If there's something more difficult than admitting that you need to rectify a problem, it's failing at the actual rectification. It's been a second. If you missed out, back in January we launched a little adventure entitled The Skinny on Power". It was ambitious.
Long story short? We (Chad, and me - Nate) failed. There's no alibi here. I've never had qualms calling others out about their excuses for not having the motivation/time/discipline to put the work in that's required for speed and fitness. After all, it came so easily to me before. This time was different...and my hypocrisy was laid bare. In the time since we've left off, I've learned a few things. One, even the most well-equipped aspirational cyclist is doomed to failure without the right plan (and the opposite is true - I started racing in 2011 on a bike I kludged together for $500 along with a rusting 1985 Volvo). Two, meditation is awesome - and useful. Turns out, I've been practicing mindfulness a lot already, it's just when my heartrate hits 190bpm and I have to drag an effort out for twenty minutes. Implementing that same mental tool in other aspects of training/life is extremely beneficial. Three (and this was one I already knew - but had to remember), there is no tangible reward here. Four, the Marin County Anti-Bicycle Coalition is a real thing. See below.
Let's get back into this, shall we? After feeling thoroughly embarassed at an impromptu participation in the Belgian Waffle Ride in late April, I'm facing it head-on, and embracing the evils of the road race. Expect to see me, locally, soon. Trying to go fast, probably getting dropped. I'd like to close the loop on my personal journey through the sport by revisiting a race I won as a nascent Cat 2 racer five years ago: The Cascade Classic, on July 22nd. One of the most storied grassroots American stage races, it's a late-July five-day epic at elevation in the high desert of Bend, Oregon. It was a special moment for me, one where I knew that I was onto something after turning a time-trial time that would've put me on the podium of the professional race.
Will I be able to get to that same place in under six weeks? I'm hopeful, but not particularly enthusiastic. I've been following the legendary Craig Upton's training plan for the past three weeks, and my power is back (here's to holding 400 watts up BoFax, the local 20-minute hill), but I'm still a fair bit overweight - a solid 15-20lbs from "fighting tonnage". And just as well, there's no pointy end to my spear. What do I mean? I mean I can grind out long efforts well, but when it comes to jumping hard and maintaining the quick 2-4 minute bursts of anaerobic power that one needs to stay in a pro-level road race I'm severely lacking (see: The difference between being fit and being fast).
WEIGHT: 176.4lbs. My scale claims that my bodyfat is 10.3%. By my mathematical calculations, I am carrying around an entire Mosaic GT-1 (18.16lbs) inside of me. In fat.
TRAINING VOLUME: Craig says 15.5 hours. I say 18 hours is nice. 20 is better, which I knocked out two weeks ago. And 25? Magical! Soon. Maybe.
GENERAL LEVEL OF OPTIMISM: I'm tired. I haven't been sleeping. I've been drinking beer and wine - not heavily, but enough to feel sluggish. I've been riding a lot. As it turns out, when you get older (28 is rough, bro), you can't do your intervals fueled solely by FourLoko and bad decisions.
CAN YOU SEE YOUR VEINS? Almost. After long rides. And in the morning. When I don't eat the night before. Which, you know, is cool. Right?
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO SUCK LESS AT? Tracking food, and not falling victim to the siren song of wine and Double IPAs. Finally...
Chad is taking a break.