Week 6 of 42, On the Road to RAAM 2015

What a week!

I entered Week 6 of my RAAM training determined to push it hard, knowing that the following week will be a lighter training week due to my next 200-mile race set for next Saturday, October 11th – the Basslake Powerhouse Double Century.

Training Notes

Monday – I started today with a longer trainer ride, 2.5 hours.

I have not commuted to work in two weeks, this now being the third week. I was feeling tired and physically down yesterday so I didn’t want to overdo it today by commuting to work. But I do need to get back in the rhythm of commuting to work before the weather changes because then I won’t have the opportunity. Commuting is critical training.

In the afternoon, I had a challenging, but good ride through Altamont & Patterson Pass.

Stan yelled to me, “You opened the gap, you’ve got to close it.” while we were rolling toward Patterson.

I was wondering why no one was taking a pull for a while (haha!).

He also added, “But you probably like chasing them down anyway, huh?”

I’m not sure if that was sarcastic, but in any case, it’s kind of true. Chasing is always excruciatingly fun (lol). I caught the 3 breakaways eventually.

Later on, the climb up Patterson was a good challenge. I was chasing down the two (new) breakaways. Caught the first one halfway, but only caught the second one at Religion.

Dat and Cat-1 guy were pushing hard, but I managed to catch Dat on Religion, too.

It was a realmental battle for me when Dat and the Cat-1 guy pulled away; I thought, “Man, I suck! Why can’t I stick with them?” But I eventually caught the Cat-1 guy on OMG (it was a fun pursuit), but after he looked back and saw me, he sprinted the last stretch, and the last breakaway guy took off too. I wish I could have kept up with them, but I still don’t have power in my legs to attack.

I was 3rd to the top of Patterson.

Lastly, I am really grateful to Wond for catching me midway on Patterson; we worked well together to make it up OMG.

(Surprisingly, I achieved 7th place overall on the Trons PP Circuit Strava segment. I’ll have to keep monitoring this as I continue my training. Must. Get. Faster.)

Tuesday – Today was one of the the fun days, i.e. hammer-fest race day.

I began with a two hour trainer warm-up, nice and steady. Then, I rode the Carneal Loop with the Cycletrons during our noon ride.

I met Kevin King, face-to-face, today. Yesterday, I only saw his rear-end as he dusted me up the final climb of the Altamont/Paterson Pass ride. (The target has been acquired lol.)

I wasn’t sure how I’d fare today after my triple workout yesterday. I trained harder than average, so by bed time, I was feeling pretty tired. Waking up this morning wasn’t a struggle, but halfway through my morning workout, I was losing steam, both physically and mentally. I still gave my best, but post-workout, I was feeling somewhat drained.

So before starting on today’s noon ride, I could feel that my quads were not anywhere near full capacity, but at the same time, I was feeling mentally focused and determined to give my best. Recently, I have been telling myself whenever it gets tough, “This is exactly what’s going to take me to the level of fitness that I want to get to.” Just like yesterday when I opened a gap and had to chase down the three leading riders, I told myself, “Makes for a better workout”.

I don’t mind forcing myself to work hard. In some senses, I’m trying to work hard, and not necessarily smart. This being to the extent that I am not trying to win a road race, so strategy isn’t as important to me as is a good day of bicycling. At the same time, however, sometimes working smart will allow me to work hard, e.g. having to ride hard and react to attacks in the peloton, whereas I couldn’t do this riding solo if I didn’t stick with the pack. So I guess it’s a balancing act.

I must look kind of strange trying to stick on the wheel of the guy in front of me when the pace picks up. I honestly have to go all out just to hang on. When my legs aren’t at full capacity, I have less power, so I have to compensate with a higher cadence. But I can only pedal so fast & so much!

I managed to hang on by remaining conservative, but by the time we were coming out of the Collier Loop, I had no more horsepower to keep me in the pack.

Approaching the final hill, Wond passed me. He told me to hop on, but man he was flying. Surprisingly, I managed to grab his wheel after some period of pain. We started working together to push the pace and we managed to catch at least 6 other riders who fell off. But coming down the long road in the last miles, I had to relent – my legs just couldn’t keep hammering. So I dropped back down to my own comfortable pace, 22–23 mph. Finally, a bit of rest.

