This was the second weekend of racing for a lot of people already. In a total break from the norm, I raced earlier than most, a few weeks ago in SC. In a total reversion to the mean, I don't plan to race again for two more weeks. I'm not sure I've got everything straight in terms of what goes where but there's Baker's Dozen (coed 3 way div), Murad, Greenbrier, Dolan, and then Fair Hill or Page County. Despite my original thought that this would be more of a road season, it's an even split.
Right now is my favorite point in the training cycle. You start to get better fast. You go up the 211 climb a couple of minutes faster than you did last time. Your baseline power jumps. You look forward to going hard.
My challenge this year, which I've completely offloaded to Blair, is take better advantage of where I am now. The last few years, I've gotten to this point of what you might call "acute useless competence." I can hammer hard for a long time, but it's nothing like a peak, inasmuch as I don't think it's possible to have a peak that involves being super adept at going hard for 3 hours. 20' efforts at high wattage are no issue. It should be a great jumping off point to getting really fast, but I can't figure out the formula. I'm confident that I've effectively delegated this challenge.
Saturday's ride was beautiful. There was still snow up on the high faces. I actually couldn't believe how much snow Skyline was holding on to (we weren't on Skyline at all, just looking up from Fort Valley). I noticed this whole formation that I'd never seen before, just west of Luray - you see it when you're crossing the river after Camp Roosevelt. The stars pretty much aligned for that ride - great weather, good legs, good company. I never felt either of the first two climbs, just cruised up them. Sort of amazed how well that went. The third was one a bit hard but when you're 77 miles in and you've done 7200 feet of climbing, the climbs should get hard.
Yeah, so, still like riding bikes, still like training, still like getting better.