Weekends are the time and place for relaxation and training. Consequently they both go hand in had very well. Train a lot in the morning hours and then relax through the afternoon. Though, I was not very productive with respect to school or any other project I may have going on I was very productive with respect to training and relaxing.
After talking with my buddy Jason on friday about a possible training ride saturday and then consulting with the coaches it was determined that at 10 am Saturday morning I would meet up with the Gateway Ride in Boulder. I was also tolled that the Gateway ride heads up to Carter lake for their trip and as this is about an hour north of Me I figured if I have Shannon drive me to Boulder and drop me off at the stop point I can just bail on the group as I get close to home and then save a lot of time driving to and from the ride. Unfortunately this led to me not having any warm up in my legs at the beginning of the ride as we briskly set out from Boulder. I have not ridden a group ride in quite some time and the closest I have come in the past 2 years has been collegiate racing back east. This turned out to be very similar to racing on the road but in a more fluid and fun way with far less possibility of crashing. The pace was hard and fast, we reached a typical landmark of mine only 10 minutes past what it would take me to get there from home and I live closer to Carter Lake than Boulder is! I could tell from the very beginning that this was going to be a good day, the legs felt good, and I felt like I could definitely conquer the world. Part way through the ride I came to the front to take my turn pulling over a small roller and found I had gapped the group pretty good suddenly, which set off the day of attacks. Then as we moved towards Carter Lake and started heading up the approach before the final ascent the group became disorganized while chasing down another attack. During this disorganization I ended up on the front a lot and by the time we hit the steep switchback ascent I found my legs were pretty dead and not willing to really do there job anymore. I fell off the pace up the climb, but was not the last to crest the top, which made me feel good. By the end of the carter lake before you descend back down the group regrouped and I was able to get back and sit in for awhile, work on the front, and even felt like I had the legs to go after one of the late attacks, but mistimed my move and couldn't get it going. Then the last little short steep kicker came and I lost contact hard core. It was tough and I was definitely way in the red. Not sure what was up, but maybe on these types of rides I should get back to my use of gu's every 30 minutes, like in racing, and that might keep the legs rolling a little stronger and faster. Spun back to town with Jason and definitely felt worked over by the time I got home. By the way, the ride started out in the nastiest wet conditions possible, leading to my face looking like this when I got home:
Almost as if I'd just had a muddy mountain or cross race!
Well, after spending a nice evening with Shannon resting and relaxing and then getting up bright and early sunday morning, can't seem to sleep in all that late anymore!?! I decided that my many weeks on the road bike without hitting the dirt were getting a little old and I needed some time ripping some singletrack. With temps nearing 60 and trail reports for Devil's Backbone and Blue Sky Trail being dry I loaded up the car and cruised up there. Man it was beautiful yesterday afternoon. Warm, sunny, and the trails were definitely in perfect condition. Maybe a little crowded for the first couple of miles up the first climb but by the time I hit the technical trails I was good and things were pretty empty. I cruised down the blue sky trails and the descents and then decided that I should get in some good climbing hours, which in this area is pretty easy. As I headed around I went up the Indian Summer Trail, good rip roaring fun with a nice switchback climb to the top, and then kept heading on to Horsetooth Res. I've never ridden the trails at Horsetooth Res, but have ridden up to it and definitely heard some good things. When I arrived I headed out on the main fireroad trail and then kept cruising up the Tower Trail, which is a beast of a fire road climb. If anyone has ridden this you know what it is like, just brutal. But if you want a comparison, the second set of climbs at the Breckenridge Fall Classic, or the second to last descent of the Firecracker 50. Basically, stupid steep. After a good 10 minutes of this I figured I should hit some singletrack and crusied down some trail I don't know the name of, but it was sweet!!!! I would have to say that of all the trails I've ridden in the Front Range Horsetooth definitely has some of the best!! It was beautiful, a good mix of in the woods and open field riding, technical but a good flow and definitely challenging!!! After finishing out a little loop at Horsetooth I headed back the way I came and found myself riding like a man possessed. I was cruising up climbs in my big ring and just laying the hammer down. Even made the return ride 7 minutes faster than it took me to get out there going the exact same route in reverse! But I did stop to take a photo, as I was about to head up the final climb back towards Devil's Backbone this is the view I had through the valley:
this photo really doesn't quite do it justice as it was with my cell phone, many I need to get a digital camera for this stuff!
All in all a good weekend with some definite fitness gains. Now for a day off, and back at it for my last week of training in this 4 week block before the cycle begins again and race season really starts on March 22nd!