This is a photo from @autoroad, taken recently at mile 5. Underneath the snow pack is dirt, which continues ahead until the road disappears and makes a right hand turn. In just over two months, the first of this year’s four attacks on the mountain begins. By then of course it will look nothing like this. I haven’t been up since 2010 and I nearly forgot how steep this section is. It’s probably 15% here.
So far, things have been on track. I wrung my guts out at the Ronde de Rosey, which was designed to be the table-setting event for this season. Mission accomplished. It was hard as hell, and definitely had all the value of Battenkill. In fact, it yielded almost the same exact Strava Suffer Score.
Crank the Kanc is the next milestone, and that’s in May. The singlespeed field is bigger than ever and finding a podium spot will be very hard, but that is the goal.
Health-wise, things have been better than average. I’m still sick every month or so from something Stella brings home, but good vitamins, fish oil, and my allergy spray have made things a lot more tolerable. Now I seem to get colds, rather than full-blown sinus infections. This is an amazing turn of events actually. It has allowed me to stay more active, which yields more energy; it’s all very good. Stella still doesn’t sleep, and neither do we, but I am adapting.
In terms of coming back from blood donation, it has been a full six weeks, so I should be all square at this point and be working with full VO2, whatever that happens to be. 44 in 2008, 48 in 2009. It’s probably 50-something now but who knows.
I feel really fit right now. As usual, I thank my singlespeed. I was at Loudon about two weeks ago and finished 2nd in the final sprint with the B group. Pretty good for three years away. It was clear people were strong, but didn’t have the full tank of endurance yet. I’m sure it won’t be long until they catch up.
6 Gaps is another milestone that I was going to wedge in, but I’m hesitant for a few reasons. Mostly because it will be hell. I found some hell at the Ronde, and I spent some time asking myself why I want to feel like that again. I really don’t at the moment.
I am getting a ridiculous amount of nutrition help from Allen Lim right now. We have been working together on a race-day eating plan, leveraging his years of experience with ProTour cyclists to help stupid Chris Plummer of all people. I won’t spill the beans on it yet, but it has been eye opening. This is a massive piece of the puzzle for me and I am so fortunate to have a relationship with Skratch Labs. I almost can’t believe I have this resource. But I do.
Another challenge is learning the road. In order to really attack the mountain, you need to know it like the back of your hand. This is really hard to do up there. If the weather turns on you, as it has on me several times, you may only get on the road once a year. Allen inspired the idea of trying to find a video, which presents multiple challenges. One, the video needs to be high quality. Two, the weather needs to cooperate, since fog above treeline would make the video almost useless. Three, the run time needs to be reasonably close to what I am hoping to achieve, and on race day with no stops. Somehow I hit the jackpot and found a guy who made just what I’m looking for. What’s more, he’s sending me the original HD footage on an SD card. Now I can spin to this video while I learn to break the route into sections. This can actually be paired with a GPS track and used with some of the new CycleOps VirtualTrainer units, but they are beyond my means.
The bike is all but finished. I’ll have a complete write-up on that later, but it’s easily in the 14 pound range. It was thoughtfully done and almost every piece has a story behind it, which is why it warrants a separate discussion.