America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

Friday, July 29, 2011

Update from Turkiye

Hey New England, what's up? While all of you bake in the heat, I'm more or less doing the same here. We're presently at an ultra-all-inclusive resort in Antalya, on the south coast of Turkey, which is the north coast of the Mediterranean. Maybe Pettachi stayed here after the Tour of Turkey- he did vacation in Antalya after both of the last two editions, as did many other pros.
Training has been going well I think. This past Saturday was the uber long Hors Category Uludag hill climb, followed on Sunday with a very easy group ride with about 10 of Bursa's juniors and some old friends who I raced with as juniors here back in 1989. Sunday afternoon we loaded the car for a six hour drive from Bursa to Antalya. We had one white knuckle close call with a TIR (ginormous tractor-trailer).. But since a man's reflexes peak at the age range of 35-45 we avoided disaster. What amazing views along the way though- in some places you have a 360 degree view to 50 miles away.
Monday was spent taking care of my father-in-law, a retired math teacher who has lost his sight almost completely and more recently, his 2nd wife of 31 years who left him in his time of weakness. Nursing the broken heart of a hard-ass alcoholic chain smoker is hard work. I did not ride Monday or Tuesday. Before leaving to check into our resort Tuesday morning, we made sure the house was stocked with bread, alcohol and cigarettes. He's a hard liner when it comes to politics- communism would have been better for Turkey than anything else, IHHO.
Wednesday after getting settled in to our hotel I was kind of getting worried about form- what with all the free food. Three days off the bike was unacceptable, and a hard workout was missed Tuesday which I wanted to make up on Wednesday. So I headed out at about 6 am and did the work. It was a disappointing workout though- 3 minute intervals at FT +15%, to continue with 3 minute recoveries until I failed to match the average watts of the 3rd interval. I must have been pretty fatigued because the 4th interval was a failure after 90 seconds. I tried again a few minutes later, and again a few minutes later. Nothing doing- I must have simply burned all my matches on the first three intervals. Plus it's over 90 degrees out..
Thursday was a day for 3 hours of endurance pace. I coordinated a ride with a young pro who races for the ManisaSpor pro team. Ali Gulcan and I met up at 6:00 am and did a solid two hours together on an out and back course- there was a longish climb and some wonderfully flat smooth deserted streets at the top. We screamed back down the same hill weaving in between Mercedes tour buses. (All the "greyhounds" here are Mercedes- Made in Turkey- and many are only 3 seats across) if not for the traffic, we would have hit 55+ mph for sure. Ali has been my e-friend for a few years, and finally got the big break he was working towards this season- a coveted spot on the new ManisaSpor Pro Racing Team. It was pretty apparent early in our ride that my idea of rest pace and his were waaay different. Maybe we were just excited to finally meet and ride together, but it was half wheel hell for me at least 2/3 of the time. I'm very happy for this fellow- he had thoughts of giving up and with a lack of family support I understand completely how difficult it is to keep the belly fire burning bright. The living wage in Turkey is about 600$ a month. He's getting the UCI mandated minimum of 800 Euro a month, which is a handsome salary in Turkey for a 24 year old. The ManisaSpor team has some Serbs and Slovenians on it, and one dude who is former Tour stage winner. It's a bigger deal than it sounds to populate this team. Good for Ali. Next year their team will be wearing my Hasyun merino wool base layers.
Day three of training was today, consisting of two 20 minute intervals at FT, separated by 10 min of rest. This is the most intimidating workout on my schedule- I really do not enjoy pushing myself at a metered effort for more than 5 minutes. I decided to stay on the hotel strip which had only one rotary with a light, and it had hardly any traffic, and long enough that I could do 20 minutes on an out and back basis. I had a real lousy time with this last attempt a few weeks ago- I ended up doing them on the trainer, and missing my target watts by a mile. This morning was a bit different. I was a little light on sleep, but I was making up sleep time poolside. First 20 min effort was a touch restrained- I really wanted to nail both of these, instead of having a super 1st attempt and a lousy 2nd attempt. My average's range on the 1st was only about 10 watts- a good sign that I could have gone harder and handled it. But my mind is on the 2nd interval, which is not only much harder, it's the one which pays bigger dividends. I had a target on No 2 that was just 10 watts lower than the 1st. I soon discovered that this was a good call. Though I did "cheat" a little bit by doing a few short bursts to keep up with my goal. I did these in the first 5 minutes- only a few times. It ended up that in the final minute, I had something left and could tweak the average up to within 4 watts of the first interval. Success. And no iPod either to use for tempo- that always helps. The Normalized power of both efforts was only one watt apart. Tomorrow early morning I'll do a nice easy ride with my son- on the same lightly traveled hotel road- he will love it. Thanks for reading.

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