Jan 31, 2011

Rest weeks aren't easy


You would think that after three weeks of hard training, consisting of high volume and intensity, I would be looking forward to rest week. You would be right. Last Sunday, after my “easy” recovery ride with the SF2G guys, which turned out to be a team time trial around Tiburon, I was really ready for a break.

One of the things I was looking forward to the most was going on my usual morning rides with the Headland Raiders. Due to lots and lots of alone training and a ski trip on top, I nearly went an entire month without a Headlands Raid – can we say, "withdrawal"? So it was good to be back in that respect. It was also good to know that I was only going to be doing two rides during the week and a longer ride on one of the weekend days to cut my volume in half from my training weeks. Interestingly enough, after being absent from the morning Raid for nearly a month, I found I didn't recognize half the people on the ride - but it was great to see some new faces join the morning group.

I was okay through Thursday, with a day on, day off type deal, but by Friday evening, I was starting to feel a bit restless, with a ton of excess energy (having only ridden 40 miles up to that point), that I desperately tried - and to some extent succeeded - to extinguish with some margaritas and Chimay Red. But then again, Friday wasn’t that bad either, because I had already committed to a nice long ride on Saturday. The ride out to Pt. Reyes with Matt and Jon was going to be my last one for the week and would put me at about 120 miles for the week – exactly half last week’s total – perfect!

I felt very good on the mostly easy paced ride to Bovine Bakery and back, until the mist started to hit us in Nicasio and a full on drizzle settled in around Olema. Surprisingly, the city of San Francisco was dry when we crossed the bridge. Being used to always expecting the worst (colder, cloudier, foggier, rainier, etc.) weather in San Francisco, it was a pleasant surprise to finish out the ride dry. Dry it was, but not without incident. About a mile from my house, and almost right in front of American Cyclery, I got a flat. Nothing I dislike more than changing tires in wet, sandy, gritty, dirty conditions – but what’s a guy to do? Luckily I was able to use their pump and not burn an O2 cartridge, so a silver lining there. Apparently, riding 80+ miles, even at a relatively easy pace, takes a lot of a guy, as I ate, and then passed out for five hours. I don’t recall when was the last time I “napped” for so long. Does that even still qualify as a nap, or is there some point at which a nap can no longer be called a nap?

Then came Sunday morning and the rain. “Good,” I thought to myself, “what a perfect day to schedule a rest day!” But in 30 minutes, the rain stopped, and the sun came out (I didn't know that was only going to be momentary), and something inside me wasn’t sitting quite right. I wanted to be on the bike and kept telling myself that I have other things to do and that this is rest week. But all that self-convincing didn’t make staying off the bike any easier that day. Despite all the interesting things I did on Sunday, being in the saddle was somewhere in the back of my mind at all times.

Speaking of interesting things. I was amazed at how productive I was on Sunday. I’ve noted before that on weekend days I don’t ride, the amount of things I can accomplish is astonishing. For example’s sake, let’s compare Saturday and Sunday. Saturday: wake up, breakfast, ride, dinner, sleep (that’s it). Sunday: wake up, breakfast, clean the kitchen, two loads of laundry, two-hour lunch with a friend, trip to Lowes for a home improvement project, trip to Performance Bike for supplies, trip to Trader Joe’s for grub, build a wheel organizing system in the garage with the Lowes supplies, mount new race tires, third load of laundry, dinner with friends, prepared lunch for Monday, phew! So I guess while staying off the bike is hard, I do get a lot of stuff done. 

Sunday night was actually the hardest because not only was I restless from not riding, but I knew that I wouldn’t ride on Monday as that was also a planned rest day. I guess the only thing to do is to take all this saved up energy and unleash it on my legs in a furry of intervals tomorrow morning. 

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