Smarter Riding is Necessary

Strava has these training plans, that if you follow them, they will improve your abilities.  I’ve been through Carmichael Training Systems’ 30 and 60 second sprint plans in two months.  I’m on the 90 second sprint plan right now in its third week, but with a little deviation.  I opted to ride a club ride on the Monday last week instead of opting for a rest day.  This, after last Sunday’s hard effort in a criterium.  And then I managed to swap out my rest day and made it into Tuesday instead – using Yin Yoga and Meditation and then Vinyasa Yoga as my “easy workout”.  Granted, the plan seemed to work, up to the point when it didn’t.

Vinyasa Yoga, especially when heated is hardly an easy workout, even though I felt so much better.  My muscles were tired.  I was tired.  And with the swapping of a rest day, it messed up the entire plan.  The plan was messed up because I paid for it on Saturday and Sunday.  That and because I didn’t get enough rest.  I only had myself to blame.

The fatigue set in on today’s criterium.  Saturday’s ride had overtaxed my legs and they couldn’t recover.  After a crash on the third lap where wheels touched, releasing the chaos into the peloton, riders running into each other and others scrambling to avoid the carnage – I went the agricultural route simulating cyclocross, a few of us caught back up but I had nothing in my legs left.  And with every lap that had passed, my speed kept dropping.  I was in the downward spiral off the back.  It was the worst feeling, but I still pushed on, even though my legs were screaming.

And of course, my teammates pushed on.  According to their reports, they pressed the pace and never let up.  They pressed so hard, I almost got lapped on the last lap.  Lesson to me, kudos to my team.  We even got a third place.

And this is where smart riding is really necessary.  Tactics placed our team in a better position when the field was much bigger than last week’s.  But there wasn’t smart riding on my part, especially if I go off the training plan.  With the Tour of Battenkill coming up this Saturday, this week should be dedicated to rest and tapering down, not to some ego-driven riding.  That’s not smart riding.  And I’ve had this thought in my head for the longest time, having raced back in the 1990’s:

“You must ride without an ego.”

When you ride without an ego, and use more of your mind to ride smart, conserving your energy and expending it only when necessary, your chance of success is much greater.  The other side of course, is to consistently press the pace – something you cannot do alone.  And in the Battenkill, I will be alone in my category, so it will be challenging.

I’ll be there to test myself in a broader competition.  I’ll do as many things right as I can in the race – stay in the front, avoid crashes and punctures, stay upright.  And I’ll do as many things right leading up to the race.  My soul demands it.

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