Training after a 2 week holiday - strange phenomenon occuring

Hello fellow TR’ers,

I’ve been training hard for a ride here in Australia called Peaks Challenge, on March 10th. 235km (all on road) with around 4,000m climbing. On new years eve I did a 30km climb as a part of the actual course and averaged just under 3w/kg for 1 hour 50 min, so fairly comfortable with my progress at the time (my FTP is around 3.3w/kg). I kept training in early January (feeling really good) but then I had a 2 week holiday, which I just returned from on Wednesday. My first ride post-holiday was a 5-hour endurance ride yesterday (Saturday) with 1,400m climbing, and it was quite a strange ride. My cardio fitness seemed to be ok (averaged 146bpm, and I am 38 years old) and there was no spiking that usually occurs from lack of fitness…but the big concern was the alarming lack of strength up the climbs and the incredible amount of lactic acid build up when nowhere close to max heart rate (and no issues with nutrition on the ride). So cardio was fine but just no legs whatsoever. In fact it’s been a very long time since I’ve felt that bad on the bike. Quite demoralising.

(While I was on my holiday I did 4 sessions on a (pretty ordinary) indoor bike in the gym. In each session I did 5 x 5 minute big gear efforts (at Z5 heart rate), all in the first week of the holiday, I had the second week completely off the bike. So if anything I thought I would’ve come back a bit stronger.)

I did a TR session tonight Holt Hill -2, felt a little better, again a normal heart rate (3/4 of the time in Zone 2, 1/4 in Z3) but legs still in quite a lot of pain.

Has anyone else experienced this? Is it just some time for muscle memory to kick back in? I’m not too keen feeling this way with only 6 weeks to the event.

Nothing strange at all. Also no solution but to get back to training.