Doing it all the hard way...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Coffee and Lies #117 The Law of Accumulation

I never said that the Coffee and Lies would be published in sequence so just relax.
The Law of Accumulation can be summarized in two words, “Everything counts.”  As spring is upon us I am pleased to report I have a hint of season-adjusted fitness.

My Ephrata experience may have sounded extreme but the grim conditions were somewhat offset by what I felt was a strong ride by me.  My slow base miles in January and February were augmented by a sprinkling of speed work prior to the Fondo and I felt fairly strong during and after the ride.

At the time I questioned the value of those miles and wondered if the zone one rides would translate into fitness or just establish a pattern of slowness.  In spite of these questions I just kept at it.  I would love to puff out my chest and portray myself as persevering against all odds.  A more realistic scenario is that I am in such a rut I just kept riding because I didn’t know what else to do.

Some of my bike commuting miles this past winter felt like walking barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways with a constantly shifting headwind.  Cold, dark and usually wet miles that seemed pointless at the time yet they provided a base that would reveal itself only when the days began to grow longer.

When I upped the intensity and threw in stairs my body seemed to respond well.  The week of the Fondo when I woke up Wednesday for my bike commute as I putted around the kitchen I felt more tired than I should have and upon brief introspection I declared I felt “off.”  I decided not to ride that day. I felt a tad “off” that day and the next and when the Ephrata Fondo came around I had no clue how I would do.  I was pleasantly surprised at my performance.
This blog has featured the famous quote from Greg LeMond, “It never gets easier; you just go faster.” This is how much of my training feels. When you push it feels harder. The fact that you are going one or two kilometers per hour faster or slower is imperceptible.   You do notice that some days you can turn it on and other days it just doesn’t seem like there is any more in the tank.  When things feel hard you are never sure if you are building fitness or just struggling because you are out of shape.

Hottie is slowly healing from her malady.  I am fairly sure she does not feel like she is really getting better, but she is.  She is beyond anxious to get going again.  It is always easy to tell someone else that, “this too shall pass.” However, when that someone is you, it is hard. She rode quite a bit before her surgery both on the road and in the snow on her fat bike.  Those miles will come back to benefit her when she gets the go ahead to ride again.
Not long ago it was warm enough to wear short fingered gloves for my bike commute in to work.  I threw in a block of three minute intervals and even collected a STRAVA KOM for my troubles.  I’m focusing on an age-appropriate three week cycle of hard/hard/easy for my training.   Let’s see how that works out.  So far it feels good.  That logic would explain my Cyclocross season last year so at least for now, I’m sticking to it.

I don’t need the headlight for my commute home and my Showers Pass rain jacket got to start its vacation early this year.  Maybe the folks who live in New England feel differently, but this climate change isn’t all bad from where I sit.
With my roots in endurance sports reaching back to the seventies I am familiar with the principle of sowing and harvesting.  As a teenager my summers included running ten to fifteen miles a day in preparation for cross country races in the fall. Even before I could shave I understood that the races in December were won because of the preparation done in July and August.

I don’t mind putting in the hard work now in return for a benefit further down the road. This ability to work hard is perhaps as much of a curse as a blessing.  Last fall I kept working well after I should have raised a white flag and backed off.

There is no fire in my belly to beat any person or win any prize.  My objective is the satisfaction to do my best considering the tradeoffs I believe appropriate.  It is fun to have your legs gladly obey when you ask them to pick it up.

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