I am filled with a sense of deep loss today as I hear of the passing of Bob Bennen, he will be deeply missed by his community and his family. I met Bob a few years ago on my first group ride, we chatted and he gave me some little tips. As the ride went on I told him that I was starting to get ready for my first triathlon and he said “we should get together sometime and we can run through how it works” You know what people tell you “someday” but not Bob, a couple of weeks later he pinged me on Facebook and followed up.
It’s a new year, and your first race of 2019 is finally feeling like it’s within striking distance. After a long off-season (which may or may not have included any structured training) and a holiday season full of over-indulging, it can feel tempting to jump right into hardcore training. Press pause for a second and keep these 10 things in mind.
I have started on this crazy mid-life crisis of riding in events that are a little off-set from normal, that push my limits, that look to the outside as somewhat insane. However, I have a secret, I don’t do these things alone, it is not just the friends and family that join me and support me. No it is the people inside me, the people who’s memories I hold dear to me, that inspire me. For this year in Leadville those memories are lead by Bob Bennen who passed away suddenly on Jan 14th 2018. One day he was here and the next gone. Bob was as many people will tell you “One of the good ones”. (One story) He was a deeply kind and generous person, with his time, his knowledge and his friendship.
I am riding in his memory this time, I am gathering donations for the Leadville 100 Legacy Foundation in his memory as well. Please help me honor his memory, if you can donate that would be fantastic. If you can not donate or don’t feel comfortable donating then honor his memory and his actions in your own way. IF you see someone bring something for the first time that you have done, reach out and help them, share what you know, share your time. Don’t just be the person says “we should get together and go over this…” Be the person that follows up. IF you see someone on the trail or on the side of road with a flat or mechanical problem, don’t just yell (as I tend to do) “you all good?” And roll on by… stop, help, wait to make sure they are good to go. We all have things to share, actions to make some ones day safer, better, more fun.
If you can please donate to the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation, they will do amazing things with your donation. Every May, the Legacy awards a $1,000 scholarship to all graduating Lake County High School seniors who are going forward with some form of higher education. They support the community, from helping with community parks, youth basketball programs and other efforts. They provide Christmas gifts for the children of Leadville that would otherwise receive nothing for the holidays. They are doing things that are important, impactful and touch peoples lives in a way that honors those same values that I saw in Bob.
One of the challenges with the training plan that I have is trying to ‘hold the numbers’ it is a skill that I am gradually getting better at. Will the gains come… that is an open question. It certainly appeals to my analytical brain. There are tools to help, but it really seems to come down to feel. What is 80% what is 150%, (150 is easy it is agony)
So this past weekend I raced the Valley of the Sun Stage Race, a 20 km time trial, 46 mile road race, and a 30 min criterium. (note these are for the mens cat 4). This race featured national level teams in the mens and women’s pro categories as well as Junior and hand cycle categories. My understanding is this is considered a “national level race”.
So the TT was on the far side of Phoenix and I stayed up there for the night, I had a 10:30 start time on a Friday so traffic to get from Tucson to the site could have me on the road for more then 4 hours and to get there with enough time to warm up… yea worth it to stay. Warming up is key for me and a time trial and I really felt I spent enough time, did the right things, got to the start at the right time. SO roll out of the start, get a feel for the wind, for the pace… head wind on the way out, level profile for the most part. So tried to hold 4.3 – 4.5 heart rate zone on the way out. Felt fairly good… first rider passes me, you could hear the carbon wheel and the disc coming, vroom vroom. Pick up the pace hold some draft for a moment, and he was gone. Getting close to the turn and the next 30 second person comes by. Make the turn and now raise the power, catch the tail wind and go. Thought it was going well. Got to the end, and looked at the time. Not as good as I would like, was disappointed. Looked at the results that night and 5th from last, well that isn’t good.
