A breakfast dominated by protein this morning - bacon, eggs, bagels and french roast while watching the gold medal tennis match. Yummy!
Build Week #2 is in the bag and I feel great! Timing my rides to avoid the heat of the day was key this week. I am slowly working my way endurance-wise to the Dakota Five-0 goal. Using the additional 10-15% increase in duration, this week resulted in a 10 hour training week (up from the prior week's 9 hours).
50 miles off road is a long, tiring, and sobering effort on a mountain bike - and that's just as a ride. Racing that distance on a mountain bike is - I shudder to think - going to be filled with sweet pain. Structuring the year to include such an effort has not been easy, either, with all of the shorter effort, higher intensity training mixed in for typical XC mountain bike racing. I first built to the duration of the Renegade Gent's race in April after a long base period with lots of volume thanks to the non-winter. Thanks to a 30 minute lunch stop, that gravel race took me 5:44 minutes, but was a group of 5 race on gravel roads and the low elevation of Iowa. As it was, only 2 of our 5 finished. I wouldn't really call my effort on that ride 'race effort', but it was a good check for my endurance and my nutrition plan while being out there in the wind and rain grinding around on loose gravel.
In terms of rides I would consider "endurance" training - at least for me - which is 2 hours or more, I have logged a total of 125 hours so far this year. And I am sitting at a total of 234 hours this year in total on the bike time (as of yesterday). That's keeping with my annual goal of logging 350-400 hours on the bike. It doesn't sound like that much, but it's way more than I have ever done before. The fall semester and my workload will determine if I make the annual hours goal or not.
I'm not really happy with the lack of longer endurance rides in the bag, but I will take what I have done. I will do my final 2 longer duration rides the next 2 weeks before tapering. I had wanted to build to 5 hours with one of them being an off road effort (Lake Ahquabi) like I did last year. I might not make it to 5 hours (depends on the weather, the success of my on the bike nutrition, and how my body is feeling during the effort). Even if I only make it to 4 1/2 hours in the training - at least I will have reached the point in the Dakota Five-0 where the race is more downhill than uphill. I can finish on fumes at that point.
Outside of all the 3 and 4 hour long base training rides in January - March, my longest endurance rides of the season using a higher pace than base training are listed below:
April 7 - 5:45 Race 70 mile gravel race
May 26 - 3:00
May 28 - 3:15
June 5 - 3:30
June 17 - 4:00
July 30 - 4:05
July 30th was planned to have been a bit longer as I was doing it on pavement, but with the wind, sun and heat - it started to feel like pointless junk miles out on the road and I pulled the plug in the heat when I ran out of drink and snacks. As I said, I have two more long endurance rides planned for the next 2 weeks before tapering down leading up to the Dakota Five-0. Whether or not I've done it right, remains to be seen and felt. I don't want to over-reach and weaken my body, but so far - it feels like it is responding well and I am able to recover. I'll have to back off on the other days volume-wise the next two weeks by increasing my endurance rides.
Sounds like a plan and I'll stick to it in hopes the results are what I want. Today is a rest day and tomorrow is the XC race at Seven Oaks in Boone. Temperatures look to be dropping into the low 80's tomorrow which will be perfect timing for a race.