I'm home from Germany for the week as it is our Spring Break/Easter Vacation this week. I head back to Germany again on Saturday. I am not here long enough to do too much, but enough to get some things done that needed to be done. Taxes, mountain bike rides, changing winter tires back to summer tires, holding several meetings, spending time with my wife and son, a little shopping, and attending recitals of some of my students.
Training: This is week 9 of the Masters 40+ MTB Cross Country Base Training Plan. It is also the first time I have been able to step on a scale since January 8th. I have been spending the past 6 months attacking some of the loss of muscle mass I went through during last year's weight loss. My on the bike performance felt pretty good last year, but I didn't feel physically strong (neck, back, upper body) and wanted to address that through a bit of body recomposition. I've been hitting the weights 2 - 3 times a week since October and managed to build up most of the muscle mass that I had lost, yet avoid overdoing too much of a bulk.
There certainly is no lack of protein in Germany with all of the meat I've been eating to help with the bulk. I just didn't know where I was weight wise until Sunday morning when I stepped on the scale after arriving home. It was no surprise to me what the scale said. It read 4-5 pounds higher from when I left home in January. Not too bad, but still a signal that I don't need to bulk any more because I have to carry the weight up the hill which alters the power to weight ratio. The strength gains, all of the walking, and the riding I have been doing resulted in some nice training results in spite of a few extra pounds. Those pounds will now start to shed as I move from the 6 month off season plan to more of a maintenance lifting plan beginning after next week.
I was pleasantly surprised last week in Germany while conducting a scheduled interval session of 4 x 8 Zone 4 intervals. Compared to doing the session in the previous year, I noticed I was hitting a bit higher numbers and holding them easily for the 8 minute duration. Following each of the 2 minute recovery gaps between the intervals, I was easily able to nail the next 8 minute interval as well. I felt good and fresh at the end even though my numbers were a bit better in that particular 4 x 8 interval session. That was exciting for me to see as last year I was cutting a lot of weight during this time and couldn't quite hold numbers like that. I had a good FTP test not long before, so I knew things were at least equal to, if not a wee bit better (notice I said wee bit) than last year which means I carried over the gains from last year quite well into this year.
Now, would that translate to on the bike performance on the singletrack? Since all my geared bikes are out of commission (need a cassette on one, a rear derailleur on another, and a new rim on the third), I had to adapt and use my SS Karate Monkey as it was all I had at my disposal this week. I found out on the singlespeed last fall that I am able to ride race laps just as fast with it as my geared bikes (much to my surprise). I feel much faster on the geared bikes, but my lap times do not confirm that.
I rode 3 laps on the Karate Monkey singlespeed pictured above at Banner on Sunday to test my race lap speed markers and fitness. I also did some comparison laps at Ahquabi and Banner again on subsequent days. Lap times were right up there with my previous season test markers. On the third and final lap, after giving it everything I had to try and match my best lap time at Banner for a 3 lap sequence, I was 2 minutes short of my best due to that third lap. So I'm not quite where I need to be stamina wise, but I'm only in week 9 of the build phase so it is understandable. At least lap one and two were solid.
Lynda Wallenfels of LWCoaching.com had some comments on racing and training for the 40+ crowd which I listened to yesterday and felt better about it all (getting older that is) and infusing training with the reality of my age.
The legs have enjoyed this week off from all the walking, but I will be back at it come this Sunday. One more week of classes in Schorndorf before the group takes off on a 10 day trip to Austria, Poland, and northern Germany. I will see plenty of walking during that trip to make up for what I am missing this week.
I'm pretty excited from the standpoint of serving as the Director of IMBCS that all of the hard work getting the IMBCS 2015 season off the ground is about to come to fruition. Our website is now featuring some content after sitting rather dormant since launching back in November. Have a look at Spotlights as well as the upcoming race information as our 13th Annual Season starts on April 19th (a race I will unfortunately have to miss due to working over in Germany).