On Going Hard Enough

21 Oct

I went out fast on the first lap at ‘cross practice Wednesday.

Really fast, as in “there’s no way I can sustain this pace for the whole interval” fast.  Got the hole shot and kept trying to accelerate, jumping out of the saddle after every corner and remount.  Exhilarated by still being out in front after half a lap, I kept the pressure on, gutting myself as I tried again and again to ramp up the speed.  Held it up until the last 400 meters when Andrew came flying by me like I was standing still.  I was right on him again as we remounted after the barriers, but too late: the interval was over.

I got more than one look and comment along the lines of “what the hell got into you?” as the group rolled over to grab a sip of water and line up for the second interval.

Here’s a start:

"If you're not sprinting...like the last lap of a crit, you're doing it wrong."

Adam Myerson on how hard to go in cyclocross.

As I found out in Winchester, I’m recently having trouble finding that extra gear to get around guys.  This was confirmed the following week in Providence.  I’m not used to having my fitness be the weak link in my ‘cross racing.

While I was absorbing this lesson, Adam Myerson was apparently doing some reflecting of his own.  Though his signal-to-noise ratio may be questionable at times, he’s clearly a quality racer and coach and has some good observations scattered across his internet personae.  This time, some Euro cyclocross footage apparently led Myerson to conclude he doesn’t go hard enough in races, generating his comment above.

In ‘cross, maybe more than other bike racing, it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking that because it hurts, you’re working hard enough.  You’re not.  It hurts because it’s cyclocross, and the truly fast know how to pour their own drive and motivation in on top of that.  And in training, you have to go even harder to try to barely brush up against that level you hit in racing.

After two weeks of fuming in races as I sat behind guys I couldn’t figure out how to get around, I’ve had enough.  I’m punching it out of every corner in training now, getting back on the gas the instant my feet hit the pedals after the barriers.  Rode like I was angry on Sunday morning’s solo practice.  Wobbled up the stairs after trainer intervals on Tuesday.  And yeah, so on Wednesday I jumped out in front again to start the second interval and saw the wheels come off my little wagon for a bit at the start of lap 2, but I lasted longer out in front on the day than I would have predicted last week.  Later that day, every time I felt woozy when I stood up at my desk at work, it was a little bit of euphoria over the morning’s session.

Now, a couple of days of good rest.  And this Sunday at DCCX?  Oh, hell yes.


One Response to “On Going Hard Enough”

  1. Scott October 22, 2010 at 9:57 am #

    I believe the exact phrase I used, repeatedly, was “god damn it, Brad”
    So you worked us both, which is good, I guess
    Andrew is young and elite. he’s supposed to be able to zip by us. He shouldn’t have been behind us to begin with.

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