Senin, 02 Mei 2011

Training update and recent riding highlights

An exceptionally asinine work schedule has left me little time to train, and in fact no time to plan my training. Like the mindless creatures of habit I so love to mock, I have been riding and doing weights with drone-like loyalty despite my lack of sleep and mental wellbeing.

This feeling of burn out culminated in my skipping what had been an “A-race” on my calendar without a second thought. Vance Creek, as well as the Washington State Masters Road Race Championships both took place without Evo this past weekend. I had done Vance Creek the last two years running.

Suffering at Vance Creek not so long ago..
This past week, I managed to commute by bike on Wednesday (nineteen miles each way). This foolishness was attempted after spinning and hitting the weights pretty hard on Monday and Tuesday. In fact, I did an extra set of squats (four sets instead of three sets of ten) which left my quads notably sore for my bike ride Wednesday. The ride into work was dark, but it was mentally refreshing. The ride home was wet, with a stiff headwind blowing rain in my face. The wind also made me feel as slow as molasses. This only confirmed my general impression that I was getting slower and not faster.

Hottie and I both worked hard in spin class Friday. Spinner John does do a really great class. He asked me if I was doing Vance Creek. I believe that if I had says yes, he would have driven down and rode it. On Saturday I went with Hottie on a 31 plus mile ride with 2,260’ of climbing. She is really getting in shape and it was a nice day to be out on the bike.

On Sunday I showed up for the team ride as I usually do. 2020 John had indicated in an email on an unrelated subject that he was training hard this weekend, and the Sunday ride would be done with “increased intensity.” 2020 John is a beast and when he says increased intensity, I pity the fool that tries to hang with him. HLAK Dave showed up. He is a former pro bike racer and is one of those guys that just can’t ride slow. When riding at the same speed as the rest of us, he even LOOKS faster.

As we rolled out, I noted we had no slow guys, but we had all our fast guys. Then we were joined by some fast friends. The stars were aligning for it to be a stupid fast day. When we got on the island, Scott didn’t even stop; he knew the pace would be wicked fast and that he would be caught and dropped like a flaming bag of poo. This unusual move caused confusion and a couple guys went up the road and a bunch followed the unwritten protocol and paused while layers were shed and bottle gulped. My previous attempts at Scott’s trick of getting a head start had met with bad results, so I decided the smart thing would be to follow Big Sam’s wheel and when we took off I jumped on.

Would my Squats pay off ??
I made it up the first hill just fine and was in good position. John attacked as we were forming after the hill and he got a big gap. The group soon showed its quality and we were strung out single file absolutely flying. In minute we had reeled John in. I glanced down at the cool Garmin….26 mph. We rotated and I took a turn at the front. I thought it pretty weak, but as I dropped back a couple guys offered the sweet words, “good pull.” Tim took a flyer and we brought him back to the fold. A few more curves and there was a split. I amped up the power and went around some fading riders and was on the back of a shrinking group. I looked down, 28 mph. We approached the only real climb and I was in about fourth spot. 2020 John was on the front and Fred who is also a bike racing felon was close behind. Dave passed me as did Big Sam and Tim. I fought my way up the hill and passed some guys and to my amazement, I was half wheeling Tim and the only guys in front of him were John and Fred. I knew from sad experience that Tim just drills the false flat (bike code for slight uphill) that goes for a half mile from the top of the hill so I made that my goal and I stuck to his wheel for all I was worth. I looked back and we had a huge gap on the other riders. I was out of breath, but the legs were turning.

They have you row on dry land so you don't drown...
Tim and I took pulls trying to catch Fred and John who had their own sufferfest going up ahead. Finally I cried, “Uncle” and we gave up the chase. Two minutes later a reformed group of three made up of Dave, Matthew and Big Sam joined us and we chased. Matthew took a pull and when he dropped off the front he couldn’t catch back on. Dave gave a brief chase only to meet a similar fate. Sam had my wheel and didn’t even think about coming around as I drove it across our finish line.

The way back started friendly only to escalate into an intense blazing brown blur. Tim took a flyer only to get nailed back. As we neared the end of our return lap and the final climb of the day I found myself on John’s wheel. I was indeed the fool to be pitied. On the hill, Tim jumped and I followed. I stayed in the saddle and I could feel I was at my limit. I passed John and waited to see what happened next. When I’m riding well and am pegged to the limit, it feels like my shorts are straps around my quads. The fire in my quads was exploding and my lungs were burning as well. I realized I had gone too early and just exploded. I clawed my way to the top and coasted down to the park to wait for the others.

Cooked Evo
I commented to Tim that I was confused because my device said we had ridden exceptionally fast, but that since I was in the mix, that couldn’t be right. He confirmed that the day was indeed notably fast, and then said I had really good form. I preemptively adjusted my helmet in case my head suddenly swelled.

Tim had to rub his eyes to make sure it was really Evo that was with him...
I removed my knee warmers for the low-key return to the neighborhood. I looked down and it reminded me of when I had knee surgery and saw my knee for the first time in a couple weeks when the bandages came off. Oh, THAT’s what they look like! This winter has been too long….

To the north, Hottie and SFW were doing their own long ride. The sunshine was long overdue.

Today I again did four sets of squats followed by a 2,000 row, in addition to the full weight routine. I don’t know what I would do if I got fast again. After being a fast guy and winning races in my younger days, and as recently as 2007, I have spent the last four years adjusting to being the slow guy. Well, if the chance comes along, I’ll take it.

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