I just returned home after another training weekend lost to other obligations. . .the second for me in January 2011 alone. So I came home and rode the trainer an hour, the fourth time this month (trainer riding is not something I do).
So I wanted to muse here about our planned training, how that plan looks when we reflect on how things have gone, and how to move forward along the way.
Many of us preparing for the Assaults begin to focus in December or January after some degree of rest in October and November. When January ends, we often see the Assaults much closer than it seemed way back last year. . .
The Assaults loom about three and a half months away, and for me, my miles and my riding failed to meet my plan. I missed two UWBLs, two Saturdays, and rode nearly no regularly planned week of riding due to conflicts and Mother Nature.
First, for me and everyone, I think, when looking back to adjust before moving forward, the key is being realistic. My knee-jerk reaction is to be concerned, but if I am honest, my failure to meet my goals for January is not a red flag. I had good miles, I had a few intense rides, and I managed conflicts and weather as best as possible considering that I, like most of the people preparing for the Assaults, am not a professional athlete. . .I have a job and life is complicated.
Next, I believe it is always a good idea to re-evaluate moving forward based on how close you came to your goals so far.
I am behind on miles and failed to ride in as many organized and intense rides as I wanted, but I need to turn to miles and climbing soon. Over February and March, I can patiently reclaim both the miles and intensity I need. In fact, it is possible that my previous intense Januaries have been too intense since I have completed all of the UWBLs the past few years.
As UWBL draws to an end and the racing season revs up, I usually (and likely will) begin to look for long climbing rides as soon as the weather/temps and road conditions allow (climbs and descents are tricky during winter because of sand and road decay associated with freezing precipitation and cold temps).
For me, I have more and more decided that when I do begin climbing, my focus is on climbing at a pace that matches what I hope to maintain during the serious climbs (Hwy 80, the parkway, the last grunts once you enter the park) after passing through Marion and heading to the top.
But, many riders mix in climbing intervals and even hill jams (for riding locally without mountains). . .maybe our friend Verdell will post soon about climbing intervals and hill jams since he is one of the best around at such suffering.
You need to decide for you, however, how to prepare for an intense climbing century. My tempo climbing has worked for me (I do "organic" intervals by doing high-intensity group rides during the week, but tend to avoid surge-climbing on my long weekend ride).
So I recommend everyone re-assess and progress. . .as the Assaults are approaching faster than you think. . .
Paul Thomas, EdD, Associate Professor