Lake Lure was quite an experience and I learned a lot about where I’m at physically. Since I am in the final phase of training, I figure now is a good time to discuss the progress I’ve made.
The Hamstring: Some people asked about this and I guess I didn’t provide closure last week. The hamstring was a mess for about 4-5 days, very sore and inflexible. I was not able to extend my leg straight out without resistance and soreness. I was worried this was a pulled hamstring, which it may have been.
The massage worked wonders. It was sore the rest of that day, then the next morning – voila! – it was fine. It has remained fine ever since. I have been making sure to warm up before attempting any difficult riding (like climbing), and it hasn’t flared up ever since. Hopefully it was a very minor pull and will not resurface. I did not bother me at all on the Lake Lure ride.
Final Phase: Since I am back in the fold, I am pushing the volume back up. I have ridden about 150 miles since the injury and will be back up to 200+ miles each week. The next few weekends will be busy — all out of town. This weekend is Assault on the Carolinas. Depending on how things go, I might get crazy and climb Caesar’s Head twice. The following weekend will be a test run to Mount Mitchell. After that will be a cycling weekend from Table Rock State Park, with lots of climbing and Isaqueena’s Last Ride mixed in. After that I will slow down my weekday riding, test out some things on Tour de Cashiers, do the Tour de Midlands, then taper for the big event.
Climbing Challenge: Taking some time off the bike was necessary even without the hamstring injury. I had pushed for a few weeks and deserved some recovery. Unfortunately that set me back on the Strava Climbing Challenge. At first I wanted to waive the white flag and not worry about it. Now that I’m back and have some upcoming climbing events, I’m pushing towards it again. Barring any setbacks, I have a shot at success, but it will be close. I am still trying to get climbs in when I can.
Lake Lure: Marathon runners will know what I mean when I say this was like doing Yasso 800s. This is a series of shorter runs one can do to get an idea of what their marathon time will be. Tour de Lure has a lot of similarities with the Spartanburg to Marion ride, including sharing a number of the same roads. Lure has some additional early climbing and Spartanburg has an early fast and flat section. The Spartanburg ride also has about 5 more miles. In my opinion, you could probably take 15-20% off your Lure time and that’ll roughly be your time from Spartanburg to Marion.
Because of the hamstring issue, I was almost fully tapered for Tour de Lure and time was 4:15, which was not at full effort and included some short stops. This would put my Marion time at 3:45, much better than my 4:30 from last year. My goal was to beat last year’s time by half an hour, which I am certain to blow out of the water. Now there’s a good chance of under seven hours.
Lake Lure always helped with the eyeball test. I got to experience the rolling hills into Marion, which is probably the toughest part of the Mitchell course. They were tough and kept coming, but I felt okay. They didn’t seem as imposing as last year.
Another good sign is that, although tired, I could have kept going on Saturday. Mitchell is now 40 days away and I’m feeling more confident with each ride. Hopefully this continues.