Monday, June 21, 2010

Elite Nationals Week

In the spirit of racing 100 miles around the Aubrey Butte course in Bend and getting my arse handed to me Sunday, I concluded a 23hr, 604km training week that involved the season's first McKenzie Pass with Dad (not a hard day, but a long one), four days of 4+hrs in a row, close to 20,000 ft of climbing, an "off" day working and visiting in Portland, and of course getting soaking wet in ridiculous late-June rain at the start of a long ride on three occasions.

The human body is a strange machine. Mine responds really well to volume, when I have the time to do it. My longest week in the last month - maybe more - was 15 1/2hrs. Add half-again as much and I am flying at the end of it. During Sunday's ride, wrapping up my biggest week since spring break, I still managed a solid 20min TT effort (in full rain gear) in the aero bars kicking along at my best-ever Coburg TT power but 10bpm lower HR - and the legs felt good. It's coming around.

Wednesday I took off for the east side of the hills with bikes, camping gear, and a very rough gameplan for hitting up Nationals and enjoying the hell out of Bend. After a good night's sleep in an actual bed, thanks to some generous parents of a friend of a very nice lady, I went on over and got my butt kicked against the best amateur TT'ers in the country on the Skyliner++ course - 12k from the start to the turn on Skyliner, 56x11 style descent, then a 10k lollipop loop on a hard rolling course that killed me. Starting first in the Elite Men's group, I opened the steady state motor and did a strong climb and descent but suffered like a dog trying to punch those rolling climbs and keep speed down the back sides. Fun stuff.

Thursday night we drove out Hwy 242 and camped under the stars with a big-ass campfire and wicked good campfire pasta - garlic, salami, tomato sauce, whole wheal spaghetti. And a bottle of wine. Can't beat it.

Friday morning, back up the pass - from the snow gate. In the sun. loosened up the legs and grinned the whole way up.

Friday night I avoided the mayhem of the Elite crits downtown and instead sat in the grass reading my Michener and watching the NWX crit - a great race since they make a real block party of it and there's a good crowd that you can really work and put on a show for. Feeling good, I decided to do the 8pm 1/2 race since it was a small group and a nice course, I could make it what I wanted and not blow my legs up but keep them fresh. I rode up to the break, took 3 of 5 primes in the race (first went to a 2man break early, last went to the pack), and just drove the break most of the race since Broadband had 3 guys in it who were determined not to do anything, Sagebrush had 2 and only 1 working, and I would always rather drive it than get caught. I turned the screws, had fun, and came out ahead on the day (money back, massage, beer and pint glasses - love small local races). The finale was predicable, but I got the announcers and the crowd going by playing the showman, taking primes, and generally riding aggressively. That's always fun.

One more day to sit in a coffee shop, watch the US-Ghana game with Lenny later this morning, ride a loop of the Road Race course, then line up and get my butt kicked by the Elite Men, the real Cat 1's in this country, around a tough hilly course. But I should get a pretty good tan.

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