After my disappointing effort at Putah creek last time out I decided to try some different for PCSD 40K #3. Instead of my aero TT bike I decided to ride my fixed gear track bike instead in the hope that I could do some magic on my pedalling (which felt very labored on my last excursion). My track bike has a 48 x 15 gear so this means 100RPM at 25MPH. I experimented on the track bike and found that my comfortable cadence on it returned a speed of 23.5MPH which equates to 94RPM. This pretty much stacks up with what I have found over many such experiments over the years and I think my natural pedaling sweet spot is 94-95RPM. To beat the hour this would mean that I would have to exceed my comfortable cadence (especially to account for the turns) for the whole event and I would have to average 100+ RPM.
The weather felt really hot on Putah Creek again and the wind was quite strong. The fixed gear felt great out on course but I quickly realized I was under geared. My position on the Felt TK3 is a bit higher than my Trek TTX but it is very comfortable and I had no concerns holding the aero position for an hour. On the warmup the wind was definitely blowing in your face on the way out but for the race itself it was the exact opposite.
The start leg had me really puzzled as it felt really hard and when I glanced down at my Garmin I felt sure it was not working correctly as my speed was much slower than I was expecting. I decided to ignore it and just concentrate on pedaling and suffering. I lost a bit of time on the 90 degree corner on the way out as it was pretty dangerous again and coasting through the gravel wasn’t an option. I hit the 180 turn in 15m48s (10k) which was very disappointing as I was well off breaking the hour pace. The 180 was not much fun on a fixed gear bike but the bike really accelerates well so I was soon back up to speed on the return leg.
The second leg was much quicker and I figured out why I was so slow on the way out. There was a generous tailwind and I felt somewhat under geared as I approached 30MPH at times. It demanded great concentration and pedaling smoothness to spin at up to 120RPM but it felt good. I hit the second 180 turn in 29m48s (20K) which meant if I could nail the final 20k as fast as the first I could still break the hour.
Leg 3 was even harder that the first leg but I knew I had to push really hard so as not to lose too much speed. I had the occasional glance down at the Garmin but the speed was depressing so I ignored it and just tried to pedal as hard as I could. I rode that 10k in 16m03s which was slower than the first 10k but I could not have gone any faster. I hit the 180 degree turn (30K) in 45m51s which meant I was 52 seconds down on schedule to beat the hour.
I was a little winded after the headwind section but I did everything in my power to pedal as fast as possible on the final leg. I wasn’t going to give up on that sub 1 hour ride easily. There were a few sections on the way back where the wind wasn’t so good but generally I was spinning like a mad thing. I got caught and passed by 2 riders with 2 miles to go which only motivated me more to try harder. My throat was dry and my lungs rasping but I dug as deep as I could over the last mile to try to get 30MPH. I crossed the line in 59m52 and managed to beat the hour.
I was totally smashed and very hot when I crossed the line but my legs felt surprisingly good. I loved the way Putah Creek felt on fixed gear. There is such a purity to the event when all you really need to concentrate on is pedaling as fast and as smooth as possible. I think I will try fixed again for the last 40k of the season but next time with a 48 x 14 gear combination. I have my eyes open for a cheap clincher track disk wheel :+)
- 0 to 10K : 15m48s (23.6MPH)
- 10k to 20K : 14m00s (26.6MPH)
- 20k to 30k: 16m03s (23.2MPH)
- 30K to 40K : 13m51s (26.9MPH)
Winner: Jay Newton : 54m53s (27.17MPH)