Me, that is.
In motion on my bike. 17 hours this week, all but 90 minutes of it out on the road, as opposed to the trainer, capped off with a rollickingly windy 4 hours today around Southeast Ontario while I'm up here at C's folks. This past Friday afternoon was the toughest one yet--it was 18 degrees when I left the house and had only warmed up to about 21 when I got back 4&1/2 hours and 120k later. I didn't used to have the sack for that.
It's not like 17 hours on the bike is all that much, really, but for me, for the first week of February, it's a lot. And it feels like more than that because it has been accompanied by generally good sleep habits, better food habits, and pretty damn good study habits, as well. Killing it is a strong term, and I'm not sure if I'm killing it, but I'm certainly wrestling it...It.
Every Spring I intend to ride monstrously big weeks of base miles, and every year I fall short, get excited by the Spring training races, start doing intervals and racing in early or mid March on a barely adequate base after a not long enough layoff following cyclocross season, and every year I get fast, race well for a bit, and then get tired in May or June. The rest of the season is typically spent watching my resting heat rate rise, feeling fatigued and wishing for a do-over. Somewhere in there I usually race God Forsaken Fitchburg and that tends to hurt more than it helps. Last year I really overcooked it and the fact that I was able to salvage any kind of 'cross season at all is likely thanks to the two weeks I took off from any training at all in early September. Unfortunately, that should have been when I was putting the finishing touches on my Fall form, and I found myself playing catch up all season once again.
This year I have really committed to doing things differently and for now that looks like 4&1/2 hour rides even if it's only 21 degrees outside. Wahoo. I'm also going to delay the start of my racing until the very end of March or possibly early April, which seems late but is having the effect of making me very relaxed at the moment.
See, the start of every racing season is akin to flipping an hourglass, for me. And every Friday night of changing tires and cleaning bikes, laundering kits and making PB&J sandwiches; every Saturday of waking up early, weekends of no schoolwork attended to, weeks without talking to non-racing friends...it all ads up. And as much as I love the crazy whirlwind nomadism of my racing life, I need to sit still (see earlier post on focusing) and fill my tanks for a couple of months. So right now, I feel like I am in the best possible place: I am really motivated and really excited about racing, I have only been training for 3 weeks, and I have a solid 4 or 5 more weeks of piling on the base miles before I need to feel obligated to time a single interval. And if (when, dammit) I follow through? If I stack up 3, 20 to 25 hour weeks the last three weeks in March? I could...well who knows what I can do. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. But I feel like I owe it to myself to find out, and that's the point. This year I plan to.
It's nice to feel like I finally know my body, too. I started this adventure as a heavy, recent ex-smoker simply looking to fashion myself into a body I could live comfortably in. And today I have been noticing how my metabolism is changing once again, making its annual transformation toward more efficient fat-burning, leaning out. And all of this breeds confidence so, no power data this year, no complicated software, just me and a heart rate monitor and a degree of confidence and focus I haven't had before.
I can't wait to see what happens.
Zoom-zoom, see y'all at the races. Kenda/Spooky/NCC is gonna be on it!!