Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Last night was easily the hardest ride I've done outside of racing this summer. Every tuesday night, spring through fall in Durango, several group rides leave for what essentially evolves into a road race scenario. Last night saw a solid turnout of local cycling pros, including Jittery Joe's Ben Kneller and Matt Shriver, BMC's Brent Bookwalter, HealthNet's Corey Collier, the ageless Ned Overend, and several other top amateurs from the local area. The funny thing is that we were still short a few names, including Kelly Benefits rider Dan Bowman, Toyota United's Chris Wherry, GT's Todd Wells, and a number of other cyclists that make this mountain town one of the west's cycling meccas. I knew it was going to be a challenging ride with all the heavy-hitters present, but also because the route involved a considerable amount of climbing, and my legs were already a bit tired from the transition back to training and racing this past weekend in Salida. The ride began on a 10 mile climb up to Hesperus, where I was shelled off the back about halfway up after riding tempo for a while on the front. I rejoined the group at the top for the flatter section, when after continuously ramping up the speed with Corey on the front, he stepped it up another notch, Ben Kneller attacked on a roller, and I was off again. I usually don't have too much trouble staying with the group on rides like this, but these guys were absolutely on mission to make the entire ride a sufferfest, and we were holding 55+k/h for most of the flat and rolling sections. After joining the group for a second time, we hit another climb on a quality dirt road and made our second loop over the rollers near Breen. This time I was able to hold on and set good pace at the front, as we whittled the group down to 4 for the last descent into town. I didn't make much of an effort for the town sign sprint, but I was happy to survive the ride and lock some excellent mileage and effort into my legs. Hopefully next go around I'll be able to hang a little longer on the climbs before the elite climbers take command.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
It's an appropriate time to begin this update section as I am coming off a knee injury that necessitated almost two weeks of rest. After a bike crash 3 weeks ago, I bruised my patella and it led to some tracking issues. Thinking I would just shut down the training before my race in Lake Stevens and be fine, I headed to Seattle to visit friends and hoped for the best. My race day performance was less than stellar. A non-wetsuit swim which was a touch long left me nearly 3 minutes in arrears, and the knee was hurting throughout the bike, so I never found my usual rythym. I came off the bike in 5th place and knew that if I could hold my spot it was worth $1250, so I just settled into a decent tempo run. When I reached mile 4, the pain had subsided as my knee went numb, and I was able to pick it up for the remaining miles. Heading out to the last turnaround, I knew I wouldn't be catching 4th place Tim Marr, and he gave me a boost saying "don't get caught." I stayed steady through the final miles and held off 6th place by about 2 minutes. I didn't have a great race, and it was frustrating to feel restricted on the bike when I normally rely on it as my strength, but I was happy to win some money and see some good friends in Seattle. Additionally, my coach Elliot Bassett (http://www.mountainendurance.com) and I had agreed on a good rest block after Lake Stevens, so I took some good down time here in Colorado. Now I'm back to training at full-tilt in Durango, with plenty of swims, rides, and runs to get my fitness back to a high level. I was originally planning on a trip to Boulder for the 5430 Long Course triathlon on August 10th, but I won't have the proper running fitness to really attack the course like I want to, so I'm opting for a good training block which includes a cycling race in Gateway, Colorado, with my team (see the website at http://rmcfcycling.wordpress.com/). I'm actually looking forward to some quality training again with fewer races, as the first half of the year was pretty hectic between triathlons and bike racing. I do have a few races planned for the second half of the season, including the Longhorn 70.3 in Austin, TX, and the Harvest Moon Half, but I'm leaving it open enough to provide ample time for Ironman training. There is a small local sprint triathlon this weekend in Durango, so I'll be using that for some top-end speed and a chance to race against some of my training friends here in town. Until then, more quality training awaits...