Friday, February 6, 2015

It's All about the Base

I am writing this post while flying 35,000 feet over Canada on my way to Florence.  As I speed my way towards another great European adventure, you would think my thoughts are focused on long walks with Sherry, good food, great wine, and fine Italian espressos.  While understandable, you’d be wrong.  With 8 hours of flight time still to go I have plenty of time to switch my thoughts to the romance that is Florence.  Right now I am thinking about cycling!!! 

Well, I am actually thinking about not cycling, as in I won’t be riding for the next 14 days.  And, to be honest, I’m not sure buying the cycling magazine at the airport is helping the matter.  The reason for this focus on cycling is that this season is off to a weird start and I’m concerned about my base fitness. 

I rode nearly 4,700 miles last year that included a lot of climbing and jumping in the occasional pace line that was way too fast for me.  The result?  I entered the off season in great shape and I was really looking forward to carrying the base into 2015. It was going to be the foundation for another awesome year.  Instead, I am off to a very slow start and that’s cause for my concern.

It all started going down hill in October.  This is when I usually start to back off just a little and then take some real time off to recover in November.  However, my company started a really cool wellness program last year and we began an 11-week cardio challenge in October.  This meant completing at least 200 in zone minutes per week to qualify for the championship.  So much for taking it easy in October and November.

Long story short, my team was in the final championship so instead of taking time off the first week of December I racked up 1,012 of in zone cardio time.  By they way, 1,012 minutes was only good enough for 7th place as I work with some very competitive people.  The top gun logged 1,316 minutes. However, my team did win the championships so it was all worth it right?

It was time for a new plan. After the championship, I took 2 full weeks off to recover.  The plan was to rejuvenate and then pick things up in January.  That plan died a hideous death when I strained my groin.  This kept me off the bike for another 2 weeks.  In 2014, I finished January with over 400 miles.  This year it was a measly 126 easy miles.  No big  climbs.  No rocket-fast pace lines.  Just me cruising along like I was going to get coffee, which I did on most rides.

Now, just as the strain groined has healed enough to get back on the bike, I will be in Italy.  

What does this all really mean for my base.  Well, to begin with I fully intend to enjoy the hell out of Florence and not really care that I’m not riding.  But, you can bet your bottom euro that when I get home I plan on hitting it hard.  That’s because I have a 75 mile event with over 6,000 feet of climbing to prepare for that is a short 7 weeks after we return.

Still, it’s all good.  I am pretty sure there is still a solid base in me somewhere.  I did manage to ride the Saturday before we left and I felt pretty good all things considered.  I am hopeful it all comes back quickly once I start riding on a regular basis.  If not, it’s going to be a long 75 miles.


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