Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Three weeks till the road season!

With three weeks to go, there is a buzz of excitement about team dinner conversations, with words like "watts" and "threshold" surfacing in conversation between questions about everything from what to expect at first races, to how to get in and out of clipless pedals, to criterium tactics and team time trial organization.

Everyone's excited and a bit nervous about the first races. Who will come out of the winter strong? Who has and has not been logging those late night trainer hours in the dorm basements?
Or, alternately, we start imagining our victory salutes after winning the sprint, or maybe a long solo breakaway effort in a road race.

If you're like me, the daydreams and doubts happen almost simultaneously. At very least, in rapid succession. I remember the courses that I've raced before vividly, and research the ones I haven't, plotting the perfect place to make a move or trying to predict who else might attack on which hills. How many times have I opened each of the race fliers since they were posted on the ECCC website? Don't ask.

Right after envisioning that victorious break away, I start to question my training hours and dietary decisions over the winter. Did I ride enough? Did I fully recover from injuries incurred in a late summer crash? Am I really ready to ride in my new category? How much of a toll has my insane school schedule really taken on me?

Three weeks to go!

What now? Although it might look like magic when the April flowers are in bloom, the sun is shining, and the Bulldogs are winning, it's not luck or chance. Yalies are notorious for their work ethic and drive. We pursue the things we love, and we go harder when the going gets tough.

This is how it's done:

- Waking up at 4am for intervals on the trainer between 4:30 and 6:30 am when the world is quiet, your tasks before class or clinical are done, and there are no emails or phone calls to attend to... yet.

- Getting back on the bike at 7pm for another short fast spin before falling into bed.

Yes, my rollers are missing a leg and propped up on a copy of a notoriously clunky but useful guide to Physical Examination by some dude named Bates. The wobble keeps it interesting, especially while I'm blogging while riding o the rollers.

- Riding the rollers on the weekend for a back to back Harry Potter, followed by Totoro, followed by three episodes of Dexter movie marathon played on a laptop perched on a trainer block perched on your kitchen chair placed in front of the bike close enough to reach the volume buttons but far enough to not hit your wheel. And, riding in the kitchen pantry means ease of access to snacks, and those shelves are nice for holding a cup of tea if you enjoy that sort of thing while on the bike. But really, all of this roller riding is so you can tell yourself you're maintaining your balance, because rollers are sooooo much like the road. And, typing while riding the rollers means i've got mad skills. Right? right.

- Cutting back on cookies over the holidays. Then giving up cookies entirely once the temptation isn't on every countertop you encounter.

- Testing hydration and food options systematically to find the perfect combinations before the season, if you aren't satisfied with last year's recipe.

- Spending your Tuesday and Thursday nights spinning with the team in Payne Whitney Gym's spin room while watching cycling movies and race highlights youtube videos.

- Quality time, bonding, talking strategy and getting psyched for the season with the team at Monday night dinners!

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