The first week of the year has gone surprisingly well given the massive rush that took place over the holidays. The last week of the year was a resounding thud due to a tweaked left knee from cranking too hard, and some mental duress that I bought upon myself. On New Years Eve I set a timer for three minutes in the kitchen and ranted away all of my stress to Mary. I got a bunch of crap off my chest and walked away refreshed and ready to tackle 2017. I what will hopefully be the first in fifty-two weekly installments I am going to talk about my week of training, what tunes I’ve been listening to, and anything else interesting that happens in my rather dull life. If there is anything that you would like to know about my training or preparation for racing please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
Monday was a bit of a rush job in the training department. Mary had bought me the king of all burr grinders for Christmas that I felt was a little too fancy and expensive for my novice barista skills. Due to Williams Sonoma’s wicked weird return policy this meant a trip to the Rockingham Mall in my least favorite part of New Hampshire. The drive to and through Nashua was a drag and it appeared to just be a series of strip malls and Domino’s. Not my idea of a nice drive. We didn’t get back in the door until seven so the sixty minutes I did on the trainer that morning at 190 watts had to suffice for the day.
Tuesday I set the alarm for 4:00 am for the first day back at school. I managed to get out of bed but I was struggling! At about 4:30 I decided that I was going to use Tuesday as a transition day. I was up but I wasn’t ready to ride at 4:55 like a typical day. In the afternoon I managed 95 minutes in just over 195 watts. More importantly I figured out Trainer Road and how to sync my Garmin Vector II pedals with my MacBook Air. I had a great back and forth with my coach and we committed to a set of long intervals on Wednesday afternoon.
Wednesday afternoon I synced everything up and did my first truly organized trainer workout of my life. This is my fourth winter training as a cyclist and I have never really had any structure. This was always heightened by my lack of a power meter which by my estimation always saw me riding way way way too hard. Previous winters I rarely worked out in January and just ground out hour after hour on the trainer while listening to music. No Zwift here, no Netflix here, just music and a trainer. Thankfully I love to jam out so my time on the trainer gives me a great opportunity to obsess about whatever band I am currently listening to. The Trainer Road Session called for 2 x 26 with some VO2 sprints worked in followed by some high wattage efforts to end the workout. I was surprised at how well my body responded to the 2 x 26 especially given the jumps that I was doing throughout. My heart rate and RPE raised steadily throughout the workout but I never got to a point where it wasn’t manageable. The sprints to end the workout were another matter entirely and I felt smashed at their completion. Great first workout of the year.
Thursday morning I was shelled. I could tell that I had worked hard the previous afternoon and knew that I would need to be diligent about keeping the watts in the 180s on my recovery ride. In the afternoon I had a faculty meeting after school the morning was going to be my only ride of the day. As planned I kept the power down and easily spun through the ride. I didn’t feel beat up or anything but I just felt heavy which reinforced that I had done an appropriate amount of work the day before.
Friday was a planned double with the potential of it being interrupted by dinner guests. I was on the trainer before five and got in another hour plus effort. Legs felt dramatically improved since yesterday. Monday night I made an adjustment to my sleeping position to try and alleviate some problems being caused by a head cold. I added an extra thin pillow under my memory foam pillow and it has made a huge difference. Since my accident a couple of summers ago I have become a snorer. After making this adjustment I didn't snore once this week and I slept like a rock. Solid recovery is key and sleep is a key component to that. Dinner guests cancelled in the afternoon so I got in another six plus on the trainer. It’s crazy how sometimes you just feel better after one ride. I was holding myself back making 200 watts for the ride knowing that I would be doing an effort on the weekend.
Saturday morning after sleeping in Mary was fired up to bring me to a coffee place in Peterborough for coffee and breakfast sandwiches. I’ve had Parker House coffee before at home and thought that I was in for a treat. Their Midnight Oil in the proper proportions was on the mark so I expected a pleasant cup of dark roast. Much to my surprise and disappointment the coffee was actually pretty pedestrian at the roaster. Their darkest roast Robusta, was more of a bust than anything and their espresso was a step or two bellow what I produce at home with my machine. In the afternoon I did a pretty ho hum ninety minutes at 200 watts. I felt good and was consciously holding myself back for the duration.
Sunday I was pretty psyched to squeeze in my ride before CX nationals. Pre ride I watched the U23 race and got a few glimpses of my teammate Patrick racing to a top twenty-five finish. My left knee was a little sore again so I held off on the workout and just cranked out two hours at 191 watts. Nothing spectacular but I got through the ride with time to shower and crack a beer before the elite mens race started. It was disappointing to see Powers have such a bad day. I was really rooting for the guy after all the bad luck that he has had this year. It’s hard not to be psyched for Hyde. Super cool dude and tough as nails as evidence by winning in those epically insane conditions. I wrapped up the week with eleven hours with one solid workout. Looking to hit twelve hours this coming week before heading into my first recovery week of the year.
Musically this week I have been continuing to listen to Phantogram at every opportunity. I am seeing them live this coming Thursday in Providence with Mary and my old college roommate, Dave which should be awesome. They fall somewhere in the Indie Electro Rock spectrum and I have been digging their sound for a few years now. They have been a mainstay on my CX warm-up playlist the past two seasons. Their new album Three really made me into a fan this fall and I have been listening to them on a daily basis. A pretty neat fact about Phantogram is that they are from one of the towns on the Tour of Battenkill course. I have no idea why that is cool but I think that it is pretty neat. Friday morning I was a little bored and decided to to some exploring on Apple Music. One of my former students DJs at the college now and has been on a crazy hip hop journey. This is a kid that listened to The White Strips like it was his job for years and is now getting into the hip hop world. I have another student currently that occasionally rocks a Wu Tang shirt at school. Somehow these two thoughts came together and I decided to give the Wu a shot Friday morning. Pretty crazy stuff and I feel like I missed out a little bit back in eighth grade when these guys really broke. It seems comical thinking of a one hundred and fifty pound white guy jamming to the Wu at five in the morning on his road bike in his basement in New Hampshire. Weird wild stuff.