Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Big Push

Last year I took a week of vacation about 1 month before RAAM. The idea was to get out in the sun as much as possible and try to get acclimated to the summer heat. I have a nice, cushy air conditioned work environment which does nothing to help me get ready for the desert. My mind and body were screaming for some time off work earlier in the year, but I knew that it wouldn't be hot enough in March and April. Anyhow, I had a double cross Georgia record attempt scheduled for the end of my vacation week, so I primarily took it easy on the bike. I remember spending at least a couple hours each day programming the RAAM route into my laptop while I sat in the sun.

I had the same plan this year for my week of vacation, as it seemed to work for me last year. However, my plans for another cross state record to cap off the week did not work out, and in hindsight I think that this was for the best. It takes a lot of planning and effort to orchestrate and attempt something like that, and I was afraid of spending too much nervous energy trying to make it go well. Instead, I devised a plan to be on my bike for about 120 miles on each day of my vacation. This would simulate 2 time stations on RAAM, and hopefully would kick start me into shape in a similar fashion that BRAG did in my early days.

John Hughes revised my plan in a masterful fashion. Instead of steady efforts each day, he wanted me to ride long some days and ride hard other days. I would still do plenty of distance, but he wanted speed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The net result was an awesome week as follows:

Saturday: 270 miles on the North Georgia 400k. Absolutely mountainous (19,000 feet of climbing).
Sunday: Nada. I meant to do a recovery ride, but I was tired and got home late.
Monday: Visited the doctor and got good results. Did a 1 hour time trial (22.1mph, HR 152). Very windy conditions. Total of 40 miles.
Tuesday: Rode 120 miles before attending the Augusta Sports Council awards ceremony. Got to shake hands with Cal Ripken Jr.
Wednesday: Rode another 1 hour time trial, very windy conditions (21.7mph, HR 148). Total of 40 miles.
Thursday: John Hughes saw my time trial numbers and decided I was over training. I did a casual 40 mile ride.
Friday: 12 mile easy ride.
Saturday: Rode 180 miles. Most of it was with Gator Knievel until he decided to do a no-looking front flip over a speed bump at 21mph. He made it about 1/2 way. I think there's a reason 50 year old guys don't do a lot of BMX.
Sunday: rode 100 miles.

Week Summary: The final total for the week was 800 miles. I was motivated to put in a strong week and I think I did it. The temperature never got above 90 degrees, but I can't do much about that. I did get in just about every type of riding possible, including mountains, rough roads, and speed work. In a perfect world I wouldn't have to pay bills and could do this all the time, but I think I've prepared about as well as I can under the circumstances.