Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sharing My Data - Tuning the bike and body

It has been a tough winter. I wish I could say I've nailed my training and am getting ready to fire on all cylinders. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

What am I struggling with the most? Remaining motivated to do the really difficult workouts. The North Carolina week was good but should have been done at a different time of the year. Returning home to more winter weather took some wind from my sails.

Early Spring racing has begun. I did three races in two days last weekend. Two at Branchbrook Park, Newark and another in the South Jersey Spring Series. Branchbrook doesn't suit me at all but I go for the proximity skills and race miles. At the S.Jersey race, a 1/2 mile lap with lots of turns works much better for me. I scored a 7th place finish there.

These races allow me to fine tune my legs. There is no substitute for racing. You can't mimic everything in training. Hard intervals during a solo workout? Spirited group rides?  It is close but not the same. While racing, your mind can easily get overloaded. One eye on those around you, one eye on those ahead, another eye on the road. You need many eyes to keep track of everything. You forget to do simple things. I often start a race with a water bottle only to finish without having taken a sip. There are many other examples. You simply have to immerse yourself in the environment in order to get used to it.

The road races I'm hoping to do well at this Spring are mostly 90 minutes to 2 hours. Battenkill is an exception at 3+ hours. These 45-minute Spring race only provide part of what I need. I need to push my endurance and ability to dig deep after many miles. To do this, I add monster workouts combining endurance and intense intervals.

This past weekend, I chose not to race. I needed a couple of those longer rides to really top off my endurance. Friday, I did 60 miles of rolling terrain. I loaded the later portion of the ride with climbing. The terrain provides the intervals. I don't have a choice. It was a good ride.

Saturday, I went out for a monster ride with Battenkill on my mind. I pre-rode the Hell of Hunterdon course that will be used in next Saturday's event. I will be there next week too but don't plan to do the entire ride. I hope to explain in a blog next week.

It was windy, hilly, with numerous rough unpaved roads. Just like what I should expect at Battenkill. 75 miles or ten miles longer than Battenkill. A perfect training environment. It was hard and I left all remaining energy on the road. The power meter indicates that this ride was more difficult than my previous visits to Battenkill. Overloading to stimulate an adaptation. Fine tuning the body.

Additionally, I'm tuning my equipment or bike. In the Fall, I acquired a new set of carbon tubular wheels and tires. These are too delicate for the unpaved roads but are great for the other races I will be doing. This is the fourth time I've owned a set of tubular wheels. Each time swearing I won't own them again. I have another set of wheels I plan to borrow just for a week or two for Battenkill. I guess I should tell that person who owns them. HaHa! Don't worry, it's not you

With these wheels, my road bike is in race-ready mode. Strange that I used to be a weight-weenie a decade ago. Trying to make my bike as light as possible. I got over that a long time ago. Preferring to have durable and more wallet-friendly parts I can trust to last. Now, without really trying, I find myself with the lightest bike I have ever owned. Go figure!

Glamor Shot!
Wrestling tubular tires onto the rims.

Thanks for reading!