A rude awakening
So I guess I got the kick up the ass I needed and deserved. The first race of the year – a 10-mile TT on what should have been a reasonably quick course – was a complete and utter disaster. It wasn’t the weather (although that wasn’t great), it wasn’t the bike (despite some weird double-shifting on the rear cassette) and it certainly wasn’t the new Velotec skinsuit (although I had to pin the number as I didn’t have time to send to Nopinz to have a number pocket fitted).
No, it was at least 99% the rider.
I just had no power in my legs. Or I wasn’t willing to dig deep enough. One or the other. Or likely both.
I couldn’t even hold what should be my FTP for the horribly-poor 22 minutes and 41 seconds it took me to complete the ten-mile course. Okay, so my heart rate was maybe 5-6bpm down on what I’d normally expect to hold for a 10-mile TT, but it was definitely up there.
I hadn’t tapered, but who does for a local ten?
Nope, this was just a really poor showing. But as the first of the year, I’m not going to beat myself up too much. Perhaps too much time in the gym and not enough time on the bike over winter, but there’s still time to address that (and who knows, maybe the strength work will pay off eventually). There’s also time to remind myself how to hurt.
I think some people are naturally better at it than others. And some train for it specifically. I think I’m a bit too old school at times, as I don’t tend to hurt myself too much in winter training. So I think perhaps I just forget how to dig really deep when I need to.
A few more races and hopefully it’ll come back.
That said, I also need to take a proactive stance to altering my training. Time to reduce the gym time (I’m targeting twice a week for strength and core work from now on) and switch the focus from outright strength to more endurance ability. To do this, I need to back off the weight but dramatically up the reps.
I’m thinking like 15 reps at 55-60% of my three-rep weight. Three sets of that super-setted with a complementary exercise.
And then I need to MTFU and be prepared to hurt a bit more in training. Which probably means I need to do a proper FTP test sometime soon (if my FTP is really as bad as Saturday’s power figures would suggest, I’m in trouble!).
Which brings up a perennial issue. I really don’t have confidence in my Garmin Vector 2 pedals. Although I’m pretty careful about torqueing them consistently when moving them from bike to bike, and I try to keep the batteries in a good state, I had a nagging feeling from the first ride on the TT bike (after having them on the road bikes over winter) that they were under-reporting power. It may be that they’re spot-on, but when you have doubts, it plays on your mind.
Anyway, it was probably a good thing that I had a crappy race. I know I need to up my game.
On the other front, the running is going okay (albeit slow, very slow). My ankles are pretty sore, but as I reported recently, I’m becoming more and more concerned that it’s not just the running that’s to blame. I think the bike might be contributing more than I originally thought.
I’ll do another 10-mile TT in a couple of weeks on a course I know well and have plenty of benchmarks on. Maybe that will give me a better feel for where I’m at now compared to the end of the 2018 season.
And I should probably enter a triathlon and aquabike race or two!