Monday, 28 February 2011

Bueno y Malo

And thus ended my second base period of the year…

Last week was a good one for training, with a mellow week at job 1, things going fairly smoothly if thankfully rather actively at job 2 (the fun one), and no other major crises of note. All indoor sessions went well, hitting each day’s fairly ambitious goals. The enthusiasm-o-meter was high all week, as will happen when you’re in a phase where the improvements are coming thick and fast. Friday evening’s round was particularly gratifying. It was one of those where you go into VO2 zone for a couple of minutes and then spend 10 at the low end of threshold, then back up to VO2 and back down to threshold for 10. 2 sets of that with some other fancy tricks thrown in. That one felt good, but I was skeptical about what kind of frayed rope it would leave me to hang onto for Saturday’s planned “Kill in the Hills™.”

The laughing assassin.

We started Saturday morning just a tiny little bit hot. The early part of the route is like an Ardennes classic, where your front derailleur is getting the biggest workout of all. Yeah, we were kind of flying along there. As we agreed that we were all being idiots about how we were riding, the terrain matched our intent and we basically pacelined for like 20 miles or something on flat to rolling roads. In the back of my mind I knew I wanted to do a good 20’ test on Mount Weather (from the Route 50 side), but it was nice out, the pace was good, we were having fun, and Naked Mountain would be a chance to see just how deficient I’d prove to be when the intensity fairy paid us a visit. Well, we freaking hammered up Naked Mountain. Then we sort of hammered the descent. This left me about 5’ to recover before Mount Weather. Great planning, hot shot.

Keeping my breakfast in (barely) after Naked Mountain.

Psycho 1 and Psycho 2 took the f off just a few minutes into the climb, right when we turned off of Route 50. Blowing up 12’ into the thing would have been even more useless than I seemed to be trying to make things. Settle down but go hard. Psycho 3 and Psycho 4 didn’t get very far up the road at all, and eventually one dropped off while the other was good company for the rest of the effort. Psychos 1 and 2, despite getting really wobbly looking and getting really close a couple of times, managed to stay deep in the pain cave and gut it out. A great effort by them. The big problem was that this isn’t a 20’ climb, it’s a little over 17’. So the test yielded about 17:30 of an effort that I would have been really happy with for 20’, which I’m certain (certainty’s easy when there’s no way to prove it, eh?) I could have held to the end of 20.

You should try to learn something new on every ride.

You’d think we would have been mellow after that but you’d be really wrong. The youngster was peppy as shit and wouldn’t give it a rest. Every rise became a full pitched battle. 270 watts NP for four and a half hours.

The responsible thing to do after an effort like that is chuck a cheeseburger in your face, then drink your dinner and stay out until 1, right? Of course it is.
A little later start than we’d planned on Sunday, so we took the “most ambitious” plan off the table and simplified it to an out and back on Skyline as far as we were into doing. I decided that another test would be appropriate and doubled back after a few minutes and started from the bottom. As it turns out, the Front Royal gate to Dickey Ridge isn’t 20’ anymore either, but it’s really close. The number was good, particularly over the last half. I’m pretty certain that after a recovery week and without quite so much blood in the alcohol stream, I can hit what I’d thought would be a really ambitious mark.

Sweet jersey, eh? This is a prototype.

There weren't all that many people out yesterday. I thought there would be more.

So the good news is that, at least as far as getting to proxy post #1 of building a better base than I have before, it looks like success. The bad news is two-fold: first, impressive charts and graphs? That and a nickel leave you five cents short of a dime in terms of what you’ve proven for races. Second, all of those nice intervals that I was doing just got moved up one peg on the ladder. I’m sure that’s going to feel great.

Our team newsletter is better than yours. We have a beer of the week. I told Gus (who drinks wine coolers exclusively) that if he wins ToWC, that this rack will be the "beers" of the weeks following that victory, so long as it takes to get through it.

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