St. Patrick’s Day Massacre

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Just finished watching Allen Lim’s training presentation at the CRCA meeting… Lotsa good stuff in there, and hearing he’s not so hyper-obsessive about power numbers and is very much open to rider’s input sets my mind at ease, as at times I very much feel this way and have been preaching these idealogies for some time…

So I’m at Day 10 of being back on the bike after taking a long break after the State RR of last year… I’m starting to watch the diet, no more nachos, no more ice cream, no more soda… I am doing logical things on the bike so I can hopefully race again this summer at a relatively high level. Even no more staying up late. What I do love about being a cyclist is the discipline that invades your day: you work better, you go to bed earlier, you eat better… all to be a better rider. It gives your day a purpose, daily doses of pure satisfaction, something I missed…

Right now, however, I am fat and very, VERY slow… I am almost exactly 20 pounds over my racing weight and am putting out almost 70 less watts! I did the Nyack Ride on Sunday (John Raheb said, “Who’s the fat guy in the gray uniform?” then says, “Oh (*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*), sorry Kenny — it’s okay!), basically sitting at the back, and was promptly dropped like a stone as they ripped through the ScratchUp climb. THAT was an interesting file 🙂 But it was good to get back in a kinda sorta peloton again and start logging some numbers…

Funny, and I never thought I’d say this, but I’m a great descender now (I think the fastest downhiller on Sunday)! Man, I go downhill FAST! Now my new motto (and I never thought I’d say THIS) is I LOVE DESCENDING. IT’S THE ONLY REASON I CLIMB.🙂

I’ve remained relatively fit, playing tons of tennis, running, swimming, lifting weights. I’ve put on a lot of muscle. What I’ve always loved about cycling is there isn’t a natural cyclist. Take a great runner or swimmer, put them on the bike and they’re turtles, perhaps even after sustained training. You have to work so very hard on the bike, suffer and grit your teeth for long blocks of time, to see the improvements. No easy way to success here, no naturals… So although right now I’m a very fit athlete, I’m just about worthless on the bike right now. With my cycling background, and where I’m at, I’ve drawn up a logical plan that’s kept me out of the weight room since Day 1 last Saturday (this riding-again thing, it just kinda fell on me, NOT planned!). For the 45 days, I’m going to really stress the aerobic engine, ride the PowerCranks, and do tons of varying forms of force work to acclimate my “strong” non-bike legs to the bike…

Last week, I did overgeared climbing on climbs I’ve always done overgeared climbs on, and it was demoralizing to see the numbers and speeds! But you have to listen to your body. When you rush things, say goodbye to reaching for the clouds. I know better than to start pushing harder than I need to right now, so I plodded along at the set power zone, grinding here and grinding there… Hey, you have to start somewhere!

As a rider coming off almost a 9-month layoff, getting back on the PowerCranks is very difficult. It’s almost like starting all over again… I can remember doing over 2h on them, ripping at the front of group rides, keeping my cadence over 95 rpms, dropping people on climbs. No more, lol. I’ve already told myself not to kill myself on them, to get a solid month of easy riding. And that’s what I’ve done, 3 rides thus far. And I’ve gone easy, no pushing. Well, I still felt like (*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)! I used to spin easy at 90+ rpms and first ride back I’m doing 73 rpms at a crawl. It is what it is… First ride was 45 minutes, second ride an hour, and yesterday I went out for 75 minutes at 78 rpms. Perceived effort was exactly the same. Start slow, the body will adapt much better 🙂 I am certain if I had started to overexert from the gun, as many people who’ve tried PowerCranks have done, I’d still be crawling around on them, much less riding them consistently.

Today, St. Patty’s Day, I took the TT bike out. I just love that bicycle. Even in my untrained state, on the way to my TT loop I settled into 230-250w, just cruising at 24 mph… Fast position, fast bike. Of course, I fell apart rather quickly, but it wasn’t because of the wattages. I have a very extreme, aerodynamic position, and my lower back, my hammies, my lower abs, my hip flexors, my shoulders, my neck, my forearms, even my eyes — everything was so weak and began to fatigue at an accelerated rate. You take for granted how strong you are when you’re strong!!!

Again, I started slow. I had planned on doing 2-3 16- minute light Tempo intervals, but halfway into the first I saw this wasn’t possible. Instead of pushing myself into the ground, I sat up. Only did 8m. I recovered, then hit the second interval. I was still falling apart, but I made it through. 8 minutes. Recovered. I was proud I was actually able to pull back without feeling so (*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)ty about it. WHEN IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT. Always always listen to your body. I started the third interval, and here I am, almost an hour into the ride, and I’m loosening up, the legs coming alive, and I was able to bang out the 16m interval at the prescribed wattage. I certainly would not have been able to do that had I run myself into the ground during that first interval, and probably would’ve yielded terrible data there, too…

So, the theme of the day is STARTING SLOW, doing the right things at the right times. I got dropped like a stone last week at the Nyack Ride, and lotsa guys would go back to the drawing board and train harder, etc, so as not to get dropped again next week. But I’m okay with that. I’m not doing things right now that will make me stronger on that ride in two weeks but rather things that will hopefully make me 100% ready to go full-metal in June. If you shortchange your Foundation, you shortchange your peak BIG TIME. There is a time and place for everything in your training, and when you realize that, not only will you ultimately ride better but you will train in a much more efficient and focused manner and enjoy the sport in a different way.

This sport rewards mature champions, riders who usually see the long-term and not the short-term. Having said that, I do relish the chance to get back there and drop Raheb and company up Hook Mountain!

But not until June. 🙂

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 | | |