I have long contended that Tuesday is the worst day of the week. Basically it loses to Monday because in a way Monday gets me back into a healthy eating groove that I normally fall out of over the weekend. And of course the last 3 days of the week are better because the lead into the weekend. The only thing going for it is that Saturday enters the 5 day weather forecast on Tuesday. So it has that going for it, which is nice.
But today doesn't really feel that bad. No, in fact I feel pretty good right now. I got a rock solid 7 hours of sleep last night and only got up once, which is like 5 times less than normal. When I woke up I was still pretty groggy and getting on the bike at 5:15 was a little slow. But I got there and warmed up while I finished off my coffee.
I decided yesterday to change my week from 2 partially limited days to 3 half-days. That meant a high-end session with only 15 minutes of work instead of the 20 I was considering. For those of you following at home (hi Terren
) this half-time approach is a classic taper week. This is only a small taper though because I didn't start until today and a full classic approach is a full 2 weeks, where the second week is yet another 50% reduction in volume. So yes, that translates to waking up, going through the whole rigmarole
of getting ready, warming up, and doing 7.5 minutes of intervals, then cooling down and calling it a day. Yeah, it seems pretty silly but this approach is borne
out through many years of trial and error and some recent studies to finally back up the claim. I will say this though, I feel pretty damn good right now. By my last interval this morning I was finally hitting my stride. Now I feel pretty fresh. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come this week.
Also it gives me time to get my bike ready for the weekend. Sadly my bike is in a bit of a sloppy state right now and I need all the extra time I can get. The rear wheel has a broken spoke and of course I don't have the tool to remove the disc, which means a trip to the hardware store this afternoon. Why do they have to make this one single part a different kind of tool? And who knew there was a hardware store in Brooklyn
so someone reads my blog! Terren
said:"Happy Channukah Norm. A thought: since it appears that how you feel isn't a reliable indication of how well you're riding, you shouldn't let it be an important factor on race day. I.e. even if you feel flat, don't let it psyche you out. Although I'm not sure how you could feel flat with the adrenaline of an actual race."
Definitely a good thought and something I experienced at the Matheny
ride last month. I never felt amazing that day but I rode one of my strongest rides of the year. So it certainly backs up the idea that how you feel doesn't necessarily correlate to how you ride.
In terms of feeling flat on race day, no it's generally not a problem although a better word might be sluggish. That's a more accurate way of describing it. Some riders call it "snap" and I think it's something we've all felt before. Like the first day you ever got on a real road bike and were like, "Holy crap this thing goes fast!" It's like that when you're on. It just feels good to get on the bike, to roll anywhere. The opposite is when the bike feels like it's made of lead, or you constantly think you're in a higher gear than you are. Some of it is mental, without a doubt. Some of it is how fresh you are. There's a balance for sure. If you feel too sluggish you need to remember that you'll snap out of it eventually. If you feel too good you really have to reign yourself in otherwise you run the risk of blowing yourself up in the first hour.
It shouldn't be too much of a factor because I should get a sufficient amount of sleep this week. Added to that is the reduced workload which of course will only help with the whole fresh/snap thing. It's also not my first ever race, so race day nerves aren't really much of an issue. Actually since there are going to be pros there, in my class (it's an open field with no categories for the marathon race) it kinda takes the pressure off. When the nation's strongest rider (literally) lines up next to you, any anxiety you might have would be more in-line with, "Well I hope I don't crash, ruin his season, and end up as a freak side show on Velo
A final aspect of the feel/perform thing is asking the question, Why ride these races if you don't necessarily feel good doing so? It's a good question and I don't really have a good answer. I obviously like riding my bike but there's a fine line you can cross between training and just enjoying it. My contention is that you need a certain level of fitness to really enjoy the rides. I think I'm there now. But once you get to that level the little voice inside your head keeps saying you should go further, press harder, just to see what you can do. And to be sure, this toil I put myself through is enjoyable in some ways. I don't mean the weekend rides as there's very little toil involved there. I'm referring to Tuesday morning and my normal suffer-fest on the trainer. Yeah it hurts but it makes you stronger. And if it makes my Saturday rides that much better, I'm game so long as it doesn't kill me. And as we all know, very few things in life that are really fulfilling are easy anyway. When it all comes together, it's just perfect. Pedaling through the swamp with nobody on the road and the sun rising next to you is awesome stuff.
Anyway, there's a long answer to your comment. The train ride is long so I have plenty of time to pontificate (read: over analyze and obsess) about the details of riding a bike. At the end of the day, the wheels on the bike go round and round, round and round, round and round...
Labels: bike, mountain bike, taper