I have never believed time was linear.
It seems to be moving exceptionally fast these days.
I can recall when I happened to notice that the departure for our Italy trip was less than 100 days away. Now the countdown is in single digits. Up until Sunday afternoon I wasn’t sure I was ready. It made the scheduled training taper down kind of scary.
I’ve been looking at this trip at arm’s length for so long that I can’t really believe it is really happening or that I am actually prepared. I almost want to push it back a couple weeks “just to make sure.” As a guy who fancies himself a control “enthusiast” I am feeling like this train is departing the station even though I haven’t yet said “go.”
Don't forget your suitcase of courage...
I have begun to taper my training and I feel a bit like I am playing hooky. I guess when the weekly totals (kilometers ridden, elevation gain and core workouts) have been increasing (per plan) for six months it feels weird to see those numbers start to decline (even though this is also per plan).
On my final pre-taper ride this past weekend I found myself cresting a hill and reaching to feather the brakes to scrub some speed as the road poured into a sweeping downhill. It took me a moment but I realized my rationale for wanting to slow down was that this particular downhill was often icy. This afternoon it was a tad over ninety degrees and I was getting some heat training in and the lunacy of my thought pattern made me smile. It also reminded me of all of the cold and wet miles I had logged in preparation for the Dolomites.
There was a STRAVA segment on the route that I had decided I wanted to push because I was due for some high intensity efforts. The afternoon was hot and I had gone long the day before so I was far from fresh. My previous best efforts on this wickedly steep climb were 3:03 and 3:04. El Chefe had a 3:02 and I was hoping to eclipse his time. I love ya, El Chefe -but you were tempting me. I pushed without getting cross eyed and clocked a 2:42. Whoa. Training and weight loss have their dividends. My 3:03 had been a cross-eyed effort. A twenty second improvement was not what I had expected.
I later made the climb up from Lake Washington in the big ring keeping a good cadence. I stayed in the saddle and just increased my power on the climb. I’ve downshifted on this climb a hundred times and it felt good to just power up it. I could feel some zip on this ride for the first time since the Graduation trip. This (perhaps false) feeling of strength gives me some comfort as I taper for the big trip.
I drank five bottles of water in four hours and I should have drank two or three more. A good lesson to take to Europe with me.
We may see heat and we may see rain in the Dolomites. I’ve had plenty of experience riding in the rain and this little bit of heat training can’t hurt. Buckle up.