I was reading an interview in Cyclingnews with Alison Dunlap and she mentioned having master's syndrome - that is being short on training time so you go hard all the time. Finally a name for how I have been training for years implicitly. I can totally identify. Being a dad and working full time, I have very limited time to train and sometimes I end up riding in some really crappy weather or I don't get to ride at all. If it's Wednesday and this is my day to ride and it's raining, looks like I am getting wet today. The weekends are made for going long. My target is a 4 or 5+ hour ride on the weekend at least every other week. The rest of my rides tend to be very hard, working at or above threshold for and hour or more with a little warm-up to get going. A majority of my training is on the road just because my time is very limited and I don't want to waste it traveling to the trails.
It is hard to stay race fit like this but what else are you gonna do?
One of my favorite training rides started up last night. Put on by the Tri-Cities Road Club, the pack races are one of the oldest organized rides in our area. It has happened almost every Tuesday during the Spring and Summer for over 15 years. I can't think of any better way to gain race fitness other than racing and the format of the pack races is perfect for that. There's a 10 mile course that has a mix of long flats and rolling hills. Groups are separated into divisions based on speed and everyone is sent out with 2-3 minute time gaps between groups for 2 laps. The mini-peletons work together to stay ahead of the group(s) behind them. It is a lot of suffering but also loads of fun too.
This past weekend was an off weekend for me. I took my singlespeed Giant out for the first time on the hilly roads around where I live for its first ride. Other than the stem being a bit short for me, I was really happy with how it felt. The 42x16 gearing seemed to work good for little hills, (we'll see about the mountains soon) but let's face it, on a singlespeed you are gonna run out of gear somewhere. The idea is to get something that will work for most conditions and that means you suffer on the climbs (but climb pretty fast) and spin your ass off on the flat stuff.
All in all, I liked what I rode and think it will help my mountain bike fitness a lot.
Coming up for me is the Assault on The Carolinas on March 29, a 62 mile road ride with a nice 6 mile climb in it somewhere. The first weekend in April has several options: The Knobscorcher at Tsali, the Dragon's Back in Virginina and a collegiate race right in my back yard at ETSU. I dunno at this point what I am going to do then.