Trust in Your Training

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

Well, that hurt 🙂

Killington Stage Race was quite an experience… I went up with a few of the Foundation boys and stayed at a condo on the finishing climb. We drove up on FRI morning and spent the afternoon settling in, unpacking… We went out for a light ride at around 4 in the afternoon, pre-rode the TT course… I was immediately alarmed: what was advertised as borderline flat at 11 miles was pretty much a false flat from the beginning, with a hill in the middle and a hill near the end… Hmmmm, this doesn’t look like it suits me!!!

Well, then we drove the Day 1 Circuit Race loop, and what was advertised as rolling was NOT! I had been anticipating a relatively easy first day, but as we drove the course we all looked at each other and realized the first day could get blown to pieces… There were two relatively long climbs on one half of the course, and the other side was all descending. Blah!

In reality, I went up there for the TT, and I told myself to just survive the first day, rip the TT, then just hang back in the Queen’s stage up Mount Killington…

Well, Day 1 and off we go — in the rain! I was a bit nervous, only my third mass-start race of the year. I haven’t done any climbing, I didn’t want to crash, I didn’t want to get dropped, I didn’t want a big group to get away and eat into any time I could gain in the TT…

On the first lap, we FLEW up the climbs, doing 22+. This field was STRONG — damn New Englanders! We ripped up the climbs, bombed the twisty descent in the rain, rip out of the turns, and it’s all strung out — I’m in Death Mode, not used to these max power efforts, and I turn around and I’m the last guy in the race!!! 🙁

So, each lap, my goal was to move up… When I got to the middle of the field, I’d see Westwood’s Dave Freifelder and he’d laugh and say, “(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censored*)(*censore d*), when I see you I know I need to move up.” Lol. He knew how much racing I was lacking. Dave looked great, sitting tight all race, spinning nicely…

Well, the sun came out and I started to relax. During the race, I felt better and better. Second lap, finished in the middle, final lap was able to stay near the front on the climb, saw a 6-man move get away after the hill… They ended up taking 12 seconds from the main field as we bombed into the downhill sprint… I was safely tucked in 44th place — PERFECT.

One of my main concerns was recovery. I’ve done zero volume, zero back-to-back hard days (well, until I did the Power Points Race and then Jersey Shore two weeks ago). So post-race, I’m immediately wolfing down a few more bars, finishing any Accelerade, drinking the Endurox, spinning down easy for 30 minutes… Back at the room, I ate, put on the compression socks, laid down for a bit, some light stretching… I REALLY wanted to maximize everything in my control to ensure I’d be flying on Sunday for the TT.

The Time Trial: at 11 miles, I liked the distance, it would create time gaps, but the course certainly favored a bigger or more powerful rider. If we’d be averaging 28+ mph on a fast course, I think I’d do very well, but we were chugging up false flats and a few hills here, not so fast… Power over aerodynamics, certainly…

Jamey Driscoll (when you go on BikeReg.com, the guy in the background celebrating a win — that’s Jamey Driscoll) started 30 seconds behind me. I actually LOVED this. He’s fast, is one of THE top cross racers in the country, was on Rock Racing last year, the real deal. It would be a good test and would ensure I rode HARD.

I did ride hard. I felt good out there, giving everything, passed 4 guys. However, on a few of the bends, I was hit with serious crosswinds and had to come out of the aerobars, and it was here when I realized I wasn’t putting in a winning effort…

With 4 miles to go, we hit the open flat section, which is right at the bottom of a valley. Right away, though, I hit 33 mph, and I was amped — here we go, time to take back time!!! But then I was rocked with crosswinds — I’ve never had to fight a bike so much in a TT. I was getting whipped to the right, my front wheel feeling like it would jacknife. Funny, but I had to shift UP and spin a higher cadence to feel steadier on the bike. As I was getting whipped all over the road, I knew there were guys with less aero wheels or bigger bodies who were dealing with this wind much better… On the hill, I feared shifting into the smallring and my 56×21 was murdering me — I had to stand and labor over the machine. Blah. I could imagine the winner spinning violently up this hill here…

But I gritted to the line. I turned around, and Jamey Driscoll looked about 12 seconds behind. Damn, I didn’t win. Jamey told me after that he had gotten me in sight during the long false flat sections but couldn’t pull back anymore time on me once we hit the flats. That made me feel better.

In the end, I was 9th overall… The winner was a shorter sparkplug of a rider from CCB and he ripped the course. He’s an aero geek, a Harvard man, and I’m sure he did the calculations. Freifelder put 20+s into me and was 7th, Driscoll 8th… I was happy to have 9th on a course that didn’t suit me, but still I was hoping for more. Eh, you are that time on the board, and if you coulda gone faster, you woulda. It’s that simple.

