Sunday, June 23, 2013

Time Takes Time

Sometimes you have to march to the beat of your own drum.
On Wednesday afternoon I did an Eisenbahn State Trail ride to Campbellsport and back. I might have chosen to ride with the Ozaukee Bicycle Club, but I didn’t. After work I had 4.5 hours of daylight with which to complete a ride and to cut the grass in the back yard. Both of those things had to be done, in that order. Switch the order and I could have made the OBC ride but with diminished energy. That’s no way to train. I pushed the pace on my Eisenbahn ride and got a really good workout, and it didn’t matter that I was a little fatigued while I was mowing my lawn.

On Thursday I worked through my lunch break to create a little extra time at the end of the afternoon for another solo ride. I might have chosen to ride with the group from the high school parking lot, but I didn’t. I really wanted to catch the opening day of the Tour of America’s Dairyland.

On Saturday afternoon I rode alone again. I might have chosen to ride in the morning with the Washington County Bicycle Club, but I didn’t. The club’s 54-mile ride included a lunch break and probably took the group something like 5 hours to complete. I had other commitments and simply didn’t have that much time to give. My 1-hour solo ride probably conferred just as much training benefit anyway, because I was able to ride faster than I would have with the club.

I am having a big re-think about the way I use my time, and group rides are taking a beating in that internal dialogue. It’s usually true that I would be better off doing my own thing. On weekdays, starting my own ride at 4 p.m. means warmer temperatures and no worries about running out of daylight. On weekends, being able to pick my own time allows me to ride when the weather is most to my liking. At almost any time, riding solo creates an opportunity to address specific training needs in ways that would be incompatible with group riding. There are many benefits to group riding, of course, but when you look at my upcoming race schedule they are not the benefits I really need. More time riding singletrack and more TT efforts will pay larger dividends.

Since mid-April I have been averaging about 8 hours of saddle time per week. That’s not bad, but I would like to increase my training volume in what remains of June and throughout July. The only practical way to do that is to start as early as I can on those weekday afternoons. I’m not saying that all group rides are off my calendar, but they aren’t automatically on it either. I know the plan I want to follow. If rain wipes out my singletrack practice on Tuesday, then I will make up that workout on Wednesday or Thursday. I haven’t really been training for the kinds of races that I have been doing. Time to start.

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