Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Back on the chain gang
In 2015 my focus was Gravel Fondos and the Winthrop Fondo was the Hors Categorie of Gravel Fondos. It was a great ride and I am so glad I was able to share it with my badass brothers.
With that now in my rearview mirror my attention has turned once again to Cyclocross. Having completed two races of absolute non-distinction my long-dormant competitive drive has once again asserted itself.
Not being a slave to the call up this year I can pick and choose my races and thus I have carved out a short block of time to get in some hard training in hopes of improving upon my heretofore mediocre placing. This scoop of motivation helps me carry some momentum and energy into my training regime.
My commute miles all too often drift into the no-man’s land of wandering between zone two and three. Your clothes get dirty and you burn calories but you don’t get any faster. Although it is too late in the season for my efforts to really move the needle; I am taking advantage of this short term objective to get in some hard workouts that I do believe will benefit me in the long run.
My build up for the final Fondo involved saddle time, big hills and losing weight. Aside from a smattering of ten to twenty minute intervals at threshold I was intensity free. Thus when I asked my legs for some explosive power in my first cross race I got nothing but a blank stare.
My ability to throw in some bursts of speed during my race improved this week but my sustained power is far from where I would like it. Like so many things the answer is not complex, it just isn’t easy.
The mornings now are dark from my garage door to the parking garage at work. Thankfully the morning temperatures are still very mild. From a training perspective, weather is not a limiting factor.
My Commutervals started off with a proper high cadence/low power warm up. Then 40 minutes of tempo work targeting a heart rate in zone four. The result of this is a faster than usual commute. You aren’t blown but you are working. Then I did a block and three all out intervals with recovery spinning in between. After the final interval instead of dropping back to recovery spinning you only drop from zone five to zone four and you hold that. If you guessed that this hurts you would be correct. After ten minutes of this I finish with ten minutes of cool down spinning as I arrive at my workplace.
After a shower and coffee I look pretty normal to the untrained eye. I have a meeting that requires a jaunt up two flights of stairs. My legs complain a bit confirming my workout has done its requisite damage. I smile when I sit down. Mission accomplished; at least for today.