After putting in over 260 outdoor miles in January, I had NONE in February, so joining up with a nice sized contingent of MRC members plus one 545 Velo pal on Saturday for a longish ride was quite nice.
The way the ride came off was awkward in more than a few ways: the start time was changed, the route was not well planned or known, the level of effort targeted by the person who posted the ride was overridden by the majority of the participants and lastly, I got shelled about halfway through.
Nevertheless, it was great to find out if all those hours on the trainer, using TrainerRoad workouts, had a positive effect on my performance. Net result: mixed.
On the upside, I was able to sustain a 30 minute effort at 92% FT – not from the beginning of the ride, but STARTING 24 miles in. Of course, I had the help of a large paceline which consisted of a lot of Cat 3 and 4 racers who did nearly all of the work up front to get me to that point.
It was at the end of that stretch, leading up into Carlisle along a series of short, punchy rollers (on a route called, "The Monster Bullet Train") that I hit a (the) wall. Bleh.
After a few minutes of deliberation, we stuck together as a group, but I thought the writing was on the wall. A little while later, recovered, I hit my best 5 min power for the ride heading up Nagog Hill. I don't know where THAT came from. Still: I was last up by a long way and a few minutes later, I thought I had been dropped for good.
I was fine with that: everyone else was in the groove and I knew my way back so I pedaled on, planning to continue for as long as I could at tempo.
No sooner did I start scrounging my "mental radio" for a song to help me soldier on, than I was overtaken by one of our group who was inadvertently left behind after dropping something he wanted to retrieve. Yay: company!
We met back up with the group at a coffee stop in Concord center and I was able to keep up the rest of the way back to Berlin.
So, what is the missing piece of the puzzle, looking at my fitness/training at this point? The usual: climbing.
If I'm not able to get outside and do the real thing, I need to figure out how to properly simulate climbing on the trainer. Also, I need to mix tempo efforts with climbing: all the TrainerRoad workouts give you really easy rest intervals, I should just do tempo during those perhaps.