Drove home, rested, had some good food for the race tomorrow, tried to drink and hydrate. Drove up to Casa Grande after dinner to stay in a crap hotel. Good night sleep, legs elevated,
Next morning eat early, drink a small CRAPPY cup of coffee and head out in the fog to the start. 46 miles should be good, mostly rolling profile with one climb, its a looping course, 3 laps hit the hill three times, second time is a KOM. Stick with the plan, stay in the pack, don’t work EVER, empty the tank on the last climb and try to move up. Warm up before the start make sure the ‘pipes’ are open.
Start the race, sitting in group, all is good, right in the middle, out of the wind, let others work. Get these old legs warming up. First time up the hill, holding on, couple people dropping off the end, shoot now I am the end, hold on, dig deep… drop off right before the top. Come over the top, there is a gap, this is not good, give it everything, get back on. Hold on, hold on… recover, make the bottom corner, into the head wind and pop the group surges, I try and I am off. Now I am nose in the wind, get low, settle in, pace, start driving. Make the corner at the base of the hill, losing contact, but riders are falling off. Pick one, drive the legs, try to catch, sit on his wheel, recover, go around, look for the next one, steady on. You catch another, now there are three of us, no one else looks catchable at this point. Top out, ride together, work on a rotation, take a pull nose in the wind. Start to lag of the pace, next one up, and so we go, two resting one driving. Get to the final hill, at least the next category group hasn’t caught us yet, start up the hill, and now a pair starts to come from behind, looking at the numbers as they go by, it is the head of the next cat. Try to pace of them, take a pull that is too long, next rotation and I’m struggling to hold on, crap here we go again. Dig deep but the tank is empty, start to recover pulling them back, pulling back. There is the finish line, try to hammer for it, can you at least catch them by the end. Nope.
Not worth going up for the crit race the next day, on a good day I lack the surge to crit and I am not feeling a good day is coming.
Sunday now is the time to actually start laying out the training, weaknesses Threshold power has to be better, and surge and recover has to get better. Time to hit the book, make a plan and get efficient with the training. Been sloppy time to get back to targets and goals. Leadville 24 weeks
So after not going to the gym for a couple of weeks, I hit the weights again. Being who I am I didn’t really reset the weights to a lower mass, all in right? It was gratifying to see that the strength was mostly still there. The number of reps wasn’t really all that changed which felt good. By the end of the Maximum Overload workout the legs were feeling more fatigued then I was used to. The other thing I noticed was that the polymetric type of exercises that I have been trying to end on, box jumps, step ups and step overs were certainly lacking the snap of the past. That is ok, after all I have been sick and not on my legs like usual. Finished up on the treadmill just to run on really tired and peaked legs, ouch not sure how good an idea that was.
The next day it was time to dig deep and really try to destroy myself in spin class. I use spin class to get a random mix of interval types in one session. Usually there are sprints with load with short respites, I try to treat these like over/unders. Dig really deep on the short sprints and take just enough of the edge off in the in-betweens to make sure my recovery is incomplete. Then some steady state climbs. The instructor guidance is usually for steady effort for the whole set, but I usually try to break these into two parts, high cadence high power climbing for half and then really load on the load and grind. I am spent at the end but also started with a real feeling of muscle soreness (not pain, just deep usage kind of fatigue from yesterday).
Was already starting to tighten up that night and tried to roll it out.
Next day was taking T to riding and bringing my bike for some time on Freeman, a steady hill on the east side of town. Steady state/ tempo riding was in the plan. 15 min of steady climbing and then an easy spin down. 3 x and the tank was empty, 20 min or so of easy spinning to cool down and pump out the legs.
Rest day today… needed.
Well this weekend is my first TT of the season, I have pretty low expectations for this race since I’ve been sick and frankly kind of forgot to get my TT bike out on the road at all. Got out last night for a 1.5 hour tempo interval session just to see how it felt. Well bike felt great and the position should be fine for the 20k of the TT. Fitness is not there however… so I’ll be getting a low bar to start the season, well improvements may be easy to come by this season…
I have been sick and not training. Training is my release, it is the time when my mind clears, it keeps my inner self in a better balance. I am out of balance, I am not processing bad news well, I am internalizing and spiraling downward. Need to get out, need to ride, need to run, need to reset.