Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Thoughts on Training

Tuesday is generally my favorite day of the week.  I take off Tuesday and Sunday from work, you see. Sundays are full of riding, society, and sometimes chores about the house.  Tuesdays are all mine.  I can sleep as late as I like (wow, 7:30!!!), sit in bed drinking coffee and catching up on the internet, and then go out for my ride whenever I feel like it.  It doesn't make me feel especially productive or industrious, but it is really good for general feelings of well-being.  Usually I spend some time in there cleaning the house or running errands, but I do them at my leisure, which is exactly how I like to take care of such things.

After three weeks of hard rides on my Tuesdays, I've earned a rest week and all I plan on doing on my bike today is an easy spin with some cyclocross drills (I seem to have misplaced my practice barrier so today's errands include a trip to the hardware store for PVC joints).  I'm pretty excited about a nice easy week on the bike, as are my legs, which are sort of aching as I'm just sitting here.  But it's that building-muscle-ache, so I think I'm doing something right.  We're 3.5 weeks out from the informal CX season opener, and I am so anxious to see how much the hard work will show in my results.  While I agree that hard training and dedication are a reward in themselves, let's be honest, this is about winning races. Or at least coming closer than before.

Saturdays are generally the hardest day I have.  I've been up at 5 so I can be on my bike at 6 and do a hard 2 hour ride before coming home and getting ready to work 9-5.  I realized this past Saturday that there is an added benefit to getting up at such an obscene hour on a weekend day.  It's as though my body is still so groggy for the first part of my ride that it doesn't register what it's being put through, and my head is so foggy that there are no intervening thoughts to distract me from the task at hand.   It makes those super long, tough intervals go by so easily.

On Sunday I went out for a long, solo ride on my cyclocross bike.  I rode pavement out to Appleton Farms, cut through on the double and singletrack that run through there, rode through Bradley Palmer State Park and hit some fantastic singletrack that runs along the edge there, and then rode through Willowdale, hitting most of the XC race course in there.  The roots were pretty wet and slick, and I wiped out on one section, causing a guy on a MTB to catch me.  He stopped to chat and said something to the effect of, "Oh, it's a little rocky for a CX bike in here."  At that very moment, Tim Johnson (multi-time CX national champion and North Shore resident) rode up on his CX bike.  He proceeded to compliment my choice of steed, note that we were running the same tires, and invite me to ride with him and his friend.  They were heading in the opposite direction as me so I declined, but it was sort of a neat encounter, as I've not been in the area long enough to be desensitized to running into national champions on the trails.  Anyway, I rode out to Linebrook Rd. on the other side of Willowdale and looped back home on the pavement.  It was such a fun ride, I really can't wait to do it again.

Anyway, now I suppose I ought to make my leisurely way out of bed and do some things.  'Til next time, here's another Europe pic.  It's me at the Eiffel Tower.