Monday, May 28, 2012

Self Improvement

Keep lookin' up!
This morning I competed in an unsanctioned time trial over a rolling 19.3-mile course in northwestern Washington County.  I placed 9th out of 11 racers, but my performance vis-à-vis the others isn’t the story.  The time trial mixed riders of different ages, abilities and equipment choices.  Some racers went full-aero.  I went, by necessity, with a standard road bike, wheels, helmet, shoes, etc.

The takeaway from today is that I’m faster than I was last July when I first competed on this course.  I finished then in 57:23.  Today I finished in 54:47, beating the old time by 2:36.  That’s a big improvement.  Some of it can be attributed to weight loss: I’m 5 pounds lighter than I was then.  (I’m 10 pounds lighter than I was on this date last May.)  And perhaps a little of that improvement can be attributed to familiarity with the course—it’s important to know where to go hard and where to conserve energy.  But the biggest factor by far is fitness itself.  I have more of it, the result of training with greater intensity.  The WORS races, the practice crits at Stocky’s, the spirited Thursday evening group rides … they all add up.  Diet counts for a lot too, and with that in mind I have been keeping a food journal since April 15.  Knowing that I have to record everything I eat makes me less likely to choose bad foods and beverages.  And, of course, rest is critical.  I did last year’s TT at the end of a 1,020-mile month and I was a bit fried.  This year I’m concentrating more on quality workouts followed by quality recovery, rather than stubbornly pursuing every last mile.

Getting adequate rest before next Sunday’s WORS race at Wausau should be easy, especially if we get the cloudy, 50-something-degree weather that the experts have predicted for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  That’s not how I would have liked to welcome June, but at least the weekend forecast is promising.  I’ll probably hit New Fane for some mountain biking skills practice tomorrow evening, then take a rest day on Wednesday.  Thursday might be a good day for a hard 1-hour road ride on my lunch break, then on Friday I might do a fast Eisenbahn ride to Campbellsport and back on the cyclocross bike.  On Saturday I will pre-ride at Wausau on a course I think will be a good match for me.

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