Economic Cycles

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My New Self-Belief

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After the last couple of weekends being a little too snowy for good rides outside (minus the super successful all-team ride we had last Saturday), I was itching to get outside and hit it hard this weekend. Why? It was the first Wadsworth Worlds of the year on Saturday! First time the big dogs got to flex their muscle and test their legs. I had heard a lot about Worlds from my teammates and despite my hankering for some suffering, I had some reservations about staying in the front group and not getting dropped before the final climb up to Roxborough Park. My goal going into the mock-race was to be there in the final at the base of the climb and then just go entirely all out, leaving everything I had out there on the road. I knew that the battle wouldn’t be the climb, but the stretch of roads getting to the climb where the crosswinds blow and the 2’s and 3’s take hard pulls trying to break the bunch up.

My advantage in this mock race was that unlike the real races I would ride this season, I knew all the players that showed up to Worlds and what they were capable of. I had my eye on 3 riders specifically as we set out from the official start at Deer Creek. I immediately jumped into the top 5 or 6 and stayed there out of the wind. I kept my focus on the big 3 and was ready to go if they made any move. The pace didn’t really pick up until we made the left hand turn into a slight downhill. I kept stuck on the wheel in front of me and made sure I was in the top 5 as we approached the first little roller. Predictably, as soon as we hit that roller everyone stood up and started dancing on the pedals. It was a mass movement to the front. I was in my element at this point and had no problem sticking in the top 5. First test passed with flying colors. We made the right hand turn towards Roxborough and some more rollers. This is where the crosswinds really picked up. I also knew that this is where Applebottom loves to take monster pulls. I was right. Carlos Casali and Applebottom took a couple big time pulls into the cross-head winds. I’m not sure what was happening behind me. I just kept myself out of the wind and stuck on the wheels in front of me. I couldn’t afford to look around much. This stretch of the road was difficult, but not out of my range. I didn’t have to burn any matches. I felt pretty good.

We were getting closer and closer to the base of Roxborough. I almost couldn’t believe I was still there. I looked around me and saw 5 or 6 cat 2’s and 3’s. It was everyone I expected to be there in the final. I figured the only chance I had at winning the climb was to make a move before we got to the right hand turn onto the base. It had to be as hard as I could go and it had to be a complete surprise. I knew that it would be a total surprise because no one expected me to be there and if they saw me still there, they certainly didn’t expect me to make a move. We got closer…. and closer and finally it was time.

I clicked up a few gears, grabbed my drops, and jumped from 5th wheel as hard as I could. Surprise bitches.

As I pulled away my first thought was, “Shit, I went too early. I can’t hold this.” I felt like I was dying around 20 seconds in. I sat down and put it into the small ring as the slope went towards 10%. I stomped as hard as I could on the pedals. I dared not look behind me. I stomped and stomped and stomped. I was dying. I got out of the saddle when my legs couldn’t take it anymore sitting down. I rocked the bike back and forth while my lungs were searing with pain. I couldn’t breath. All the while I’m just waiting for Applebottom or Hanna to fly by me, laughing at my futile effort. Just when I thought I couldn’t hold on any longer, the finish was getting closer. Seeing the finish gave me a little boost. No one had flown by me yet. It was a miracle. I sat down, stood up, rocked the bike back and forth – anything I could do to keep going. Every ounce of energy was leaving my body. The finish line was right there now. I could nearly spit on it from here.

On the verge of throwing up, I reached the top and made the left turn into the parking lot, head down, weezing. I swear I almost died. I looked behind me and saw Applebottom charging the finish line only around 30 feet back. He must have been closing in fast. But in the end, he ran out of road.

I won.

The others trickled into the finish and couldn’t believe what just happened. I felt on the top of the world. Now I realize that “winning” a silly mock race isn’t a big deal. But for me it is. My confidence is something I’ve been trying to work on ever since I started coaching with Hanna. This “win” was exactly what my frail confidence needed. I proved to myself that I could be there in the end and make a ballsy move that would stick. This effort gave me tremendous self-belief. I’m slowly but surely improving on my other biggest weakness: staying out of the wind and up at the front when the race gets fast. If I can be there in the final, I have no problems taking a chance and making a move. I just have to be there.

I took a look at the power file on WKO+ when I got home and saw the damage I inflicted on that attack. (Here’s the Garmin file) I did around 700 watts for 20 seconds getting away and held 500 for the first minute. After that it looks like I finished the climb in the upper 300s. Not too shabby. I also noticed I set new records for 20min, 30min, and 60min power. I did 309 watts for 20min and 289 watts for 30min. That is great news. If I can go into the Gila with an FTP of 290…. watch out!

On Sunday I met up with the guys at the Golden Starbucks. My goal was to put in around an hour or so of zone 3 and zone 4 work. I really wanted to test my legs after such a hard day before. Hanna and I went up Lookout a little before the rest of the elites started. They caught us around 1/4 of the way up and I decided I wanted to test my legs. I clung to the wheel in front of me and stubbornly refused to get dropped. The pace was at my limits. I was doing around 260 to 280 most of the way up. My legs hurt like hell. Needless to say, I was able to hang until the final 500 meters or so. Hanna went to the front and really picked up the pace as we got closer to the top. I just couldn’t hang anymore. Regardless, it was a super successful showing on Lookout and another big confidence builder. I finished out the day by climbing through Mt. Vernon, bombing down Rt. 40 into Morrison and climbing out via Red Rocks and Rt. 40.

Another solid weekend training. I feel better than I’ve ever felt before. My form is improving steadily and I can’t wait to see what I’m capable of this season.

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Written by jlongo12

January 18, 2011 at 11:05 am

Posted in cycling

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