Photo: Tony Allen-Mills

Photo: Tony Allen-Mills
The Charge: First Race, First Climb

Monday, May 23, 2011

Training Day Interludes -- Suffering Hurts, Sleep Heals, and Other Profundities

Warning: what follows is wonky drivel.  For your own good, skip to the pictures.
For a variety of reasons, I have found myself unable to race (other than the Wednesday night training series in Greenbelt Park) until Ride Sally Ride on June 4th.  So, that was a three week training block following the performance at Poolesville.  "Was," in that I am now one full week in.  If I were the slightest bit organized I would have taken the time to put together some specific work outs designed to maximum the performance benefit of the three-week period now at my disposal.  I did not do that.  But I have two weeks to go, so perhaps we should try to correct that now.  In that spirit, let us consider my training schedule beginning with Poolesville and working forward:

May 14 (Poolesville RR)
  •     Duration: 1:05
  •     Relative Intensity: 0.994
  •     Work: 750kj
  •     Score: 150
May 15 (tempo/threshold)
  •     Duration: 1:46
  •     Relative Intensity: 0.943
  •     Work: 1180kj
  •     Score: 173
May 16 (off)

May 17 (off)

May 18 (ride to/race/ride from Greenbelt Park)
  •      Duration: :42 + :50 + :54 = 1:46 [sic]
  •      Relative Intensity: 0.724 / 0.976 / 0.821
  •      Work: 346 + 541 + 486 = 1373kj
  •      Score: 43 + 83 + 65 = 191
May 19 (off)

May 20 (local hills)
  •     Duration: 0:58
  •     Relative Intensity: 1.0
  •     Work: 601kj
  •     Score: 110
May 21 (random hard effort explorations)
  •      Duration: 1:45
  •      Relative Intensity: 0.952
  •      Work: 1153kj
  •      Score: 174
May 22 (group ride)
  •      Duration: 2:35
  •      Relative Intensity: 0.836
  •      Work: 1490kj
  •      Score: 203
As we can see, in nine days I have taken three off the bike.  Treating Greenbelt as three distinct rides, I rode eight times during the other six days, which consisted primarily of efforts in excess of five- to six percent of my presumptive one-hour maximum sustainable rate of effort (that is, every ride except the rides to and from Greenbelt and the group ride this morning). By the numbers, in the stretch after Poolesville I put roguhly 9:30hrs on the bike, and burned 5,797 kilojoules of energy, for a "Bike Score" (akin to "Training Stress Score" or "TSS" as Hunter and Coggan put it) of 851 imaginary units of hurt.

Although plenty of the hyper-fit around here would find nineanahalf hours in eight days inadequate to their training goals, for me the number of high-intensity efforts made this a full calendar. I felt it on the ride this morning and every time I rise from a seated position since. Today was a real test. I was not suffering aerobically; it was purely fatigue. My legs could not sustain any hard efforts for long, even though my heart rate never popped out of its zone. My centers of power simply felt threadbare, the thin, stretched feeling that sometimes announces a cramp. Efforts usually within my reach were impossible today, like 8 ohm wire conducting 16 ohms of electricity for too long; the system may work for a while, but once the fatigue tolerance of the medium is exceeded, we are left with a cooked line no longer capable of carrying even the original 8 ohm load. In this analogy, toasted copper wire = my legs.

All of this leads to the simple conclusion that I need to work in a rough taper so that I arrive at June 4 reasonable fresh. Not that that likely crash-filled criterium is my A event or anything. But no one wants to race with legs like mine today (or mine any day, but particularly today). I need fewer intense rides, I think, and some longer, L3 type outings.  And I still have a few VO2 max hill intervals, two Greenbelt training race cycles, and a couple mid-week 2x20s to work in over the next 14 days, as well.  But hopefully it should not be too hard to mix it up while lightening up in advance of Sally.

During the "random hard effort exploration" ride I mentioned in my little training calendar, above, I decided to pay a visit in my suffering to some of the haunts I first discovered during certain aimless ventures on the road bike early last year. All within a mile, guarded on the one side by the grade up Stoneybrook Lane and on the other by the short but painful Forsythe kicker, lie a number of interesting structures with similar metaphysical importations. Like Mount Athos of old, those who wish to worship by bike must be ascetic and dedicated enough to suffer a few climbs to reach them.  First, the temple of the Latter Day Saints, a gold-tipped edifice to immortality rising brightly above one of the high points of the city.  Just down the road and across the crest of that hill sits another structure that to me resembles nothing less than a massive French Catholic abbey. But if so, it is a French abbey in startling propinquity to a red and black Japanese pagoda, suited for the temple residence of a reclusive Zen Buddhist Marylander or a nice restaurant (attention millionaire religio-metaphysics buffs: both structures are apparently for sale!).  If you have reached this point in my rather incoherent introspection on my week of bicycle riding, then you are ascetic enough and well in need of entertaining, so as a closing treat to you, I present for your amusement a few pictures of a few of the structures I chugged past on my Saturday ride:

The Washington Mormon Temple
(photo: Amanda Slater)
The Monastery Proper

The Walkway to the Lodging of His Holiness, the Good Abbot

Next Door, the Much Esteemed Pagoda
of the Sect of the Zen Buddhists (zoned for commercial use!)

Till next time, sincerely, with fond regards, etc.

P.s. So I did a little digging -- it did not take long -- and it turns out my wandering eye brought me into contact with what was formerly a fancifully planned resort and elite girls finishing school, a site for the solace and convalescence of military wounded, and now a condominium development.  Who knew? Probably everyone.

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