I went for a ride today, pushing myself hard. At the end, I was slowly catching up with a guy, except that he looked like he was barely trying and I was pushing hard, breathing that hard rhythmical way, red-faced, mouth hanging open, nose dripping, you get the picture. He looked back at me once or twice as I gained on him up the trail. But then I finished my 16 miles and slowed way down to cool off for the last little bit and he pulled quickly away.
Pushing hard, I did 16 miles in 1:00:27. That's only 27 seconds off my 16 miles an hour for an hour goal. I wanted to make excuses: if only those guys running three abreast hadn't made me slow down; if only the guy with the little dog hadn't made me slow down, blah blah. In truth, if only I were in a bit better shape and/or pushed a harder.
It's humbling to realize, though, that there are people who can RUN a mile that fast. Yes, I could ALMOST be a pace bike for a runner. Okay, so people don't run that fast for an hour, but still, they RUN. (The best male marathoners, from what I can figure, go from 12-13 mph. HOLY COW, they run for HOURS, FAST!)
Real bikers, I gather, ride into the mid-20s over distances. Pro bikers go WAY faster. I don't think they have anything to worry about from me.
On the other hand, I saw a buteo hawk today (a red-tail, I'd guess). And I had a really nice time out in the sunshine.
When I first started trying to keep track of my times and distance to get an idea of my fitness, my big goal was 15 mph for an hour. Adding one mph seems pretty minimal, doesn't it? Oh, well.