George Hincapie was recently interviewed by Neil Brown for CarolinaCyclingNews.com. He’s feeling fit and fresh at the start of his new season. He gave insight into his training over the last few weeks. I had to laugh when I compared it to my training on Tuesday.
“I’ve been at home (in Greenville, South Carolina) motorpacing four or five days a week, trying to train as hard as possible,” he told Neil. “I’ve had good weather, daily massages and am eating well. I feel strong – definitely a lot better than I did at this time last year.” Now, less you think that is “the life.” George spends hours on his bike. If you think the description above is a piece of cake, you haven’t motorpaced.
The thing is… that’s his job. Sure, it is a job he loves, but he is being paid to be out there training and preparing for the season. It is hard work. However, that singular focus is one thing that lessens the issues that we amateur racers must face.
Consider my Tuesday workout…
I rushed out of my last meeting of the day so I could get home and possibly get my 2 hour training block done before it got too dark to ride. When I rushed in the door at home, I was faced with a fifth-grader with tears in his eyes over adding fractions. No way could I just walk past him and say, “Sorry, I have to ride my bike.”
Once I got him settled down and back to finding the least common denominator, I rushed into the bedroom to change. I looked at the clock and it was now a race against time. I grabbed my LowCadence.com bibs and started to pull them on. I couldn’t get them over my knees! Oh, these belonged to my fifth-grader. After disentangling from those, I grabbed my POA kit off the drying rack and finally got ready.
So, now I had 30 minutes to ride before leaving to go pick up my daughter from play practice. Beautiful Redhead was leaving for her aerobics session. Thankfully, I have the Batesview Criterium. By tacking a little bit to my warm-up, I was able to get the first part of my training session (including a 5 minute blow-out of 320 watts) wrapped up before leaving for my daughter.
Thankfully, practice wasn’t far away. After about 20 minutes, I was back on the bike. However, the type of workouts I needed to do wouldn’t work on the personal, but very hilly criterium course. I headed for Cleveland Park.
I was supposed to do 6 x 3 minute efforts at 320 watts. I would rest 3 minutes between each. Then I would ride easy for 10 minutes before doing 4 x 2 minutes at 320 watts with 4 minutes easy spinning between each. Once I got done, I would ride easy for the 15 minutes back home. Adding up all those minutes as I headed down East North Street toward the park, I realized that I was going to be in a race against the sun.
Once in the park, I ran into a new frustration. It used to be that I could start at the intersection of Ridgeland Drive and Cleveland Park Drive and put the hammer down along Cleveland Park Drive onto Lakehurst Drive all the way to Cleveirvine Avenue. At 350 watts that takes about 1 minute and 40 seconds. Then I would turn right on Cleveirvine Avenue followed by a second right onto Woodland Way. I would then crest the hill above the park right about the 3 minute mark.
Enter the speed bumps. I don’t begrudge the bumps they put in where the Swamp Rabbit Trail intersects Cleveland Park Drive. It does slow that traffic in an area with a lot of pedestrian traffic. When I’m riding my bike, I don’t normally notice it because there is enough space around the bumps for a bike to pass easily.
During my workout they were a nuisance. It seemed that every time I got close to the bumps, a car would pull out of the nearby parking lot and then come to a complete stop as they slowly traversed the 10 inch mounds. On a couple of my efforts I had to come to a rolling stop. This meant to get my average above 320 watts, I had to punch it up Woodland Way.
Just as I was starting my second 2 minute effort the sun disappeared. Things started getting scary. Still, I hoped that I could get the final two before going home.
On the third effort I got to the bumps and the car not only went slowly over the obstacles, but I also could see two ladies in the car talking away. They continued at a very slow pace. My average was blown. I decided it was time to go home.
Thankfully, I made it to the bicycle lanes on East North Street with no mishaps. I pushed my lap button and decided to get one more two minute effort on my way home. Not bad… at the end of the session I was still able to turn out a 385 watt 2 minute effort. Of course, that meant I only got a 3 minute cool down.
Yes, it was a frustrating evening, but looking back over the ride data I have to be pretty happy. I nailed every one of the efforts (except one at 310 watts due to traffic) at 320 watts or above. This is showing me that I’m beginning to add some matches to my matchbook. I’m still not where I was last year before the wreck, but I’m starting to believe again that I can get there — even with speed bumps in my way.