Monday was my first time back on a mountain bike since the Warsaw race three weeks ago. It was also only about my sixth time on singletrack this season. The frequent and heavy rains have really been keeping me off the trails, as well as several breaks in training. So I am really having trouble finding my "mountain bike mojo" this season.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has experienced the "Oh my gosh, this is hard" sensation the first time your tires touch dirt after a long winter on the road. It seems to occur no matter how good of shape I think I am in from road riding and this year it seems like it's happened on all but one MTB ride, due to the long dry (or wet) spells in between.
Monday I went to Brown County and was supposed to do 3 X 20 minutes TT efforts, but I felt like complete crapola from the get go. It may be true that you don't really lose any fitness in a week off, but it can certainly make you feel cruddy in the first few days on the bike afterward. So I just rode "easy" for two hours. However, I racked up a lot of zone 3-4 time just training to make it up the climbs without shifting to my little ring. I just hope this phase wears off before Sunday's race, as I can't imagine trying to suffer through 2 laps of that at "hard" pace feeling the way I was a couple of days ago.
The good news is that I actually cornered and descended pretty decently. I really focused on my new mantra of "the thighs tell the bike where to go, not the hands". I'm trying to develop my counter-steering abilities.
Yesterday was a two hour easy ride on the road, so it was actually easy, more or less. It still made me tired, but I think I'll be fine. This afternoon is 5 X 3 minutes of Zone 4 in a 1:45 total ride on the road. It's looking like I'll actually hit double-digit hours this week for the first time in forever.