Training in Nurnberg, Germany

Well, went to bed last night listening to the pouring rain. Woke up through-out the night to the pouring rain. Alarm went off at 7 a.m. and I heard what I thought was pouring rain. Honestly, I was dreading my ride. Cold and rain for two hours is not fun. But then I was greeted with a great surprise when I stepped out of the trusty RV…. The pouring rain I heard was simply the water dripping off the leaves onto the roof of the RV. Phew!

Anyway, I set off a little after 8 for a two hour ride that involved tempo intervals with 10 second accelerations every minute thrown in for some extra spice. Oh and the last minute of each interval was at VO2Max…. The trick was finding a stretch of road that would allow for 7 minutes of hard pedaling and a 5 minute recovery stretch (four times). I had no idea where to go so I just followed a bicycle path and eventually after a few left and right turns I found a sign for a town called Burn. This town was signed for cyclists and was 10 km away so I decided that I would be able to do my intervals along this route.

Well, I found actually the best road ever for doing this type of interval. Basically a very quiet road that had multiple rollers and short flat sections between. Not so steep that I dreaded riding it, just steep and long enough rollers to really get the heart rate and power numbers up. Basically I had did the interval up the hill, turn around, roll down, recover and repeat. An excellent work-out. One of those work-outs that really gets the body firing on all cylinders.

The perfect work-out I needed to see how deep I can go right now. I’m pleased to report that I think I’m back to my old self. I don’t have my SRM here so it is hard to know my exact power numbers but lets just say I was pretty wiped at the end of each interval and it was a different type of fatigue than I experience a few weeks ago.

This is encouraging for the weekend. I’ve been thinking a lot about the race in Aigle…. I have to admit that I didn’t go as hard as I could. I held back. I’m not sure if this was conscious or sub-conscious. But based on how I felt on Monday and Tuesday and on reflecting on my body sensations during the race – I could have and should have gone harder. I think I was afraid of blowing up/cracking/exploding – feeling like I have been feeling… Not good. But at least three days later I can recognize and admit this.

So where does this leave me? Well, with no choice but to go past my limits on Sunday and really dig deep. I have no choice. After some number crunching and chatting with Marc last night, we have determined that basically the race in Plzen, Czech Republic will determine if I qualify for the World Cyclo-Cross Championships…. There are 35 registered starters. I need to finish no worse than 30th…. In other words I need to have the race of my life. I need to have the start that we all know is in me. I need to ride as technically clean as possible (i.e. no brakes and smart lines). I need to really just pound the long straight sections and go as hard as I can at all times. If I do this, I have an excellent chance of getting the job done. If I do all this and I finish below the top 30, well at least I can say I gave it my all and I have no regrets.

So today during my work-out I was taking photographs of the body feelings I was experiencing and telling myself “remember this feeling – you need this on Sunday. Remember how much your legs ache right now – you need to feel this on Sunday.”

Am I stressed? Yes. Am I freaking out? Yes. Can I do it? Most definitely. As Marc said, “If you really want to race in St. Wendel then you’ll get the job done on Sunday. It all depends on how badly you want it.”

Some of you are probably wondering why I’m telling you all of this and really letting you know what I’m feeling and thinking. Well, I’ve always tried my best to be honest on this website. So this is no different. Quite literally, I have a job to do on Sunday. And I have to do my job to the best of my abilities. I want to race in the World Cyclo-Cross Championships in St. Wendel, Germany. So I have to do what needs to be done.

What if I don’t do it? Well, this is not an option. I’m not letting my brain go down this road. I have to face the race with confidence, convinced that I can do it. I need to have a good start (like the start I had in Cross Vegas), I need to drill the long straight sections like I’ve done in the past, I need to let things fly on the long descent. I need to race with my head. But most importantly, I need to race with my heart and soul.

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