Here we are again, February 11th, my birthday. For the last 2 years I have got up and taken a walk early in the morning then taken a picture of myself at the end of the walk. This morning I forgot about the tradition and stayed in bed until the late hour of 6:30. I did just remember and take a picture of myself though.
It’s been a long week and I haven’t had much time to write a post, but I’ve had a few things on my mind, before we get to that lets cover last nights insane mountain bike ride. I’m flying down a trail in the pitch dark with a bit of light in front me, its pouring raining and I can barely keep my eyes open, but I really need to see where I’m going because those trees are hard. I hear hooping and howlering in front me down the trail and I imagine myself riding for my life from a tribe of angry cannibals on a jungle island. Is this crazy?
I met some buddies at Glendale for a night ride last night. The weather was cold and it was misting rain. As soon as I got on my bike I could tell something was wrong, it felt like I had a flat tire on the front, but I could see it had plenty of air, but my fork was sagging badly. The fork on my bike uses an air cartridge for spring and it has apparently sprung a leak. Turning the bike caused the fork to dive and even small bumps would cause it to blow through its travel. I rode anyway, and on retrospect it would have been a simple matter to put air in the fork. Oh well.
The trail was soft but not that bad, roots and the bridges were slick as ice. We hadn’t been riding for more then a few seconds when a guy went down on a bridge, luckily he wasn’t hurt. My fork was causing me to ride everything extremely carefully which was probably for the best, but I also didn’t seem to have the power in my legs that everyone else had. I tried to stay in the front on the first big climb and I think my engine was blown for the rest of the ride. I was never more then a minute or two behind but I was definitly having a hard time recovering.
The last long downhill section is a super fun blast and it started raining hard as we began the high speed decent. My eyes were filled with brightly lit rain drops from my head lamp and visibilty was very limited. I’ve can now say I’ve ridden trails in the dark, in the rain, and with a blow fork, it was an experience I don’t wish to repeat.
I’ve been thinking about my training this year and what I did last year lately. Last year I was following a loose training plan, I rode the trainer about 3 times a week and went to the gym about twice a week, usually one mountain bike ride on the weekend. Usually one of those videos was the sufferfest video Angles where I tested myself with a ten minute interval.
This winter I have a new Kurt Kinetic Road Machine trainer but ironically I haven’t used it that much. I’ve been riding outdoors on the rail trail about twice a week, and riding the trainer about once. Thursday night I did one of my trainer tests and pulled out a 21.1 average. On my old Nashbar trainer my first test averaged 24.4. The Kinetic has a documented power curve on their website which tells me at 21 mph I was putting out just shy of 300 watts for ten minutes. I think pros can put out close to 400 watts for very extended periods of time, but at the end of my ten minutes I was shattered and took about 5 minutes to recover. I think I’ll try doing one on the old trainer soon and see how it compares. I’m certain it has less resistance but that’s a big difference.
I think the rail trail tempo riding and 2 mountian bike rides a week are going to give me a much better base to build on this upcomming season. I think last year I didn’t do enough miles in the early season. This is all interesting to puzzle over in my head but the fact is that whatever training I do is useless as long as I’m 40 pounds heavier then everyone else on the ride. Weight loss has got to be the cornerstone of my training and as we all know weight loss has much more to do with how much energy you consume instead of how much you put out.