It is Sunday morning around 8:09 AM and today I'm finalizing my second month of training. Next week is rest week! So I have plenty reasons to celebrate. For those who don't know me, I follow a conditioning routine in a set of three-week intervals with the fourth week used to recuperate. My goal on the third week is to train for 20 hours or more. This type of training regimen was easy back on college days, but so difficult nowadays due to the amount of responsibilities and people I have around. Add to this my well-known poor planning and my open agenda. To be fast, drop riders on the hills, be at the front of the pack, contest a sprint and ride the Tour of Colorado in descent form, life needs to have structure and a well-elaborated training schedule. Despite all the week's inconsistencies, I think today is possible to train for four hours and achieve my third-week goal!
Since Thursday I realized that I had my momentum back. The flu, cough, and the weakness were a thing of the past. I still had the job insecurity pestering me and other ongoing social things. Although I managed to take on each possible opportunity and at the end I got a great training day. In the morning, it was all about strengthening the core, at lunch time I rode for 2.30 and by night time I was pumping up the upper body. If you all recall, Wednesday I did a three training sessions. Was I beaten by Thursday night? You bet. My bike ride was challenging. For the first time I ventured to back to back long hilly roads; yes I'm slow and heavy. My primary goal was to keep my heart in zone 3. I'm not yet ready to do intervals; I'm set by climbing slow and easy to burn the midsection fat or love handles.
Friday probe to be interesting because I tried to emulate what I did on Wednesday. Legs weight training followed by an hour of cycling. To spice up things, I rode my bike most of the time on the 53x14. My goal was to start training the legs to smash big gears. It was important to have a good form rather to have a high cadence. Sure it was fun and easy with the tailwind pushing me, but hard and demoralizing with the wind against me. Too early in the training program to have strength and stamina, my anaerobic days are one month and half away perhaps. I'm not a happy camper when other riders pass me. I know I can go as fast as they not to mention going uphill. Sure I can climb, that's my terrain you know! But this is my base mileage three months. I gotta avoid being on red zone. Believe me I'm itching to go fast, close gaps, and breakaway with the best riders of my group ride. I long for the day that on the decisive climbs, I will be the one doing the attacks and counter attacks. I know what I'm capable of... But I owe to stay focus. These three months will have a big pay off when I start doing intervals sessions.
Last week I thought I will not see rain in San Diego until next year. Saturday morning was my big day to get the 4-hour ride done. It's been three weeks that I wanted to assess my physical conditioning during the fourth hour, but my life with bells and whistles, GF's drama, and other circumstances have prevented it me from riding for four hours straight. I wasn't too motivated when I saw the cloudy sky and heard the weather man brag about the 90% chance of rain. I had the sightliest doubt, I knew I wouldn't dare to ride. One thing is to ride in the middle of day when on a rainy day another is to solo the cold flooded streets of San Diego at 7 AM. But since I wanted to so bad to accomplish my goals, I grabbed my rain wear and embraced the idea that I would get wet no matter what. Sure, I like challenges and I rode east to Santee and 52 HWY hoping to get rain-on while climbing the long hills. It didn't rain on my way there, but God bless the sky heart it poured on my way back. I had to stop to put my glasses on because the nail sharpening rain drops were leaving blind. The head wind make things interesting, but seasoned in rainy days I was able to get home safe but surely soaking wet. Nothing special only 2:30 hrs in the bike. Again, I said it to myself... “Lance Armstrong said that if you train in the rain it counts as twice”
5th Week (Back in contention, Rain, Mental Toughness)
After taking a week off in Florida partying in style, I returned to San Diego to resume training. Back in Florida I logged only five hours of conditioning all focused on strengthening two of my weak spots: Core and Trapezius sections. My goal was to rest my legs, but by the end of the week I had three major hangovers, two pig-outs, and lots of lack of sleep. I was tired but so happy. Hey that was my rest week! My personal slogan is that life is too short to be playing Mr. Athlete 27/4 besides I needed time off from the bike, yes after completing my first month of training.
Back in San Diego I was eager to resume training and burn all the calories the hard liquor and Argentinian Steakhouse left me. To my surprise Southern California had several thunderstorm systems in the forecast. All weather men seemed to agree in one thing: stay home and dry. Yeah right -I thought.
Yes, it poured rain like never before. I rode my bike with determination and obviously with a rain jacket on thinking that no silly rain could stop me. Whatever it takes!--I thought. During the ride I had to duke up with the cars and the cross winds. Yes, I was the only freak on the road. Funny enough I got interviewed by Channel 6; I was all smileys of course and later that night I saw myself on TV. One thing that I learned from the Jerk (a.k.a Lance Armstrong) is that if you train on treacherous weather conditions, your training effort counts as twice. I totally agree. Riding a bike with 700x23c tires in the rain is though especially when there are cross winds and uncertainty on which route to take. To me it wasn't such a big deal in due part my bike experience in Florida where thunderstorms with cross winds are on the call of the hour. Besides it never freaking rains in Southern California, so to me it was all about seizing the opportunity. Obviously, riding in the city of San Diego during a storm can be a bit challenging and dangerous taking into account the slippery asphalt roads, flooding, landslides and worse the inexperience car drivers. Nowadays it amazes me how easy I confused being stupid with the need-to-seek-thrill and obtain self-actualization. But like Homer Simpson said it: You gotta do what you gotta do.
In sum, it rained for the entire week. Roads were flooded and filled with rocks and tree debris. The 24-Hour fitness became my second house. Besides my typical workouts, I came out with two leg strengthening gym sessions with the anaerobic zone in mind. No squats with Olympic bars or loud screaming for me. My leg strengthening routine consists of exercises that allow me to use leg muscles cyclists hardly use. I also did some core and upper body sessions with lots of indoor cardio. And by Friday I was back on the bike enjoying the last rainy day of the week and probably of the year.
I didn't ride on Saturday. Why? Because of some photography trip. Besides it was too cold and I felt extremely tired. I managed a late workout. On Sunday, I returned to my 3 hour cycling mark despite having sore legs and being pester by two weak knees. On top, my bad hip began to start acting funny. I ended strong but realized that it was time to visit Doctor Brown.