"It's only January..."
Almost all of mine have been in my trusty 40x16 fixed gear... flat to slightly rolling rides of mostly between 2 to 3 hours. Less during the week. It's been OK, but unfortunately not enough to get my doughboy body down to fighting weight. Naturally, I overindulged this holiday season, what else is new. Put on about 12 pounds. Ugggh. Genetics. Time to get it in gear...but taking it slow and steady this year.
Dr. Brad and I were joined by a special guest last Sunday: Barry 'the Bullet' Boyce: Cycling Revealed.com empresario, CCB International masters legend, and a fellow Ronde van Vlaanderen cyclo finisher. We took a nice 3 hour spin around scenic Tiverton and Little Compton RI and Westport MA, at a gentlemanly pace. First ride on derailleurs this year. Still kept it in the small ring though.
Barry is cycling's trivia quizmaster. Every winter he runs an online 'winter trivia monday' contest. Given we share a feverish passion for cycling history, three hours of stories and catching up passed by in the blink of an eye.
Sting in the tail was the climb up old Bulgarmarsh road to our start point. It's a pretty good climb for these parts - Barry's computer said there were sections at 12 and 16%, so it's steep. Almost at the top I noticed a side road climbed off more to the left.. it looked a little like a private driveway. Hmmm...wonder where that goes? Feeling spunky, I turned left and rode away from the 'now where are you going?' catcalls... This discovery kept us climbing through a new neighborhood development for another quarter mile or so - cool! a kappelmuur-esque extension, only without the cobbles or the kappel.
|Barry the Bullet and Dr. Brad with the official doping product of flandriacafe. |
Westmalle Trappisten. Bad for VAM, Good for the soul.
Despite us ambushing him by making him ride with us up every little berg in the area, Barry brought us each a bottle of Westmalle. And then, like veteran riders whose glory days are long past should do, we retired to lunch and a beer at the Black Goose to cap the perfect ride. Totally civilized. No pain, no power meter. Just capillary training in the time-tested, traditional manner.
This Saturday I did close to 4 hours w/Brad on the fixed. Again, piano piano. I know 4 hours is way more than prescribed for a fixed gear ride, but I like it and doesn't seem to do me any harm. And I know fixed cog for winter training is old school and now claimed to be of little benefit to power, but I don't believe it. Hey, I figure if it was good enough for Anquetil...
Sunday though I did a ride at the other end of the spectrum with my flandria-cafe mates Maarten, Kurt, Tom and Jay...and another dozen lean fit guys. It was ~50 miler in hilly northern RI. I knew I was in for a much harder morning when they started flying in the big ring downhill right out of the parking lot, big gaps forming then immediately a first long climb up Scott road. It was like the big selection in a race. Pulse on the absolute upper limit, I hit 178 a level which I think I only reached once all last season. "Why are we going so hard? It's January for chrissakes?" Shrugs. A few of the guys on the ride were Colombian-Americans, and they drilled it hard up every climb like Lucho Herrera trying to drop Patrocinio Jimenez on La Linea. After sprinting up in one bellicose, loud-mouthed-Irish attempt to get them to chill, I resigned myself to getting stuck into the inevitable, interminable hammer fest. Big ring the whole way. Hammerin' out of every turn. Some serious leg burn and gap closing on the climbs. Single file. No conversation. Super gusty wind. Not really how I was taught to do January base miles, but no worries, I'm always game for a slug-fest...
If I was smart though I probably should have let them go, but wasn't sure where we were, and wanted to find my way back sometime while there was daylight... I'm sure you've been there, right? Plus there's that little voice in your head that tells you to keep you hanging on till you can't...
|Old school civilized Wintertraining with Elsy Jacobs and |
Was really glad to see the other Flandria team guys are all flying Spartacus Jay's really fit and climbing super strong, and I'm quite sure will be a force at the Tour of Battenkill this year. And Maarten, Kurt and Tom have all been training hard for their upcoming April pilgrimage to the Ronde van Vlaanderen / Parijs-Roubaix double. They've sighed up for the full distance cyclotoerist version in both! I'm more than a little jealous I can't be joining them on this... but after seeing how well they're going now, and knowing what they're in for maybe I shouldn't be!