It all started on Tuesday with a short, 2 hour thrash out on the Mountain Bike. It was a pretty nice evening and my task was to put in 20sec sprints every 2 minutes for an hour of this ride, which may not sound too bad, but by the end of the hour, my legs felt like jelly, especially compounded on the last week I spent in the hurt box.
The gloating part of my week started on Wednesday when I headed off to do my hill repeats. Now, I'd like to point out that until I received my month's program at the start of the week, I was actually foolish enough to think that seeing as I was racing Saturdays three out of the four weeks this month, I would miss out on hill climb Saturdays... Well, my coach had obviously also noticed this and was kind enough to move my hill rep days to Wednesday (cheers coach!). I headed out to Ngahere Park Road with some good fatigue in my legs, but after beating my PB last 3 weeks straight, I really couldn't handle the thought of not beating it again today. I have this pact I make with myself that whatever happens in this session, as long as I beat my PB with at least ONE climb, I need to be happy with that improvement... And off I went up the road on my first rep. I hit my first time check point and I was 15sec ahead of my previous personal best. "Holy Shit" I thought "I'm going to absolutely cream this!"... As I got closer and closer to the end of my five minute climb, I was definitely feeling the burn. I knew I was maybe pushing a bit too hard, but the temptation to smash my personal best was drawing me into stupidity. I hit the second pitch of the climb, got up out of the saddle and sprinted up it in my big chain ring. I knew that I had beaten my previous PB, but I wouldn't know by how much until I got home and uploaded my data. That was ok... My concern now was that I had gone so hard on this first climb and still had seven more to do... I really had smashed myself. My next climb felt so slow and painful. My legs were burning from the start of the climb, but at the finish point, it was actually still a very respectable climb. The rest of my reps followed suit... All very painful, but surprisingly consistent. It was actually quite an interesting test seeing how my body recovered and reacted after been smashed at the start of a ride, and I wasn't displeased with the results. When I arrived home, I uploaded the data from my Garmin to see I had beaten my previous PB by nearly 100m and had ascended the climb at an average of 17.5km/hr! To be realistic, I reckon this PB may stick around for a while (it was a pretty good climb!), but it won't stop me from trying to smash it again next week. The other cool news I had to gloat about was that my new Yeti ASR5 Carbon frame has arrived and I can expect to see it built up and shiny, ready to ride in a week or so. WHOOP!
Thursday's ride was a little bit lackluster after Wednesday's effort. My heart rate sat really low and my anabolic threshold was severely impeded, so during efforts, my legs were tiring quite quickly... Typical fatigue symptoms. However, I still felt substantially stronger than I had a couple of weeks before and was pushing very plausible gear ratios up the hills, so it wasn't an entirely disappointing session.
OK, I tell a lie... I didn't go boating on the weekend, but the weather and the state it left the trails in could have floated a small vessel or a bicycle alike. I tripped up to Rotorua Friday afternoon to race in the Tour De Whaka. This is one of NDuro's new concept races which was basically a short stage race starting with a hill climb, then a super D, time trial and a cross country race to finish it off. We discovered at registration that due to the weather forecast, three stages would be held on the Saturday and then just the cross country race on the Sunday (a decision which ended up being a very wise one on the part of the organisers).
Saturday's weather actually didn't end up being too bad. First up was the hill climb, which started at the intersection of Hot Cross Buns and Be Rude Not To... We had to climb to the start point (good warm up). My start time was 9.40am and I set off with a holler, soon to be choked back by my lungs gasping for air as I started ascending... It was hard work and my heart rate was sitting really low, but after a couple of minutes, it came good. Whilst I felt strong, I wasn't expecting any amazing times on the climb, being on the all-mountain 575 rig (however was really looking forward to the super D on it!). I was pretty relieved to hit the top of the 277m climb in 22mins, a couple of minutes off the pace. We then caught our breath and climbed up to the top of Billy T to enjoy some trail goodness. Man that Yeti 575 rocks the downhills! YEEEEOW!!! We then waited for the start of our Super D. To be honest, the Super D was really quite pedally, and whilst I knocked it out with an average speed of just under 20km/hr, I wasn't all that stoked with my time comparative to my competitors. It was bloody good fun though! I enjoyed letting the bike just drift over everything on the trail. It really is quite a comfortable rig and the way it tracks the ground feels really natural. I feel like I can trust it to just do it's thing. A real "point and shoot" machine. The time trial for the day was on Old Chevy... Only 5km, but a good hard smash out. I whacked it in the big chain ring and went hard. It was by far my best ride of the day, with quite a respectable average speed. The afternoon consisted of a hot tub and a bit of a nap, ready for the next day.
It rained all night Saturday night, and when we woke in the morning, it was still raining. It was one of those mornings that you just couldn't quite believe you were about to kit up and go riding in such foul weather... But there I was, on the startline in my lycra, already drenched before we started, with a handful of other diehard riders... We took off up the road and I couldn't help thinking about how slow I felt. The field was unusually pointy (ie. it was a really fast field of riders) and it was actually a bit demoralising to be chasing in vain. I settled in to my own rhythm (not much I can do other than ride my hardest) and had an amazing day of it. The XC course was about 24km long and the trails were absolutely drenched. As the bike slid around corners and hopped from puddle to puddle (with no idea of how deep they were or what lay beneath the water) I couldn't help but grin to myself at how much I love this shit (excuse my language, but there really is no other way to describe it)! I was covered head to toe in mud, hollering as I hooned down the trail with reckless abandon, railing muddy berms, pumping over jumps and just generally carving it up... It was brilliant!!! Being excitable (as I am), I stayed in my big chainring for the majority of the course, doing my best to get enough speed to be wonderfully reckless and enjoy the ride. It was just what I needed to finish off a hard week... A reason to jump back on the bike next week for another serving!