Check out the previous post if you haven’t already.
Sam Johnson’s a miracle worker. I’m actually getting sort of fast! Sam has been coaching me since November and man, I’ve never done so many intervals in my life. And it’s not even interval season yet! Just like one of them ‘ol redneck boys. Can you believe that? No? Ok.
It’s been a steady diet of 20 hour weeks with a couple days of threshold, a couple long days of zone 2 and 3, a couple rest days, and of course the Sunday Worlds ride. AKA the only day of the week that matters. It’s like the Shootout in Tucson, except there are a few steep climbs and there’s no Chodroff riding at the front of the group with EPO-laced foam frothing at his mouth. So it’s not as hard. Instead, that job is left to me and Lang (minus the EPO-laced froth. We just have regular, all-natural froth). The race kicks off with a good ten or twenty minutes of easy riding on bike/running paths where we attempt to knock down any slow cyclists and runners who happen to get in the way. It goes right along the ocean and there’s usually a nice, early morning warm breeze blowing through the palm trees. It’s always sunny, since it’s Sunday, and the bikini-clad volleyball girls on the beach and the triathletes swimming in the water give it a pleasant summer feeling, despite it being the middle of the winter. Every time I start out on the ride I imagine all the places I’d rather be, and come up with nothing.
But the bliss doesn’t last for long. After we run the last couple stop signs through town, the pace picks up for a good hour of PAIN!! It’s actually pretty easy to sit in if you’ve got some decent fitness, though I’ve never tried. This last Sunday I took a hard pull as we came to the fast part of the ride and found myself with a large gap early on, so I kept hammering and ended up doing a third of the damn ride by myself. I began to wonder if the group was ever going to give chase. But not to worry! They did. The first person to come across to me was my own teammate, Lang, who had most likely been leading the chase. After some more attacking and whatnot, we eventually found ourselves in the lead break of five and hammered it home to the final 1.5 minute climb. Lang went early, thinking that at the base of the climb I had said “I’m on your wheel, Lang” when, in fact, I had actually said “It’s all you, Lang.” I was toast at that point. Lang won the sprint anyways, despite going really early and I came in third. The pay is pretty good for Sunday Worlds so we were happy to get two guys on the podium.
The next part of the ride is for the fat guys. Everyone stops at the top of the hill after the sprint, where a crowd of the early-dropped riders have taken a short cut to gather and watch us finish. Then we wait for everyone else who’s still catching up. There’s a short bit of easy riding, then a long, false flat downhill section where I like to go hammer at the front while everyone else behind coasts. So that’s what I did there. But once it starts to go up hill again briefly, it’s time for attacking. One other guy and I got away and stayed away for the final sprint, successfully winning the second half of the SWC. After that, it’s pretty much done, though you can continue to attack and ride hard back to twon to make everyone else suffer a bit more, which I did.
Once we got to town we all stop at a coffee shop, where Spencer got me a cookie. I think he was trying to bribe me to go slow up Gibralter–the massive climb we were going to hit up next. Lang and Spencer had just done an uphill TT the day before on Gibralter, with Lang winning and setting a new course record, and Spencer taking 5th. I was not present for it. Had I been, I most likely would have flatted out, which I did do Saturday during the Boulevard road race down in San Diego. I had attacked at the base of the climb on the first lap, got away by myself, slowed up a bit to wait for the guys bridging up to me, hammered over the crest and descent, and voila! the winning break was formed. I was unknowingly suffering a slow leak in my rear tire though, so I eventually got dropped from the break, not realizing the leak until about 6 minutes after they dropped me…and the one and only wheel car was long gone. I ended up walking back to the parking lot. My favourite way to end a race. Anyways, back to the Santa Barbara World Championships:
After getting hit on by one of the only women on the ride (boo yeah!), we split up. Lang headed back to the car (we have to drive over from Solvang to get to the ride in Santa Barbara) and Spencer and I rode off to climb the 4,500 foot mountain. Spencer, who was supposed to be doing a zone 2 ride that day, had to take it easy so I climbed most of it alone.
Half way up I stopped to watch a hang glider jump off a cliff. It was pretty sweet. It was really sweet actually.
I took it a bit easier than usual on the Gibralter climb since I didn’t want to need two recovery days afterwards, like I usually have to take after a long, hard Sunady Worlds ride. I nailed the downhill and kept it under zone 3 for the the long flat section from Santa Barbara out to the next climb on Refugio road. Refugio is a 3.5 mile climb that averages 15%. It comes after 4.5 hours of hard riding, so by then my legs are usually pretty trashed. I nabbed a few lemons from a lemon orchard and rode the damn steep thing, never leaving my smallest gear. I got to the top with a normalized power of about 300 for 5 hours and 15 minutes. Just a typical sunday. It was another half hour descent on a steep gravel road to home.
Spencer and MIchael and I headed over to Lang’s house to watch the Superbowl and eat huge ice cream sundays, since it was Sunday. I don’t know who was playing, but the ice cream was damn good.