Week 1: 49M / 4'40"
Week 2: 110M / 7'27"
Week 3: 154M / 10'32"
Week 4: 41M / 4'05"
Total: 354M / 25'44"
Week 1: 14M / 1'33"Week 2: 6M / 0'42"Week 3: 0M / 0'00"Week 4: 0M / 0'00"Total: 20M / 2'15"
Things are off to a decent start this year. T
he big story from my first month of cycling training is mounting biking. I finally starting hitting the trails on my rigid single speed GT Peace-29er I bought off Ster. It's the most fun I've had on a bike. I've ridden in snow, muck, cold and it's been great. Every time I get out see improvement in my technical skills.
My first time out I was scared shitless for the entire first hour. Absolutely terrified. But I got through it and by the end I was having a great time. That sense of improvement, of changing who you are, is one of the joys of sports.
Other things need to change as well in the coming months.
In contrast with last year my milage is a lot lower in January. But last year I was a lot more worried about being prepared for my spring break trip to North Carolina with the University of Wisconsin Cycling Team. I put a lot of big rides but didn't do any intervals aside from tempo riding. I could ride long milage and I could ride at a fast tempo for an hour. Basically I was in great shape to go for a week of long rides in the mountains (50 - 100M) with long hard efforts on the climbs. Over the course of 12M climbs I could drop Cat3s off my wheel.
(Yes, I'm drinking a PBR at the top of a climb.)
But when I got back I couldn't handle attacks from other Cat4 riders in 30M races. I starting trying intervals but was behind the game and basically petered out in the summer. Overall it was still my best season -- I finished 9 out of 10 races meaning I both started and finished more races than in my 2 previous cycling seasons. I usually finished just inside the top 3rd of each race. I made noticeable improvements in my bike handling.
But I was still clearly missing elements in my cycling game.
I think I am still learning not to train or race like a runner. You can go into a running race with no workouts and just a huge base and do pretty well. In a running race consistency is the most important thing. You find the bleeding edge of your lactate threshold and hold it -- dipping into the red at the very end.
Cycling isn't like that.
In cycling you'll spend long periods mostly jockeying for position and maneuvering the course all while comfortably in your aerobic zone. Then there will be accelerations, breaks, chases or hills that will put you DEEP in the red in the middle of the race. This is where you NEVER want to be in the middle of a running race but you will have to do it repeatedly in cycling.
Surge. Recover. Repeat.
If you can't handle a surge you'll be spit out the back of the peloton and then it's game over. The wheel and drafting are great equalizers. Hard accelerations are the only way to break things up. This season my training is going to focus on preparing for that so I can stop riding along with the peloton and start racing.
Thanks for reading.