So here we are, August. It’s hot. Super hot. Record hot. My race schedule in July was almost exclusively criteriums – and I raced a bunch of them including an awesomely awesome bunch of fun in Chicago for Superweek and had a total blast with a really great bunch of people and made loads of new friends. Bike racing is great for that. Total strangers offering you a place to sleep. So fun. But, as I mentioned in a previous post, my last remaining goal of the season is Masters Road Nations. Time to adjust.
With that last, end of season road race looming large and my entry fee paid I’ve got to switch gears and after a month of short, fast and flat, I suddenly find myself faced with the need to be able to race longer distances and uphill.
Up to now, I’ve been working on accelerations, sprints, ability to go hard and fast quickly. Lots of sprint workouts. Now it’s all hills, all the time. Eeek! The course in Bend is not super steep but it’s a course that is going to require power to the pedals the whole time while going uphill and downhill. This is a wholly different skill set from crit racing. My short two hour weekend rides on non-racing days have crept back up to 3 and 4 hours. My weekday workouts have changed too. This week: one day of repeated long climbs in the saddle at a low cadence to build up climbing leg strength; the next day – short hard efforts 60 seconds seated, 30 seconds standing and accelerating to build some explosiveness on the hills (or in my case, hopefully improve my ability to to go with attacks when they come); then another day of long climbs above threshold with a higher cadence just to improve my overall climbing. Did I mention lots of climbing?
A funny aside: I’ve been riding with my friend Tracy Tolson (she of multiple national championship titles) we cheer ourselves up the hills on those bazillion degree, low cadence, leg strengthening days by telling ourselves that it’s making us stronger as we’ve sweltered uphill. Tracy said, “it’s so you can drop the hammer when you need to…” I said, “I don’t think I have a hammer, it’s more like a carpet mallet…” So watch out, I’m gonna drop the mallet on you one of these days….
My eating has changed too. All summer long I’ve been content to roll with 2-3 extra pounds because, in all honestly, at my ability level it’s not going to make as much as a difference to my racing as smart training. And a cold beer on a hot day is awesome! But now I want to tighten things up just a little – if for no other reason than in my head I will climb better! I’ve added more protein to my diet – those longer, strengthening days tear down the muscles more and I need to rebuild. TVP is great source of non-meaty goodness for that and Bob’s Red Mill TVP burgers are great and tasty especially in the heat when heavy foods really are not so fun. I’ve upped the fresh fruit and vegetable content even more and well, those delicious oatmeal cookies I love so much will have to wait until September. With the longer rides back on the schedule I am eating more but I want to make sure it’s all quality, nutrient rich calories that make me feel fit and speedy not heavy and needing a nap. My friends gardens are bursting and I am the lucky beneficiary – fresh squashes, tomatoes, peppers especially – and I’ve been making some awesome whole wheat pastas with sauteed fresh vegetables too. I love this time of year!
Onward and upward (and upward and downward and upward…..)