Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Training

The road narrows and pitches up a few degrees. I downshift, spinning a faster cadence. The guys are 50 yards ahead, yet I'm neither gaining or losing ground. A light changes to red and I let out an audible sigh of relief. They can't shake me that easy. I feel like yelling, "hey guys, wait for me!" like a little sister would. But I don't want them to let up, I want to struggle. I want feel how hard I'll need to work to stay with the lead group, physically and mentally.

The light changes and they take off. I suck the wheel in front of me and we hit another kicker. I glance down - 400 watts. Shit, I shouldn't have glanced down. Why did I look? Knowing I can't sustain that power output, the rubber band snaps. It snaps so hard it recoils.

I look around and I'm alone. I glance down - 153 watts. Sweat drips down my check and my legs feel like they weigh 400 pounds a piece. I make a bargain with myself to make it a little further next week. I focus on the positives - positioning practice, setting up for the sprint, breathing through my nose when I can hear some people wheezing. Maybe I should tape my SRM next week so I don't see the wattage?

I could turn toward home at this point but don't. I continue up toward the zoo, unsure of my route and thankfully run into a fellow cyclist. He's on a bright green Jake the Snake cross bike, knobby tires and out for an afternoon spin while his wife watches the kids. He points me in the right direction. I try hanging onto his wheel, trying pushing through the pain radiating from my legs but I can't. I'm cooked.

He hollers, "You'll know you're there when you see the giraffe!"

I keep climbing and pass mansion upon mansion. The road is quiet and I love this part of town, the Broadmoor area. It sits adjacent to Cheyenne Mountain: with jutting rocks, tall pines and clean, crisp air. If it weren't for the leg throb, I'd pinch myself again to see if this was real. A smile spreads across my face once I reach the summit and I head for home. I bid my time. I'm getting stronger every week. It's January, it's sunny and 56 degrees outside and tomorrow brings the promise of another kick ass group ride.

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