I’m not old. I’m just older. Forty-five is just fine with me, but things are a bit different than they were when I was under forty. One of the biggest differences is fatigue.
There is a good amount of truth in that saying, “I can basically do anything I’ve ever been able to do, but it takes me longer to get over it.” I used to be able to go several days in a row of hard efforts and then after a day or so off be ready to get back at it. Now, it takes a little bit longer!
Still, I enjoy the feeling of fatigue after a ride. On the other hand, I don’t care much for it when I am on the bicycle. There were plenty of opportunities to feel it yesterday.
My employment anniversary date comes up next month. I have a number of vacation days that I have not used. If I don’t use ’em, I lose ’em. There have been years when I just let them go, but this year I decided I might as well pick some nice days and get out of the office to ride. What this means is I’ve put in a good amount of miles the last several days.
Friday I took off to get some personal things done and only got on the bike for two hours. Of course, Strava rated it as Tough. 31 miles in two hours with over 3000 feet of climbing.
Saturday I rode for over five hours. 77 miles with over 6000 feet of climbing. Strava called that one Extreme.
Sunday I basically went to church and then sat on the couch all day!
Monday was too busy with work that went into the evening.
Tuesday I was able to get out after work and knock out an hour and a half ride. It was another attempt to meet my goal for the “Pait’s Place to Paris” segment. The idea is to leave my house and make it to the top of Paris Mountain in under 30 minutes. The fastest time I have recorded is 30:32.
Well, Tuesday I was going to get close, but dropped my chain just before the last climb. I ended up with an encouraging 31:23. Icing on the cake is that I inadvertently picked up a Strava KOM that I had lost some time ago. At the same time, it was a good little effort just before Wednesday when I had plans on my vacation day.
It was on Tuesday that I learned that John James had finally bested me on the Hour Of Power KOM #3. He and I have a friendly rivalry on the KOM’s along this route. I had been able to hold onto this short punch uphill for awhile with a time of 46 seconds.
Tuesday morning he beat me with a time of 45 seconds. Then he had the audacity to call me out about it on Facebook. Well, that could not be allowed to go unchallenged!
Wednesday morning I set out to set things right. To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of confidence. When I would stand to put any power down, I could feel the soreness in my quads. I was also battling soreness in my Achilles tendons and lower calf muscles.
Still, when I got to the segment, I stood up and gave it all I had. A couple weeks ago that effort would have blown me to pieces. However, this morning I was able to hold an average of 800 watts to the top. I was cautiously optimistic, but I would have to wait until I got home to learn the results.
I was back! 44 seconds was my time. I had dethroned King James. However, my day was not over.
After grabbing a bite to eat, I headed over to Boyd Cycling. It is located in the building that houses the Swamp Rabbit Trail Cafe and Grocery. I planned to participate in their group ride.
A funny thing happened on the way. I had rushed out of the house and was about 3 miles away when I looked down at my shadow. My head looked funny. I then realized that I didn’t have a helmet on! I had rushed out of the house with a skull cap on to keep the sun off my bald head. I assumed the pressure of the cap on my head was a helmet.
I called the Beautiful Redhead and she caught up with me to hand off my helmet and thankfully that allowed me to make it to the ride start on time. We rolled off down the SRT to Paris Mountain, over the mountain to the other side where we turned around and came back up to the towers. I had pounded up the Furman side in seconds over 13 minutes. Of course, Boyd Johnson and Billy Campbell finished ahead of me in under 12 minutes while talking along the way. I was definitely feeling the fatigue at this point.
That was okay. We were heading back now, right? Wrong. When we came off the mountain Boyd remarked that it was now time to go along the base of the mountain.
I was fine with that. There weren’t too many hard segments that way. Wrong again! You certainly can ride along the base of the mountain without killing yourself, but — oh, no — that was not Boyd’s plan. He went on a search of all the climbs. I rolled in to the finish feeling almost as tired as I did several days earlier when I climbed Caesars Head.
In my last post, I listed my fitness numbers. Well, by the time I finished this set of rides, I had climbed from a fitness score of 48 to 61. However, my fatigue score by the end of Wednesday was 121!
Of course, what every rider wants is form. Form = Fitness + Freshness. You can put this in numerical equation by saying 61 (fitness) – 121 (fatigue) = -60 (form). Now the challenge is to “get fresh” without losing too much fitness. I’m aiming for May 19 and the Memphis In May Time Trial portion of the triathlon relay. I’ll work to get my fitness up as high as I can and then give myself time to move that form number into the positive category.
One score had definitely gone up during all of this… my fun quotient is going off the chart!