Thank goodness I went for that bike ride last Sunday. Looks like I probably won’t be out this weekend. Especially since we are in for another storm on Saturday. We have to get through this one first before we talk about Saturday’s storm:
My office announced today that the plan was not to open tomorrow. That NEVER happens. Though if the weather takes a turn and we don’t get as much as predicted the office will open as normal.
Even with an unexpected day off mid-week, I’d take working over more snow any day.
A friend of mine from high school, who now lives in Colorado and also huge into cycling, dubbed this time of year as Fall Fitness Fade. Boy is it ever!
I’m always amazed at how busy the summers are. Though when I look at it, in reality it’s busy because of so much biking. Then the heat sets in and I find it’s too hot to bike and we (hubby and me) tend to find shelter in the coolness of the house, in front of the fan.
As crazy busy as the summers are, the fall season is much worse. I know I’m not alone when I say this. We always think that when fall rolls around we’ll be back into an easier routine, with many having kids back in school, and everyone gets back on a schedule. But ask anyone that has kids and running to school open houses, shuffling them off to soccer, football or various other activities, and you’ll learn that fall is even crazier than summer! Many of my friends find it hard to fit in any decent ride time after Labor Day.
Fall also marks cyclocross season! I think I actually spend more time at cyclocross races than on my bike this time of year. It’s wicked fun and it allows me and my husband to do something together. It also provides a great opportunity for my husband to hone his photography skills.
Between days spent at various ‘cross races and fading daylight in the evening to prohibit long mid-week rides, it’s no wonder my fitness fades. I just wish it wouldn’t fade quite as quickly as it does.
It took advantage of some beautiful, warm days this week by taking my bike to the office to catch some lunchtime rides to help keep my legs going a bit. Though it didn’t seem to make much of a difference during the ride with the ladies this morning. I really struggled to keep up in a few places and when I did get dropped I couldn’t push to catch back on. My top power is just gone. I do realize that it’s a normal progression and it’s time to back off in order to rebuild but it’s extremely frustrating to me, given the competitive type of person I am.
I take comfort in knowing that this was the best season I’ve ever had on the bike. My fitness greatly improved and I rode faster and stronger than I have in the past. I anticipate a proper base building period this off season in hopes of being stronger yet again next season. I just need to embrace the Fall Fitness Fade, enjoy being on the bike when I can and enjoy the cool, crisp air and the bright foliage, knowing that it’s all part of the process.
(View during a recent lunch time ride.)
Last year I remember hitting the summer doldrums pretty hard. We had a lot of rain during the summer months so I spent a fair bit of time off my bike after the Trek Across Maine.
This year I found myself in the same position. Though this year I couldn’t attribute my doldrums to the rain.
In talking with some of my other riding friends, they also feel the summer doldrums. I’m not saying that people are bored with summer, but some are bored with riding. Unless you have clear goals or events to keep you focused on training and riding, it’s pretty easy to slip into a general sense of malaise when it comes to riding.
The weather has also been pretty hot lately. We have bouts of pretty high heat and humidity – that’s usually a good reason for me to be off the bike a fair bit as I don’t do so well in heat and humidity.
Still, with the heat I managed to make it on the bike a couple times a week during our normal women’s rides to keep me generally riding. That also gave me some pretty decent recovery time in between rides.
I was afraid that too much time off the bike would cause me to feel a bit flat legged and not be able to keep up with our groups as others’ fitness continued to improve. However, it seems to have worked out okay since over the past week or so I’ve actually been feeling a little stronger on the bike and pushed my heart rate a bit higher than I’ve seen all season, a definite sign of improved fitness this season.
Another thing that might be attributing to me feeling slightly stronger is getting back into yoga classes. I went about a month without participating and now that I’m back to it I feel better on the bike. I even finally participated in a restorative yoga session designed for athletes to help them recover. It was more passive than I thought it was going to be but I found I had great legs the following day for my ride.
Now that summer is winding down I feel like I’m ready to spend a bit more time on the bike – not a ton, but perhaps an extra ride or two mid-week. We’ll still continue to have some hot days but the weather should be decent and not so oppressive. Let’s hope it turns out to be a good fall with continued improved fitness until the end of the season.
