In my hopes of building form back I did what has been on of the most successful training rides of my career as a cyclist based on my results the past couple of years: long and hard. When I say "long and hard" I don't mean I go out and hammer for 5 hours at a harsh 165+ average heart rate. No, no, no.... That means I spend about 2 hours riding at a fun and consistent endurance pace and then light it up for a solid hour of intervals and then spend the next 2 hours back in the endurance zone.
By the time I got off work in the morning and made my way home I was on the bike by about 12:30 in the afternoon. The skies were looking good and I was pedaling a pretty good pace towards Boulder Canyon from Longmont (a solid 1.5-2 hour ride at Endurance pace depending on the direction of the wind). During this first part of the ride I was feeling pretty good but definitely noticed that it was really hot, I'm talking in the 90's and there are no groves of trees to protect you out on the plains, so I was baking pretty good.
I reached Boulder Canyon and almost immediately started out my first 15 minute interval with 30 second attacks every 2 minutes. "Man I am feeling good, heart rate is controllable, it is in the right place, and I can really ramp it up during those attacks, 200 here I come" were my thoughts. After finishing the first interval I dropped into a seriously easy gear for Boulder Canyon and recovered for a bit till I reached Magnolia road and then put my bike in the granny gear for the first time in God only knows how long so I could continue my recovery process.
Next interval showed up and after about five minutes of suffering up one of the steepest climbs in the world (I swear this hill is nuts!) I started to notice that I was not feeling so hot. My stomach wasn't happy, I wasn't able to control my bike, or even really keep my heart rate down in my climbing zones. Then I realized, uh-oh, my old nemesis has returned: heat exhaustion.
Last year I had two weekends in a row where I battled heat exhaustion in the middle of the summer and after those two events I very quickly learned that one does not continue on when feeling like this. Didn't finish my second interval and it was time to go home. Instead of doing my planned ride all the way to Nederland and then wandering on dirt roads and trails back towards Left Hand Canyon and finally home I just booked it down Magnolia road and went home the way I came at a comfortable and sustainable pace considering how I was feeling.
4 hours 45 minutes later I had covered 60 miles (almost a metric century!) and burned about 4,000 calories.
Now time to recover...
This weekend Transparent Racing will be up at the Winter Park Series Race #2 - The XC Super Loop, so if you are from Colorado and enjoy epic mountain biking at it's best come on up, say hi, and rip some of the best trails in Colorado.
Here are some photo's from last weeks exploits for your viewing pleasure:
See you out there.