by Alison Powers, ALP Cycles Coaching
In February ALP Coach, Alison Powers, announced that she had signed up for SBT GRVL, a 141-mile race with 100 miles on dirt/gravel roads in Steamboat, Colorado. With race day approaching, she’s been blogging every day leading up to the race. She blogs about the specifics of her training, her preparation, headspace, etc. All the things that lead up to race day that not everyone gets to see or understand.
25 days to go - Thursday, July 25th
I have a small group of friends who are also “in training”. Among other races, both are racing SBT GRVL. Every couple of weeks we get together and ride. I very much like these rides as they let me pick the route (usually very hard), and they are mostly ok with my “no phaffing” philosophy (No B.S.- let’s ride and then get home to work and take care of dogs). These friends are also quite strong riders and each ride challenges me; I come home tired.
When training for an event, it’s important to ride with others. Riding with others forces you to change pace (sometimes faster, sometimes slower). It can be easy to become complacent on your own riding your own speed all the time.
The morning started as usual- preload, BCAA’s, dynamic stretching, activation, water bottle fill, snack making, etc. I was very sleepy this morning due to dog drama in the middle of the night, but my energy levels were a-ok.
Today’s route was going to be a hard one. 4hrs with over 6,000ft climbing with Lickskillet (a very steep dirt climb) as the main goal. While it was a route that was totally doable on road bikes, I chose to my CX bike turned gravel bike so I could bank more time on it.
90 minutes into the ride, Daphne, put in an attack that not only hurt my legs, they stayed loaded up the entire ride. Meaning, they loaded with lactate and my body was not able to clear it. My legs never felt the same after that— a sure sign that I have done no specific interval training in the past months and if I don’t start, my SBT GRVL could be over in the first hour when separations are being made.
We climbed Lickskillet which was indeed very steep and I was thankful for my 42. There was no shortage of water today as we passed the Ward spring twice and nutrition seems to be pretty dialed now (eat early, eat often, and front load the calories with 1/2 a PBJ).
The last hour of the ride was quite uncomfortable. My legs hurt, my bad ached (but not from pain, from fatigue instead and this is exciting!), and I was mentally tired. I imagine I’ll feel like this (or worse) the last couple hours in Steamboat so this was good practice.
Home to a recovery drink, and the foam roller. I’m more than ready for a rest day tomorrow.
ABOUT ALISON POWERS
Now retired from racing, Alison Powers is the only person, in history, to win all three road discipline National Championships in one year (Road, Criterium and Time Trial - 2014). These go along with two previous national championships (Time Trial 2008, Team Pursuit 2008), two National Racing Calendar titles, and a 2nd place at the Leadville 100 mountain bike race (2013, 7:26hrs). Today she is the owner of ALP Cycles Coaching where she teaches road, cyclocross, and mountain bike clinics, and high performance race preparation and tactics. Alison is also team director for ALP Cycles Racing, a professional women's road and cyclocross team based in Boulder, Colorado.
ALP Cycles Coaching
Colorado-based ALP Cycles Coaching has over 25 years of professional sports experience. Each coach brings specific strengths and personal experiences to coaching sessions while collaborating to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Learn more at alpcyclescoaching.com
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