That’s the gap.
One mile per hour is doable. You can just about always put out one more mph. But two–two can be insurmountable.
The difference between 18mph and 20mph is HUGE! The difference between 18 and 19 mph…not so much.
Before someone comes in and drops a line about drag increasing at the square of speed, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the mental game–the perceived exertion of 2mph. When I’m all-in, if I have to, I can add 1mph and sustain it. But 2mph? That’s a bridge too far.
Sometimes, I can sneak up on myself, adding 1mph, and then later adding 1 more mph. In that kind of serving, with 1mph bites, an increase in speed is doable. But adding 2mph in one helping? Impossible.
I remember the first time I did a solo ride and sustained 15mph. I remember the first time I sustained 18mph. I’ve been stuck in a 20-21mph purgatory for some time now. But a 2mph difference is still huge. The difference in a group ride that averages 18mph and one that averages 20mph, or the difference between 20mph and 22mph…huge.
In reality, 2mph is the verbal expression of the mental barrier I hit when riding. I’m still amazed, after several years of riding, at the limits my body can do when my mind will let it. If I let my mind decide that I can’t do something, I’m done. If I let that one little nagging doubt be heard, I’m through. If I see the jump as being too big, it will be. 2mph is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I rode 18 miles this morning in 50.5 minutes (both of those figures excluding the 1 mile exit from and entrance to my neighborhood). Out and back. Clear legs, clear mind, no blocks, no excuses. I felt good before the ride; I felt good after the ride. I feel good talking about the ride.
Two miles per hour. Your days are numbered.