Archive for March, 2009

Sweet Sixteen – In Reverse

| March 23, 2009 8:00 pm
Sweet Sixteen - In Reverse

Last year when Franz reached the milestone age of 60, we had a big bike club ride where over 50 people showed up. But after 60, things start to go in reverse so 61 is really 16. That meant we should ride 61 miles, but do the reverse direction we did last year. Franz likes to do a bike ride on his birthday that is exactly the number of miles he is in years. Guess when that is no longer possible we have reached middle age.

We were up early, as usual. No reason to sleep in an waste precious time. Anne fixed a nice breakfast and we were waiting for the temperatures to warm up. The sky was clear but the air was still cold from the storm that had come through the day before. Before 11 am, we decided it was time to get going so we got on the tandem and headed north, toward Morgan Hill. It was a stiff headwind so we could only go about 12 mph for the 12 miles to reach Dunne Ave.

After turning right we headed for our first climb, up Thomas Grade. Franz was determined to set a new best time climbing on the tandem. We did that by putting all out for 8:15 minutes. Then it was some recovery during the descent down to Anderson Reservoir where we stopped at Wood Chopper to take a picture and get ready for a race up the hill.

Franz and Anne before climb up Henry Coe

Franz and Anne before climb up Henry Coe

We decided to time ourselves on the same 6.75 mile course used by the San Jose Bicycle Club race up Henry Coe.  Our best time, set last fall was 52:58 so we were not sure we could beat that time since it is still early in the year.  But hey, things are in reverse and we are getting younger, right?  We started out fast and tried to keep up the pace.  Franz kept asking Anne what her heart rate was so we were not overdoing it.  Towards the middle of the climb, Franz could sense that we were slowing down, maybe we did start out too fast.  But the heart rate was not dropping, so maybe fatigue was setting in.  Having climbed this hill many times, Franz knew where to get a bit of recovery and where to keep pushing.  When we were about 2/3 of the way up, we knew we had a shot at setting a new best time and we we finally were near the top and the very steep, but short climb, we could see the end in sight.  We crossed the finish line about 1.5 minutes FASTER than last year.  At the ranger station at the top, we stopped to get a bit of rest and eat some food.  It was rather cool and the wind made it feel much colder than it was.  Ann was still smiling, even after that record pace.

Anne at the top of Henry Coe

Anne at the top of Henry Coe

Anne and Franz at to of Henry Coe

Anne and Franz at top of Henry Coe

Wow, it was now past 2 pm and we had not eaten lunch yet, so we kept our stop short and headed down, hopefully to some warmer weather.  It was a beautiful descent because this time of the year the grass is green and Anderson Lake is full.

Anderson Lake

Anderson Lake

We made our way over to Erik’s Deli in Morgan Hill, our favorite place to stop for lunch on our bike rides.  It was still cool so we ate inside instead of eating on the patio like we usually do.  That lunch tasted great!

Normally after we eat, we make a bee-line back to the house, but not today.  We had to get in 61 miles and we only had 37 so far, so it was around the reservoir, but in the reverse direction we usually do it.  It is funny how we become creatures of habit and always go the same direction.  Doing it in reserve felt so strange.  But when we finally got to Uvas road and headed south we now had a nice tail wind and were traveling fast.  We knew the route well and were doing some calculations on how close to 61 miles we would be.  It was clear we would be about half a mile short.  No problem, we went through a nearby street to get some extra distance and when we pulled up into our driveway, we had reached 61.0 miles, exactly, of course.

Franz was a happy birthday boy.  It was one of the best birthdays ever!

Franz at end of birthday ride

Franz at end of birthday ride

Then it was off to the computer to download our data.  This graph shows our climbs for our two new best climb times. Click to view enlarged.

tandemkom-3-23-09

This table shows all the times we were trying to set a new best time on this climb, both Franz on a single bike and on the tandem.

Henry Coe Climb

Distance: 6.75 miles, Climb: 2,120 feet, Avg Grade: 5.5%
Time SJ Bicycle Club Race – Woodchopper to Lower Parking Lot
Date
Time
Weight
Max HR
Avg HR
Watts
Single
Tandem
3/23/09 51:29 142 175 158
10/26/08
38:30
138
176
167
225
10/15/08
52:58
164
152
9/10/08
41:19
138
162
156
9/7/08
46:51
138
153
143
4/19/08
56:15
140
165
148
10/28/07
37:34
135
176
169
227

Each time we went all out on the tandem, we kept improving.