August 09, 2019
by Alison Powers, ALP Cycles Coaching
In February, I wrote a blog post called Training to Train and in it, I disclosed that I had signed up for a bike race-Steamboat Gravel (SBT GRVL), a 141-mile race with 100 miles on dirt/gravel roads. Now 2 weeks out from race day, I thought it would be fun and interesting to blog every day leading up to the race. I will blog about the specifics of my training, my preparation, my headspace, etc. All the things that lead up to race day that not everyone gets to see or understand.
11 days to go - Wednesday, August 7th
Today was my last big/hard training ride before SBTGRVL. The last day to get everything dialed in. I tried a different approach with my dynamic warm-up and activation this morning. Since I did core yesterday, I felt pretty “activated”, but tight. I was worried that that would lead to a bike ride filled with back pain, so I rolled out (with the lacrosse ball) mostly my left side.
Then came the usual preload and BCAA’s. Today, I wore, ate, and drank everything I plan to use in the race. Race socks, chamois, jersey, bottles, drink mix, food, etc. The goal is to limit race day surprises, so plan ahead and be prepared for everything.
Kit/clothing- everything felt good (don’t plan to take a rain jacket in the race but had to use one today)
Hydration- good. 6 bottles today (4 mix, 2 water)- one bottle in the back pocket worked just fine.
Nutrition- good. 1.5 pbj’s, 2 choco-chip cookies, 2 bars
Pacing- poor. I tried to really slow down at the start and go steady up the first (and biggest climb) but 90min into the ride, I was already feeling fatigued in my legs. Without a heart rate monitor or power meter to tell me to slow the F down, I will really need to be so patient on race day.
Frame bag- bad than good. I have been unsure what my plan will be for holding all my food/drink. Yes, the race will have a lot of aid stations, but I don’t want to stop every 25miles for water/food. I tried a smaller frame bag today, kind of like a giant bento box (which is embarrassing as I’ve made fun of people with bento boxes on their bikes). Every time I got out of the saddle (which is a lot) it rubbed my inner thighs. I ended up turning it upside down and that was perfect. As long as the zipper stays put (and my snack don’t go flying) that will be what I will use for race day.
Body- not bad. For the past few months, I’ve been battling left side hip, low back pain and today it was my right side (the side that didn’t get rolled out). Interesting… Otherwise, once I moderated my effort a little more in hours 2-4, I felt strong. I felt like I could have ridden more and I still had power in my legs. This is promising as today was only about 1/2 of race duration length. I’ll need to be even smarter with my effort on race day.
Home and recovery drink, bike wash. Good day.
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ABOUT ALISON POWERS
Alison Powers only recently retired from cycling, finishing her final season on the UnitedHealthcare Women’s Team. Her career has spanned a wide array of wins, including the 2013 USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championship where she won in memorable fashion by soloing after an early breakaway that obliterated the pro women’s peloton. Other standout results during the 33-year-old’s 2013 season include the win at Redlands Bicycle Classic, second at the Tour of Elk Grove, third at the US National Road Championship and the US National Time Trial Championship, and stage wins at Cascade Classic, Tulsa Tough, Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic. Hailing from Fraser, Colorado, Powers has been racing bikes professionally for eight years and is a true athlete with her career beginning as a teenager in mountain bike racing. In her mid 20s, she added in alpine ski racing before switching over to the road. In addition to being the current Criterium National Champion, Powers has two other national championships (Time Trial, Team Pursuit) and 2 NRC titles (2009, 2013).
About ALP Cycles Coaching
ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Shawn Heidgen, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at http://alpcyclescoach
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