Last spring - 2021 - I decided that since racing wasn’t really happening here in AZ, I didn’t need to continue using TR. It had served me well while racing but seemed like an awful lot of hard work if I wasn’t going to be turning a pedal over in anger. So, I canceled my subscription and just played around on Zwift.
Late last fall it started to look like bike racing would resume and I started using the Zwift training programs, plus a little of my own experience, to start training for the 2022 season, which starts early here in Arizona.
At this point, I’ve already done my first two races, 35 minute short circuit races, and they did not go well. I got dropped right away. Both had a hill in them such that you were either going up, or going down. Now, admittedly, at 6’3" and 195lbs (13.5% body fat) these courses didn’t really suit me. But, I expected to be able to pose a little more resistance than I actually did.
So, I returned to using TR about 2 weeks ago. I preceded that re-start with a 4 day training camp as I had a few days off work around a weekend. I did 2 harder days of about 2.5 hours each, and then a longer 3.5hr SUPER easy day, followed by another 2.5 hour hard day.
It’s been a while since I’ve had the luxury of that kind of time, and a hall pass from the wife, to train outdoors on the bike ad libitum. And being AZ in February the weather was gorgeous. Here are a few things I learned/remembered:
- Carbs - eat them. On the harder days I scarfed down carb snacks and gels on the bike before and after the interval work I was doing. This served to fuel the ride itself but also make sure I was thinking ahead to the next day’s ride also. For me it was about 40-50 grams of carb per hour and seemed to work great. On the easier day I took in fewer grams of carbs and added in some protein.
- Rest - I’m 50 so I don’t recover as fast or as well as I used to. 100 years ago I was a globe trotting cat 1 trying to “make it” in pro cycling and learned a lot about rest then that I use now. Among these items are: sleep 8 hours every chance you get, easy on the booze, take a few minutes to stretch in the evenings before bed (I feel noticeably better in the mornings if I stretch in the evenings!), once the interval work is done shut it down and finish the ride easy - like 50-60% FTP.
- Hydrate - it’s dry here in the desert so being vigilant about the old 1-bottle-per-hour adage serves one well. Since I had lots of time to follow my bliss on the bike I’d stop at parks or trailheads to fill bottles if necessary and, so, could be a profligate with my consumption.
I’ve been back at it for almost 2 weeks and race again on the 20th. Training had been going very well. This next race is a flat open crit that suits my style and capabilities a lot better so I’m looking forward to AT LEAST finishing in the pack if not making something happen for myself or my team. Glad to be back with TR!