The road racing season is over for me this year and it has been a disappointing one. Even though I have been plagued by Sinusitis all year and felt bad it doesn’t explain completely why my time trialing and road racing have been so lack luster. In the fall of 2012 I felt stronger than I had in years and could put the hurt on team mates at will. I did massive personal bests for Diablo and Mt Hamilton hill climbs and was time trialing probably at my best ever. In 2013 I had a pretty good year but concentrated heavily on speed over short distance time trials and by mid year I was a mere shell of what I was in 2012 . I worked hard but was still well down on my 2012 pace and had a pretty disappointing hill climb season. Was I just getting old ?
The lethargy of 2013 spilled over into 2014. It never really got going for me and my time trialing, climbing and road racing have been very lackluster. I had a few flashes of my old self (particularly time trialing on fixed gear) but generally I have been going slower and slower. I certainly lost more Strava KOM’s than I got this year. The final nail in the coffin was a terrible performance at the Warnerville time trial a few weeks ago and I knew something had to change.
What did I do so different in 2012 that made me so strong in the second half of the year ? I did two very different things in that year. Firstly the first few months of the 2012 season was spent concentrating on Double Centuries and endurance events. Secondly I was doing all my long rides on recumbents. Whilst I have no intention of going back to recumbents* (at least in the short term) the big mileage doubles might be a key for me. I know that modern sports thinking looks on massive base miles as nothing better than training to be able to do massive base miles but maybe for me I really need them.
I have done a few endurance events over the past few weeks (Death Ride and Santa Cruz Mountains Challenge) as well as upping my weekly mileage to around 270. To be honest I feel vastly better for doing this rather than shorter intense interval and speed sessions. This week I did a personal best for the Del Valle climb (beating my 2012 record) and managed a 58 minute assault up Diablo on not such a great day. My Diablo time is still 3 minutes off my 2012 effort but I hope by October I have managed to get the form back.
For 2015 I am going back to endurance events. DMD here I come.
*Note: I still believe the recumbent to be the ultimate weapon of choice for Endurance races where the climbs are less than 10% gradient due to superior comfort and aerodynamics. Road bikes are catching up in terms of comfort with sub 17 pound Carbon wonders such as the Cannondale Synapse, Giant Defy and Calfee Manta pro and they always win out with drive chain efficiency. I don’t think anyone could win the DMD or Terrible Two on a recumbent. I am still keeping my Bacchetta Corsa SS for the times when doing well on the road bike isn’t so important again.