Success? Relative to what? Well.. I used to be one of those guys who didn’t touch the bike until April or May, and who would go to the old Lincoln Criterium in June/July and get dropped every three laps, jump back in and try again.. until finally after 3-4 weeks of this, I could hang in there and finish the A race, sometimes on the heels of the top ten guys sprinting for the win. Things are different now. I race cross 5-7 times a winter. I ride 3-6 hours almost every weekend, all winter long. I build a 1000 mile base by the end of February. I use a powermeter and know pretty well where I stand on any given day.. and yes a lot of it is still “by feel”. The data does more to verify how I’m feeling than dictate how I should be feeling.
This past Saturday with Gewilli and those hills will stand as a ride that I consider critical- one that pays big dividends later on. A TSS of 300 calls for a rest day this early in the season- I was not interested in repeating the effort on Sunday. I did a one hour spin indoors, barely turning the pedals. Instead of resting on Monday, I rested Sunday, and moved up Tuesday’s workout by one day, which consisted of six intervals of 3:00 at FT +10%. This was a hot workout, but didn’t cause much fatigue, so I poured it on again Tuesday night, doing 1:00 FT efforts at 90 rpm separated by 1:00 Endurance efforts at 110 rpm (repeat 20 times, with 10:00 rest in the middle). This gave me some fatigue, but I felt like I could do more at the end of this ride. Wednesday- REST- no riding whatsoever. Yesterday I took the bike to work. Scheduled myself to do a couple of 15:00 FT efforts, but this is “easier” to do indoors (mentally, indoors is harder). I was able to eek out one of my intervals on the bike path, but the occasional slowing down and stopping related to traffic and mud and water took away from it a bit. Still, a solid effort.. and I was flying- slight tailwind. Once off the bike path, there is no possible way to ride hard for more than a minute without stopping or dodging traffic, so I just made the most of it- decided to make this ride home something special. I was feeling exceptional. Looking back on the power distribution chart, it’s evident that more than ½ the ride was spent over FT, ½ under. And overall, 15 minutes of coasting- that’s a lot of zeroes factored into the averages. This fast ride home pleases me.
Indeed winter could have gone a lot more terribly or incorrectly, or unlucky or injurious than it has. I feel pretty fortunate to have emerged from the past six months injury free, at a good fighting weight, and in competitive form. It didn’t just happen, it wasn’t all luck. I was executing a plan, not exactly doing it “by feel” all the time.. because for a lazy phuc like me, if I did everything by feel, I’d have slept-in until noon every Saturday and every Sunday for the past 6 months.
Tomorrow will be a good test to see if all systems are go, but again it’s all relative. April 3rd is not the time to call out the defining moment of your entire season, so I go into tomorrow with one expectation- to have fun. If I caulk up a top 10, I’ll be immensely happy, but not devastated if I’m tail-gunning all day. My “A” races are still more than two months away. Thanks for reading.