Last week was the first in an eight-week block leading up to the Ouachita Challenge that I like to think of as "super-base". All the week's schedules are pretty much the same with some variance in the Tuesday/Saturday intervals. There are no rest weeks built in; it's more like the hard/easy pattern used by runners. The idea is to be hard, but sustainable. I think it is, but will take some getting used to.
After my "screw it" outdoor ride last Wednesday, I followed it up with a 90-minute tempo workout on rollers. Now THAT took some willpower! It was only my third time on rollers, so my skills aren't to the point where I can just relax and pedal. My hands and butt were killing me afterward from keeping a death grips on the bars and not shifting my weight the whole time. As unpleasant as it was, it is a really good medium for that workout. The terrain around here is pretty hilly, so if you truly want to spin at 90 rpms and your heart in between 166-172 the entire time, rollers are about the only way to do it.
Friday was my first two-a-day in who knows how long. I got up at 5 a.m. to do my plyo workout and Olympic lifts before work. In the evening, I did another easy hour on the rail-to-trail. It was much darker this time because it was cloudy, but I remember to charge my lights this time so it was okay.
Saturday was 2 X 15 minutes at LT in a 2.5 hour ride. I did well on the intervals and it was a big improvement from trying to slog through them on the trainer. By the time I was done with my warm-up, intervals, and recovery I was at about one hour, so I wanted to do a nice Zone 2-3 steady state for the remaining 90 minutes and get some muscular endurance work in. However, it just was not happening. I ended up dragging back home getting a little slower and sicker with each passing mile. I spent the rest of the evening very sick to my stomach and hacking away with a nasty cough.
I was much improved on Sunday and had hoped to make another go at my dirt road loop, but the strain it took to climb the first little hill told me I needed to back off for another day. I turned around and rode easy on the rail-to-trail for an hour instead.
It was a balmy 47 degrees, so the trail was a muddy mess from the melting snow. I was filthy by the time I got back, the short ride and "warm" weather gave me the chance to give my bikes a much needed cleaning. "Jake" (my cross bike) was still sporting river mud from our little swim a couple of weeks ago.
So my first week of the training block didn't go perfectly, especially since I missed out on a much needed long ride. However, I have to say I'm pleased overall. Eleven hours, four days of outdoor riding, and three hard workouts a week in January is doing pretty darn good if I do say so myself.