I'll get to the race reportage soon enough. Hint: starts with a bang, ends poorly. But this blog envisions chatter about training, and I had an intriguing training week, with a tough and demoralizing finale today. It shouldn't have, but it was. The week: I did somthing or other Sunday, probably about 40 miles, and a short leg openner Monday. The fun began on Tuesday evening. I rode a pre-sundown fast-paced hills trek that in an hour had us covering 15 miles and ascend about 2200 feet over a collection of 6 or 7 solid little 2-4 minute climbs -- climbettes. Wednesday off, then put in some lower volume, high intensity (albeit flat) efforts Thursday and Friday. Then Saturday I did a hard 51 mile grind trading pulls with a cat 3 teammate, he more than I, through the Beech-MacArthur-Beech loops that I and everyone I know has ridden so many times we have memorized the location of every pothole of significance. It's nice, as the line just shifts around them autonomously, like the spontaneous movements of birds in echelon. My legs were feeling a bit unhappy about the amount of higher-intensity work they were being asked to do by this point. Which brings us to today's, that is, Sunday's, 42 miler, not too fast paced really, but it together with the other efforts left me with a serious sting in the quads, hams, knees, and ankles that I'm still feeling, nine hours later, and a bit of psychological sting over my current level of fitness as well. More specifically, I got dropped, twice, nay thrice, over a certain damnable stretch of road I really ought to have managed better. Drop the first, the climb proper, where for reasons I cannot entirely explain (did I lose lung tissue function when I cleaned my bike with toluene in an enclosed space earlier this month? Did they shrink during my influenza hit a few weeks ago? Is it a tumor? Am I training myself backward in fitness?), I finished for the third instance this month about 15-30 seconds slower than I used to manage during the depths of winter "base" (i.e., non-) training, or indeed, last year when I wasn't training for anything at all. I was first ridden off the wheel of my teammate, a strong 55+ masters racer, who I think must have crossed the peak right around my goal finishing time. Then there was the rolling stretch to the regroup point: I bridged up, but waaay too hard too fast, and he cracked me off his wheel *again* (drop #2) when I tried to sit in for a breather. At that point, another teammate, a little powerhouse of a newly-fashioned Cat 4 gal who I have high hopes is going to enjoy some great finishes this year, had the nerve to pass me and catch him, making it thrice. Let me be clear; these two are both putting in solid efforts. I begrudge them nothing and celebrate their results and fitness dividends. My consternation, really, is simply that by this point I would expect to be able to hold my time or, preferably, start seeing improvements on the clock. Alas, I fear genetics (and perhaps an inadequate tolerance for suffering (or perhaps impatience)) may be having its way with me. Physics can be a bitch.
Edit: A bunch of pathetic whining, I know. I'll do better next. But if one cannot vent into the unoccupied ether of fiber-optic circuitry, where can one?