Tuesday, August 27, 2013


Why should American football players have all the fun, practicing themselves into states of exhaustion not once, but twice on hot summer days like this one? Today I waited for the temperature to hit 90, then went out on a solo road ride. An hour and a half later ... well, OK: I wasn’t exhausted, but I could tell I had made an effort. True exhaustion never actually came, but I got fairly close to it late this afternoon at cyclocross practice. With temperatures still in the 90s, seven riders tackled the Royal Oaks Park course. We reduced our race simulation from the normal 6 laps down to 4 as a concession to the heat, and that was enough. I rode at the same pace as last week and I could have hung in there for 2 more laps, but I’m glad I didn’t have to.

And the rest of the week looks properly hot: real summer weather. I will be out there to take advantage of it. I may even double-up again, perhaps pairing a morning road ride with an evening mountain bike ride on Thursday or Friday. But it looks like there’s a big cooldown coming just in time for Labor Day. Next week’s cyclocross practice might take place in 60-degree weather, which would more closely approximate the conditions we can expect in the early races of the upcoming season.

Next week’s practice will be the last of the four to which I originally committed, but I’m pretty sure we will extend the series for at least one week and perhaps as many as four. There’s still fitness to gain and technique to refine. To that last point, we will reconfigure the course next week to force a dismount and run-up situation at the bottom of the big hill. Without any stairs at our disposal, it’s the best we can do. Time to remove those water bottle cages, everyone, but they sure came in handy today!

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