I gave an all out effort on the final sprint stretch, getting up to sprint four times. Great finish!

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to some recovery on my non-hammer fest ride tomorrow.

But I must admit, I surprised myself today with my endurance holding and pushing a high-pace; I think this is the first day I’ve noticed this new level of fitness; definitely an improvement.

Another day, another dollar.

Wednesday – Today, I enjoyed a long and steady recovery ride on the trainer.

Feeling unusually fatigued from Monday’s and Tuesday’s training, I woke up today with a sense of relief, thankful for a non-hammer-fest solo recovery ride.

My initial plan was only 4 hours of bicycling, but to be honest, it was because I was feeling slightly sorry for myself and was giving in to my mental tiredness. I wanted to take the easy way out. But after about 2 hours, I was feeling warmed up and didn’t feel so sluggish anymore so I decided to do at least 5 hours.

Got to rest up now for another triple workout tomorrow.

Thursday – #TripleWorkoutThursday.

I woke up pretty easily today, thanks to an early night of rest. However, I could feel my legs were still tired when I woke up one time during the night, but once I started bicycling to work, I didn’t feel any noticeable handicap.

The climb up Calaveras was relaxed, and I didn’t experience any strain in my lower back. I wasn’t sure how I would fare since I have not commuted to work with a 1,000 lb. backpack weighing me down in over 2 weeks.

Temperature was noticeably warm at the top of Calaveras as the wind was beginning to pick up.

Arriving into Livermore, my legs began to feel fatigued (cardio was fine). The last stretch on East Avenue was weak, I was struggling to hold above 19–20 mph. The sprint finish on Vasco Rd. only hit around 26 mph, and the effort only started at the halfway point.

Sitting in my office now, flexing my legs, I can feel that my quads and hip-flexers are tired.

Will have to stretch and keep moving around before the Altamont/Patterson noon ride at 11:30am.

It was pretty windy heading out to Patterson so I was only glad to be sitting back to enjoy the ride – a non-hammer fest day.

I took my pulls in the rotation, but I didn’t make any efforts push it on the climbs.

By the time we reached Patterson Pass, I was feeling pretty fresh, all things considered. What a difference compared to the Monday hammer fests up Patterson. I could actually enjoy the scenery for a change.

Two guys broke away about a quarter way through Patterson, and not wanting to unnecessarily slow down to stick with the pack, I paced my way forward.

I managed to pass the second place guy quite easily, I think he was quite spent (I think he did quite a bit of work on the way out to Patterson).

I thought the first place guy (Maurius) was relenting too, but he kept looking back and pressing forward.

I really thought I would be able to pace my way to him by the top of Religion, but he wasn’t going to give up that easily.

Once we hit OMG, I started to pick up my pace a tad with the hopes of catching him around the mid-point, but he was really determined to not let me catch him.

I was tempted to really gun it up the final meters to catch him, but, mentally, I was holding back, remembering that today was a triple workout so I had to exercise some self control. I’m not sure I would have been able to catch him anyway, besides he deserved the victory.

We descended back to the Lab together with a nice rotation. I tried sprinting the last meters, but we ended up stuck together.

Definitely an enjoyable ride today! And great to have met a new friend =)

P.S. I couldn’t tell if there was a tailwind, but I guess it would make sense because I managed to get 3rd, 4th, and 5th on some segments.

Friday – I’m pooped. I definitely hit my physical limit today – it has been a good, but very intense week of training. Thankfully, it was an easier pace on today’s ride so I only dropped off on the final sprint stretch. I wish I had an indicator to see what percent capacity my legs are at right now. I think they must be around 40% .

I’ll need to rest, but I was planning one more intense workout tomorrow. Hmm… I’ll have to monitor my condition.

One last thing: I finally got to meet RAAM Rick when we were near the Lab.

Sunday – We had our first Team What Extent meeting! 6:45am. Yah. #WhatExtent will you go? =)

Checkout our current videos: www.whatextent.com. More to come, so stay tuned!