Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fully Loaded

As my coach would say, the hay is in the barn. (At least I think that's what he means when he says that.) Today I capped off the 16.25 hour week that marked the end of my training load for the Lumberjack. Tomorrow is the beginning of my two-week taper. It's a combination of rest days, super easy rides, and a few short intervals.

Luckily, there is no more mountain biking left before the race, because after nearly 10 hours of mountain biking this weekend, I'm a little tired of it. I know I'll have be on my bike longer than that for the race, but it's a little easier when I'm in a race because that's what I'm supposed to be doing. However, taking that much time out of my real life, plus all the driving, and the explaining to the husband why I disappeared for most of the weekend wore on me a bit. I know it will pay off big time, but I'm glad to be done for a while.

Saturday I was supposed to do a 6-hour endurance ride, and I decided to do something a little different. I had never been to Versailles State Park, so I drove 1.5+ hours both ways on mostly two-lane roads in the hope that some new terrain and smaller crowds would inspire me. The good news is that it worked out great and I had a very successful ride, with no real pain or fatigue even after 6 hours and 15 minutes.

I even had a riding partner for the first two hours, since a guy named Steve who arrived about the same time as me offered to show me around. It worked out pretty well, as he was about the same speed as me, and I didn't feel overtaxed trying to ride with him. He even took my picture standing on the Old Versailles-Milan Highway. Yes, some of the singletrack at Versailles used to be a "highway". I think that must have been in the horse-and-buggy days, but it's still hard to imagine now that it's a 18-inch wide strip of broken rocks.

More rocks at Versailles. I thought this feature was cool, although only about a mile of the trail was rocky.

Today was a toughy. Although my long mountain bike rides are usually followed by a Suck-it-up Sunday spin on the road, today was one more trial before I earned my rest. I was assigned 3.5 hours on the mountain bike with 2 x 20 minute Sweet Spot. My legs felt terrible when I first started out and it took 45 minutes of messing around on the Pine Loop before I decided I needed to just get down to business. Once I actually started my Sweet Spot efforts, I actually felt decent. I guess this will be an important lesson for my Pisgah Stage Race training. I finished off the last two hours after the intervals feeling not-so-great, but still riding at an okay pace.

Right now, I'm so tired and so glad to be done, but I'm proud of myself for what I've accomplished so far. Now I just need to rest up for a couple of a weeks, before I head to Michigan to harvest the fruits of my labor.

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