It certainly only feels like it has been a real short time between the euphoria of finding out that i was going to be "racing" the Amgen Tour of California and then facing the stark reality of what that was really going to mean in terms of time on the bike. As they released the course it became quite clear that i had a huge amount of work in front of me in order to ensure that i made it through this grueling experience without being totally annihilated. I have tried to add a file to this blog which outlines the profile of the seven stages in addition to some commentary. With the release of the course, i seriously wondered what i was thinking in signing up for this journey. As i contemplated riding 1184kms it felt like something that was quite achievable. When i layered in the 40,000 feet of climbing that i will face it is clear that i have lost my mind. So train, train, train.
Wattsup is a facility well known to many of us but probably should be better known to more of us as we build off-season foundation. Over the past couple of months i have been on the bike 3-4 days per week which should now grow to 4-5 days over the next 6 weeks as i head into that wonderful taper (the calm before the storm). Almost all of my work has been done on the bike at watts up, with two structured rides during the week and the longer unstructureds ride on the weekends. It is interesting that while i am looking forward to getting out on the roads, i have to say that i find the ability to get on the bike without concern for weather and know that i will have a sustained and focused workout without lights, cars, and mechanicals (although still get the odd flat). With the addition of rollers at wattsup i think there is now the ability to replicate more of the road experience.
I have found a strong recovery of capability and according to testing i am back to my best fitness level ever. My lactate testing and 20 minute time trial show my zone 4 sits at about 305 watts, a strong level if i weighed 60kg!!!!!!! Alas at 82kg it is not so impressive although i hope it keeps me in the peloton in May.
So what have i been doing in prep? I have been doing quite a bit of base building in zone 2, in order to ensure that the engine is prepared to keep chugging along like a good diesel. Much of the weekday work has been pushing the effort in zones 3&4 and the odd occassion 5 to create load that we often face as the peloton surges (many times as we pull away from lights or coming out of a corner in many of our races) or there is a sprint (think kingston road sprint chasing down dy) or a very engaged short climb (sprint up brimley road!!:)))) As i head into the next 6 weeks, part of the challenge will be to get more time in the saddle to build the callouses to be ready for 7 days of riding hard.
This is going to fun, so i keep telling myself. Soon i will be recieving the profiles of my fellow riders, the individuals that i will put a lot of trust in over the course of that week in May.