Doing it all the hard way...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cyclocross preseason training August 2012

Evo suffering on the SS pit bike last year.

The transition from amazing base (France trip training and France itself) to race ready is proving more awkward than I expected. I found the abundance of miles did improve my pedal stroke. Upon my return I felt like my legs were putting out power on every degree of my 360 degree pedal stroke. It was a weird sensation. Instead of pumping the pedals I felt like I was applying power using a throttle. In the weeks since returning this sensation has diminished, but I am now more conscience of my stroke and try to work on it on my rides.

My first dedicated interval session was a reintroduction to pain. Quads burning, lungs on fire; my body telling me to slow down. Without stepping on Jen Voigt, I am getting better at telling my legs to shut up. Despite letting my legs know there was no mercy coming from the engine room, they kept yelling louder and louder.

The payoff was almost immediate. I am stunned at the (perceived) increase in power. I feel faster on the hills and my ability to sustain an effort in an uncomfortable zone is dramatically improved. My knees are a little sore at the increase in intensity and my quads and hamstrings are likewise whining and tender. I am stretching for survival and leg rubs from Hottie are saving my life.

Strava may be an evil influence and while I can totally accept the argument that there are now no easy days (because every segment is a race), the ability to compare my performance on repeated segments is valuable. What is impressive is on a climb where I recently posted a PR, the effort was significantly less than my pervious best where I was struggling. On my PR climb, I had the feeling of, "I'm at the top already," instead of wondering if it would ever end.

Weight training is still important, but my focus, at least now, is intervals and stretching. So far, so good.


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