I've hit the transition point in my training. The focus will shift
from strength training in the gym, to speed and stamina on the
In theory, I've built up my strength and recovery capability, and
can now pivot and use those aptitudes to quickly build speed and
I can feel that I've gotten stronger. I can feel that I'm riding
better. But I'm also slower. That's expected-- when I focus on
strength, chronic training load goes up, cumulative fatigue goes
up, and speed and stamina on the bike go down.
Last week I did a lap of the Santiago course to see where I'm
at. My target time was 45:00.
Final time: 48:17.
That's not good. Worse: I was pretty cooked. The Santiago race
is two laps. No way would I have managed a second lap in
under 50 min. Judging from last year's finishing times, that puts
me near the back of the pack.
That's enough for me to feel a little panic start to creep in. I
haven't been training like this to finish last.
I have eight weeks to build a faster pace, and build the
endurance I need for two laps.
This is where I either have faith that my training plan will work,
or I panic and just "ride hard" for the next few weeks, and end up
shelled on race day, rolling in DFL and wondering what the hell
I have to remember that I'm working a different kind of training
plan. An explicitly, intentionally experimental plan. One
that layers in stamina at the end, instead of as the
I have to remember that I thought this through months ago, and I'm
right where I expected to be: matching my old race pace for one
lap, but turning bigger gears and setting PRs on downhills and
What should happen now, if I know what I'm doing, is that
I'll start posting new PRs on short climbs like Cholla, then move
up to bigger stuff like Mathis, Coachwhip, and Mountain Goat.
And if that's not happening, well, then I know I did something
wrong, and need to reevaluate. I don't plan to do any racing next
year (plenty of other stuff should be taking up my time), so I
have plenty of time to play the long game, build general fitness,
and pivot back to mountain biking in 2018.
But the experiment continues: How to finish mid-pack while
training just 3hrs/wk.
But I had a nice thought the other night: even if Santiago doesn't
go well, I still have Caspers in four months.