The Daily Grind: Rest Weeks are the Best Weeks
As my tenth season racing in the New York City peloton approaches I am increasingly reminded of the repetitive nature of playing bicycles. This certainly applies to races, where most of my 2019 races will be repeat events from 2018 (or prior). Races with the same courses, the same distances, and many of the same riders (though every year we lose a surprising number of racers). The repetitive nature of races is a topic that is certain to surface soon in a future State of the Sport essay - for now I’m focused on the deja vu nature of rebuilding off-season form.
Just like the ‘Annual Oh Shit Moment’ that comes almost without fail in early January (one of these years I’ll get a head start on training in December), it turns out that approximately 365 days ago I wrote about the slow process of building momentum. With a few mostly decent weeks of training under my belt in 2019 I’m starting to feel that same sense of training momentum for the first time this season. The fact that we have had decent enough weather to get miles in outside certainly helps, even if it was a somewhat frosty 24 degrees for this past Saturday’s team cruise:
Throughout this first block of training I am reminded of something that Jacob from Cycle-Smart said on one of our early calls:
“The difference between amateur cyclists and pro cyclists is that amateurs go too hard when they’re supposed to go easy and then too easy when they’re supposed to go hard because they’re fatigued.”
It is a mantra that is easy to forget early in the season, when pushing the pedals is a nice change of pace but fitness is still a long way off from the intensity of racing. This is especially true when we get a nice day of weather with blue skies and temperatures breaking into the forties, like Sunday, which inevitably brings a big crew out for the team rides.
Combine a big squad with a break in the winter weather and you are guaranteed to get some spicy moments - that was certainly the case for Sunday’s team ride. But with Jacob’s guidance in mind we kept overall duration and training stress under control. This strategy certainly means no centuries or death march / last man standing rides this early in the season. But with a rest week looming as our first block of training comes to an end (rest weeks are the best weeks) there is plenty of time to recover this week before moving onto the next, more difficult phase of training that Jacob is sure to deliver.
In the meantime any ride that ends with a stop by the local sausage bar is a win in my books…