Tuesday, August 02, 2005

World Cup Ready

Today I make my triumphant return to the weekly "Tuesday World Cup" group ride as it is called. I have skipped it for two months now while concentrating on base training and more specific climbing and tempo drills, knowing that the abnormally hard effort would be too much for my body when combined with the long endurance miles I was already riding.

Well, I'm moving toward a harder period now, one that requires both long hours AND hard efforts. The Tuesday ride requires hard efforts, that's for sure. While only 25 miles long, the ride always features some of the best amateur racers in town, and speeds often reach 30-35 miles per hour on the long straightaway of River Road. My top speed on a Tuesday ride is 42.

I've done the ride four times, and have finished in the front group all but once, when an ill-timed stop light (and some illegal light-running) split the leaders into two smaller packs. Though I was caught by the light, I did end up winning the sprint for ninth place ahead of the others with me.

My strong past finishes came after near-redline efforts to keep up. Especially on the long flat section of River Road, I struggled to stay among the leaders---my light weight and relative lack of muscle strength (compared to the longtime racers) holding me back. Luckily, I've never been dropped. This time, after two months of long training hours and specific drills to improve my power and endurance, I hope to actually cruise with the big boys---and maybe even attack here and there.

We'll see. At least I know what to expect.