Thursday, August 06, 2009

Racing - 170s At East Hartford

Tuesday night (I know, it's a bit out of order) the missus and I trekked down to Rentschler Field for the E-Haw races.

I sipped a protein shake on the way down there in lieu of a proper dinner. The missus gave me one of those looks.

"Won't you feel sick racing right after drinking that stuff?"
"I should be fine."

Famous last words, right?

This was the first time since early February 2009 that I've gotten on the bike with 170s, the idea being I'll be able to translate my efforts to the track bike and vice versa. I hadn't ridden the bike since the crank swap so I tried to get in a decent warm-up. My legs seemed stiff and unresponsive, but I chalked it up to lack of efforts. I figured after the first big effort I'd recover and be okay.

The race started a little more tamely than other weeks, with a two man attack. But when they got caught on about the third lap, two CCNS guys launched an insanely hard counter. Taking advantage of the work everyone just did, they totally drilled it. They kept the pace up for at least three laps, gaps appearing everywhere.

I actually don't know how long they kept it up because at about three laps into the attack (or surge), I got pummeled by feelings of queasiness, exploding legs, and wheezing lungs.

Yep, I got shelled.

So much for the more speed thing.

I had told the missus that I'd work on working harder, so I recovered for a bit, letting them lap me a couple times, and then jumped back in. I focused on responding immediately to any surges, standing out of the last turn (on 170s I stand more it seems), and trying to stay low when maintaining higher speeds.

A short time later I exploded again, sat up.

Repeat several times.

Once I got on just as they rang the bell for a prime. I figured I'd lead out whoever got on my wheel. One guy saw the opportunity, jumped on, and I dragged him halfway down the last curving straight. He declined to come around me too hard, and I realized that he was lapped too!

I dropped off one final time, circled the course, looking for an opening. I figured I would do one sprint, try to get the legs going fast. A couple times I had to put off my sprint because I'd have interfered with the actual race, but finally I had a clear shot.

I launched hard in a low gear, shifted nicely one click at a time, but on the last shift I hit the shifter a bit exuberantly, resulting in a double upshift. I decided to grind it out, but I started hitting wind and bogged down as I got to the line.

That last effort put paid to my night so I turned around and joined the missus and Mrs SOC. We watched the finish (SOC did another great race), and the missus and I packed up to go have some dinner with SOC and Mrs SOC.

While packing the car (and before, too), I had to pause multiple times to rest. I felt queasy, a bit nauseous, light-headed, just all around bad. Then I realized something, because this sensation, unpleasant as it felt, seemed familiar to me.

And it dawned on me.

I used to feel like this every single time I did the Tuesday Night Sprints at SUNY Purchase.

I'd push myself to the limit, grovel in recovery, and then do it again. Over and over, 10 or 15 or more times in a couple hours, until I could barely focus.

I haven't done any efforts like that since.

I mean, yeah, I go hard in a race, but never 100%, except at the end. And then I'm done for the race. And on training rides, I go hard here and there, but again, never 100%. Even my sprints and such are minor efforts, just 300-400 meters at a time, not a mile full-out culminating in a artery-threatening sprint.

But at East Hartford, I could make such efforts. I could go until I virtually collapsed, collect myself, and do it again. And again. And again.

I mentioned this to the missus, and pointed out that it took a few months of SUNY Purchases before I felt "fast", like 3-4 months.

With only three more East Hartfords, I don't think I'll be too much faster than I am now, but I hope to put a dent in my speed deficit.

And at some point I hope to have some kind of a regular ride where I can replicate those SUNY Purchase sprint efforts, for a couple-few hours.

Wouldn't that be a blast.


No One Line said...

That *would* be a blast.

Starting in October, I'll be living in Northampton, and able to participate in such a ride...

Anonymous said...

good gawd dood, just hang tough and don't get lapped!!! make that the GoAl