This was the first year that I have had the opportunity to be able to take a month and head south for a month of really focused training prior to the start of my racing season. After some debating on the right place, I ended up in Santa Rosa with a few of my teammates. Magically, Alan and I ended up with some amazing host housing in one of the ritzy parts of town. We are staying in a huge home with our host, John, and his old retriever/chow mix dog, Amber.
John is a cyclist also who took the sport up in the last couple of years in hopes of getting in shape. He has started to make some real progress but has struggled every winter to keep the pounds off and stay on track. That is where we come in. What better way to eat healthy foods and active than surrounding yourself with active folks. So, John has made a few simple requests of us. Basically, he wants to eat dinner with us, and for us to go grocery shopping to stock the house with good healthy options. I couldn’t be happier, being a personal trainer and coach, I love to help people meet their goals whether it is getting fast for their next race or getting down to a weight where the feel comfortable trying to race, which is John’s main goal. Thanks to the local Costco, we have been eating like kings. Both Alan and I have been trying to eat a anti-inflammatory, high anti-oxidant diet. There hasn’t been an evening that didn’t include black beans, avocados, salad, yams, roasted peppers, or some combination there of. Life is good. More importantly, this last week alone John has lost 4 pounds since we have been here!
Okay on to the important stuff, TRAINING. I have been killing it on the bike the last week, and just made it through my first big block of training. The roads here are incredible, the weather has been outstanding with the exception of yesterday, and I have gotten used to climbing the 600 ft hill to get to our house in the “nice” part of town, after slaying myself on the bike for 4+ hours.
Day 1: Wake up after driving for 14 straight hours, tired, sore, cramped. The master plan says rest day, but turns out this is the only day I will have the option of riding with Levi Leipheimer, so the plan goes out the window. We meet up with Levi, Scott Nydam, and a couple of other local hardmen like this “kid“ who is scary fast uphill. Ride out to the local climbs and of course I try to stay with Levi and Andrew. Bad idea considering the previous days drive, but either way ended up with some good numbers for a 20′ power test to base the rest of my workouts from. Lesson learned, I cannot climb with one of the top 10 climbers in the world, big surprise.
Day 2: Easy day. 2-3 hrs on schedule turns into ~4. Mileage here doesn’t translate to the same time frame as back home, big climbs, and windy roads make slow days.
Day 3: 4 hrs – overgeared force work. Ouch legs hurt, these climbs are just a tad steeper than the usual vista hill repeats. Here is a picture (sorry it’s from my phone, therefore not great) of the top of the infamous geyser’s climb.
Day 4: 4 hrs on the TT bike. ~2 hours of it at hard tempo pace. Santa Rosa is known for its great roads but also for its poor road surface, not very fun in the TT position. None the less, good day, starting to get a bit more used to the TT position again.
Day 5: 5 hrs – 4 long climbs – Intervals up each one. Lets just say it was hard, long, and involved ~8,000 feet of climbing. I did two climbs that were used in the Tour of California, seeing the names of all the stars painted on the roads is definitely a tad motivating as you are cranking out the watts on a 13% percent grade.
Day 6: 2-3 hr easy! woohoo. This is today. Taking it mellow, maybe ride to healdsburg for a cup of joe (something I have been trying to cut back on also).
Thats about it for now. I will try to post an update about every week.