I’ve done the math right, had I biked the same distance in both directions I would have averaged 16.95 mph.

Third, I was too easy on myself.  I wasn’t that tired when I got done, and should have pushed down harder on the way back.  I wasn’t sure what I was capable of and didn’t want to burn out too soon (or trigger an SVT episode, always lurking out there as a possibility), but I could have done more as I realized afterwards.

And fourth, the route was good but not ideal.  There are three different spots where you need to break momentum for road crossings (in both directions), as well as the turnaround.  A continuous course would of course be faster.

And, of course, there’s the relatively slower Bike Friday and its Schwalbe Marathon tires to factor in.

Excuses, excuses, excuses!   Putting it all together though, I’m confident I could break 17 and maybe make 18 mph with better planning and the right conditions.  I might give it a shot on the Rodriguez out at Sauvie Island when we’re back home.  In the meantime though, it’s nice to have a metric to track so I can morbidly monitor my performance as it degrades over time.  Something to look forward to.

Mile zero, just north of Grant.
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On the way back, at roughly mile 11.
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Video sound track: 11:11, by Gabriella y Rodrigo

Respectable, not great. The stopped time, FYI, was at the end while I got the camera out. I was pretty lucky to make it through all of those crossings with zero stopped time.
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Bill ShaneyfeltI can still hit that speed... for a little while.
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2 weeks ago
Patrick O'HaraHey Scott. That is impressive. 27.3kms an hour.! And.....on those small wheels to boot! Chapeau! Courage!
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Patrick O'HaraGood point. Another argument for going metric. The birthday rides would be easier, and the time trials would sound more impressive.
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2 weeks ago
On University, loafing my way back to the casita.
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On University.
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Today's ride: 25 miles (40 km)
Total: 1,410 miles (2,269 km)

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Bob DistelbergFirst of all, thanks to Rachael for keeping Cycle365 alive. I've dealt with those kinds of challenges before and I know how stressful it can be.
And congratulations on the time trial! That's really impressive. I have no idea how I'd do these days. I'm just ecstatic if I can finish a day ride and hit 12mph for an average.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bob DistelbergSounds like we’re in the same league,Bob. 12 feels like a fine average for a day ride to me also. I’d probably poke along even slower if I didn’t have Rocky egging me on.
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2 weeks ago
Suzanne GibsonSounds like a good time trial to me, although I have no comparison. I'm quite sure if you didn't have intersections and were on your other bike you would be even faster. Not to mention the wind.

Good going, Rocky! Thanks for your effort and time and know-how!
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2 weeks ago
Jen GrumbyI've never posted to Cycle365, but appreciate the importance of this healthy and positive online community. So glad you had the skills and time to work through all the technical issues, Rachael!

Our blog GrumbysOnTheMove died a sudden and unexpected death last year and we never were able to resuscitate it. So it's especially meaningful to read this tale of triumph!
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2 weeks ago