Yet I am very aware of the benefit from logging mega mileage rides before an intense racing season. I see the results that some racers get from doing stupid long rides like the 200 on 100 or the New Hampshire 100 or the D2R2. My plan for this past weekend was to race Crank the Kanc TT, 60 +/- miles with warmup & ride back, then the Grand Tour short route on Sunday, 80-90 miles with 5,000 feet of climbing. I was also planning to train my usual 100 miles during the week. All together it would be 4 race level efforts in 5 days for a total of 250 miles, 10,000 feet of climbing. A one day piece of cake if you're the Wilcox, or Matt Roy, which I am not.
|grunting out the finish on the Kanc TT|
Sunday was a gorgeous morning for the Grand Tour. I was tired but not burried. This ride brings out every type rider in the region; racers, ex-racers, fitness riders, randoneurs, even some of the mtb crowd. Normally the grand tour breaks up into dozens of clusters of similarly matched cyclists. This year was different. I admit I felt horrible at the start. I let my group go ahead up the west side of Kanc because my stomach was doing cartwheels. I thought I would suffer to the top and return back to the car. By the time I got to the peak, I felt a little better. An hour of spinning and burping up the hill had warmed me up. A group of 30 or so had congregated at the top. I thought that if this larger group stayed together, I might make it over Bear Notch and up Crawford with out collapsing. So on we went.
We had a group of 25 going over Bear Notch Road, and by the time we were half way up, I actually felt good. The pace was moderate, the company was pleasant, the weather was sunny. When we got to the lunch break in Bartlet, about 10 more cyclists joined our group. We took a nice partial group photo and started up to Crawford Notch together. A peloton of 35 or so rolled up Route 302 in double pace line. Unlike past years, no one wanted to drop the hammer. We rode a nice steady group pace until the base of Crawford Notch climb. Then things got punchy
|part of the lunch stop bunch|
The real climb on Crawford Notch is only 2 miles long, but it's a 12% wall for a third of that distance. The group shattered as the fast kids sprang ahead. I paced at the back of the first chase group of 4. Up the steepest section I stood up to lead the chasers. Just after we crested the Notch I got a puncture on my front tire. Fortunately there were plenty of friends behind me ready for a little rest. I was starting to feel the accumulated effort of two long hot days, and I had 30-40 miles to go.