Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I keep rollin'.

For the third night in a row, I hit the streets and cranked the pedals.  The day job (for which I am very thankful) easily consumes my daylight hours - so thanks to a Christmas gift from Coach in the form of a Niterider bike light, I am able to grab miles after dark during the week.

Tuesday night's ride was pure misery, and I've already whined about that.  Last night, I rolled a nice loop using a few less-popular roads.  Much better.  Fewer stoplights, fewer cars, and less wind (which was the main thing).   The roads are less popular because they are consistently up-and-down:  Tons of short, steep climbs with very little chance to get into a rhythm.  Just what I wanted!

Tonight, Chancey and Sirena were heading out to catch our last night of decent weather for a while.  The forecast is for snow and more snow tomorrow and into Saturday.  Sunday will be cold, so the likelihood of clear roads before early next week is slim. 

We met at the old Paceline shop and headed downtown.  Traffic was very heavy, as there is construction on the bridge over 421 at Peacehaven.  Nonetheless, we warmed-up on the way to 5-points.  There seemed to be an excess of EMS vehicles out tonight, and we actually had to pull over for a firetruck at one point.  We did our best to not be the reason for their hurry.

After smoking down Peacehaven, we had a little gas left.  There is a road, Alamo Rd., just off Phillips Bridge Rd.  The smooth, rarely-used neighborhood road is about 2/10 of a mile long with an increasing grade throughout.  At Chancey's suggestion, we did 4 repeats at threshold.  Wow.  Very hard, but worth every moment of blurry vision and heaving chest.

Those last moments are what I'm after.  In previous races, I've usually survived to the end and sprinted in the pack with a heavy reliance on adrenaline and race-day magic.  I have a good feeling Battenkill is a different kind of animal.  I'm casting thoughts of previous Cat 4 expectations aside and simply aiming to be as strong as possible.  The only reference point is me, in the saddle, going wide open until I can't go any farther, and then going a little farther.  Don't misunderstand, Coach's plan is the focus, but I'm talking about a mental shift away from the framework of what a Cat 4 race is 'usually' like and toward how I will need perform in the presence of other highly-prepared riders who may be brand new 4's or sandbagging 3's.

Categories are out the window.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This is how I felt for most of the ride tonight.  The goal: a simple 20-mile cruise through the city on our beloved Loop.  Well, Mutha Nature and her windy ways conspired against me.  I did have about 46 seconds of tailwind, which felt like a sunny day on the beach, cold beer in hand.  But for the rest of the 64 minute ride, I was in misery.

They say that runners (I count myself as one), whether beginner or experienced, will have a 'bad' run about 1/4 of the time.  The 'bad' runs feel rotten from the start, and get worse as you go.  Hills feel twice as steep, every joint aches, and without explanation you simply can't muster the (warning: southern expression) gumption to put in that final kick much less put on the usually cool face you put on when passing other joggers or walkers.  You look miserable.

Transfer that to the bike and you have my ride tonight.

The dreary stats:

Route:  HM --> CC --> Peacehaven --> Polo --> Indiana -->Patterson --> Northwest Blvd to the West End Climbs:  West End Blvd & Forsyth St.  --> two laps of Hanes Park then back home.
Dist:  About 20 miles
Time:  An hour and change
Avg:  Blessedly over 18mph, but not by much.

Up next:  Hmmm...plan calls for Thursday night ride and a Saturday ride.  Weather forecast predicts snow on Saturday and temps in the 30s on Sunday, so I may ride Wed and Thurs nights to get some miles in.  A block of training!