I love YouTube videos of folks doing insane things with a portable video cameras. Base jumping into caves in Mexico, flying the Red Bull Air Race, or ripping through a downhill mountain bike run– thanks to products like GoPro cameras, we can now get an inkling of what’s it like to do some crazy stuff. I hinted earlier that I bought a Garmin Virb camera to liven up my posts, so I thought I would post a video of what it is like to ride my absolute favorite time trial workout. If you’re interested in extreme videos, read no further. But if you’re interested in my world, here’s a taste.
Obviously, image stabilization leaves something to be desired.
For locals interesting in riding the route, this ride starts immediately south of Carnation, Washington (see Google Map link here), at the corner of Route 203 and Tolt Hill Road. I park my car in a small park on the north side of Tolt River and soft pedal my way to the start. I ride down busy route 203 to Fall City, enter a roundabout, cross a bridge and shoot through the tiny downtown section of Fall City. Then I ride a brief stretch on route 202 to 324th avenue, where I turn right and pass through what I consider to be the most gorgeous farmland for riding a bicycle through. From here, it’s a long stretch of road with wide turns and virtually no traffic. I make my way up to West Snoqualmie River Road and my course ends just before the intersection with Tolt Hill Road (only about a half mile from where the interval started). It’s exactly 12 miles around the course and it is fast, fast, fast. Today, I held an average of 24 mph on both intervals. I was feeling positively lousy during the workout because it was hot (about 90 degrees out here in the farmland of Carnation), the sun was oppressive, and I had not eaten anything more than a small bowl of cereal five hours earlier. Consequently, my watts were in the toilet– about 20 watts lower than my ride last week on the same course, when I was well-fueled and the weather was much cooler. Nevertheless, I was happy with the results of my workout because my speed was quite high– suggesting that my aerodynamics are still on target, even though I didn’t have all the fancy stuff (e.g. aerodynamic helmet and speed suit, disk wheel, and really deep profile front wheel). It was also a prettier day, photography-wise.
I honestly think that the setup I have for mounting my Virb to my handlebars stinks. The first time I rode with it, I had it mounted on the other bar extension and the bulky section of the mount pressed right up into my right hand as I rode. By the end of my first interval, I thought I had sprained my wrist. Being a duathlete, every part of my upper body is quite fragile– I have all the strength and durability of an eight year old girl. After my workout, I reversed the direction of the mount by placing it on my left handlebar– which I think was comparatively a triumph, both ergonomically and aerodynamically. Mind you, it still sucks– it just sucks a lot less. Despite the improvement, the mount is such a clumsy looking device on an otherwise sleek, aerodynamic machine. I’m now spending a good amount of free time thinking about ways to improve it. While I am not vain about my car or my personal appearance, I am most certainly vain about the aesthetics of my bike. Here’s a picture of what my bike normally looks like in its race day finery– that camera mount is going to stand out like a prom queen wearing neon green compression socks and flippers.