On the final day, I told myself to get dropped. ‘Don’t murder yourself, Lundgren.’ Well, pride has a funny way of getting in the way. I made it over the first climb, and I was itching to get away from the group. I just didn’t want to go over the vicious mid-race 5-mile climb with the peloton and get spit out the back… I attacked once, with the leader of the race actually, and we were FLYING, but Independent Fabrications pulled it back quickly… I waited, then went again, but unfortunately for me I was about 45 seconds from the base of the second monster climb of the day… Oops.

So I’m climbing this very steep bottom section, and the group starts to pass me. After every guy passes, I told myself to just keep going. DO NOT GET DROPPED. I had to grit my teeth as I stayed out of the saddle, and I was passing guys who were getting dropped. I have never suffered like this all year, my HR in my ears, and it was an eternity on these steep pitches, but somehow I made it over with the group. Wow. I made it. Did NOT expect to be here…

But I was hurting. As we hit the feedzone climb, I got to the front, then started to drift to the back, the legs getting mushy, and then I got a huge push from behind, and it was Freifelder. Thanks, bud! But those 90-minute PowerCrank endurance rides were not cutting it right now…

I ended up getting gapped not on the next climb but on the descent. It was dirt, madness, fast and twisty! I kept the dwindled peloton in sight, but when we hit pavement again, the group was flying. I spent a good 10 minutes bridging with another rider, and we finally did make it, getting the thumbs up from the SRAM follow vehicle. It was nice bridging, but there went my last match, and we weren’t far from Mt. Killington.

The final climb: the group roared into it, and I went up it at my own tempo. I was thrashed, my knee was sore, and I didn’t want to completely turn myself inside out. I took a lot of it standing, easier that way, and crawled up that damn mountain, lol… In the end, I was 44th on the stage and 33rd overall… The race, to me, was a success. I finished in the top third of a Pro/1/2 stage race with virtual zero stage racing or climbing prep. I wanted more in that TT but was surprised I made it to the finish of the road race with the leaders…

Now, this week the trick is recovering. I was on the fence for a few weeks about doing Killington. I ultimately decided to do it. When I decided, I immediately changed my taper, adding more light Tempo and cutting out shorter suprathreshold intervals I had planned during the final two weeks before States. It was a gamble, changing my lead-up, but we shall see… I’m the type of rider who likes to do tests and compare data before huge events, to get — or NOT get — confidence. Going into States now, I won’t have that. I needed to be 100% ready for Killington, in terms of being rested, and I think had I not been so fresh up there, I probably would’ve been dropped on the first day, certainly on the final day.

If the training plan works, I will be ready to go for States. Trust in your training. Set your goals, train for them. Do not change horses mid-stream. As I suffered up in Vermont, I kept telling myself that this wasn’t what I’d been prepping for. Train for your goals, and be willing to accept the consequences in other events!

This week has gone well… I rode the TT bike for 50+ minutes on WED, doing spurts of light Tempo at a higher cadence, and today I was on the PowerCranks for 30+ minutes until my rear tire BLEW out — game over. But the legs feel ready.

Sunday is the big goal. Not Sandy Hook, not Readington, not Cape May, not Somerset, not Jersey Shore, not Killington. My training has been very simple and it’s geared for me to have a strong ride at the NJ State Time Trial Championships. In early April, during a heavy build period, I was able to RIP the Kingwood 36k TT and had awesome sensations on the bike, and I’m hoping to replicate that this weekend.

But there’re a lot of strong dudes. Austin Roach of MetLife is a big guy, a strong time trialist. Mike Rosenhaus and Raffy Urzedowski, teammates who are also excellent time trialists, both capable of smashing 51/52m times… You have Jason Walters in the 30+, Chris Fritz in the 35+ (Fritz is primed for a huge day, and I sense it’s gonna be a States, very intelligent rider, especially in terms of bringing his form around at the right time). Shawn Teske is back with PSR. Dave Linenberg is always flying at States. Bill Sasiela and Toby Hanna of Pure Energy Racing are two FAST cats who’ve been improving at every TT — expect smokin’ fast times from them…

Dave Freifelder HAS to be the favorite, on his new Trinity bike and physically just stronger than me (he finished an impressive 16th overall at Killington — great ride, bud!). I rode well at Jersey Shore, but Freifelder put 30 seconds into me. Ouch.

But in all honesty, I can’t worry about Dave or those other guys. If Dave catches me before the turnaround or 100m before the finish line, it is what it is. I can only control my own training and prep and my goal is to go out there and race 100% to my potential, ride harder than I ever have, grit my teeth to the line, and finish knowing I couldn’t have gone 1 second faster. I’m looking for that magic effort, one of those rare experiences that comes with hard work and pure determination.

This is what it’s all about. The year has gone very well thus far, and Killington was a success for me, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking about State TT State TT State TT.

40k, here we come. Time to see what we all got. Rock and roll. See y’all on the other side!

Forecast calls for rain. I hope we get black thunderstorms.

kens-signature

Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Friday, June 4th, 2010 | | |