The Scarborough Industrial Park Spring Crit Series began today.
This year they added a women’s race and combined them with beginners to get them to try criterium racing.
The women’s race started at 7:30, which was a new addition this year. That meant that my warm-up ride to the event needed to start pretty early, between 6 and 6:15 am. I was thankful that the temperature was in the low 50’s when I started off and was predicted to reach 70 degrees today. Odd for so early in April but happily so. Last year it was very cold and I remember going to watch the previous year and it was just as cold.
Unfortunately there were only a few of us on the line for the first race. However, it’s Easter Sunday so many people had family obligations I’m sure.
The start of the Women’s/Beginner race.
I was happy that another PVC member joined me for the race.
Me and a teammate, Elizabeth Ehrenfeld.
I stayed out of the wind and on a wheel the entire race but couldn’t match the acceleration in the end and finished, unbelievably, DFL. Sheesh!
Then I hit the start line for the B-race.
I managed to hang on for 6 of the 12 laps. I almost got dropped on the 4th or 5th lap and managed to get back onto the back of the group. Then the bell rang for a preme lap and I got dropped. I wasn’t surprised and I just sat up and pulled out.
All things considered I feel pretty good about how I performed. Sure I finished last in af the women’s race. Sure I pulled out of the B-race 1/2 way through after being dropped. Still, I was there and rode some of my best riding. I cornered better than I have ever cornered. When I was getting gapped in the women’s race on the corners I assessed why that was and made adjustments. I was focused and relaxed.
There is more to racing than just winning.
Posted in Cycling, Exercise, Maine, Observations, People, Portland Velo Club, Races, training, weather
Tagged crit racing, criteriums, Maine, Portland Velo Club, racing
How does life get to be so busy that I just can’t find the time to blog?
Fortunately my busy life has included some incredible outdoor riding in some unseasonably warm spring temperatures.
Normal temperatures for Maine this time of year is in the 40-degree range. Lately many days have been in the mid 50’s. We even had several days this past week in the 60’s.
Several Portland Velo Club women joined me on rides this week. We even joined another women’s ride Wednesday for a total of 17 riders that night.
This has been a long drought of snow. I think our last significant snow storm was in December or January. But it’s been fine by me because I’ve been able to be outside biking a fair bit this winter. Now the weather has been unseasonably warm, driving more of us out on our bikes.
Today I managed to get out for an early morning group ride with the PVC Women followed by 90-minutes of yoga. I left the house at 6:30 am and managed to return at noon. Two things I love to do but took up half my day. Now, that doesn’t mean that it always take up half my day, it just worked out that way.
The weather is turning cooler next week but with Daylight Savings Time I’ll still be able to be out on the road after work for some training rides as long as we don’t see any snow.
Posted in Blogging, Cycling, Exercise, Friends, Group Rides, Maine, Observations, Portland, Portland Velo Club, weather
Tagged Cycling, Maine, training, weather
Last week was a very enjoyable rest week. I spent too much time off the bike, that’s for sure. I rode Monday during lunch and then nothing for the remainder of the week. I missed my normal Wednesday night spin class because I got held up at work. Thursday and Friday I was experiencing some muscle spasms in my back.
Now that the week is over it’s time to get back to work on the bike and I did just that Saturday. Temperatures were in the mid 40’s so riding outside was my best option. It was a bit windy but still managed to ride 30 miles.
Today was even windier, making my interval work daunting. Still, it was nicer to ride outside than inside on the trainer.
As is typical after a rest week, and time off, it’s taking me a while to get my legs back under me. I was pedaling squares over the past couple days but should smooth that out by the end of the week.
Tomorrow is an easy day. However, temps are predicted to be in the upper 40’s so I will take advantage of a little sun and warmth to ride easy outside. My plan is to spin early Tuesday and Thursday with yoga in the evenings. Wednesday I’ll be spinning at night with my spin class.
I have my fingers crossed that we’ll dodge some snow later this week to manage to ride outside next weekend again.
Dare I say I’m actually looking forward to a little snow fall tomorrow. The shoveling should be easy since we won’t have to throw it up over any high banks in the yard because they have all melted. Perhaps it will be enough to even warrant a little snow shoeing next weekend.