Building Fitness in June

One of the most difficult things to do in any sport is enter the season midstream and perform.  I always dreaded the when one of my athletes had an injury at the beginning of the season and had to get back into racing in June/July.  It is very difficult to replicate game/race intensity in training.  Additionally, there is a rhythm to get back into of how the bike moves, how the race plays out, etc.  Then comes the first few races for the athlete, where they find themselves suffering and not placing well. 

So this is where I find myself.  I discussed my training camp to kick it back in and I have now been consistently getting on the bike.  I raced last Tuesday and had mixed results.  I didn’t finish last, but I didn’t finish 1st either.  The race is on a course that I have had plenty of success and I haven’t finished out of the top 10 in a long time, years.  And I often have contended for the win or won.  This week I finished out of the top 15.  Two days later I hit up the Bus Stop ride and did a bit better, winning the intermediate sprint and getting 2nd in the final sprint.   Unfortunately, there weren’t too many super fast folks on the ride, so those results are with a grain of salt.

I have a lot of holes right now in my fitness. 

  1. Endurance : I would say my endurance is at a 7 out of 10.  I have good tempo endurance, but not as big of a base as I should have this time of year.
  2. Climbing: 8 out of 10 (which is like a 5 out of 10 for most folks).  I am climbing well for me, but that doesn’t really help me out too much in my racing.
  3. Speed:  6 out of 10.  This is a big weakness right now.  I just don’t have the high end.  It is an odd feeling because this is usually where I am strongest.  I love the 53×11 roll and I am struggling with how uncomfortable I am when the pace is high.
  4. Sprinting: 7 out of 10.  I can almost always uncork a fast sprint, no matter my fitness.  However, repeatability is quite low.  I have 1-3 good sprints in me on a ride. I need to both improve my speed and my ability to recover quickly.  Another previous strength.

So what am I doing about this?  For one I am completing a balanced training plan that will have me overreaching and playing with overtraining.  I will be working on the endurance and speed portions on the list the most.  Long rides, extended race pace efforts, and repeating high intensity efforts.  The balance of pushing myself, and not going over the edge, in an effort to improve to quickly will be the difficult part of the equation. 

There is also the mental portion of this, I have to have confidence I’ll get there.  It is so odd to have the elements that are usually your go to strengths not be there in June.  One advantage of being a “seasoned veteran”(code for old guy) is that you have been there before and there isn’t too much panic.  I know that if I put in a solid month and do the critical training that I will be at 9 out of 10 quickly.  I’ve simply gone through it enough times.

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