This is a recovery week, so my workouts are shorter and less intense for a few days. I actually have a rest day on Friday (which is good, since I’m planning to spend the entire day in the car). I almost never have a day with no workout at all unless I’m in a recovery week, so I enjoy them when they occur.
Yesterday’s workout was a 2100 yard swim before work. I did a ladder workout, maxing out at 300 yard sets. I really enjoy this type of workout, because none of the sets are real killers but you still know you’ve done some work when you’re done. Now that they’ve opened the outdoor pool, the lanes are not crowded, even during the peak hours. I’ve chosen to do my laps inside because the outdoor pool has no lanes marked, and everybody has migrated there for the summer. I’d prefer to swim outside, but efficiency has some advantages. I can get the entire workout done without sharing a lane, or waiting for one to open up.
This morning was supposed to be a 30 minute ride, followed by a 30 minute strength training session this evening. However, I already know that at least one of my planned workouts on Saturday is at risk, so I added some extra mileage to the ride. That allows me to avoid the stress of cramming in the later workout. The ride was on a flatter course, although there were a few longer, shallow climbs thrown in. One in particular gave me great satisfaction.
I began training for a duathlon last summer, not long after I started riding again. The first duathlon I did was in a local park, and included two laps of a circuit inside the park. I got a course map in advance and proceeded to ride the course as often as I could. I always rode the loop section clockwise, for some reason. That involved a long, shallow climb at the beginning of the loop, and a pretty steep descent approaching the end of the loop. I struggled with the climb the first few times, but eventually got to the point that I could complete it without gasping for air. That route is really where I started to learn about energy management and climbing on a bike.
So imagine my surprise when I looked more closely at the route the week prior to the race and discovered that the race followed the loop COUNTERCLOCKWISE. The long shallow climb was now a long, high speed descent, and the steep descent became a sharp climb placed immediately after a hard 90 degree turn. All available energy was wiped out immediately before the climb, so the riders essentially hit the steepest climb from a standing start.
I survived the race, and made the climb both times. Not pretty, mind you, but I wasn’t walking my bike like a lot of riders were.
So, this morning, I rode that loop again. I’m happy to say that, after about 16 months of riding, the climb didn’t seem nearly as bad. I no gasping, no thrashing… Just a steady hammering at the pedals as I hit the hill. Yes, I even stood for a short stretch at the very beginning to recapture a little momentum. It was a good feeling. I’ve still got a long way to go as a cyclist, but it’s good to see how far I’ve come.
I’ve got a strength and stretching session this evening, and tomorrow is the rest day. I’ve been icing my foot a lot this week to aid the PF recovery, and hope to ease back into running in the next couple of weeks.