Posted by: Travis | March 17, 2009

Race Wrap up: Tri-Flow Menlo Park Grand Prix (March 8, 2009)

As i mentioned in last week’s entry, the race didn’t go so well. My training in the weeks leading up to the race was slowed by bad weather and me being sick for a few days. I was hoping i’d be able to somehow will my way to a good result, but there just wasn’t a way.

In a crit, the ideal place to be is in the front 1/3rd of the group, but not right on the front where you have no one to draft. Being here means you don’t have to slow down significantly for and then sprint like crazy after every single turn. Sitting on the back and having to do that wears you out pretty quickly. So you really want to get up to the front and make up places wherever you can. There’s a saying that if you aren’t moving up, you’re moving back. If you aren’t taking advantage of every opportunity to get up to the front of the group, you’ll soon find yourself in the back having to grab and handful of brakes for each turn and then sprint to catch back up. You really have to mentally focused on getting up to the front and staying there, and i didn’t do a good job of that.

While i put in some pretty serious efforts to get up to the front in the first few laps, i could tell that i was working harder than i could sustain for the whole race. I started using the straight aways to rest instead of to move up and soon found my way in the back. And once you get back there, you have to put in a hard effort to get back up to the front, and i just didn’t have it in me.

I stayed on the back until about 30 minutes into the (45 minute) race, and then i got dropped. By that time i had burned all my matches and didn’t have any sprint left, so i solo time trialed for the rest of the race. You can find pictures from the whole weekend here.

A change is gonna come

Though i’m not completely finished reading The Cyclist’s Training Bible, this weekend i decided i was far enough along to start using all of the information that i’ve learned. So Saturday, after spending the day skiing at Squaw Valley (more on that in the next entry), i sat down and wrote out my racing schedule and general training plan for the rest of the year based around the idea of periodization.

Up until now i’ve been planning my training no more than 2 or 3 days in advance, going out with no real method to the madness and riding whatever i felt like doing. This basically lead me to ride the exact same ride at the exact same intensity whenever i went out during the week. With no plan, and repeating the same work out over and over again, i was basically getting no improvement what so ever. No things are going to change, as i have a resource to help me plan my workouts. I’m really excited to get started and make some progress.

Added to the plan is once a week weight room sessions using low resistance and high number of reps with the goal of building lean muscle that will improve my power on the bike without any weight gain. While i’ve gone to the weight room and messed around, this is the first time i’ve gone in with a plan of what to do and when to do it. Last night after dinner was the first session, and too be honest, i think i was a little too enthusiastic and over did it just a little. First i ripped my boxers stepping down from a 36″ box when Rachel and i got into a spirited box jump competition (i won, but at the expense of losing one of my favorite pair of boxers), and then woke up this morning feeling like i got hit by a truck in my sleep because my muscles were so sore. I hobbled around the office like an old man all day today. If this is what it feel like to get old, i’m not excited.

I’ve also learned a ton about nutrition for athletes. The big thing is that what you eat is just as important as when you eat it. So before, i was eating huge plates of carbs for dinner thinking ‘hey, i’m an athlete, i can eat carbs’, then going to bed and not burning those carbs. Carbs are okay if they eaten directly before and after workouts, but other than that, i need to do a better job of sticking to lean proteins and fruits and vegetables.

So the current plan is to lay low on the racing for a few weeks and focus on doing long, low intensity training rides with an emphasis on building my endurance for the long road races to come later in the season. Once i get a few weeks of base period in my legs, i’ll start the build phase and do a few crits here and there. I’ll then peak for a road race in the early summer, then take a week or two to recover and start building again to peak for a 2 or 3 weekends in a row in September. My big goal for that peak is the San Francisco Twilight Crit, a huge race that takes place on the streets of downtown San Francisco. It’s a huge race that a bunch of domestic teams show up to (though i won’t be racing with them), so it would be really awesome to win.

The bottom line is that i suddenly feel like i have loads of direction where i previously had very little. I’m excited to start the new plan and can’t wait to see some improvement.

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