Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cycling is fun again

Been feeling really crappy about training and riding in general. Tired most of the time. Went on a group road ride for the first time in a long time and feel like my energy and desire for riding has been renewed. Here are the comments I sent to my coach.


Just wanted to let you know I went on the group road ride tonight and
had a really good time.

I was having really bad thoughts in the parking lot when I was warming
up. My legs felt very stiff. Pedaling around in the parking lot was
hard. Even though I was in my smallest gear it felt like I could
barely turn the pedals. I spun around for an hour but it never really
got better. I tried a couple sprints. They were easy to do so I
figured it was all in my head.

The ride has two groups A group (fast) and B group (slower). I
decided to leave with the B group. The ride starts off mostly flat
with some downhill. I got dropped quick. I mean they were gone. I
couldn't even see them on a straight road as far as I could see.

Finally we(since I was all alone I should say I) hit a big climb. I
started catching the stragglers pretty quick. Eventually I caught
glimpse of the back of the pack. After the climb and long downhill,
the pack got held up a red light and I caught back on.

After the red light it was flat and I had a hard time hanging on.
Luckily there was more lights. Eventually the group got split into
two groups by a light. With the help of the lights, I made it through
the flats and onto the next climb.

At the start of this climb, I was the last rider in what was left of
our pack. I was able to maintain my heartrate (168 almost the entire
ride - 166 AHR on my monitor) but still pass people on the climbs. I
am definitely more efficient on the climbs than on the flats. I
passed almost the whole pack except for a couple people. I sat up and
let them lead since I didn't know where I was going.

Once I got to the the front it was much easier to stay there. The
back seems to speed up and slow down so much it is hard to keep a
rhythm. In the front it easier to pass and leapfrog around so you can
keep the speed that is comfortable to you.

I was able to hang onto the front of this group for the rest of the
ride. The flats were still really tough. I noticed that my RPMs
would go up over 100 if I didn't pay attention. I had to force my
self to shift to bring my RPMs down to 90. My body definitely
resisted this amount of tension in my legs. It wasn't that I couldn't
do it, my body just didn't want to. It felt a lot like a core
interval now that I think about it. I was faster with the same
heartrate when I shifted and forced myself to push the harder gear.
Focusing on my pedal stroke and relaxing helped as well.

Many times in the beginning I had bad thoughts that I would blow up if
kept this intensity. I don't think I was ever in any real danger. I
think my mind just tries to make me back off when I really don't have

I would look over at people at the top of climbs and it looked like
they were going to have a heart attack. My breathing was barely above
normal when climbing and would immediately go back to normal when we
sat up. I don't think those people were really in that much better
shape than me. I think they just know how to push themselves harder
than I do.

I had a really good time and felt great at the end of the ride. I
would have been happy to go around again.