Air Quotes, Focus, Pavé & Hellingen
Cold, snow, yada, yada, yada. What are you gonna do? I could bitch every night, and sort of do, but I'm just gonna suck it up. I will not bitch anymore about the weather. Yeah, right! I can't make that promise. What I can promise, is to just put my head down and plow through the 7 or 8 hours a week that I loosely call "training". You couldn't see, but I was making BIG ass air quotes when I typed "training". Make sure you do the air quote thing when you read this post or it will loose something. Good. Anyway, as I was saying- I'm just gonna put my head down and plow through the 8 hours a week of what I loosely call "training" (did you do the air quotes?), keep focused on my first race and mentally block out what I can of the weather and cold temps. A couple beers, Effexor, and some sun might help too!
My born again focus was enough to get me on to the trainer for 1 hour of zone 1 & 2 spinning. After my other longer workouts this week being "Puke Bucket Intervals" on Monday, and Threshold Intervals last night, tonight's small chain ring, high cadence work felt great. Opened up the legs, sweat out some calories and listened to some tunes on iPodious.
The focus also helped me keep positive about Wifey heading out of town for three weeks for some work training. She has to head down to the D.C. area so the Feds can school her on some stuff. We knew this was coming, and were a bit prepared, so it's not that big a deal. Other than me and B-Man missing her, and her missing B-Man and me. Well at least B-Man.
The cool thing is that she actually volunteered to go now, rather than later in the spring and summer so it would be less of a stress on my riding and racing schedule. Thanks Wifey! That sort of rocks. Plus I'm going to take advantage of some of my vacation time and spread some half days out over the 3 weeks, so I can come home, ride, then shoot over to day care and pick B-Man up after his "nap time". Not to mention my father in-law has volunteered to lend a hand. On top of that Wifey will be close enough to come home on the weekends for conjugal visits. I mean to see us. Ahem.
My "inner roadie" is starting to get geeked up about now. I sort of dig watching and reading about the big stage races, but I LOVE the Spring Classics and Semi-Classics. One day races, with cool temps, mud, rain, and sometimes snow. Shitty roads, cobbles, and short steep ass climbs (or hellingen in Flemish). Hmmm, I wonder if I dig so many of the Classics because they remind me a lot of what we ride here Western PA? We might not have too many cobbles, though we have a fair amount of bricked streets, but we DO have more than our share of shitty roads, shitty weather, and steep grade climbs.
I have often found myself getting pummeled in the ass by one of our fine roads and instantly thought of the Pros cruising over the muddy Pavé. That can sometimes be JUST enough mental imagery to get my mojo going and put the hammer down. Then sometimes it's thoughts of the Koppenberg climb in the Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders).
I'm heading up a climb, gears maxed, heart rate maxed, legs screaming, JUST about to vurp up lunch, and images of Tom Boonen screaming up the 22% of the Koppenberg faster than I could ride on a flat paved road pop in my mind and gives just that little mental nudge I need to get up the hill before I lose my balance and fall over on my ass.
To me, the Spring Classics and Semi Classics fall into a hazy, gray area between a mountain bike race, a road race and a cyclo-cross race. Often that's how I feel when I'm out riding and "training" (I KNOW you did the air quotes!) on my road bike. A Two Wheeled Gospel Preaching Dirt Worshiper, on skinny tires, being bounced around on shitty roads, getting the jelly legs from too many steep grades, not looking like a roadie, but not riding on a mountain bike. Not getting screamed at by beer fueled, cycling mad Belgies, but by mad, cyclist hating motorists. But still having miles of fun trying to get my saggy ass in shape to race my mountain bike. All this talk and my new found "focus" (air quotes!!!) JUST might have me out on the Campeon in the snow this weekend! :)
The 63rd Omloop Het Volk is this weekend. Cobbles, climbs, A.M. rain and high winds.