If there is one thing I have learned in the past couple of weeks, and years, is that I don't like to travel a ton. Now, you might say this is counterintuitive when trying to be a professional athlete. Yes, that is true and it is something I will just have to adapt to and overcome. For three weeks in a row I was out of town and traveling to some family event. It definitely makes training a little tougher but I still managed to get the work done.
More important that getting the work done is spending time with family, especially around the holidays. While I didn't enjoy the traveling aspect, I did really enjoy seeing family and exploring some locations on the bike. The firs stop was to Frankfort, KY or land of a lot of distilleries. There was this one distillery that looked like a castle and was tucked into the hills. It is called the Old Taylor Distillery and I guess it was abandoned in 1972 but recent plans have been made to renovate it. Such a neat looking facility and the crazy thing is it still smelled like straight alcohol riding by.
The next week brought me back to Ohio to see some amazing friends celebrate their vows to become life partners. Even though that had pretty much been established as they have been dating for over 8 years! I have a new found joy for dancing and celebrating!
And finally, a trip home to Pennsylvania. The long trip from Asheville was made even more challenging due to horrible rainstorms and heavy holiday traffic. But, alas, Wifey and I made it home and had a great time. We even failed at making some cookies! My favorite Christmas cookie has to be the hamantaschen (had to look up the spelling on that one.) I suck at folding up the sides so mi madre had to come and rescue me.
The past couple months of training have been a little more relaxed. It was more about just getting in some volume and having fun. I found some enjoyment with a cheap mountain bike and some gnarly trails, explored new areas by foot, and even took the dogs! Now that Christmas has passed the "off-season" is over and it is time to start training. Today I did 18 hill repeats! I spent more time in Zone 5 then I ever have before today. Not having the stress of a job definitely helps on the recovery side. I also have seen some great improvement now that I am using INFINIT's Nocturne shake. It tastes amazing and sets me up for a great nights sleep [but sadly I am not actually sponsored by INFINIT...yet ;)]. I just like their products.
The figure above gives an overview of how training has gone the past couple of months. The blue arrow points to a large break for the sesamoiditis that was giving me troubles. Rest, which is usually not the answer for most injuries, did not solve the problem. I eventually figured out how to cure it by placing a gel pad under that joint to reduce the impact. This allowed me to build up to where I am at now. The red arrow on the figure shows my effort at the Hincapie Gran Fondo. This was such a cool event and I ended up doing the first climb with Ted King and finishing 6th overall up that KOM (9th overall on the day). I just didn't have enough endurance to make it all the way to the finish with my group. The black arrow shows the down week I took last week. The down week was used for a wide sweep of endurance testing like a MAF test and FTP test. The good thing is the build of the CTL (or blue line). The goal is to continue to see that rise and prevent any long dives like the blue arrow.
Lastly, video updates and stuff. I was in the process of making a November and December training video but travel and obligations got in the way. I will make some more effort into putting out some more videos.
Until next time,
Stay Strong, Stay Determined