Saturday, April 01, 2006

Time for a breather

Yeah - I completely agree. I'm definitely over-training. I better knock that off before my body up and quits and refuses to push any harder. Today was a perfect example. We pre-rode TST (Tahuya-Seabeck-Tahuya) - one of the hillier courses in Washington. It's 65 miles with about 4 siginificant climbs. In between the climbs you battle rolling hills, chip seal and massive head winds. But occassionally you catch a glimpse of the Olympic Mtns and a bald eagle or two. It's one of those races that if you get dropped at (which I did last year) it's just a great ride for its scenic beauty. But that was not the mission today - it was a recon to see how the legs are feeling (tired) and how to attack on the hills (I'm improving!). I rode it with my friend Melinda (who used to be on Starbucks with me) and her burly muscular boyfriend Mike. He's a mountain biker who loves pain - he mentally beats himself up on climbs and kicks some serious booty up the hills. Keeping up with him is impossible - but some day I'll get him. :)

We talked a lot about bikes - I ride a Kona Kona frame with an Ultegra set up on it and clinchers. I love tubulars - but save the spendy tires for my track bike. ;:)

There was talk of racing tomorrow down in Oregon - but considering my training from this week I'm not going to do and opt for a short recovery ride (under 15 mph!) tomorrow. Okay - time for dinner and a movie tonight. More later.


majikmojo said...

While in my Ph.D. program, lots of free time was not to be had. However, I continued racing and doing okay. I put in no more than 150-175 miles per week. However, approximately 100-125 of those miles were murder. Those god-awful days were invariably followed by 15 mph days.

During that time, and with that mileage, I placed sixth in our district RR championships the only year I had time to ride them. (Okay, I knew whose wheel to hold during those last 2-3 miles to the finish.) But also, there were very few training rides longer than 35-40 miles. My point? It is possible to go well without HUGE mileage, especially for shorter races. (One word: intervals.)

A friend of mine is a several times national champion, on both road and track. During one of his busy-in-real-life seasons, he admitted to training only 150 miles a week, but still kicked ass. But again, most of those miles were not ones during which you would want to be on his wheel. But again, on his two easy days each week, any newbie would think he could not possibly solo away and remain off the front of the pack at 30 mph for an entire 40-50 mile crit.

And one other thing you might consider. I am not saying it definitely applies to you, but only give it some consideration. Do not expect too much too quickly. Except in the rarest of cases, it seems to take about three years for a rider to truly find their potential and form. Have you not noticed that in many other sports 18-24 year-olds do very well? However, it's all the stir when a professional racing cyclist that young does well.

That is why some guy named Lance raised a lot of eyebrows when he won his world RR championship. The same applies to Ullrich and his performance when younger. All agree it typically takes a rider in his/her mid- to late-twenties to be ready for a real Tour de France challenge. That is also why Jan is not at all being written off for this year's Tour, although he's 30 [I think]. Indeed, aside from a couple of others, he is the odds-on favorite.

My points? First, get enough rest and easy miles. Second, expect things to take time. You cannot rush them, but you can either demoralize yourself or even physically harm a body not yet ready to be so greatly punished. Third, sometimes just go out and ride. Forget about racing and training. And in fact, you may one day look back and realize that day's [intended] easy ride was damn fast.

Oh, one more thing. You're right. If you're smiling that much during a race, something is wrong. When was the last time you saw Lance smiling while kicking everyone's butt? (Actually, I do have a photo somewhere of where he passed the camera during an ITT, looked over, smiled, and gave a thumbs-up. However, he already had another Tour win locked up. It was the final ITT.)

If you can smile that much, you're not hurting enough. As Eddy Merckx is supposed to have said, "If you want to win a bicycle race, you have to know how to suffer." Are you telling me that you can both smile like that and suffer like hell at the same time?

(BTW, I get my tubes from a friend in the industry. I train on cheapo Hutchinson tubulars that cost me all of $18 each. That's cheaper than many clinchers now, at least those trying to approach a tubular's performance.)

majikmojo said...

You do know that your blog is picked up by Yahoo Sports, don't you? That's how I ran across it last year.**http%3a//