I’ve completed three weeks in a row of good training and am smack dab in the middle of an easier week. Although today (Wednesday) wasn’t easy. The goal was to do 8 sets of 7.5 minute intervals at high threshold pace. I did one good one and three crappy ones before I turned in, deciding to err on the side of rest–my new mantra. Sort of. Ok, not really. But I am thinking about having it become my new mantra.
After some down time, this evening I did a spin class at the YMCA with my dad, which we usually do on Monday and Wednesdays. I think it’s great recovery to just sit there in a warm room and spin real easy, although I have a hard time going slow because of the loud music and labored breathing of everyone else in the room–which my dad makes 75% of out of the full class. While the spin instructor has the rest of the class doing interval type things and “hand dancing” stuff, my dad just sits there with his head down and his eyes closed, sweat dripping into a large pool at the base of the bike as he suffers for the entire hour as hard as he can go. Then he goes and swims for 75 minutes with the master’s swim team. I’ll blame him for my over-eagerness to overtrain.
But I’ve got some new people from Upper Echelon Fitness to make sure that I don’t do that. I’m being coached by Jeannette Rose and I’m also getting help from Russell Cree. Last week began my first week of coaching, which I like. Bring on the intervals is all I’m asking for.
Racing is finally getting here. Although now that I think about it, the last five months without racing have gone by pretty fast. Training has been great, but I’m ready to unleash the herd of horses aching to escape from my legs. I’m a bit nervous about Cherry Pie, but when I realize how many races there are this year, it seems stupid to put much (if any) pressure on the first few. So I won’t. But I will make some people suffer, no matter what.
The plan is to be a cat 1 by Tour of the Gila, which shouldn’t be a problem considering the race doesn’t start until the beginning of May. Today I’ve been scheming ways that Chris Swan and I can find a good place to train high up (Gila will be held at 5,000 to 8,000 feet elevation). And I’ve come up with the perfect solution: the very top of Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, AZ. My first thought was to go to Silver City, which has been recommended by a number of racers. We may still do that, but my new plan is far superior and less expensive. If we got to Silver City, we’ll most likely be renting a place in town, which is at 5,000 feet. The mountains we’ll be training on will be even higher. But if we got to Tucson, we’ll be able to sleep high (8,000 feet) and train low (2,000 feet). Brilliant. That way we can reap the benefits of altitude-created hemoglobin without our power decreasing from training without enough oxygen.* My idea is to either camp or use a friend’s cabin, or a combination of the two, whatever is super cheap. Camping would be tougher though. The plus side of camping is that I’ll most likely bring down a hammock to tie up in some trees, which I’m already looking forward to. Can you imagine it??? After a long hard day of riding in the warm sun, we get back up to our forest base camp, cook some pasta, and swing to and fro in our hammocks. That would be cool training. I’ve got it all planned out. Now I just have to tell Chris about it. Quinn, you’re also still invited.
As an added bonus, here is a list of my favorite races excluding GC stage races:
#2 World Championships (road race or TT)
#5 Giro di Lombardia
#8 Amstel Gold
#9 Stage of the Tour
#10 Stage of the Giro
Winning one would be a dream come true.
* For those not in the altitude loop, training at altitude increases the number of red blood cells in your body, which carry oxygen to your muscles. This is essential because there is less oxygen per volume of air the higher the altitude. BUT. If you train at altitude, you lose power because your muscles become accustomed to pushing smaller watts (meaning less pressure on the pedals and going slower) due to the decreased oxygen in the air. This occurs even though your body is adapting to the altitude. To get the most bang for your buck, current research has shown that sleeping and living high up while training at low altitude has the best effects for racing at altitude, and possibly at sea level too. But it takes time for any of these physiological changes to occur, which is why we’ll have to be either sleeping or training at altitude for three weeks before the race. I’m guessing that about 87 people are going to correct me on this. Go ahead. Let’s hear what you guys have to say on the matter.