So, this is the 3rd winter that I've gone through a structured winter training program and the 4th winter that I've been training to race, particularly with the hope of coming out in the spring so fast that I even amaze myself. Unfortunately, that never happens. Being, as I have a lot of time on my hands recently, particularly, with school not starting up for another few days, I've had the opportunity to really think about the past couple of years of training and see some interesting trends.
3 years ago was my first time coming into the winter months with the intent of racing a full season. I had just started racing the fall before and actually training and trying to be fast. Turned out to be a good fall and Bard College had just started up a cycling team/club so things were really falling into place. Well, I had been a swimmer and was pretty darn fast (14th in the state of PA for the 100 meter breatstroke, and a member of one of the top 10 Medley Relay teams) so I thought with my years of experience training for that I would be able to get this cycling thing down. Plus I had just won two races the fall before pretty handedly, so.... I really thought I could pull this off. Ouch, no way! I did the worst possible thing. Let's ride 2 hours a day, every day as hard as possible. I bought a cycling computer (only speed, distance, and time) and made it a goal to ride as many miles each week as possible. So, I would wake up early hammer as hard as I could to Turkey Hill, hammer home and go to class. Then during my 2 hour break between classes I would run to my dorm change and hammer back up Turkey hill or another 1hr long ride in the area, as hard as I could. As any of you know, this = BAD! Turns out I didn't get very fast, got very slow, tired, overtrained. Not a good mix.
Well, 2 years ago, my first winter on a structured plan seemed to be a good idea. I had made a connection with Christian Favata, pro xc guy from New York, and he pretty much was getting me going for the year. Well, once again, though I was much more structured, used a heart rate monitor, and was good about staying in the prescribed zones, my season turned out pretty rough. I didn't see anything like speed until the end of collegiate mountain bike season when I was racing cross and maybe one short track that year. Well, I now know this has something to do with endurance and years training.
Now, last year was much better. I was smoking all winter on the bike. Getting faster every week on my climbs, killing it for the endurance rides, and just feeling awesome. Also, had a pretty good road season for the first time ever, something I was feeling good about. Well, once again mountain season came around, raced once well and then got very slow for the next 2 months, yet got faster every wednesday when I was stomping up Mohonk mountain in my big ring, hmmm....
Right now I am sitting here thinking back on all this and realizing, that I was just training too much and too hard! I have some new coaches this year, Sean and Susie of Team FITaos in Taos, NM (Thanks Macky for getting me hooked up with them) and after 5 weeks of training this year already I am definitely starting to feel strong and pretty quick, but I haven't done any top end work at all, something I have never done the 3 past years. In fact, the hardest work out I have had is tempo intervals (a pleasure I get to do today, again!). So, hopefully, this year will turn out differently, with me flying when the Mountain States Cup kicks off in Fruita at Rabbit Valley!
Hope to see you all out there!