This is how I spent my summer. Well almost. Except for the Beach part anyway.
It has been a while since I posted here. It has also been a while since I have been able to ride the bike. As some of you may know, back in May I found a strange lump "south of the border". Immediately i thought hernia, but i hoped it was just some irritated pulled muscles. I kept training and racing, the pain getting slightly worse each week and the lump getting bigger. I finally went to the Doc and sure enough it's a hernia. I was pretty pissed - I worked hard over the previous 8 months and was in great shape. It was showing in my racing as I was usually top 5 in results whereas the previous year I was mid to back of the pack. At least I got to compete in the first half of race season and know now what I'm capable of doing! Doc gave me the option of waiting on surgery and keep racing, but that's not for me. I didn't want the surgery looming over my head all summer, so on June 27th I got it fixed.
I really couldn't do much biking for about a month and even after that it was little rides for 20 minutes on the road at an easy pace. After about 8 weeks I felt ready to go at it again. Too bad for me I ended up hurting my self whitewater kayaking. I pulled a bunch of muscles, I guess because I'm just friggin old? Sit on my butt for 2 weeks to recover. Then since I'm so smart, guess what I do? That's right, go whitewater kayaking again. I gotta tell you, it's a fun sport and I'm hooked on it. Unfortunately, my body does not like it so much. Ended up hurting my back. Just now that's getting better, and no I'm not kayaking anytime soon. It has been the summer of sitting on my butt and gaining weight.
Now it's time to get serious again. Ocotber 1st marks the start to get prepared for next year. I have to do a 8 week block of training to prep just to start my base training(that's how out of shape I am now). Granted to the normal person I'm probably fine, but for a bike racer I'm way off the mark fitness wise. My basic training formula works like this in 3 steps:
1. 8 weeks of prep (just getting the legs and cardio up to speed with some fun easy paced rides plus some core and weights)
2. 12 weeks of Base training -long rides at moderate pace and some tempo pace(moderate to hard) rides in the last 6 weeks. This prepares your body for the next phase and gives you needed endurance to be on your bike for hours at a time 5-6 days a week.
3. 12 weeks of race build leading to the race you want to peak at. This is where it's all at. Intervals, speed work, etc. Hard work on the bike - sometimes you wanna puke others pass out and sometimes both! You need to really push yourself harder then you think you can, and at the same time have some rest days and easy days to recover.
So now you see why bike racers don't really have a true off season - it's just time to get faster! My 3 steps cover 8 months to peak at one race. Sure, I'll do plenty of other races along the way, but will train thru them and not rest for them. The training never gets easier either as you get in shape - you just go faster!
I also gained about 10 lbs. give or take. That and another 10+ need to disappear this off season. In my next blog entry I'll share my goals for next season and make some bold claims so all of you can hold me to them. Besides cross country racing I'm going to return to doing some downhill events as well including National Championships at Beech Mountain.