Boulder day 1
Woke up Saturday in a new environment once again to train. I have been in Boulder a few times before, but never to train. Once again visiting my good friend and training partner from Park City who also joined me in Bend, and now here in Boulder. He lives a good schedule like mine!
Coffee, breakfast and off for a 4 hr bike and a 30 min run. Great ride out of Boulder, up St. Vrain to Raymond, and then on to Nederland along the Peak to Peak Highway. Epic scenery, good work intervals again on long steady climbs that allow you to stay in the big ring. In this case I did 2×20 min at 10% above race watts with 10 min recovery (on a hill). Short stops at Raymond store (cool spot), and back home via Left Hand canyon. Home, quick turnaround to a steady run on Cottonwood trail, 4 miles of steady IM goal pace. Done!
Observations: riding at altitude is a personal thing. Some people really struggle with it, despite being crazy fit, others don’t really notice it. I felt very little over the past month, whether at 7200 ft in Tahoe, 9500 ft in Park City, or 9500 ft yesterday on Peak to Peak Highway. As long as I gradually warm up the Diesel engine, allow my breathing and legs to work in synch, the wattages are just as high as sea level.
Another thing I noticed on this last short stack is that if you focus only on the work that lies ahead in your training, the remainder of the time running or riding turns into a more effective, efficient and relaxed output. As many of us have observed, once doing some work intervals, the wattages and paces after seem to come easier, be stronger. Of course there are days when the work needs to be done later in the ride, but again, if the focus is just good execution until the work, things seem to be just fine.
Lastly, finishing up this final push reminds me that I am reaching a bit. Reaching means that I can tell the fatigue is coming, and while the workouts are still very effective, I know I am needing more sleep, recovery, food, hydration and body awareness to execute well. Nothing comes easy. It requires focus, inertia and prep to do right. Luckily I have been in environments these last 30 days where almost all has been ideal for this training. Time for a few easier days!
Boulder day 2
Feeling good from training yesterday made for a fun long run today. Today would be about endurance and strength, as running Magnolia Rd. is not only an ass kicker, but it’s at 8500 ft or higher the entire run (16 miles). I started cautious since I don’t usually run that high, and know from past experience that once the HR goes at altitude, it rarely settles back down. But since this was a rolling, dirt road out and back, it allowed for a steady build run, going from an aerobic effort to anaerobic over the course of 2 hrs. Finished strong, last mile is uphill, but knowing that this was basically the last workout of the Epic August, I pushed it to exhaustion. After we dipped the beat up legs in Boulder Creek, grabbed a lunch and toasted to an epic August coming to a close.
Boulder day 3
Solid morning swim of 3500yrds and then off to see Matt Steinmetz for some last tweaks to bike fit before Kona. Any changes now can still be effective going into the final 6 weeks. He is not only a good friend but really knows his stuff when it comes to gear, technology and coaching principles, so it was a great match to work with him today. He chastised me enough on the Coast Ride on my fit and why I leave time on the course with subpar technology, I made an effort to come out here and see him. Also not easy after he just got off a plane from Europe and being at EuroBike.. Good tweaks, good knowledge exchange. Can’t wait to apply the changes.
The afternoon is off! A full afternoon off today! Tomorrow is September 1, and the race prep and focus kicks in. No more big volume, more about focused watts, lots of race sim and adding speed and power into the fitness I built in The Epic August of 2015!
August was amazing. I got to train with some amazing friends in amazing locations. Tahoe kickstarted this push in late July, staying with friends that were generous to share their home last minute in Alpine. It continued into August with a great trip to Park City, again with friends that were so generous and fun with letting me stay with them. On to Bend to visit my ‘family’, close friends that have been supportive of my life, approach and family for 10 yrs now (When I left the corporate world), and finally here in Boulder, back with my friends that also live in Park City, now they open their home in Boulder and join in my adventures again. It is a month like this, I will look back on many years from now, remembering the amazing training, the epic locations along with the sufferfests out there. It’s friendships, beers, stories, and amazing memories that will make this sport nothing but a big smile some day…and something I am totally grateful for. That is what all this is about: living.
I’ll go on to Kona in 6 weeks, race my best, and feel a deep satisfaction that I not only trained the best I could, but also made the best memories along the way I could. Solidified friendships for life, made many new friends, and still kept moving forward with the training and fitness.
Progress, not perfection. That’s living…