Friday, June 8, 2007

NEW BIKE!...And keeping perspective

In all the craziness of XTERRA West and then getting back at training for Ironman Coeur d'Alene, I forgot to share my new bike with everyone! Because Kuota wasn't able to deliver a mountain bike in time, we retooled the deal to be road only, and received my road bike, a Kuota Kebel. It's equipped with full Ultegra 10-speed, which is cool, and perfect for tooling around, riding to the pool, and when I'm sick of the aerobars!

As for training...

Keeping perspective can be tough. Sometimes all I think about, (like most triathletes), is going HARDER, FASTER, FURTHER, HIGHER HEARTRATE, MORE WATTS, etc.

Went back to Palomar with my training partner Mac Brown, and from the start of the ride it was clear I was not feeling good. It wasn't anywhere near the feeling I had on the ride last week where I felt like I could crush the mountain. This wasn't all that surprising, as I didn't have as much rest heading into this ride, as I had last week heading out for the 6 hour venture.

We started the climb, and within the first 60 seconds my right cleat comes loose on my shoe. DAMN IT! I decided not to stop, and just try to ride it out. I had already stopped once and tried to fix it, but my multi-tool didn't have a big enough screwdriver to really tighten it down well enough.

Within a few miles, Mac drops me, and I can't seem to get my heartrate up to LT or higher. I'm struggling, and thinking about bailing. I'm looking at the wattage meter and it seems the numbers aren't as high.

I get to a few of the checkpoints I have, and realize that I'm still on time to match or beat last week. I can't believe it. I press on. I continue to struggle, and try a few big surges to get back in the game and get the HR going, thinking I'm still just not in the groove yet. HR won't really respond.

I keep going and the times are still right on, and now I'm feeling a bit puzzled. Was my math correct? Mind you, riding in the aerobars up this climb can be a real B*TCH!

I finally get to the top, and I'm only 4 seconds slower than last week! 4 seconds over 11.7 miles! Amazing. At first, I'm all bummed, thinking if I could have just been a little more rested, I could have hung with Mac and crushed that time.

When I got home, I downloaded the data from the ride, and started analyzing it. I was trying to find some good news, as I'm not wanting to be a negative head case. This close to the race, I'm looking to rock everything I do!

Once I actually set my ego aside, and looked at the data, here's what I found out:

My average wattage was the same.
My normalized power was LOWER. (Normally, this is not what you want to see.)
My time was 4 seconds slower.
My average HR was 4 bpm LOWER.

When I took in the information as a whole, I started to realize my perspective was all wrong. These are great numbers!!! Lower HR, and lower normalized power, means the body was able to complete the same tough task of climbing the mountain, with less effort. THAT'S THE WHOLE GOAL! Yeah, I was tired. I didn't have the same lead-up to this climb as I had last week, with more volume and intensity, and yet the body was able to perform BETTER overall!

Like I said, sometimes it takes perspective. Luckily, the wattage meter seems to help me keep perspective.

Now I have to go hit the trainer, for Peter's big 2 hour session. For all those of you who think life as a pro triathlete is fun and glamorous, think about doing 2 hours on a trainer, and not because it's bad weather outside!

Vance - 2007 NFA

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