Friday, May 20, 2011

Rainy Days Indeed

This week has been a mess, basically one rainy day after another since Sunday and it's looking like it will continue for a couple more days as well. Usually I'd be really bummed but I've got to admit, it couldn't have come at a better time. Over the past ten weeks or so I've been meaning to take some time off and really get in a good rest week, away from the bike. As so often seems to be the case, that had not yet actually happened. Between a steady stream of races on the weekend, the Tuesday left for dead road ride which has become a killer to recover from in and of itself and the other extraneous rides during the week, I just haven't had time to take time off.

Over the past few weeks I've noticed that the legs are pretty much constantly sore. I think the Notchfest was the icing on the cake and I never recovered from that, when adding in some more racing as well as the unexpectedly taxing Tuesday night efforts. Riding last week and racing last weekend I could tell that I just wasn't at 100%, not the way I had been on a couple of the Tuesday night rides where the power just seemed to flow. That said, the power numbers have been really good on the Tuesday rides of recent, it was simply the perception that was off. This was a clear signal that it was time to recover so as to start rebuilding for the next peak. At least that has been the plan this year, to actually have a plan. I don't honestly know if it has been working or not. I haven't really had but only glimpses of past perceived strength, but again, based on power numbers, I seem to be performing better than in the past, at least from the limited data sets I have had. I'm anxious to start TTing in order to see how that goes. Hopefully the road work that has blocked the CBTT will finish, the weather will settle and we can have at it soon. That said, I'm having fun just doing what I'm doing.

So this week of rest, recovery and relaxation started with a very pleasant albeit rainy 3 hours out in the woods on the SS MTB riding and brushing trails with PK and Adam Monday night. This was perfect. A little riding but nothing too terribly taxing at all and we were able to brush back a ton of trail as well as close down a few blowouts. We also scouted out some potential reroutes for the future that would make for some more sustainable trail sections. This was also another opportunity to ride the new sections of trail and boardwalks that NEMBA and the Friends of the Landlocked Forest added at their trail days the past couple of weekends.

Tuesday night was a super easy and quick hike with Cathy and PK out in the woods to do some additional surveying and scouting of the trails as well as a little bit more pruning. The ticks were out in full force and I flicked at least three of them off my pants as we were traipsing through the blueberry bushes and underbrush. None seemed to have gotten through though as both Cathy and I were dirty but tick free when we got home.

Wednesday night was another sane SS MTB ride out in the PR with PK and Cathy, once again in the misty rain. Thought it was a mix of mist with some intermittent showers the entire night, the leaf cover kept us sheltered and dry for the most part. We had an absolutely awesome ride and covered just about the entire PR, both ways, including the new trails. I had us looping and looping and looping some more to try and maximize our coverage as well as our time out in the woods, soaking up the moment. This worked and we managed to get in almost 2.5 hours before Cathy cracked, saying that she had had enough and bailed out at the Turning Mill entrance at the power-lines and made a bee line for home.

I think the straw was a combination of the new trail off the power-lines, which I'm convinced includes the majority of the baby-head rocks in Middlesex county, coupled with the slightly over-geared SS MTB she was on. This was one of the first real MTB rides on the SS MTB 29er I built up for her at the end of last year. Recently, I decided that we should be running some taller gearing than we had been running in the past. Historically we ran 32x18 on a 26er which was great for the short steep climbs and tight twisties. Not so good for flat and fast though. When I built my 29er last year, I went up a hair to a 32x19 and a 32x17 soon followed on Cathy's 26er. A few weeks ago I decided that a 32x18 would be the ticket on the 29ers. A quick run to Estabrook on them convinced me that I was right. However, for the PR, with it's lower speed twisty and rolling trails the gear can sometimes be a handful.

Anyhow, we ended up having an excellent, excellent ride. Good to be outside just having fun. I did manage to convince PK to head back via trails which involved heading back over the new trail and through the swamp into the PR proper. From there PK took over and upped the pace. He pulled off and I seized the opportunity to snooker him into another loop of the TT course as it was "the most direct way out". Alas, he too had finally had his fill of looping around and try as I might, he just wouldn't take the bait and we made our way out.

PK after 22miles and 3hrs of loopy goodness

Not to spoil a good thing, we had more of the same on tap for last night with a low key, non-threatening group SS MTB ride in the rain. Before the ride, I swapped Cathy's SS MTB gearing back down to the 32x19 I'd had on it in the past, in order to give her a bit of a break. Hopefully it helped. Despite the weather being pretty darn miserable most of the day, it actually partly cleared later on in the afternoon and for our ride start there was barely a sprinkle. We got a bit of a late start as someone was running late and, because it was a less hostile ride, I waited for them to show up. During the ride the rains primarily held off and the temperature was mild, making for very good, comfortable conditions. The trails were also in very good shape despite the wet weather and there was very little mud to be found. Again we looped around in the PR for a couple of hours, which was plenty. Being out on the SS MTB for nearly 8 hours so far this week and over 10 on the MTB since Sunday has made for some sore legs, I must admit. Post ride we got some pizzas from Steve's, drank some beers and watched the day's Amgen Tour of California stage and then the classic flick Hot Tub Time Machine.

Cathy's folks will be arriving this afternoon for a weekend visit. I believe that the weather is supposed to clear out some and hopefully we can do some local sight seeing. I'm also slated to go to the range this afternoon with Chris. Looking very forward to that as well. So far, a very good week indeed, rain or not.

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