Sunday, March 8, 2015

Day #8 - Training Camp Weekend

Each year I try to get in a training camp to kickoff the season. I attempted to do this back on President's weekend in February but that was a flat out fail. #1 was that it was an absolute arctic weekend and would have made any riding very miserable, and #2 I was sick as a dog. Ok I don't get that cliche since my dog is happy even when she feels bad but I had zero energy and it was hard enough to leave my bed, never mind the house to go for a long bicycle ride. So I chose this weekend as it's a few weeks before my first hard test of the year - the Michaux Endurance race.

In previous years I've been part of a group that rallied together to go to some nicer weather regions and get some miles in as a collective and supportive unit. Blacksburg VA was one year, State College PA was another, and Flemington NJ was the last. Each year it seems to be ranging closer to home with more riders having family obligations and really not able to pull the trigger and get away. As I get older and more responsible I face the same dilemma, and it's really a good one to have. So I didn't get to go ride in AZ or FL and get a sunburn on my training camp weekend, but I'll make the best of what ever I can put together and help prep myself for a hard season ahead.

This weekend started out with a 2.5 hour ride Friday, a 7 hour century+ ride Saturday, a 4+ hour ride today and a 2 hour ride tomorrow. Each of the days searching out some nice steady hills to get the body ready for long days in the saddle and some tough consecutive days as well. Friday was a nice loop around my local area that included a few moderate hills. I felt pretty good but definitely reminded myself that there were a lot of miles to go this weekend. Saturday was the century ride so I aimed for the Tour de Lake race loop and then more. The TDL loop is 40 miles with some extensive climbing, and I know it pretty well. The day would prove to be warmer then Friday but only in theory it seemed. It was like the arctic tundra riding around Lake Hopatcong. It was frigid. The sun tried to fool you by looking warm, but the high winds coming off the lake said otherwise. It was great to get that loop over and then run for cover in some of the other areas that made better use of the sunshine. Today, Sunday, was another good few hours in the saddle and a test of how the legs felt after a 7 hour ride the previous day. They felt better than expected. A little tired here or there but when I needed them to punch of something steep they answered. Power was pretty steady and generally felt pretty good. The weather was more pleasant today too with warmer temps - warmer than any of the previous few days - but some mysterious rain showers that were not forecasted as well. They were just showers thankfully, so they just dissipated and moved on.

In general I'd call the weekend a success. I got to do a lot of great riding, and ride with a few teammates that I haven't seen in a while. Most of this winter I've been suffering alone, and it was great to torture - I mean ride with some others with similar goals. That alone was worth it. So even though I wasn't riding somewhere exotic, I got to do my riding and see my wife and dog which is great to come home too after putting so much physical stress on my body.

Also an update as today being day #8 of no crap in my diet. It's generally going well. I've been avoiding sugary drinks, and all the cookies and sweets that I normally consumed during the winter. It's been hard - but I can see the end goal. The winter is always hard as I think humans in general put on some extra pounds, but it's how you respond to it that makes the difference. I'm not putting up with this and by honing my diet it'll get me to where I want to be performance wise and weight wise. As of today I've lost 4 pounds or so and getting closer to the 160's again which I haven't seen since November. I'm dealing with the wonky feelings that come with kicking sugar and it can be rough but knowing that I'm cleansing my body and dropping the weight helps give me motivation to keep going. The biggest marker is hitting the scale each morning. That's what really keeps me in check when I have those hunger cravings.

Now don't get me wrong I'm not doing some anorexic diet, I'm substituting my normal cravings with smarter, healthier choices that serve more of a purpose than feeding my sugar cravings. The more I get away from sugar the easier it is. Hell yes do I want to make a batch of brownies or cookies and eat the whole thing. But that's not what is going to help me in the long run. Cleaner, more nutritious, and more variety is what I'm going for to make it a sustainable habit and I'll see where it goes from here. The goal would to be mid to low 160's by my first big race the 6 hours of Warrior Creek in April. We'll see...

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