Thursday, 6 June 2013

Ride for Heart 2013

We love this ride. The weather can be miserable or completely perfect, but this day doesn’t disappoint.

Both me and Garima usually use this day as a training ride and jump at the opportunity for riding on the DVP for hours uninterrupted.

Riding on the highway is awesome. I saw so many families out there with their kids, people on unicycles, tri-clubs and cycling clubs, just happy to be out there.

The weather wasn’t perfect. In fact, far from perfect. Literally 2 mins before the start, it poured like mad (monsoon style!) for a total of 10 mins and we got completely drenched. Wet socks and the works.

To top it off, I brought out my usual race day carbon wheels (w/ a new disc cover!)…which unsurprisingly, had ZERO braking power when it gets that wet.

Oh well, so me and Garima basically soft-pedaled and took it easy the first time up all the way to York Mills dodging giant puddles and splashing each other with wheel-spun streaks of water. At least we had tailwind on the way up and headwind on the way back.

25 kms done and this looked like I was just out for a stupid show ride with all this expensive equipment doddling around at 28-30 km/hr!  Then the weather co-operated and the puddles dried up. Me and Garima evaluated what to do at the aid station on the turnaround, and decided that if the weather stayed OK, we’ll continue with the ride and try to go hard, otherwise, I’d stop on the side of the road and we’d easy pedal back to call it a rainy day.

Luck was on our side. The clouds stayed, but the rain held off for the majority of the remaining ride. We took a chance and tried going fast.

Parichit’s Ride

The ride is supposed to be 75 km, with a loop of the climb at the top section (10km each way) thrown in twice. My goal was to do as much riding as I could until they kicked me off course.

The rest of the ride was basically unremarkable. Well, if you can call dodging people biking with headphones, not knowing rules of the road, not yielding to the left (or better, actually moving to the left instead of yielding on the left!), and general madness that you get with recreational commuters just having fun (which is fair). This is Ride for Heart after all, I expected nothing different from any other year. The best part was a guy who didn’t budge after I repeatedly yelled “ON YOUR LEFT” 10 times before I overtook him. I thought he may have been wearing headphones, but no…as I passed by he pointed to the Emergency Lane on the left side of the highway (past the yellow line) and said “Well, you have all the room there!”… I couldn’t believe it…it’s as if they’ve never driven on the road before, to even know that you are not supposed to bike/drive there. I was more scared thinking what that guy would do in a car.

In the end, I managed 150 kms! Woohoo! So I did the top loop of the DVP between Bayview and York Mills 5 times. The only thing that sucks is that at the end of each way, I’d have to take it easy/coast for 2-5 mins at the turnarounds because of the mass of people looping around the highway exit lanes…This is basically 7 mins or 3 kms each loop! (So you can throw 15 kms out of that 150 kms, out the window).

Combined with the easy pedaling due to the rain we had to do for the first 25 kms, I ended up averaging a paltry 31.7 km/hr. But not to despair! On the highway bits, I averaged 34.0 km/hr with ~205W NP (180W AP) for nearly 135 kms at Zone 2 HR. Did ~3500ft of climbing, too! Yay!

My power numbers outdoors still perplex me, though. I’m a stud indoors with the same power meter and outside, the same effort nets me 30W less. That’s +1 mph right there. Gotta figure this one out.

Garima’s Ride

OK, its still Parichit writing this, so I’ll try my best to sound like Garima!

The past 2 weeks have been hectic with Sunny’s parents visiting and all the sightseeing around Toronto (more on that later…).
So I’m not a big fan of riding alone unless it’s a race. And with Sunny gone doing his thing I wasn’t much motivated to race this day anyway. Come Sunday morning and the rain, the little motivation that I developed was gone.
We rode together for the first 20 km and Sunny’s gracious company letting me draft behind him in exchange for regular splashes of puddle water in my face didn’t settle well with me!

After we split ways on the way down, I got into a groove and spun away. The hills weren’t as bad as I remember but the wind was nasty. Then there were guys who drafted behind me and tried chatting me up at the same time. (Hint: …not a great place to make a move, guys! :D)

Once I completed the second loop back uphill and down, I missed the turn for heading back and found myself on an extra loop back up! Ah well, I had some hydration and couple of micro breaks at the rest station, and before I knew it, I was back in downtown having just ridden 100 km!! That’s a far cry from earlier in the morning when 75 km in the rain was just torture to think of!

Post Ride

The post-race party at the Ride for Heart is always great with lots of food, vendors and great atmosphere. Well, the atmosphere was there today, but the weather wasn’t! As soon as me and Garima found each other and went into the food tent for some bagels/bananas, it started pouring like MAD! So bad that the concerts stopped, and retailers packed up!

The thunderstorms continued on and off for about an hour, 10 minutes at a time. Boy, did we get lucky!

Once we were all fed and the sun came out, we pedaled back home and slept off the tiredness!

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