Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tri Tuesday Part II / Another Rest Day?

Yesterday was tuesday which means of course its another round of the Providence Bicycle time trial / brick workout.  I was feeling great going into the day and I made it to the TT course around 4 to get a warmup lap in.  I met up with Nancy and Joe was there too so the three of us headed out for a warmup lap of the 14 mile course.  I'm still experimenting with this warmup lap.  I've done it slow, medium, and mildly fast.  Seems like the important thing so far is that I always do better after a warmup lap than I do without one.  That much is known.  The question is how hard to go on the warmup lap?  Yesterday I went out pretty slow with an average of something like 16mph for the lap.  Very relaxed, not a lot of pedalling on the descents, and as relaxed an effort on the climbs as possible.  The week before this one I did the lap at an 18mph average.  Although I don't have the times for this week vs last yet I'm pretty sure they are about exactly the same.  So maybe the point is just to get the warmup lap in?  Or maybe not....

When I started my official lap of the course off I always try and start in the big ring and get up that first little hill as fast as possible and then get down that first descent with some speed into the second roller.  Going up the second roller my breathing felt funny.  But I pressed on.  The first five miles are all rolling hills.  Which are deceiving.  I think that section of the course is harder than I think it is at times.  By mile three I was struggling to breathe.  I think I got thrown off by some of my competitors too.  There are certain people who often start before me on the TT and I typically pass them at the same place on the course.  But this time those guys went out a little harder (sometimes I forget they are improving too!) and it took me much longer to pass them which meant I felt like I was lagging behind so I worked harder to catch them and then struggled even more to breathe.

I spent the entire time on the course feeling like I couldn't breathe.  I'm not sure why that was.  Part of me thinks it might have something to do with going from a week in Denver at 60-70 degree training temps and zero humidity to last night's 80 degrees and high humidity.  In fact the more I think about it the more I think thats what it was.  But last night was a struggle.  I was dying out there.  There were several moments when I thought about standing up on the bike and just casually pedalling my way to the finish.  It felt that hard.  Its never felt that hard before.  But then I looked down at my average speed and at that point on the course I was on track for a new PR so I refused to quit.  I just hoped when I got to the long descent / flat in the middle I could recover a little.

Somewhere in the early rolling section of the course I'd passed my friend Luis.  As I approached the dam in the middle of the course Luis passed me back.  That hasn't happened before and I was bumming as I felt like perhaps that was a sign that not only my breathing but my ride was falling apart.  (Turns out Luis set yet another PR on the course that day and had a fantastic ride)  I kept Luis about 4 lengths in front of me while we rode over the damn as thats a lousy place to pass anyone as the road conditions are awful and theres not a lot of room for cars and bikes there.  I knew once the climb started the advantage would fall back to me.  Sure enough once the climb started I managed to get back around Luis and also to pass several other riders.  The hills are always when I start reeling people in.  The combination of a fairly lightweight bike and a lightweight rider means the hills are one of my stronger points on the course.  Plus marking other riders and passing them on the hills pushes me to ride the hills harder.  My breathing finally came back under control on the hills remarkably.  Not sure why...   although it fell apart again once the hills were gone.

On the last section of mild rollers and descents I saw Joe up ahead and used him to help pull me forwards.  It took me what felt like forever but I finally passed him on a descent.  Which I was psyched about as I struggle to pass anyone on the descent.  In fact I took a bit of a risk in trying but at that point I either had to try and pass him or hit the brakes as I was close enough to be considered drafting if I didn't make a move.  After that I just did my best to keep it together and make it to the finish.  Joe surprised me in the last stretch to the finish and passed me back right before the end.  It was a nice move!  Apparently he had been hanging behind me about four lengths back and waiting for the right moment to pass me back.  Nicely done!

I finished the TT somewhere around the 43 minute mark right around my usual.  I won't have my official time for a bit.  I was gasping for air like I've never been before.  I felt pretty awful.  I'm really glad it took us a while to get our acts together to get the run started as I really needed those five minutes to gather myself and catch my breath.  Again I'm not sure why I was so out of breath but its a good lesson that if this ever happens in a race I'll know to dial back my bike speed to not destroy my run.

We set out for the five mile run with Me, Brad, Other Nick, Nancy, CJ, and Gary.  Its nice to do that run in a group.  Makes it go by nice and quick.  Had a nice run although I felt pretty beat up.  Towards the end I had an awful stitch in my right side and my stomach wasn't all that happy.  I have to say results aside that was one of the worst feeling TTs I've done to date.  Only one worse was the day my legs were completely dead and I did the course in 50 minutes or something awful.  I've ridden faster than that on a warmup lap!

So last night I got back to my house and went through my post TT routine.  Its amazing how long it takes to unpack the car, wash all the water bottles, hang up sweaty stuff to dry and throw in laundry, put everything away, stretch a little, take a shower, use foam roller / massage stick, put on compression sleeves on my calves and hamstring (which really seems to help my recovery).  All that nonsense seems to add at least an hour after I get back.  Anyway as I was doing all of this I felt awful.  The funny thing is it wasn't muscle soreness awful, just really tired and beat up and my stomach felt awful.   When I went to bed I had stomach cramps and I felt like hell.

This morning I have to say I feel a little better.  My stomach certainly feels a lot better.  Technically today was supposed to be a swim day.  I think instead I may take today off.  We will see as the day goes on though.  I may go down to Narragansett and swim down there.  But it will all depend on how I feel.  Ideally I would like to swim today though, and I really do need to get in the water in Narragansett.   First up though is a shopping trip to Providence Bicycle to go an get some aerobars fitted to my bike!  Should be good fun.  I'm looking forward to it.

Oh one other thing....

This morning I officially got back to my race weight.  Now I just need to hold it.  I was 137 this morning with a body fat percentage according to my withings scale of 7.8%.  Love it!

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