In the aftermath of Hot Doggett, probably the 3rd or 4th toughest ride I’ve done all year, I expected to be a little sluggish. After Mount Mitchell, it had easily taken me two-three weeks to completely recover. Eating everything within sight didn’t help matters. This time, however, I bounced back pretty quickly and feel even stronger.
On my group ride on Tuesday, I seriously struggled. Part of this had to do with the temperature, around 115 degree heat index. That was by far the hottest I had attempted to ride. In the early going the air was so thick that it was difficult to breath. I found myself gasping over hills. There were not too many climbs, but when we attempted some rollers, I could feel my sore quads and they affected my performance. Needless to say, I took it pretty easy on this ride.
Rainy weather interrupted the Wednesday ride, which would have also been moderate. That turned out to be a good thing. The extra day of recovery was useful.
On Thursday, I expected to be sluggish again. That turned out to be wrong. In fact, I had a lot more bounce than I could have imagined. Despite having milder temperatures, this ride did not have much of a turnout. We ended up splitting into A and B groups, but the A group only had three riders. Usually we have at least five, maybe more. On of these three is a strong rider and a great leader. I always push myself in his groups and outperform my expectations. This day was no exception. I was able to keep up most of the time. The only time I was dropped was in a severe headwind, probably around 15-20mph. He will inevitably get in front of me, but this time I was surprised by my ability to react and close the gap. After reviewing the Strava stats from the Thursday ride, I found that this had been one of my better performances. On top of that, I was not hurting the next day.
This was to be a recovery weekend, so I joined an easy ride on Saturday. This was a fort ride, which meant there would be some tough hills. The other riders were all strong, but many of them had not been riding too much recently, so I spent most of the ride at a recovery pace. Again, I found that my body reacted when it needed. Rather than sprinting out ahead all the time and showing up the group, I tried to set challenges for myself. When someone got ahead, I sprinted to try and catch them, and mostly succeeded. I also did a hill repeat on a steep hill of around 12%, and felt fine afterward.
Since I am still relatively new to riding, I’m not sure whether I am in the middle of another peak period, or whether I am just pushing closer towards my potential. I have a feeling it is the latter, as I have put on quite a bit of base fitness over the summer and everything is easier. I am not as winded after a sprint or climb. I am not nearly as sore the day afterward, if at all. With my next major event over a month away, I will try to build on this without pushing too hard.