Thursday, August 09, 2007

Strange Days Indeed

Most Peculiar.

It's been almost 2 weeks since I returned from RAGBRAI and 500 hard miles in 7 days. I still have not recovered. The best word to describe the past 2 weeks might be 'strange'. For the first week or so, I could tell that my body was working hard to repair itself because I'd wake up in the middle of the night with a noticeably higher heartrate than normal, and I was always hot and sweaty - both during the day and when sleeping. I had the familiar deep muscle fatigue that I feel when I wake up the day after hard ride, but it never went away throughout the day.

As the first recovery week progressed, I continued to ride, but shorter and mostly easier than normal. I'd feel great on the road one minute and like I wanted to climb off the bike the next. Steady tempo efforts were sometimes very difficult, but then I'd try a short hard effort or do a hard climb and feel much better.

Then 7 days into recovery, I made the brilliant decision to ride a century in 98 degree heat. I felt ok, but I'm sure it set back my rebound by a week or two.

I have a hypothesis that the long steady Iowa rides heavily stressed my slow twitch muscle fibers and sub-threshold energy systems, but had little effect on my fast-twitch muscle fibers (yes, I do have a few) and superthreshold energy systems. That's why I'd feel fine powering up a hill on a group ride, then think I was about to die when we eased into a tempo paceline.

I went out today and did a few hill repeats on my normal training hill to loosen up my legs and I set a new time and wattage record without even going all out. I climbed my little training hill in 44 seconds and averaged about 510 watts -- about 16 seconds faster than in April. But my legs felt horrible the entire time - go figure.

I'm not sure what it all means for the Dahlonega race this weekend, but I'll know pretty soon.