Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Training Progress

Well, I haven't written in a while because I've been busy with work and training. Between the two, it seems like I don't have a spare minute in any part of my day. Not that that necessarily means life is stressful... just full. Anyhow, since the weather's getting a little nicer, Cale and I have been putting in three and four hour bike rides. We were out for seven hours one day after planning on a three hour ride with friends. Two friends fell by the wayside, but the third got dragged along for the whole thing, and he's not even a cyclist! Or wasn't, rather. I think spending that much time out on a bike ride flips some sort of switch. Without further boring monochromatic words, here are some coloured pictures:

The original five,
Andy, Cale, Katy, Pete, Jamie

and the remaining three.
Pete, Cale, me

On that ride (nice weather!).
Jamie, Cale, Pete

On a recovery ride after lifting at the gym.

On a ride this past Sunday, first Cale...
Cale and Sunset- awww.

and then me and the Blue.

Earlier on in the year.
I love the colors in this photo.

This past weekend, Cale and Pete and I went down to John Muir to help with trailbuilding. Some weekends it's just trail maintenance. Whassat? you ask. Well, it's basically fixing up problem spots; maybe a log in a logover has rotted and needs to be replaced, or maybe a rut has formed. We did a little maintenance on a piece on the way out to the focus of the weekend. Here, the water wasn't running down the hill and off of the trail right, and was causing a puddle on the 'inside' of the trail. We effectively shaved off the 'outside' of the trail, making it lower and promoting healthy runoff. (Healthy runoff? Sounds strange.)

The First Piece

But after that quick job, we journeyed onward to where they had marked off the new trail. We spent the next few hours moving rocks, building up parts of the trail and just grooming other parts. Here's a before shot of a corner:

Corner Before

and here's the after:

Corner After

I guess it's kind of hard to tell what you're looking at (and I won't bore my three loyal readers with more pictures of dirt), but basically the rocks in the first picture were stacked up like a wall to build up the outside of the corner, to keep people from sliding out while barreling down the hill or some such thing. Building walls is fun! You don't need much more of a reason, I don't think.

Well, so we did that for most of the morning, then headed out to get a sandwich at the ever delicious general store. Ah, a good, tiring morning. How about a three hour road ride? Yeah, how about it! We pretty much just headed out in a good looking direction and went from there. Cale had his GPS to guide us. Here we are, stopped in Whitewater on the way back as we deliberate whether or not to make the ride longer.

Rerouting via GPS

Almost done, we stopped for some fresh water, dumping out the dregs of Cytomax in our bottles.

Pete and the Flowing Well

On the way back we all raced in some sprints between telephone poles, and I've gotta say, I felt pretty good. All of this training, it seems, is starting to pay off. I'm just gonna go ahead and be 'that person' and say that I got my wattage up to 947. A few months ago, I was trying very hard for high numbers (during the honeymoon phase with the Power Tap) and hitting the 700's consistently, so I think that this is a Real Measurable Difference and not a quirk.

In the end, numbers are just numbers. However, hitting 947 was surprising and felt darn good... and that does matter. I hate to admit it, but confidence boosts are important to me. It gets me excited to race, and who doesn't love feeling great about themselves, or feeling that sense of accomplishment? Seeing some results makes me feel like training is worth it, and that I might be able to do some good things this season.

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