Here I am in the middle of the month and this is only my second blog entry. UGH! A sure sign that my plate is very full right now. At least it is reporting on my rides that is suffering and not my actually riding. Today’s ride was preempted by some irrigation cleanup work, manure spreading, visitors from out of state and an afternoon rain shower. I have a few minutes before I have to head out and check on our mare who appears to be ready to foal any moment…and to feed the rest of the herd their dinner — so I’ll bring everyone up do date on my training.
The last day of last month, I rode home from work for the first time of the season. The next morning, April Fool’s Day, I rode back into work (since I left my car at work, there wasn’t much other option!). That morning it was 32 degrees F at 7:30am when I left the house. That’s chilly. I was dressed for it though and settled into a reasonable pace that didn’t create an uncomfortable wind-chill factor. My route took me across the north end of Longmont (CO 66) to Cty Line Rd where I headed south to CO 119. From there I joined the morning rush-hour traffic east to I-25. Most of the traffic jumped onto I-25. This left the frontage road rather lightly travelled and I had a very pleasant ride next to the highway. Except for the noise of 18-wheelers screaming down the highway, I never would have known the highway was there. I arrived at work 2:25 minutes after leaving my house. This was on par with my ride times for this commute in years past. I take a slightly different route home, which only takes me 2 hours — but I think a big reason for the shorter ride time is that on the work to home segment I have ‘jump’ in my legs and I’m “headin’ for the barn’.
I did write up an entry for my back-to-back riding the first weekend in April. So, I’ll pick up with Monday of the next week. The weather was bad that day and work kinda got in the way, so I ended up at Lifetime Fitness in an hour-long spin class. I extended it to an hour and a half and rode the last stretch by myself. Motivation was not an issue as I had a video of the Tour de Flanders on the big screen at the front of the cycling studio. Lance was in there as were many other riders that I’ve followed over the years. I found myself naturally picking up the pace to stay with the peloton as we all chased down the lead riders!
Tuesday – April 6
Tuesday morning I was back at the velodrome — which I’ll be phasing out as I do more outside riding. I rode hard and threw in a handful of all-out sprints since one of my new training goals is to add some above-lactate threshold (LT) efforts into my workouts.
Wednesday – April 7
I took Wednesday off – a planned day off – but only from training. I went down to the Bicycle Village store in Littleton for their free 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month bike maintenance classes. Of course, Scooter was with me. We spent about 3 hours with the shop guys going over everything I should know and have for the trip that is Scooter-specific. There really wasn’t that much actually. I’ll be adding a ‘nugget’ on the Tribal Knowledge page about the correct way to adjust a rear derailleur. After all these years, I’ve been missing the initial and most important step of all. DUH! That was an evening well spent — an I thoroughly enjoyed the staff. Stop in just to say Hi if you’re ever in the area. They’ll make you feel like part of their family!
Thursday – April 8
So Thursday was back to training. After careful review of wind and weather conditions, I decided to do another ‘Home and Back” set of rides. It was a glorious day — calm and just warm enough to wear shorts but not so warm that I was worried about over heating. There was one stretch just north of Dillon Rd where I picked up my pace to keep ahead of a ‘rabbit’ I could see in my rear view mirror. The ‘rabbit’ clearly had me in the cross-hares…I mean cross-hairs and I had no intention of being caught. My heart rate hovered around 160 for the duration of the several minute climb. I rode with great satisfaction as the ‘rabbit’ in the mirror got smaller…and smaller. By the time I crested the top of the rise, I could hardly see the ‘rabbit’ at all! For those of you who ride, you can appreciate the feeling I had knowing that I could turn it up and put it into overdrive when I wanted to with a feeling of power and strength as I rode. At no point during that climb did I feel drained, weak or worried about being caught. I felt awesome!
Friday – April 9
The next day riding back to work, I could feel a little of that climb in my legs. Just a tad sluggish and there wasn’t much ‘jump’ to be had. For me, that actually meant that I had accomplished my training goals on the ride home the night before. I was content to spin my way along back in to work. It took me the same amount of time my first return trip took the week before, 2 hours and 25 minutes.
Saturday – April 10
Last Saturday was spent doing irrigation ditch cleaning and chores around the house. I did squeeze in a luxurious nap. Several training guides that I’ve read in preparation for this trip have stressed the importance of rest and recovery and I’ve (honestly) taken that to heart. When I feel fatigued….I rest. Period.
All in all it was a good training week – I put in a little over 150 miles of quality training. Of course, that boils down to two days on the tour. Remember, I won’t have to work 8-10 hours a day and commute to and from work. While on the tour, I’ll be very much like a baby….eat, sleep and poop…ugh… I mean pedal.
After resting on Saturday though, I knew I had to get out there on Sunday no matter what the conditions. I rode with Sara and we took a 35 mile ride north along many of my normal roads. We might’ve gone further except Sara hasn’t put that many miles on yet this Spring and I didn’t want her to risk an injury by extending too far past her current riding base mileage.
This Past Week
So, now we’re finally up to this past week. Monday I went to the Denver Nugget’s last home game against the Memphis Grizzlies (which they won!) I had hoped to work a ride in too, but that ended up being a rest day. The websites said that winds Tuesday afternoon would be upwards of 35 mph, so I stayed home and put in a 25 mile ride before I headed off to work. Glad I did too because the winds did howl after lunch. The winds were a one day event and I put in my third “Home and Back” set of rides on Wednesday and Thursday. The weather was noticably warmer than the previous two “Home and Backs” – the only noteworthy thing was that on my ride home Wednesday, I came upon a paving project near Erie that raised my blood pressure a bit. They had milled away one half of the lane that I was trying to ride at the edge of! To ride on smooth pavement, I had to rideright down the middle of what had been the lane prior to milling. For about a half mile, that’s what I did. I rode at the very right edge of the remaining smooth pavement. However, it being rush hour, and the line of cars behind me getting increasingly longer, I knew this was not a great solution. So, against all my bicycle safety training, I move over to the left and rode just to the right of the double yellow lines. This gave the cars a clear shot by me on the right. They had to drop their right tire onto the milled surface, but at least they wouldn’t have to be behind me (going 15-18 mph) for the next several miles. This actually worked well although I don’t recommend it. When I got to the end of the milled section, I saw some of the work crew. I took the time to share with them my experience and how important it is to put up detour signage. If I had known that this road had been milled and was not safe for me to use, I would have chosen an alternate route. There were actually a couple of places where they could have put something up to alert cyclists.
Friday was another day off. Out of state company arrived, took in a Colorado Mammoth game with the company and worked late. I don’t mind missing days here and there when I’m able to do the “Home and Back” sets. Tomorrow is another “gotta ride” day though. Hope the weather is nice.