Last week the symptoms came out of nowhere about two-thirds through a road ride. At just under 60 miles it wasn’t particularly long but the route was peppered most of the way with short, punchy climbs that require bursts of power rather than even tempo—with seemingly more of them on the way back. After a quick stop to fill water bottles we immediately hit the biggest of these climbs and my up-til-now even cadence suddenly and unexpectedly turned into squares. I’ve been riding this way since mid-2006.
In the winter of 2005 I was coming off the best mountain bike race season I’ve ever had. I rolled into 2006 going even better. I doubled up at the Sea Otter Classic in April, doing the 70-mile road race followed by the then 40-mile mountain bike event a day later as a big training block. By May I was fried and had to spend all of June away from bicycles. I’ve never completely recovered from the over reaching induced fatigue of that year.
At this point, it is what it is. I’ve learned to deal with it, most importantly mentally. I’m no longer embarrassed to crack on a ride. I’ve accepted the fact that it happens and if it does I just peel off from the ride and head home because when it does on the mountain bike on our technical trails, it becomes a hike for me. I have no power or mental focus. On the road I can occasionally rebound but on the dirt? Not a chance.
It’s also difficult because I still want, and try, to ride every single day but that can’t happen anymore. I need to respect my need for rest and recovery even more now. If I do one hard ride and the next day the group is going out for a big one, I have to respectfully decline. It’s made me aware that stage races are pretty much out of the question. It’s also made me appreciate the skills and ability of everyone I ride with more than ever.
These days, I monitor my recovery; take a lot of easy days as well as two days off the bike a week so I can be fresh when it’s really go time (when I don’t I feel the repercussions.) And, while I love stage racing I’ve had to reevaluate yet still set goals. For 2015 it’s a solo adventure at 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo. Last time I was there was 2001 and it was an amazing time. If I play my cards right by training efficiently and respecting my rest I’ll get some great rewards: motivation to ride through a Pennsylvania winter yet again, focus on resting as much as recovery and a happy return to racing.
Press release of the week
So, I get lots of info about a lot of stuff. Some of my best friends are in marketing–but this, this, my friends takes the cake. Marketing people, take note of the below info about the new Outlier Festival scheduled for September 2015 at a yet to be announced Colorado location. And to think my simple mind was impressed with the age-old, “Your ticket gets you the whole seat but you only need the edge!”
“We’re talking about the gunners. The Jedi. Riders who can straight up BALL. The fringe of a fringe of a fringe of a fringe.
It’s a gathering of this lean and densely muscled tribe against a backdrop perfectly suited for their activity of choice.
It’s also an incredible back and side-country competitive event with and ultra-endurance XC and a ripping 2-stage enduro. Unsanctioned (no explanation necessary), and with a King Kong-sized purse (if King Kong rocked a purse.) Got an MTB hero? The chances are pretty decent that you’ll see them here.
It’s a chance for the fringe element to gather, ride hard, drink beer with friends and let loose one final haymaker as the MTB season enters the late rounds. Huzzah.
What else? It’s a foam party. It’s a disco cover band (bring your afro wig and sequined bell-bottoms). It’s speed metal. And Yoda jammies. It’s Bo “Bandit” Darville. It’s a hot air balloon filled with happiness… captained by David Lee Roth.”
A hot air balloon filled with happiness… captained by David Lee Roth?