As I type this, my legs are aching and sore. I do not enjoy moving around much and I'm especially avoiding the stairs. This weekend was killer and the hard training is not over until after tomorrow!
Friday was an easy paced ride where I was supposed to practice skills. I had to ride at a race course and practice alternate lines and technical sections.
For the last two weeks, I'd been doing this workout at the Fair Hill race course. Friday was another one of these workouts. I'm supposed to keep the heart rate in Zones 1 and 2, but some of the steep hills and rocky parts tend to push my heart rate up to higher zones. I decided to deviate from the training plan just a bit for the spots that are a little tough. After all, if I practice them at an endurance pace, that's not really preparing me for riding them at race pace.
I explained in an email to my coach what I was doing and he never disagreed, so I took that as permission to go ahead and push in those sections. As soon as I finished the steep climb or cleared the rocky section though, I paused and let my heart rate come back down to Zone 2.
On Saturday, I headed over to CCC to do my monthly time trials. Mike upped it to three runs this time. I'm supposed to go at race pace for 3 twenty minute loops. The total time and the average heart rate are the key numbers Mike uses to design my training for the next month.
I matched my best time on my first TT. I was a little disappointed. I wanted it to be faster, not equal. To make matters worse, I knew that I would be unable to match that effort for the next two TT's. I wondered if pushing a little harder on those climbs yesterday had hurt me. I did maintain a higher average heart rate though. This means that I can spend more time near my VO2 max, at least.
The second run was slower. I didn't stand up much, intentionally not pushing that hard. I was trying to save energy for the last run. After seeing a low Zone 4 heart rate too often, I thought that I'd better turn up the heat and finish strong. I probably made up some time, but overall I was 20 seconds slower than my first run.
The third run was tough. I went as hard as I could. I did maintain a higher heart rate and I was a little faster than the last run, but not as good as my first. It would make sense that I'd struggle on the last one, but my coach wants my last one to the be strongest. I never know how to ration my energy and it never happens that way though.
I finished up the 3.5 hour ride by cruising around in Zones 1-3. I was bored. It was dreary and misting lightly. The temperature was a little chilly. Nobody was riding the trails out there with me. I was just getting through that last 45 minutes. Ug.
I showed up early and got in my hill repeats. 8 ninety second sprints up the hill on the Boundary Trail. It was the first time I'd done hill repeats on this hill so there was a bit of a learning curve with choosing the best lines. As a result, I got progressively faster on the first 7 repeats. The last sprint was slower because I was getting pretty tired by then.
I finished out my two hour solo ride and headed over to the parking lot to meet the girls. It was so good to ride with them again! Heather led us through the trails very well. This was her local park, so she knew it like the back of her hand.
Only 15 minutes into the ride, Danielle had a mechanical problem and had to head back to the car. We'd parked in the lot of a bike shop, so the plan was to see if Henry's Bike Shop could help her. If so, she'd rejoin us on the trails.
Heather, Amanda, and I forged on. We covered a lot of ground and had an awesome ride. We headed over to the Logzilla Trail. It has one log over after another, after another. Probably 6 or 7 in total. Two of them are very large. I had never ridden them before. I would always go around them because I was with a group and we weren't stopping to work on things. This time, we stopped. I rode up on the first one and stopped at the top. A little scary for me. I rode all the others though. Next time, if I'm feeling confident, I will try that big one.
I also rode a skinny log that I'd never done before. The girls were laughing as I talked to myself while on the log. I was being my own little cheer leader to keep my confidence up. Great success! We headed over to the Cork Screw Trail and then the Billy Goat Trail. We flew down so many other trails I don't know the name of. The pace was excellent. We were right on each other's wheel and nobody was dropped. Heather did a great job of keeping the pace and calling out turns and obstacles. She saved me from overcooking an off camber curve at one spot!
Amanda impressed me greatly. When I rode with her at Ray's, she had been off the bike for a long time and wanted to get her fitness back. Today, she was keeping up with no problem. Every time I looked back, she was right there.
I was happy that inspite of my hard efforts in the last couple days, I was hanging fine. I was right behind Heather, but believe me, I was hurting. The steeper sections were making my quads burn. My heart rate was high, but it felt so good to push. Mike didn't give me parameters for this ride, so I was able to "just ride". I loved it!
We missed Danielle and felt bad that she was missing the ride. We kept stopping to check our phones and see if she was able to join us. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. We headed back to the cars to join her for lunch. If we couldn't ride with her, at least we could hang out a bit. So we went into McGlynn's and caught up on girl talk over soup, salads, chili, frittatas, and quesadillas.
Now, I'm home relaxing. I will use the foam roller on my legs to work out the kinks. Gotta be ready for my pyramid intervals tomorrow! No rest until Tuesday!