Easy, light morning pedal. Leave the house to ride to the swim meet. Cool cloudy, make it to the river path and just gently move down the trail. Just spend the time looking around and saying hello.
Leaving the house at 4:30 was prepped for a long day in the saddle. Extra bottles strapped to the back, lights on and loaded up with
snacks. Heading out on the road, warming up, light pedals into the sunrise. Stopping at the start of the rolling dirt road and now the efforts begin. Climbing trying to keep the heart rate in the zone, driving, hurting to keep the effort going. Trying not to think about the day ahead, push it.
Coming to the top of the first real rise of the day and entering the rollers, pull back the effort and catch ones breath, try to let the heart drop down as the miles slowly pass. Riding past the burnt remains of the Frye fire, one side of the road starting to already show green from the recent rains and the other side a black wasteland from the back burns and the fire.
Drink, eat, pedal, look around, time to hit the pressure again second effort for 20 min of tempo, heart rate up, keep driving down the hills, pace the early parts of the gradients, it’s pace keep eating, drink. Heat starting to come up, sun is rising higher.
Tempo done, now just pedal, on and on and on. Past Reddington pass. Flat roads again couple of muck crossings. The fire and the rain have combined to fill the low points of the washes with nothing but black deep silt and muck. Rolling on the road and spend some time trying to explain to a mom in a low slung beater heading down the start of the dirt road toward the pass. “But the phone shows that this is the way to Tucson.” Well yea but not in that car and not the way the roads look today. Finally her kids and I convince her to head back to the pavement and the long way around. Although if she had kept going it would of been an infinitely long trip…
Roll along the pavement for a few miles then turn off the pavement and back to the dirt/ gravel road up the hill head back toward the mountain. Water starting to look a little short, temperatures rising above 105, sweat, suffering, reflections… Time to ponder the next step, left turn up the mountain, more climbing, sun on the back, enough water, these are the questions. Or do I go right and head back down to Pepersauce, Oracle and the odds of seeing more people starts to go up. Phone has signal, one bar… make the call. Time to pull the plug, not enough water to get to the top safely if something goes wrong. Right turn mostly down, more people, that is smart. Gets hotter going down, drink the last of the water, pedal on, pedal on. Take a quick break, jeep rolls by, offer of water. Gratefully take it, drink deep. Pedal on, up and down, up and down. Last climb, then just down and roll. Hey there is Eric. Ahhh smart move.
So the goal for today was to ride for 3-4 hours and get three 20 min tempo sessions with about 5 min rest in between. Eric joined me for this adventure and we were wheels down at 5:30 just as the sun was coming over the smokey catalina mountains. After a short warm up until we ‘crossed the road’ then I jumped off on my first 20 min, pushing my tempo and trying to keep the heart rate up… go! Felt fairly good, could still feel a bit of the staleness in the legs from the hill of yesterday. Crested the top of the rise and tried to push the pace down the hill, still time to go. Got to the 24hour town and turned around to finish the set. Passed Eric going back up the hill. Time up, still feel like I can hold a hard pace for about 17 min hard to hold it for the whole 20 min, is this from going to hard from the start or a hole in the fitness?
2nd set and pushing to hard down a part and off the trail and turns out I put a nice hole in the tire that the minimal orange seal seemed to struggle to fill, cost would be paid later…
Next set across the bottom of the course and rear wheel no long holding air so had to stop a couple times to frantically put more air in. Did I ding the rim at this time or is this from earlier? Crap.
Bike change at the car to borrow Eric’s for a second lap. I have gotten used to mine, weird.
Well it is time to start riding again. Enough of the rest time and enough of unfocused time. Focus is about making every ride about something, is it about power, is it about endurance, is it about recovery. Every ride can be about getting somewhere down the road.
So what then was today about, that is a good question. Today was about sustained effort. Freeman is a good place for me to work on this. Hard effort, stop sign, hard effort, probably should of done some laps up this but it is a start.
Too much time in the idle zone, have to push harder on the sections I should push. Not a great plan today…
Well this week brings me back to the road bike after a bit of a hiatus for a few reasons. I’m only just starting to plan goals and races for the coming year, but it is good to be back rolling around the roads. Wednesday night found me back at the Crit Training.
Of course following that was the 138th night ride to the 7-11 on the squishy bikes, always a fun ride. Not about training but about remembering that bikes are about fun and friends. To me that is the thing that keeps me going on and on…
Today brought me back to the mountains and spinning my fatter self up Mount Lemon.
Never easier only faster is what I keep thinking as I go up, good to set a starting point. Is the training started, nope but the base is getting built.
Well, my first ‘race season’ has come to a close. Given a general lack of goals I think things went fairly well. Training towards the end of the season got a little unfocused due to helping a friend with important goals. Way to go Eric. He had his ticket to Kona, what a journey. My race calendar was eclectic but did give me a sense of what I like, how my body reacts to some extreme edges, and a sense of where the holes are. Coming posts will be some reflections on some of the ‘key’ races from the past season. Evaluating training errors and lessons learned. And looking forward to the coming season and some challenges that are on the horizon.
The advantage to being new to all this is lots to learn and still pretty easy to get faster 😉