Prepping for Pace Bend

Well, the Pace Bend race is 4 short days away and my chances of making the race appear to be improving. Essentially I’m at the mercy of an unborn child. Not mine, mind you, oh heck no! My sister-in-law is basically due at any second, but she’s not feeling that it is imminent. If the little guy can hold off until Monday, then I’ll be all clear!

Even though I felt my chances of making the race were slim, I’ve been proceeding with my training and preparation for the race.

Over the last couple of weeks I have gotten in some good training rides. My interval training has been proceeding as expected and I have been able to make all of my workouts the last two weeks, including both rides this past weekend.

Turnin Cranks

I did make an interesting discovery after my interval ride Saturday morning. I did my intervals doing laps down at the park on my mountain bike. It’s been a little while since I did some training down there so I was curious to see how things had improved from my previous times. 1 mile laps aren’t really a good indicator of overall progress, and unfortunately Strava is unable to create multiple lap segments so I had to go through and hand zoom the ride to pull out 3 lap (3 mile) data. It was not uncommon for me to put in a good 3 lap effort every few months so I thought that was a good indicator.

What I found surprised me.

While this particular day I did log my best 3 lap performance ever, what surprised me was that my prior best 3 lap effort had come back in September, a scant 3 weeks after returning home from my Durango to Moab trip.

I knew that the big trip had really given me a major boost in the bike fitness department, but it started sinking in just how much of a boost it provided. Looking at my 3 lap times and other general indicators, it would appear that a 1 week trip of riding up to 50 miles per day gave me near the same amount of fitness training as a structured training program covering nearly 10 weeks.

That is pretty shocking! I know there are big benefits to doing Endurance Blocks, but I really had no idea it could make this much of a difference. Now, granted, even these are not super specific detailed measurements, but I think the anecdotal evidence really points to pretty significant gains in a very short amount of time, if you can find a way to cram that much time on the bike. While it only took 6 days, I did put in over 25 hours on the bike.

So the takeaway for me, is to find a way early in my training season to get a big week on the bike to help jump start my training efforts.

On Sunday I headed back out to Pace Bend with Kirby to do another pre-ride and pacing ride in anticipation of the race this weekend. I managed to put in an even better lap than I did 2 weeks ago, improving my time by nearly 1.5 minutes. And that was with a stop in NXNW to let Kirby catch up as he had gotten caught up a little. I think a 47 minute lap is within reach, but it will definitely require a good ride.

I anticipate that first place will finish in the 45 minute range. A 46 minute ride *might* pull in a top 3 finish, but it would be tight. It’s going to be a pretty competitive race as I anticipate all the top folks are going to be at the race. Unfortunately for me, I’ll also be starting a little behind the leaders right off the bat. I have fallen out of the top 10 so I won’t be in the top 10 call up. I’ll be starting on the 2nd row behind the top 10.

Which means I’m gonna have to go a little harder on the start climb than I wanted, but you do what you gotta do!

I have some other thoughts on what I want to do in the race. I guess I’ll get to go into if they work or not in my race report next week, assuming the baby lets me race!

Earlier this week in my interval ride, wifey accidentally locked me out of the house while I was out for my ride. It wasn’t long, but it gave me a few minutes to ride more. I decided to take the road bike down to Commons Ford to go for a PR on Commons Ford Hill. While I was just going for a PR, I managed to bag 5th place, and knowing what kind of effort I put forth on it, I think I have a pretty good chance of breaking top 3. Granted, this is my version of my lightly ridden local track, but hey, I’ll take it!

About TC

Long time mountain biker, recent mountain bike racer. Borderline unhealthy obsession with mountain biking, constantly drawn to hit the dirt and share my experiences.

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