Long Meadow Victory, more MTBing…

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Hey Gang,

Since the State TT, I’ve been a little lost. Ummm, not lost, but coming back in 2010, I really just put together a program for States, and that’s all I thought about, June 6th 2010.

There was no June 7th.

Of course, there IS the second half of the season! So I went through the ATP, talked with friends and athletes, and eventually decided on trying to design a peak for early AUG for the Darkhorse 40, Long Meadow TT, and the Blueberry TT.

So I had to start from scratch, starting with more aerobic riding, lotsa PowerCranking, trying to rebuilt that aerobic engine and help balance out the legs… Prepping for a long MTB race and also for TTs, I was trying to balance both, and I realize when you do that, you can end up being good at nothing… So I had to chince a bit on the volume and ended up doing all my endurance work on the PowerCranks, 2, 2.5h of solid high-end aerobic work on these things… I figured the DH 40 would take 3h and change, so I’d be okay…

Regarding the TT Cup, Freifelder’s been the better time trialist, I’d say… I was peaking for States, and at the Jersey Shore TT just weeks before he caught me for 30 seconds (and I had a great ride here, the time gaps were big), and then Dave put 18s into me at the Killington Stage Race TT. I did beat him at States, but the heat just hit him hard. But then after States, as I was trying to rebuild again, he really throttled the hell out of me at Upper Freehold, a course really built for me, too. At Flanders, he beat me again, and then at Kingwood, an event I knew I needed to win, he put 15s into me. Damnit! 🙂

At these TTs, I felt like I was lacking that extra oomph you need to win. Dave was flying and all I could do was try to hold on. And along the way, I started doing MTB races to prep for the Darkhorse, placed top-10 in a big CRCA race, just steadily training through all of these events.

But the legs weren’t firing 100%. I was thinking it was because I probably lacked a big enough base for a full year. I started my Build and threshold work earlier than usual this year, worried with a lack of training and racing and a weaker knee, how I’d improve… But chincing on base work and incorporating a longer build can certainly bring the roof down on your season by July or August…

I remained steadfast, however, hoping things would turn around, not changing horses mid-stream. The July training data was okay, nothing stellar. I went on antibiotics the week of Kingwood and fought like hell on that course but couldn’t summon the power. Blah! Then the next day, I reconned the DH40 course with a group and still wasn’t feeling great… The Darkhorse 40 was just 7 days away!!!! WTF?!

THEN, like someone flipped a switch, that next week the legs just felt STRONG. Just like that. I reconned the DH40 course again, the WED before the race, and I was FLYING, felt super, just a different rider. I hate the heat and the guy I was riding with had to stop in the middle of the ride, said the heat was killing him. I went, “What heat?” I could feel the form was RIGHT there, and I went from being a little down on myself to being giddily excited and 100% amped to race the Darkhorse…

And at the Darkhorse, I felt terrific, raced well and had a blast (in hindsight, what the hell was I doing out there in the first place, lol?). Races like this can wreck you, or you can really come out of them feeling strong. I recovered very well, took 3 solid days of recovery, then hit the TT bike on Thursday and felt solid. I could see things were coming around…

Long Meadow is arguably the hardest TT of the year. Freifelder’s won the TT Cup, but I still want to finish the year strong. But I was deathly afraid of Long Meadow: if it was hot, it would be murderous, especially since the course has zero shade. There was a lot of climbing and I’ve done zero climbing this year. I also saw Roger Aspholm was signed up, and I was itching to TT with him, seeing how I’d fare. Troy Kimball of WV was also on the start list, and I was hoping to sprinkle some revenge on him after he completely mauled me at Flanders, putting in a crushing time for 2nd…

I warmed up on this side road. You descend for 3 minutes, then climb gently for 6m. I went up and down this thing for almost an hour, in the zone, music blaring in my ear. I was far away from every single rider in the race and in my own little world. I will say I’ve never felt so good warming up. I was itching to get out there…

On the course, I just felt fast. Almost crashed on first downhill to turnaround. Almost crashed on the second big descent. Most sane people would slow down, but I was stubborn and almost driven to beat the conditions and go faster, hit 54 mph on that big downhill, kept my head down and jackhammered. Just one of those days where you feel like you can’t push hard enough, and the moment you ease off the gas, you want to go harder again. A big key to doing well here is the downhills: you have to rip them, carry your speed up the rollers, over them. The downhills: gotta grow a set and maximize your speed here.

In the first half, I was reeling in riders but making sure to maintain my rhythm. I’d see riders but would just put my head down and say, “If you pass ’em, so be it, but don’t accelerate to catch these dudes.” I guess with experience comes restraint, because I did a good job of metering the effort and trying to be steady from beginning to end. I caught 3 riders on the way out, but more importantly I was able to hammer the second half, thinking if you can get a negative split, Long Meadow is THE course you want to do it. The total effort was 30 minutes long at 28+ mph and it felt so short. Weird how that works. I felt like I had a tailwind on both sides of the course, something that got some double-takes when people asked me how the course felt…

The time gaps were startling. This late in the year, I was very happy to win and do well in the “local” TT. Very well organized by Gregg Cosgrove and Tom Mains, as always — these events are just pro. The NJBA TT Cup is just going to get bigger and bigger, as it’s building a terrific reputation…

I guess I’m a walking example of periodization. Valleys and peaks. You have to be willing to go slower to go faster, I guess, and many riders aren’t willing to do that. To me, it’s worth it, planning the training, really controlling your form, knowing when you’re going to be at your best — then constantly tweaking the program through trial and error to continue to find the very best in yourself. It’s a wonderful process, something I thoroughly enjoy with each and every rider I coach…

But the main thing is I had TRUST IN MY TRAINING. When things didn’t go well, I didn’t go back and re-work the plan, change it up… You need to plow forward and hopefully, if you set up the workouts correctly, ultimately the form will come around just as it should…

I’ve learned since coaching and dealing with so many athletes that the second peak of the year is usually the best. I’ve seen it through absolute experience. The State TT was fun but almost a failure in that heat… Here, at the Darkhorse and now Long Meadow, I’ve been able to actually ENJOY the form more.

And we have one more to go: Blueberry TT. Looking forward to that one. Hoping to finish the TTs in style…

After that, time to back off. I’m doing the Ramapo Rally this Sunday on August 15th… We have a nice group planned, so if you want to come, please e-mail me at Coach@EliteEndurance.com! The more, the merrier!

Then a few MTB races, get ready for them somewhat… Jungle Habitat is the NJ State MTB Championships this year, but it’s VERY technical, so I’ll have my work cut out for me. So instead of doing steady threshold work on my TT bike, I’ll be spending the coming weeks riding over rocks. Will be a very nice change of pace!

Thanks for reading and I hope to see a bunch of you on Sunday at the Ramapo Rally!

kens-signature

Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Tuesday, August 10th, 2010 | | |