Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hills, Hills, Hell

Yeah, I did hill work last night and it was hell, but a self-induced hell that I'm glad that I put myself through. Let's just say that I didn't lay the smack down, or open up a can of whoop-ass on the hills, but I can tell that I've certainly improved in the last month or so as my speed and RPE have gone up and down respectively on the same hills. I started out with about a 20 minute warmup to one of my favorite hills, a kilometer long jaunt that starts at about 6%, ramps up a little to 8%, back down to 6% for a short period and then hits 12% at the top for about 50 meters. I did 5 repeats up the hill with a short break between each rep, and alternated doing some high and low cadence work the first 4 times. On the last rep I went up it at max speed and kept sprinting over the top as hard as I could until I blew up. This is the FIRST time this year that I've done any race-specific training, yeah I know, it's July next week, but hey, I'm off to a late start this year. Anyways, after that I rode for another 15 minutes or so to my next hill, a half-mile long hill that starts at 10%, and levels off to about 4% before going up to 8% at the top. This isn't a hill that's all that difficult, it's about 4% for most of it's duration except for right at the beginning and the end. The reason I use this hill is for big ring hill work, basically building muscular strength and also to work on standing during climbs. I alternated repeats on this hill using the big ring doing the climb standing and then sitting, it's very taxing on the muscles but will really pay off after a good recovery. After finishing my repeats I decided that I had been out in the heat too long, especially given the effort that I had expended, so I turned around and headed home. My ride time was 2.5 hours, which considering the heat, and the work I just did, was more than good enough for me. I went through 3 full waterbottles, one of which was stuffed in my jersey pocket which made it nice and warm next to my body. That was tough to get down but I still needed it so the bottle was definitely emptied. A quick cold shower and then a trip to Chipotle completed the evening. I was very happy to finally get to open the throttle a bit on the engine as I've been doing nothing but just "riding" for the last couple of months, now it's time to start to get some real work in, but not necessarily for the upcoming races, but more for the Race the Lake event in August and to build up for next year when I hope to take on a full race season again. The plan is to do the UW-Whitewater RR next Saturday and the Omro RR next Sunday, and I'm not expecting anything other than to hope to stay with the pack for the duration of each race. Finishing would make me happy, placing really doesn't matter in those races. I may do the Holy Hill race on July 17th as well, which is part of Superweek, but I'm not sure yet, we'll see how these first two races go. I'm not fond of the Superweek organization for their crit courses, but the Holy Hill course goes back to a time before the current promoter so I'm not all that averse to doing that race. We'll see.
Tonight is actually a day off although I may throw in a short 1 hour ride, my mom and stepdad are coming up for dinner tonight, so that is on the agenda instead of a ride. Tomorrow is a vacation day so I'll be doing a longer ride on what is normally a rest day or recovery ride day for me. Something in the range of 3 to 3.5 hours is on the schedule right away in the morning. Saturday is the Lake Country Classic Century and then the evening will be spent watching the Downer Ave. race, part of the Tour of America's Dairyland. I'm looking forward to the consumption of a few beers and of course the famous Cafe Hollander frites. Until next time, happy riding.........

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