Well… better late than never I suppose. I am already over a week into the 6th and final block of the Sessions:6 Offseason program. I’m starting to feel really fit and am cracking out to race and test my fitness.
After doing some power testing and getting my new numbers we tackled some anaerobic power intervals in block 5. Block 4 was all about VO2 max intervals which I was pretty familiar with but had kind of avoided over the last few years. Anaerobic intervals are something I had never done or focused on. I did 15”, 30” and 60” intervals based on my 1’ (600w), 2’ (500w), and 4 ‘ (400w) power numbers/goals.
I actually thought these would be harder than they were for me but I kinda crushed these ones. It was just fun to hammer for the shorter durations. The intervals were over before the suffering really began to start which is the exactly opposite of VO2 intervals… they are ALL ABOUT SUFFERING. With each week I was putting out more power than the week before for all the durations. So easy to see progress.
I coupled these intervals with some strength/big gear work and started to knock out some really long rides. The long rides were a bit tough at first. I seemed to really start to suffer around the 3-hour mark but after taking in a bunch of cals in the middle of these rides I always finished really strong. I just don’t think I was eating enough before the ride or in the first few hours. I’ve kind of changed me eating strategy before and during these long rides and it’s making a big difference… just more real food, and a lot of it, and less bars and gels.
I’m stoked with how block 5 went and how I came out of it. Some may wonder what these short, really hard intervals have to do with getting ready to race ultra distance mixed terrain bike races… well for me I know it’s going to take being a strong all around cyclist to compete in these races. I am going to need to cover attacks, surge to stay with a group, attack myself so I feel I really need solid 15″ to multi hour power. It feels good to have confidence that no matter what is thrown at me I’ll have the fitness to react.
At the start of block I also got my new Allied Cycle Works AllRoad…. My dream bike. This bike, and being ambassador for Allied, will have a post of it’s own and one will be coming soon.
So that brings us to this weekend … The Belgian Waffle Ride. I’m so stoked to get out there and suffer. I did this race in 2013 for “fun” and finished somewhere in the top 20. Over the years the ride/race has grown and now a bunch of pros, retired, pros, and just super fit dudes do this event and race it. This year it is 136 miles (46 miles of dirt – the most they’ve ever had) and almost 12,000 ft. of climbing and the field will be deeper than ever.
I think most cyclists who follow the pro racing love the classics…. and I for sure do. I love how hard they are and what it takes to just finish them. You really get so see the top dudes suffer and usually on their own and it’s not some calculated race like you see at most of the grand tours… it’s just who’s the toughest on the day. As an amateur bike racer thr opportunity to do races that hard and long are hard to come by… if not impossible when it comes to traditional road racing… and that’s the reason doing long mixed terrain/gravel events has me so stoked. The races/rides I am doing this year are going to be F’n hard… really F’n hard. They will be a true test of endurance and suffering and the people near the front with the toughest on the day. It’s as close as I’ll ever get to racing a classics style race.
I am not necessarily treating BWR as a race, although I want to finish a close as I can to the front, but more of a really hard day on the bike. I want to suffer… I want to ride really hard but I want to go out smartly and hopefully clean up some of the inevitable carnage the back half of the race. I want it to be a true test of my fitness with the upcoming events that I really want to race. I want to see what gaps I have in my fitness and nutrition strategy so I can work on them in the 7 weeks following before Dirty Kanza. The course also isn’t closed which as somebody who has been whacked by a car in southern California, makes me a bit nervous so I won’t be taking any risks out there.
So, my plan is pretty simple… Start smart (don’t get my ambitions mixed up with my capabilities and try to hang the pro front pack), ride hard, really push myself to place of suffering, and finish strong…. And hopefully share some miles with some of my socal friends riding. Then enjoy ALL THE BEERS! I am hoping somewhere on the course… maybe double peak… there will be and opportunity for some beer hand ups!
I can’t wait to get started on Sunday and see how deep I can go!
I am already out in California for a couple of days working in the office and then Maggie and Fi fly in Thursday night for a bit beach time (hopefully). It’s gonna be a rad weekend for sure.