Isn’t it interesting how the word that denotes the origin of mighty rivers (i.e. spring) should be same as the word for the season in which life is reborn? The energy implicit in spring (as in ‘jump’) and spring (coiled metal with elastic properties) is a beautiful part of the metaphor.
I didn’t feel a great amount of energy in my legs at the start of the week. In fact, the “easy 60 minute spin” on the programme for Tuesday was pretty much all I was capable of after the previous week’s riding. I was still behind the eight ball on Thursday, for the five one-minute build-ups I had to do (along with warm-up and cool-down). Monday and Tuesday’s conditioning sessions followed the usual pattern of deadlifts, lunges and squats, along with mobility exercises.
Nevertheless, I approached Saturday’s STBB 60km race around (and up) the Bottelary Hills feeling positive. I stoically pedalled my way through the rain, mentally banishing the cold, and then skidding through the resulting mud. I actually felt pretty strong in the last half, consoling myself with the thought that even if I was slower, at least my endurance had improved (or so I thought while I was riding).
Nevertheless, there were a few Strava PRs on downhill sections before it all got too wet to go flying down the slopes.
I’d had five or six hours of interrupted sleep on Friday night, and the same on Thursday and Wednesday. I’m hoping that the disappointing result was the product of that fatigue, added to a body not yet fully recovered from the previous week’s training.
For someone who is just hoping to finish the Epic without too much pain, it shouldn’t matter how fast I’m riding prep races. However, with the amount of time that’s going into training, I’m looking for indications that the effort is paying off.
Shelley’s poem Ode to the West Wind, which has rebirth as its central theme, ends with the line: “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” From this I take my cue. In the absence of positive reinforcement I’ll just keep following the process, and trusting that it’s going to deliver a good result!