When training rides go wrong… it’s probably because you didn’t stick to the plan. I’ve been riding for a long time but never trained for any specific riding style. Now that I’m craving long road riding days it seems fitting to start training to race competitively in the upcoming season.
My body has adapted to riding road for many mile… but not training on the level of the folks I’m training with. “So Matt… why are you training with them?” Great question! I wanted to get on the “accelerated reader” training list if you will. As previously mentioned in a few posts down, I caught Timo at the beginning of his training plan and got on board; figuring I would hold on for as long as I could, learn as much as I could, go deep into the pain cave as much as I could. And the story begins:
I found out several months ago that I need to eat every 30 minutes (whether I felt like it or not) if I’m going to go on an extended ride. Nothing big… just a small something every 30 minutes from the very beginning. This has proven time and time again to leave me feeling strong at the tail end of the ride and can finish with a smile on my face (well… whether I die during the ride or not I tend to end with a smile on my face). Now… this is for a “my pace” 70’ish mile day. This last Saturdays training session at Timo training pace speeds I did not stick to my simple eating plan at all. I focused on staying efficient, mindful of each pedle stroke, and saving energy everywhere I could while hugging Timo’s wheel; mimicking his movement to learn as much as I could during the training. Because of this, I went 2 hours without any food. WRONG!!! At hour 3.5 I cracked hard… like really hard. So hard that I stopped in the middle of the road with full leg cramps on both legs. I was stranded In the middle of the road (which was luckily void of car traffic) and could not move my legs enough to get over/off my bike. So I stood and waited for a life ending full fledge cramp attack to knock me to the ground but it never came. After a few chugs of water and a couple minutes passed (keep in mind I’m still in the middle of the road just standing there straddling my bicycle), I was able to move again. I slowly creep off the UFO and baby step to the sidewalk where I drink about a half a bottle of water and stare off into the blue sky.
After several minutes Timo Stark and Chris Cundiff come retrieve me. Feeling bad for cracking on their training ride I tell them to go on and that I’ll be fine, just need a few minutes for the demons to release the death grip they have on my legs. Timo and Chris leave, I recover enough to move again, then start very slowly/painfully inching my way up a short but steep climb I had ahead of me. Damning my legs the whole time I make it to the top and start heading in for the last 10 miles of the ride. A couple miles into that I feel COMPLETELY fine… like… very oddly fine. No hint of cramps, full power, I stand up to sprint even and I’m full speed ahead. I start shaking my head and then realize… STICK TO THE PLAN! I’m new at this game and need to stay as strict as possible; not neglecting nutrition during the ride. I’ve gotten away with this on “my pace” rides plenty of times. This is not the season for that.
I hope you enjoyed reading my experience. Maybe you have similar stories; maybe you don’t; all I know is that I died that early November 14th morning and was brought back to life. It was a lesson learned for sure. Cheers to that!