Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ramping It Up

Wow, it's been nearly a week since I last posted that I was going to take on my first bike race.  You probably didn't even notice as the week has been filled with excellent recaps from all the rock stars that completed Ironman Lake Placid (Congrats Jon, Mandy, and Jill!) ..... oh, and some post about rampant obesity that's generated a lot of buzz.  Anyway, if I'm not posting every few days then it means one of two things - either I'm in a funk, or I'm ramping up the training.  In this case, it is the latter.

Committing to a 58mi road race is a big deal.  Sure, I've ridden the distance many times.  Heck, some of those were even at a fairly strong pace ...... but it was never a race.  Racing changes everything, and not just the pace and group dynamics.  I need to rehearse my hydration/nutrition.  Do I carry a bunch of bottles or do I make use of the feed zone?  That's just one of many questions I'll need to answer before arriving at the start line.  From a training perspective, my body has been tuned to handle steady-state efforts.  That needs to change.  Handling the surges of the pack and recovering are the key.  With each group ride I show improvement but it is a definite work in progress.

The elevation profile for the local hill route, one of many critical training workouts for me.

My training plan with the Cotton Patch Challenge squarely in the cross-hairs has gotten off to a solid start.  I'll be riding 6 days a week with 1 day of rest (usually Thursday).  This week sees things like threshold intervals, the "hill route" (see above), form sprints, and the "race pace" group ride with Rockwall Cycling.  Next week has things like a tempo ride, cadence intervals, threshold intervals, the local Hot Rocks Bike Rally, and the Rockwall Criteriums.  Whoa, whoa, whoa ...... back that up a second ...... Rockwall Criteriums?!?!?  Yep.  My coach put this fabulous nugget on Training Peaks:

He knew it would get a reaction and it did.  I'm conflicted a bit on it.  I can think of a million reasons to NOT do it:
  1. It's in less than 2 weeks.
  2. It's the day after the Hot Rocks rally, a ride I cramped on severely last year.
  3. It's at the site of my worst road bike crash.
  4. It will be in the heat of the day (likely between 100 and 115 degrees).
  5. It's in less than 2 weeks!!!
Of course there are reasons to go ahead and tackle it:
  1. It's an easy course.
  2. It's a course I'm very familiar with (the Tech Park).
  3. The heat will likely thin the field.

In the end, I think how I feel after the rally will be the driving factor which means I likely won't pre-register and instead decide then.  Regardless, it will definitely keep me focused when I tackle my form sprints at the Tech Park this week!

What if I surprise myself and enjoy crit racing?  Does that expand the scope of my target event?  After all, the Cotton Patch Challenge offers more than a road race --- it has the Omnium which is basically a 2-day 3-stage race with the road race and a time trial on Saturday followed by a criterium on Sunday.  Oh my, what have I gotten myself into?


Jon said...

Thanks for the shout out! Saw ur comment about balancing magnesium & calcium. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I don't have a road bike so I will NEVER road race. That scares me! How close they ride, fast.. EEK!!!!!

Mike said...

Road racing and crashing scare me, but so does OWS :-). I see an Omnium in your future.

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

Keep your butt on the bike and your legs and FACE off the road. That's my advice. ;-)

Colleen said...

Road races scare me... but, I'm a firm believer in getting back up after a crash and taking ownership of the course. I say go for it! :)