Sunday, March 31, 2013

State of Instability

I started my last build period for TI this week. Much of the confidence I had in my progress has been slowly replaced by shreds of doubt. A tough workout on Thursday left my legs feeling crushed just following my wife on the bike trails on Friday evening. Today's 5 hour ride was barely longer than yesterday's 4 hour ride. Yes, the wind was a lot stronger and there was more climbing today, but any thing other than steady state efforts really felt like crawling. In absence of any power data TrainingPeaks tells me it was a recovery effort based on my HR. It certainly didn't feel like it. It might be time to quit looking at the numbers.  I'm nervous about not having had any truly big, century plus long rides yet. I'm sure they are coming, but I'm fearing them instead of looking forward to them.

I put the La Cruz in race mode this weekend, mounting the Schwalbe 40c tires, my Schmidt dyno hub, and light, along with a medium sized seatbag for holding a rain coat, some spare clothes, and other things. The bike is heavy and feels like a pig compared to what it was, so I'm rethinking a number of things on that front as well.  

A month out and too many things are unsettled or not right. Not really where I wanted to be at this point.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


A month+ since my last posting. There hasn't been a lot to talk about, thus the lack of posts. Come home from work, hit the trainer for an hour or two and then eat. That, and some longer rides on the weekends have been one of the constants in my life the last month. I took advantage of the warm weather a few weeks back to take my La Cruz out on a pavement ride for 4 hours or so. Ended up with 70+ miles and a beautiful ride to Ames and back. I took the HTT to Sheldahl where the trail was still covered with snow, and then jumped out on R38 and rode the bike lane on the shoulder to Ames. Sunny day, slight crosswind, and some Joe Satriani in the headphones made for a great day.

CIRREM was last weekend (Feb 23rd). We had a big dump of snow the Thursday before so I opted to strip down my Fargo and use it for the race instead of my La Cruz. I pulled the original Vulpines off of the wheels and mounted a set of Bontrager XR1's I had bought from a friend last summer. I really wanted to set them up tubeless, but I didn't want to do a tubeless conversion and test it during a race. The Bonty's do have a nice bead on them, so I know they will convert once I get the rims taped properly. CIRREM itself went pretty well. Earlier in the year I had set a fairly aggressive goal of 4 hours for the race, with a minimum of stops. With the switch to the Fargo, I considered that an extremely aggressive goal. The "neutral roll" out moved along at a 16 MPH average until we hit Adams Road. I managed to stick with the main group of riders for the first 6 miles or so. After that I needed to settle in to a pace I knew I could maintain for the rest of the race. A group of about 6 of us formed, although we were a group due to being able to see each other, rather than riding together. I was fine with that, as I really wanted to use this as a bit of a mid-prep fitness test. The big hills were slow going, but I felt like I had good power on the climbs. I never shifted down to the granny on any climb and didn't walk any hills throughout the race. I made the halfway checkpoint in just under 2 hours. I slowed down long enough to hear my number called and then kept moving as I had enough fuel on my bike to get me through the race. The second half of the race hillier than I had remembered, but it consisted of mostly long grinders with some small kicks at the end. I rode a solid pace for the second half of the course, and didn't worry about what anyone else was doing. While stopped at mile 40 to swap a bottle and stretch a bit, I was passed by Dee Mable and three other riders that made up her protective cocoon. Not soon after, Abbie Durkee came along by herself chasing Dee down. Abbie would end up catching Dee, but losing her after taking a wrong turn. Dee won the women's race by a minute. I struggled a bit more than I was expected for the last 10 - 15 miles of the race. I'd ridden hard for the last 3 hours or so and pairing that effort with sub-optimal food intake didn't make for a good experience. I ended up finishing with a time of 4 hours and 22 minutes, which was good for 40th overall. I followed that up with another 3.5 hours and about 45 miles of paved trail riding on the Fargo the next day just to let me body know that I wasn't done with it yet.

Other than that, I've been following the training plan that's being laid out for me. Longer rides are starting to become a regular occurrence. Now that the days are longer, and the weather is getting warmer, I'm looking forward to getting outside and spending less time in my basement, tied to the gopher wheel. 4 and 5 hour endurance paced rides on tap this weekend. Will try and do both of those on the La Cruz rather than the Fargo. I need to start spending more time on the race bike and getting it dialed in.