Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Enduring Hardship

April is a heart breaker.  Weather can be warm and sunny or damp and rainy with an inconsiderate randomness that makes consistent outdoor training very difficult, and of course none of that is any way new or surprising.

So far I've had two weeks of 100% dedicated on-bike training for the 2012 race season.  Sound like a late start?  It's certainly nothing like last year's super intense and nearly perfect transition from long ski training hours into a high mileage training trip in France.  

In many ways I feel like this GTI- plenty of potential, but in need of some work before race day.

March was warm and mild, and in spite of that April is taking its usual sweet time to fully commit to being spring.  I'm really at a point where I need to put my full attention on training so I can't let the weather slow me down.  

But I'm not at a point where I can augur myself into the ground with huge volume in nasty weather either.  The shake and bake training approach has never worked for me, so I'm going to be realistic about my expectations.  I'll be riding outside as much as I can.  Mountain rides will be for skills and intensity, road rides will help with the volume.  There's no way I'll have race worthy fitness for at least another 6-8 weeks.  My first race is the Leadville Qualifier in mid June, the Whiteface Wilmington 100 on June 17.

That first race is really to get used to the event and see how I do without worrying about qualifying yet.  It sounds like it's a very roadie-centric course with a lot of climbing on dirt roads and limited singletrack much like the Leadville event itself.  If I do qualify it will be through the random lottery and not by winning my category.  If that happens I'll have to be honest about my fitness at that time and whether or not I can afford the trip to Leadville.  

The question this time of year comes down to how I go about building the ramp from pre-season to race fitness.  Is it worth it to ride three hours in the rain, or should I ride inside until I hit my sanity threshold there?  Should I drive to Stowe to do hill repeats at Cotton Brook or should I deal with road spray on Duxbury Gap?  Can I legitimately do a recovery ride on trail if I walk the steep hills?  Will I really walk?

So really it comes down to how much I need to train to be ready to race.  It's a familiar position for any athlete, and this week the suffering clock has been set back to zero.  The same engine is still under the hood- I just need to find it again. 

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