Reading Mike Goldie’s blog this morning was heartening. This last week of training has been difficult – not only trying to wrestle time to do it from the vagaries of life (ie work, family commitments etc) but also physically more difficult to deal with. I spent more time on the trainer this week also, thanks to rain and a reticence to ride solo on roads at dawn O’clock, with HourofPower woman in her final week of preparation for the Big Day.
Week 2 back in the saddle and I felt great – speedy, strong, invincible. Week 3 and I felt stiff, sore, grumpy, slow, lacking ability. So Mike’s blog on his experience of Week 3 made me realise that, well, what I am feeling is probably pretty normal.
Friday I did my scheduled kms, then threw in some deadlifts and squats immediately after. Saturday Mr Legs, Mr Incognito (a buddy of Mr Legs. I can’t tell you why I call him Mr Incognito, as I’d have to then kill you) and myself did a 75km loop of Kinglake. My legs were dead from Friday’s work, but I made it readily up the main climb, practicing a new breathing technique, and without stopping on that horrid steeper section marked by the green side railing, near the top. I often stop there (don’t tell Coach) as my legs usually give out as the road pitches up. When we reached the top, Mr Incognito said that he thought my fitness has improved since the last time we rode together (over 6 mths ago), which put water on my critical self-analysis that was blossoming at the time. Mr I is a strong rider, particularly uphill, and I heard him puffing a few times up the climb. Overall the ride took 2hrs 45. Usually I pay no attention to how long the Kinglake ride takes, just how I feel doing it, but Mr Legs noted that it was the fastest he had done the course, even when he was at his absolute fittest a couple of years back (I think that was at the time I first asked him out – climbing Kinglake as a matter of fact!).
Sunday Mr Legs, Mr Univac and Mr FIGJAM (no comment) and I did our 1:20 loop. Mr Legs was suffering from the day before; Mr FIGJAM took off like a rocket even before we started, not wanting to be a LOSER by not being first to the top. If he were in a start gate, he would have dragged it up the hill. Mr Univac and I cruised up at around 15 kph, chatting away enjoying the scenery like it was a… Sunday morning drive… By the time we were within 2km of the top, Mr FIGJAM was in sight. Then he turned and saw us with about 1km to. He lept out of the saddle, hammering on the pedals, trying (unsuccessfully) to put more into the couple of hundred metres between us. Mr U and I kept chatting and pedalling, and I chuckled to myself as Mr FIGJAM kept up his race to the top, desperate not to be beaten by a woman (or, more specifically, me). He was the same after our coffee stop, hammering past me at the very start of the downhill, desperate to prove some over-testosteroned point.
Apart from having to ride with a jerk, I finally road tested my new “race” wheels I picked up at the end of the Sun Tour. I bought some new titanium skewers (thanks Steve at Le Tour) on Saturday, so decided the 1:20 would be a great test run for the Eurus. Uphill they actually didn’t feel much different from my Protons, apart from rolling slightly more smoothly. Downhill however, I felt the safest I have ever felt, taking corners more aggressively and a bit faster than I normally would ( I am a pathetic downhiller – very nervy and speed conservative. I am vertically challenged in more than one way!). So I was pretty stoked by the time we got into Montrose, and I give the Eurus a 10/10 crankscore.
I had 3 hours of track training Sunday afternoon with Coach and a bunch of elite juniors, so when I got home from the 1:20, it was into feed up and rest up mode, in preparation for the likely painfest. I was pretty tired and my legs trashed, so it was on with the Skinz, in to the Endura, eggs and spinach on toast, plenty of fluids and legs up reading the weekend papers in bed for a couple of hours.
It was really good to be back on the track bike, and back on the boards, but riding with the juniors was simply a lesson in how much work is ahead of me. My legs were totally flat from the weekend’s work so I struggled to keep up in any meaningful way. You have to wonder when you think to yourself, when I grow up I wanna be as fast as those kids. A couple of the girls had raced the Revolution series the night before (winning or placing in all their races), raced Glenvale that morning then put in a solid session on the track that afternoon. These girls are awesome, and their dedication and commitment is really proving itself now, as they continue to improve and stamp themselves on the track. I am certainly on their cheer squad.