Disappointment and re-evaluation of the process and the plan

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”.

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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,

IMG_8171Next 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

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Back to the training and reset being stiff and sore

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.

July 11, 2017: over unders in the rain…

Today was a longish day for a mid-week training ride, 3 hours. The goal for this ride was to go out and warm up and then do a set of 3 20 min time trial type efforts. The best part of this ride was the weather, sprinkles and cool mist are a nice respite from the recent days just suffering in the heat. Felt good but not the power I would of liked to of held. Fatigue or just unrealistic expectations?IMG 0092

July 6, 2017: FTP Test day…

So today was FTP test day… Not entirely happy with my performance. I did gain some watts from the last time, looking at about 280watts for FTP was hoping for a little more. Probably the hard part is I’m not exactly sure what kinds of gains are reasonable or expected. Knee pain was less then it was yesterday so I am a bit hopeful that it really was more of a muscle issue rather then joint.

So what is the FTP test protocol that I followed

  1. Warm up well for 20-30 minutes with 3-4×60 second accelerations to the pace you plan to hold in the 20 minute TT. Take 2-3 minutes rest between the accelerations
  2. 5 minutes rest before starting the Time Trial.
  3. Then do a 20 minute TT pacing yourself aiming to start at the same wattage as you end with.
  4. Remainder of time ride easy zones 1-2 only.

Take the result from the 20 min and multiply by .95 to get the FTP. My goal was to try to hold as close to 300 watts as I could for the whole time. Really looks to me like I can hold that power for about 15 min and then the power drops off and I really have to keep standing and kicking.

July 3, 2017: 60 minute Tempo on the Trails

Ride mainly Zone 1-2 for 30 minutes. Follow this with 60 minutes building to Zone 3. Do this section on the trails working on flow at a moderate effort.

So this was a bit more of a fun ride then initially planned. Due to a unforeseen parental transportation need for Eric, the plan was changed from Pistol Hill south to Urban Assault Loop. This ride makes it a little harder to hit the 60 min tempo just because of the nature of the terrain, but was able to mostly hit my numbers while still keeping it a mostly fun ride with friends.

July 1, 2017: Big Gear Endurance Moderate Effort

Ride Zone 2-3 today. Use big gears only keeping your cadence between 70 and 80 for most of the ride. For any climbs you encounter, push even a bigger gear at 60-70 rpm.

Climbs I encounter, ha ha ha. Really, so probably blew the zone out of the water a bit here since I went up mount lemon and decided to play Sam the YoYo. What is this game you speak of? Well, Eric and I start together and I ride up the hill at a slightly faster pace and he tells me where to go to turn around, and off I go as he grinds up the hill. Then I turn around and roll down to him and then we play again, over and over again… Intervals of unknown length…

Worked on nutrition again today, was a bit of a struggle to get the required calories down, certainly going to have to rethink a bit here. I’m thinking can’t go strait water am going to have to have some calories in there as well. Probably try scratch which should help provide a calorie base that I can build on with gels and the like.

Well looking at the numbers it looks like I was in zones 2-3 for about 2:30 min of the ride, zone 4 for about 1:30 so maybe not that far off, probably should of held back a bit more on the climbing efforts but it was hot so I was maybe in a hurry to get up high where it gets cooler.

June 30, 2017: 2 min intervals: 4+ repeats with Power Only

If you have anything left after 4 of these, do one more maximal effort with whatever you have left. Today’s workout is a maximal day, so leave nothing left.

Always training rides up Mt. Lemon have a special feeling, always suffering, the only thing that changes is how long the duration and how close to the edge you get. I do worry that doing intervals undermines the rest portions of the sets a bit… Still struggle a bit holding the high power levels at the end of each interval… too hard at the start or just a lack of commitment to the suffering?