By Megan Hottman, courtesy of her blog: www.meganhottman.com
1️⃣ it’s really important to cool down after a hard, short race.
2️⃣it’s really important to warm up before a race involving a “hole shot.”
3️⃣intervals are the only way to truly improve fitness and performance; therefore it’s important to include them in training each week.
4️⃣all of the above.
If you said 4️⃣above, you’d be right.
Even though I’m not new to bike racing I committed several cardinal sins today and acted like a total newbie: I didn’t eat three hours before my race. I didn’t cool down last night. I didn’t warm up this morning.
When the race started and my group took off uphill towards the single track I popped. Immediately. Legs imploded. 💥 My race was over a few minutes into the thing. I watched my entire AG ride away from me and I never saw them again.
As easy as it was for me to spend the next four hours reading myself the riot act, I didn’t.
I honestly didn’t.
I haven’t done many intervals or much structured training of any kind during the pandemic. Races were cancelled and TBH it turned into a nice long off-season. I rode when it felt good. I ran when it felt good. And after twenty years of structured training, racing, teaching spin classes and following interval regimens my body got a much needed break. It honestly felt the best it’s felt in a long time last year.
I’ve been riding lots of road miles in 2021 but without structure or intensity now and then, I haven’t made any gains towards race fitness. And I knew that.
I also knew this morning when it was cold and rainy and I sat in my van drinking the precious, aka my coffee, that I should’ve been out warming up. I knew that last night when I went from a full gas race effort to driving my van to the campsite and not cooling down, that my legs would feel awful the next day.
Sometimes, we must be reminded of the things we’ve learned already but forgot or pretended didn’t really matter…. today I got re-reminded.
In addition, there were some personal wins:
🏆 I started. I finished. I didn’t crash. I rode some techy-ish stuff that previously would have scared me. I had numerous chances on course to bail out to my van and drive away. Or nap. And I didn’t. My legs felt empty from the start and yet I kept riding. I ate … drank … focused on form and kept going and I felt better the longer I stayed on the bike… four hours later I finished.
Sometimes just throwing a leg over the top tube on a cold rainy Saturday and pedaling four hours on the mountain bike is a win. I mentally stayed in a positive place even as I suffered – my legs did NOT get the memo that I needed their participation today. They felt like total 🗑! Today the head ruled the roost and kept my body in the game. Given the cold and rainy weather, had I been home I would NOT have ridden four hours on the road or inside on the trainer. So again- that’s a win; I netted some fitness today that I didn’t have this morning.
and …I filled up on humble pie. 🥧 Big time.
Last place by a LONG shot. Friends— first place finished over an HOUR ahead of me. In 40 miles that is a proper ass-whooping.
Yes. I’ve got work to do. Today was a wonderful reminder and kick in the pants.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest that you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson
Seriously MAD props to the women out here CRUSHING it. They’ve obviously been putting in the work. It’s super inspiring. I don’t love getting my ass handed to me but I do love the motivation-by-contagion I caught out here. 🔥
Post race I was cold and wet. Found myself a hot shower in the campground showers and then made a warm lunch of udon noodles and hot chocolate ! Looking forward to another chill and quiet evening in the van out here in the desert 🏜 . The rain is a nice touch now that I’m warm and dry INSIDE the 🚐 😊!
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Post race recovery (& dinner) looked like this: