First of all, I’m weary and probably over-trained.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if you string together three weeks of hard riding on three continents, throw in twenty-four time zone changes, and combine with several overnight plane flights, that at some point the body’s ability adapt will reach its exhaustion point. Yesterday, after an hour and a half yoga class with Noam Renov, I came home and crashed out.
My theory is that while your physical body might be able to travel multiple time-zones in one day, your body-clock is only capable of changing one or two time zones per day. Which means that on a fast eighteen-day round-the-world trip, my poor body clock was lagging behind me for most of the trip. Just as soon as my circadian rhythms got to Thailand, I was off to South Africa. When I left Cape Town, my body-clock has just cleared customs in Johannesburg. Then, yesterday, when it finally arrived in New York, it knocked me over the head in utter frustration and laid me low for the entire afternoon. I slept, sometimes off but mostly on, for about sixteen hours. I would wake to eat, pour a glass of red wine and then fall back to sleep. Now, at fifty-five, it takes me longer to recover and sometimes I just “hit the wall.” Usually, when the body says, “that’s it”, it takes the form of a sudden flu, some kind of nasty bacterial infection (like a bad eye stye), or a physical collapse. Yesterday was the latter.
But still the legs are not back to normal. They say that multi-stage race cyclists train on off days, just to keep the body from shutting down and going into repair mode. After my long ride on Monday in Cape Town, I didn’t ride on Tuesday but did spend about an hour on the indoor trainer both Wednesday and Thursday, and did tough yoga classes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For some reason, I didn’t have the power today in my legs that I had last week and my heart rate was climbing too fast up into the 160-175 range. So, I’m going to take two full days off the bike, see if I can get past this “over-trained” stage and start feeling normal again.
All the said, I just had to get out and ride this morning. Yes, there is a fine line between discipline and compulsion and today I did slip over into the dark side of that line. But this morning at 6:00 am it was 10 degrees on the 8th of February. This is so unusual and it doesn’t look like there will be another chance to ride outdoors during the coming two weeks, so I took my bike out of the Tacx cycle trainer, pumped up the tires, layered up and rode across town to the 38th St. NY Waterway Ferry station for the ride across the Hudson River to Port Imperial on the Jersey side.
Every cyclist in the New York/New Jersey area was riding on the 9W bicycle route this morning. There were hundreds of cyclists, all taking advantage of the weekend thaw. Packs of no-joking-around A23 riders went whizzing past, in both directions. I ended up riding for a few dozen kilometers with a group of triathletes from New Jersey who were doing my A19 pace (30 Kmph). This was good for company, but with the ice melt-off the roads were wet and dirty and there was a lot of wheel spray. At the Runcible Spoon in Nyack there were two dozen cyclists, who all looked like jockeys, covered in mud splatter, having coffee and sweets. No one could believe that it was warm enough to ride this early in February, particularly after the cold temperatures and heavy snows of late.
So, here is the ride, with GarminConnect:
And with Motionbased:
Just south of the Bear Mountain Bridge, looking north the ice floes were almost touching across the river.
So, after 84 km and 3:44 of riding, I pulled into the Garrison MetroNorth station for the train trip home. 1,160 meters of climbing and 3,231 calories burned.
Yes, there is a lot of ice in the Hudson River!
The Cape Argus Classic is exactly four weeks away. The next two weeks are crucial for training, particularly in dropping a few kilos and doing those ten-twenty minute 300 watt intervals, pushing my maximum heartrate for longer periods but foregoing the long two-four hour rides for shorter sub-hour long sprints.
The Cape Argus Classic is a seeded start, with groups of riders going off in heats based on previous race times from 0600 until after 1000 on race day. Last year, without a race time for seeding, I started with the unseeded International riders at about 0845. This year, with my fast time from 2008, I received a start time of 0718, starting in the “R” Group. This is nice and early in the seeding and I should be riding with others who will be keeping my pace, which will avoid having to ride around slower riders like last year. Also, I should be able to get into a large drafting pack, which will help with my time.
So, now for two days off the bike and a little rest.