It has been as I forecasted in my previous blog, riding myself into oblivion, licking my wounds on the final gravel climb home, and draining muscle milk half naked in the kitchen. I’m getting stronger, covering my old training grounds faster. My reward is an increasingly harder program. The more you get, the more you get. Thanks, Coach Miller. A few people requested another training blog, but cyclists tend to be secretive about their training. I came up with a few reasons why and in the process let you into the strange daily life of a cyclist in the race-less base and building preseason.
1. Who wants to read long boring blogs about long boring rides?
Cursing myself through the last set of intervals after four hours on the bike, I rounded off another block of training. For five days I averaged over one hundred miles, 5.5 hours, and 7000 calories. That’s a dozen big macs or 40 pounds of carrots per day. Chose your medicine. I totaled nearly twelve hundred miles in two weeks. The average high temperature this week was 0.5 degrees C. Ice forms in my water bottles, but threatening forecasts amount to nothing but swirling flurries and freezing mist.
Encased in ice after descending a mountain pass:
2. We’re neurotic freaks.
Sometimes the extra mile makes me question my sanity. All the big routes around here seem to be 97 miles. Despite the drooping fatigue and setting sun, I’ll flick on my Road ID blinky light and spin down one of the “love loops” near home to get that extra three miles or ten minutes. I don’t want anyone to know what kind of compulsive nut I can be about logging arbitrary distances and hours.
3. We’re afraid of exposing such intimate moments.
When nobody is watching, when the action is months away, and when legs are as heavy as the icy chip seal roads, strengths, weaknesses, and character are laid bare. Andy Guptill is one of very few people who has seen me bonked out of my mind. I had ignored my body and burned through every stored blood sugar. We were four hours in and still nearly two hours of pure misery from home and D.O.B., my dirty acronym for our two-mile gravel road. Andy nursed me home in an embarrassing state of breakdown unbecoming of a top pro. The next day I saddled up for another five hours.
4. Mark Warner, a masters teammate of my dad, composed this comical script in an email about why pros are weird about their numbers.
“On one hand you have a crowd who is convinced that anyone with a threshold over 5w/kg is doping. On the other hand you have conversations like this:
Middle Aged Watt Geek: Nice job last week.
MAWG: So how many watts were you pushing?
Pro: Not really sure. It was kind of up and down.
MAWG: Yeah, but what do you think you averaged?
Pro: I don’t really know. I guess around 350 for parts of it.
MAWG: My threshold is 390 watts.
Pro: That’s great.
MAWG: Yeah, well my weight is up about 20 lb right now, but I figure if I just lose
weight and keep my watts up I’ll be really competitive.
Pro: Anyway, good luck with your season. I’ll see you around.
So now you know that I’m a boring, bashful, neurotic freak, with the threshold of a middle-aged watt geek. The past month since my last blog can be summarized by riding hard, eating hard, and balancing each taxing block with equally dedicated recovery. I’m preparing to sink or swim. Either way I can’t wait to join the team for our camp in Mallorca, Spain soon. And now, whether you see me riding ahead of the peloton or getting dragged behind it on a choke collar, at least you’ll know what it took to get there.