Monday, March 26, 2007

Rest, rest, and more rest

It turns out that sometimes you just have to. I took some time to analyze my stellar SDSR weekend and actually do some minor research on cycling. Up till now, I practiced the Eddy Mercx school of training: "Ride lots." ... with "lots" being a realtive term. I suppose it is more accuately "lots given available time after working and taking care of family responsibilities." Just like Eddy did with Axel, I'm sure.

Anyhow, I digress. My curiosity got the best of me and I did some reading. In my searching, I came across a couple articles on overtraining. Could that be my problem? Always tired and lethargic? Check. Trouble sleeping? Check. Feeling of no power? Check. Poor recovery? Check.

It turns out that even though I wasn't riding Mercxesque hours, I was overdoing it a bit on intensity. Between not having actually "trained" for the last eight years and not being 24 anymore, my body revolted against the workload. So, I took last week VERY easy. Only 4 days on the bike, no rides longer than two hours, and minimal intensity. We'll see how the body responds. I'm sleeping well, no longer lethargic, and itching to ride. Hopefully the rain holds off so I can hit the road tomorrow after work. I love daylight savings.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The great big SDSR Turd

Well, that sure was craptastic.

I was looking forward to San Dimas. I had it targeted on my calendar. I thought I had prepared well for it. Usually, I can climb. I sucked.

Let's start with the time trial. The week before, my team went up for a little recon on the hill. I posted a time of 14:15 from the gate to the finish. Add a mintue to that for the stretch from the start to the gate, and I could have conceivably finished with a time right around 15 minutes. That would have put me in a solid top 20 spot heading into a road race made for riders like me.

On race day, I got a good warm up - not that it was too difficult given the 90 degree weather that greeted us as start time neared. I got to the line a minute or so prior to my start time ready to go. When I got the word to ride, I took off fast. Maybe a bit too fast. Halfway up the climb, right after catching my 30 second guy, I could feel my legs and lungs start to complain. Not long after, the nuclear bomb exploded. Women and children ran. DEFCON 4 was reached. Threat level orange. Bicycle speed decreased. Severely. I struggled up the climb for a finish of 16:24. Bleh. The email from our team's sponsor that asked "What happened to you today?" didn't help to ease the pain.

So, after the stellar performance Friday, all we had left to do was go for stage wins in the road race and crit. I hooked up with Mark before the race and discussed possible taking a go of it and trying to turn the race into something other than a 80 man field sprint. It was a great idea. Would have worked too, if my legs weren't heavier than they were the day before. The race hurt way more than it should have. I led out our guy for the green jersey in the first hot spot, and it took me the entire lap to recover after. I sat in for a couple laps, and then tried to pull our KOM hope up the climb to get some points. That effor did me in. I sucked wind the rest of the race until the final climb, when A-bomb #2 for the weekend hit. I rolled in a minute after the leaders.

Sunday was more of the same. Legs felt great at the start - at least better than they rightly should have given the performance of the prior two days. Then, in the first points sprint of the day, some guy clips a pedal and takes me down with him. I came down awkward on my shoulder, which was sore the rest of the race. After getting pushed back in, it was hard to get out of the saddle. That relegated me to just riding around in circles for the rest of the day. At least we had Tommy roll home second to a way-too-fast-for-a-seventeen-year-old Justin Williams. So the weekend wasn't a total waste for the team. Just for me.

Thus, I came home, took a huge dump, named it SDSR, flushed it, and started to get ready for Indio in 2 weeks. So much for this weekend.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sometimes the stars don't align

My employer has now blocked, which makes my posting a much more difficult thing. When I was bored at work, it was easy to post. When I get home, the last thing I want to do is stare at a computer screen some more. Anyhow, Sunday was crit day.

I thought that a crit with only 65 guys and all the big names up in Merced would be easy. Turns out I was wrong. With only 65 guys, there's no place to hide when you need a rest. Did the 100k CBR crit in Dominquez Hills. 69 laps. 276 corners. I was solo this weekend with the rest of my team up in Merced, as I couldn't get the hall pass from the wife. For the first half of the race, I Bettini'd it - just sat in the back and rested. A sizable break went and got almost 30 seconds on us, but we eventually reeled them back in.

Once they came back, I knew the attacks would come fast and furious, so I made my way to the front. And come they did. I went with a couple of them, only to have them promptly reeled back. As soon as any attack was brought back, a counter would go. After one of the weak moves I was in was pulled back, a group of ten with Ben Brooks of the Navigators rolled off the front, never to be seen again - that is, until they came around and lapped us.

Chase groups formed and were again routinely brought back. Eventually a group of eight that did not include me - again - got a good gap and also lapped us. That made a total of eighteen riders a lap up on the rest of the field, which was quickly dwindling from attrition. Seeing as paid places only went 10 deep and there were not enough laps left to get another group around (as if anyone would let it once the 18 reintegrated), I decided to just go for any preems that came up.

In the first 25 laps of the race, we must have had 5 preems. In the last 25 laps - when that was all that was left for me - there was one. And now I am the proud owner of a tub of Clif Shot recovery drink. Two and a half hours of crit racing and I come home with recovery drink. Poetic justic, I suppose.

This weekend is off for us, and the San Dimas Stage Race is the weekend after. I can't wait for that one - climbing and a day off work to race. Double bonus for me!