Ahhhhh, a rest day

After only three days back on the bike after a rest week, I’m very happy to announce that today is a rest day! It has been a hard start to my next segment of training. Tomorrow I get back at it with repeats on Paris Mountain. Someday I think I’m going to take a real rest day.

Saturday was my FTP — a 20 minute all out time trial with a build up and cool down. Sunday really wasn’t that bad. It was my opportunity to cleanse my quads from the effort of Saturday. With the weather the way it was, I ended up doing some easy spinning on the trainer while watching some TV.

Monday was a different matter. I did my VO2 max workout with some 30-30’s. The 3 minute and 2 minutes were all over 300 watts. Then it was time for the 3 sets of 5 30 second bursts. I managed to average over 500 watts for first two sets and over 450 watts on the last one. By the end of the last one my chest was hurting. I might have thought I was having a heart attack, but the pain was on the wrong side. Maybe my right lung was getting ready to pop out!

Then last night it was time to head out to Donal… I mean, SCTAC… for the World Championships. Before the race (and it is a race, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise) I was talking with Jim, my coach. He was telling me that my power was looking good and that I should have a good opportunity to participate in the action. At that point, I was wishing I could share in his optimism.

My legs were tired. They felt good… that bad kind of good… where they feel heavy and relaxed. As a cyclist you want to feel that your legs have snap. Instead my legs felt like they were on cold medicine.

To make matters worse, I had not time to warm up. The first lap was going to have to be my warm up lap. On a night when we planned to do only four laps, that is not good. The hounds would be unleashed early and things would get moving soon.

It wasn’t until about 2 and a half laps in that I felt good in my legs. Up to that point I was really struggling to stay up with the pace. My heart and lungs weren’t giving me much trouble, but my legs felt like they were working really hard. Finally, in the third lap I was able to ride at pace without feeling like I was about to drop.

By that time the break of the day had happened. Thad Dulin, Boyd Johnson, our man Hank McCullough, and a couple of other riders had a sizable gap. I wasn’t even aware that Hank was up there, so I was working a bit to help close that gap. Had I known, I would have backed off a bit.

What I discovered in the fourth lap was that while my legs were working well enough to pace in the group and even do some pulling on the front, I did not have any power to launch. This was evident as we entered the final kilometers. The pace picked up and the group surged. My legs felt like they were moving in slow motion. I ended up fading back from about 10th in the field on the last incline and just hanging onto the rear of the field.

My computer tells me I averaged 25 mph for the nearly 30 miles of racing for 1:08. The average power was over 250 watts.  It still makes me chuckle to think that an A group “ride” at Donald… I mean SCTAC… is faster and requires more power than your typical Category 4 race.

That brings us to this morning. No bike for me today. It is a rest day. My instructions for a rest day are, “Relax, nap, take a bath. Go to bed earlier. Avoid your bike and the world of cycling as much as possible today to refresh your mind as well.” Yeah, right!

I do think that on a week during my taper for an A race, I will take a REAL rest day. I’ll take a day off work and sleep in, relax, nap, get a massage, skip the blog, avoid the bike, and get to bed earlier. It would be interesting to see what a real rest day could do for me.

All I know is that after the last four days, I’ll take what I can get!