Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eye on the prize

After doing some hill repeats tonight, my legs are weak and rubbery and I am fighting the very strong urge to go eat some ice cream. Straight up chocolate Haagen Daz sounds really good right now. I'm fairly sure that when I finish the Etape, I will be stuffing myself with all sorts of sweets and candies that I'm currently trying to avoid.

As long as I don't end up looking like this:

Gross... but the clip makes me laugh every time I see it. Yes, I have the maturity of a 12 year old.

Anyways, back to the topic of this post.

I've been following the Cyclist's Training Bible pretty religiously (pun intended) for the past 11 weeks and am now at the tail end of my base training. Though I was on the bike pretty consistently through much of the winter, my structured base mileage training began in February. I scheduled my training plan so that I could put in some decent base miles before going through two build phases and peaking for the Etape.

I think I've been pretty good about following the training plan. But one of the most difficult parts of base mileage is to resist the temptation to push myself harder than I should. The majority of my workouts right now are focused on increasing endurance so it's rare that I push my heart rate close to its lactate threshold. Which would be fine... except that when I do my laps in Central Park, everybody passes me. This includes the grandma on the cruiser, the little girl with the tassels on her handlebars, and the dude on a freaking unicycle! (Okay, that's not entirely true. But there is a guy on a unicycle who does laps in Central Park. Pretty amazing.) Last night I was doing laps in the park and my friend zoomed by me... and all I could do was watch because I was diligently keeping my heart rate in Zone 2.

I keep reminding myself that this is the right way to prepare. And I'm starting to get some suggestions that I'm slowly working my way into form. I just realized this today when I was going through some of my workout data... compared to a month ago, I'm generating about 10% more wattage and averaging an extra 1-1.2mph at the same heart rate. So that's encouraging. I'll be entering the first of two build phases in the next couple of weeks so hopefully that'll accelerate my progress. There's hope for me yet.

Slow and steady....

Before I leave for the night, I thought I'd share this picture and anecdote:

In the 1951 TdF, Willem van Est overshot a bend on the road between the Soulor and the Aubisque and ended up 60m down the mountain. His teammates had to pull him back up by using a makeshift "rope" made by tying all their tires together. He wanted to continue but was convinced to go to the hospital. His team had to withdraw the next day because they had no tires left. Wow.

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