I think that the past week was like many other off weeks during cyclocross season. I see a gap in the schedule and imagine all of the things that I will accomplish in my free weekend, but then I don’t ‘cause tired and ‘cause fall.
It doesn’t help (or maybe does) that I more thoroughly cooked myself early in the week than I have in quite some time. After a double race weekend, I hit the weight room on Monday, did maximal effort 30-second intervals on Tuesday, and had big plans for Wednesday after I took off work to catch up on some sleep debt acquired during the past two weekends away from home. Sounds like a formula for being cooked, right?
The problem is that cyclocross tired is different from endurance tired. It’s buried deeper and the short efforts give the illusion of having not done that much. Plus, my races so far are proving how crucial high intensity work is before the beginning of ‘cross season, and I was trying to make up for my lack of it. At the same time, I was wanting to get in some quality gravel time before Iron Cross, so I took advantage of my free afternoon Wednesday to try and do that.
It didn’t go so well. I rode my mountain bike with the intention of climbing Alan Seeger and then scouting some pieces of W101 single that I hadn’t ridden before. I’m not sure if it was my hydration pack or the strain of the previous night’s intervals, but my chest and shoulder muscles felt really tight and constricted, and I couldn’t breathe well on the Alan Seeger climb. I should have just turned around and called it at that point, but I kept going, although I was smart enough to skip one steep descent that would have required even more climbing to back to car. By the time I finished the one section of singletrack that I did do, I had just a little over an hour before I had to be back at the car to leave for an appointment, three decent-sized climbs between me and the car, and legs than felt like Jello. Fast forward an hour and fifteen minutes and a lot of pain and I made it back 10 minutes late and shaking from being hungry and tired. At that point I knew that I needed to back the eff off for a little while if I wanted to make it through ‘cross season.
I mentioned before that I’d purchased a size small Specialized Hellga without doing enough research on the sizing, and how I’d struggled really badly with the fit. Not long after, I realized that I really just needed to cut my losses and get a medium ASAP. I was super bummed/stressed out about it for a while, because I needed to sell the small and was afraid of being stuck with it. Luckily, my friend Emily who used to live in Bloomington agreed to buy the small, and I went ahead and ordered a medium. She now lives outside of Cleveland, and I was supposed to meet her at the Mohican trails in Ohio to do the bike transfer. Due to my cooked state, I just met her at her house instead.
|I always look super silly when I know someone is taking a picture of me on a fat bike.|
It was way better that way because we got to spend the afternoon hanging out and talking and did a nice, easy ride on the trails near her house. They were the perfect trails for a chill fat bike ride: not too much climbing, pretty smooth, and lots of nice, swoopy turns. Ten or so miles of that was way better than a beat down at Mohican.
I spent Sunday being super lazy except for giving the kitchen and bathroom a long-overdue cleaning, and waiting for Frank to return from the road world championships in Richmond. Because of my lack of interest in road cycling and my previously-stated, if not actualized, desire to accomplish things on my weekend off, he went down for a dude weekend with his Internet bike friends. It’s sort of funny having another world championship pass since what turned out to be the best disappointing day of my life in Louisville 2013, when the forces that eventually pulled us together were set into motion and neither of us had any idea yet. Whenever I see a picture of the crowd in Louisville, I scour it to see if someone happened to catch him and me in the same frame. So far I haven’t found one, but that’s okay. We’ve managed to be in a few pictures together since.
Hopefully, I didn’t mess up the trajectory of any important future life events by not going to Richmond. Since I’ll never know whether I did or not, I’m pretty happy with the way things turned out. I got some rest, got to catch up with an old friend, and got Small Hellga off my hands. I would call that pretty successful.