Today was the SBB Guinea Pig ride #7. The route was 43 miles that took us from Sunnyvale down to Los Gatos and back. I attempted to use Strava to record my ride, but the app froze up after I went to pause it for lunch so I lost the data. Oh well. :( Here is the ridewithgps.com route map and elevation chart.
I did better than I expected to do on this ride. First of all, I thought that I might cut this ride short since I've only been doing 20 mile rides recently. I almost cut out the climb up Stevens Canyon but decided if I was going to cut it short, it was better to cut out some of the flat/small rolling miles as opposed to the bigger climbs. I made it to the lunch stop and figured that I would see how I felt after lunch and make the call then. Well, I ended up doing the entire route and I'm very glad I did.
Our group for today's ride was smaller and more or less, ended up slit into two groups. As the title implies, I rode with the big boys (AKA the faster guys in the group). I was able to keep up with them for the first 5 miles at a pace of about 17 mph (I think we hit 22 mph at one point). After that I fell back a little as we started to get into some hills. I wasn't too far behind on Stevens Canyon either, which was the longer incline of the day. I was able to regroup with them at lunch and then kept up with them for the remaining 15-20 miles. All in all I averaged a speed of 13.5 mph, which isn't too bad since when it comes to hills I tend to drop down to 6 mph. The 30+mph downhills are a nice refresher after dragging but uphill.
It is crazy to think that when I started riding with the SBB in January, I averaged about 9 to 10 mph. Now, I can average about 13 to 14 mph. I'm amazed at the progress I've made in such a short time. The most obvious way I've realized how much stronger of a rider I've become are the times when I feel like a hill wasn't that bad, and then think back to a time not that long ago where I had to walk up it or stop multiple times. Today I had one of those realizations when I rode non stop up to the top of Stevens Canyon. Felt pretty good. Then I turned around and coasted to the bottom. I proceeded to ride, non stop up Mt Eden. Yet again, crazy awesome feeling, not needing to stop at all.
After the ride I had some homemade chocolate chip cookie bars for everyone. They were well received and I got many compliments.