Into The Darkness

December 21st, Winter Solstice

I have made it through to the other side. I think the only real damage done so far has been a miss rate of maybe 1 workout a week usually due to work, a sudden draw to playing video games that was going to happen anyway, and a fairly large amount of work stress throwing my metabolism into shambles.

Anyway, as of this day, the nights will get shorter, and the onward march to Pueblo continues as my spirits slowly get to a better spot with more sunlight and less… shitty shitty dark.

Right now the focus has been on power and extending my ability to put it down for long periods. I don’t get it, but I’m trusting in coach. My expectation I guess at this point was to be doing 6 hour rides as the norm, but it seems to be exactly what he doesn’t want me to do. So I trudge around in my basement on the trainer for maybe 3 hours at max and then I’m done.

I don’t usually see it anywhere, but most likely its because I have no idea what to look for besides feel and maybe some data. To me, I feel I fail a lot of workouts. I’ll get an email later in the week telling me that my ratios are really good, and its all polish from here keep up execution. I don’t expect my coach to tell me I suck, but I guess Ian would if he needed to.

My legs always feel heavy, and I creak in the mornings after a hard ride the night before. Though I’m never stiff or sore. But give them 10 minutes of warmup and they’re just as good as if I rested a few days. Its a very strange feeling of being fatigued all the time both mentally and physically, and then suddenly getting on the bike and being able to put down wattage and zone out for an hour while ERG mode fires up BDSM in the pain cave.

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Master didn’t say slow down.

The only time I notice it is when I go out and Strava against myself. I will often set a new PR for a section I ride frequently without thinking about it, or even trying. Side by side comparisons show my HR is lower than normal and any PR where I’ve gone out to set one is usually pinned for HR earlier in the year, is only within 10s of me casually riding through, and well under 20bpm lower when compared. So really there’s something there, but mother of god I feel so slow and shitty when I’m riding lately, and that’s where we begin.

I had a bad VO2 test, half of it was bad equipment, which happens, the other half was stress and really being lost when trying to figure out where I am. It showed my RER being all out of whack also kinda showing me that the weight plateau has a reason. Ultimately where I was, was the cusp of over training and being stressed out.

So right now I’m on a steady diet of “Pueblo Paced” rides… and while its probably good to get that down…. It sucks. People can tell you “Dude you’re stronk!” till they’re blue in the face, if you don’t feel it, you’re going to resign the ride to a shitty workout where you’re putting in your time.

While that may be the way it feels when you’re on the bike, you gotta look at it this way. On your ride, are you with people? Take note, are they suffering while you’re moping around on your bike about your shitty ride? Are you even breathing hard? Cause if you’re not breathing hard and you’re moaning about how shitty you feel while everyone around you is dying… you’ve become “that guy”.

Are you by yourself? Do you feel slow? Take a look at your HRM? Is it telling you that your body is bored? Good, then you’re bored, this is a good thing, not a bad thing. Look at your post ride stats? Did your bored self set a bunch of PR’s or come close? Good job there you mopey baby.

So instead, maybe internalize your people watching and fuel your ego. Maybe your ride isn’t shitty and you’re just in a bad mood. The term HTFU doesn’t really apply to you, more so, maybe another similar acronym does.

Earlier I talked about small wins, and I lost the plot a bit lately, and the above is mostly directed right at myself. Right now there are a lot of small wins around me. Power is up. HR is down even compared to just a few months ago. 3H rides used to kill me, now they’re a nuisance or a slow burn to get me tired for a 1H sub thresh tempo set… of which I complete and then get on with my day.

Either way, a lot of things are in place for what I hope is a really solid Pueblo. 15 laps. Its what I’m after. I don’t care where this puts me. I just want 15 laps.

Pueblo is now turning into a mental game, and I got myself sorted. I got one of my close riding buddies coming with me. I’m visiting good people and great riders. I have someone sharing in the 24h misery, and for us solo’s we have 2 teams running the course to make sure we’re alright. I need to get myself a solid non wired light and build up a tolerance to whiskey.

Nutrition for the ride is entering the final stages. Not sure whats going to happen after hour 12 or so, but I know I can survive long times on Perpetuem and Skratch. I’m still not sure what to eat and drink once I get sick of those though… it’ll happen. I’m open to suggestions though… someone suggested Guinness. Mind you this person is also riding against me, so not sure if serious.

Stuck right now at 245. There was a promising ride where I didn’t drink anything for 2 hours and I touched 240 for the first time in many years, but that’s not a healthy 240.

Protein shakes and eating right for the next 2 months before Pueblo should HOPEFULLY see me 239 pending I can get my metabolism back in check. I’ll know on the 30th’s retest.

January is shaping up to be a brutal workout month, but I’ll be worth it for the taper weeks in Feb.

Races you should do.

Dan’s races are as grass roots as you can get. They are both hyper competitive, and easy going at the same time, but now he’s added a Fat Bike series to his race portfolio. Beer, Chili, Fatties. That’s a hell of a Saturday to spend with your friends for a few bucks!

Anyway, I haven’t written in a while mostly because I have nothing to write about.. workouts are workouts, and diet is diet. But I’m going to try to update at least once a week or more till Pueblo. Possibly try to get some video.

Oh also, new bike… so there’s that.

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