I completed my first race of 2016 and it was a doozy. I managed to have a pretty relaxed week (except a massive dehydration run on Monday that also worked in some major stomach issues, note the speed climbing is way slower than descending, heck even try to figure out when I started falling apart https://www.strava.com/activities/536081321) and felt ready to race on Sunday. This race is on a mix of dirt and paving and the dirt is fantastic – smooth and fast. Normally a perfect race for a guy like myself. I haven’t been posting much about my 2016 goals, but I have some big ones that don’t involve bike racing that have kept me pretty occupied. (more on that later, but he major point is I haven’t been riding much or as fast as I need to) I am lighter than I have been since my mtb days and lighter than I was when I had my last successful road campaign by 12 lbs. due to these other training goals. I am also very fit, just not necessarily bike fit. As you will see, this is clearly a new concept that I still don’t understand.
I started off in the race chasing down the 1st move and sitting 3rd wheel into the dirt. I felt OK, but my legs and HR just seemed a bit locked up. Of course, that has happened a ton of times and I was expecting it to go away as the race progressed. On the way over to the race, my HR was in the 140s when I have been doing group rides at race pace with an average HR of 143. https://www.strava.com/activities/509413986 I didn’t think this would have too much impact and I was just excited, but instead this was a great indicator of something going on and I blew up right away. I couldn’t stick the turns on the dirt like I used to and I didn’t have the outright speed I needed to stay in the group.
I suffered through the day and actually felt fine, just couldn’t kick in any speed. I’ll have to chock a 20th place up to a weird combination day. I did end up hitting the ride home on a flat tire and I am sure I was losing air via a slow leak the entire day, but that isn’t what did me in. So a combination of nerves, a bad day, a week with stomach issues prior and a bad day must be it. I hope this doesn’t become a trend and then I will have to chock it up to poor training or just getting too dang old.
On a good note, one of the athletes I coach kicked my butt and put up much faster laps that I did. One of the hidden benefits of coaching, when you suck there is always the fall back of your athletes doing well.
On another good note, the team did great and placed riders in nearly every race. My race had a 2nd place finish to show in what clearly felt like a fast race to my old legs.
I know I didn’t tap into much during the race when the day after I was able to hit a PR on a trail run and record the 5th fastest Strava time on my 6 mile run. I wasn’t even sore or fatigued at all, so I am guessing that is a sign that I had something going on in the race that isn’t normal.