I didn't want to start a new thread and this one seemed suitable
I have my first century this coming weekend and I had hoped to make a big improvement this year, but I have recently dug myself a deep hole instead training up to the event.
Due to poor weather and heavier workload in February and March our outdoor endurance rides were either limited in mileage or prevented all together. We endured riding in the rain on several occasions, but for the most part I did most of my training indoors on the trainer with the PM.
The last few weekends we have done mostly 80 mile rides, spirited pace, increased climbing routes with climbs greater than > 6 miles and I continued to train indoors during the week while working overtime hours.
I noticed that each of these ride I was starting to struggle more, felt fatigued and would drop off the group. This past weekend we had our last group training ride, which was a 75 mile route with two substantial climbs and big rollers. I made it over the first climb, which was between mile 2 and mile 11 and though I was the last up and struggled to hold 200 watts I didn't feel too bad, but then the stronger guys really picked up the pace on the rollers and quickly I felt fatigue like I have never felt before in my life. My legs could not do anything. I struggled to hold 13 mph and when I dropped off the group and some of the guys dropped back to check on me I knew I was digging my hole even deeper. I never cramped in the heat and the struggle, whereas, I heard later than almost all of my group struggled toward the end with cramping. My problem seemed so obvious that fatigue was the issue.
I cut the route short (55 miles), but the only way back to the car was to climb back over the mountain and one of my friends decided to go with me to make sure I would be okay. That was the most I had ever struggled on a bike since starting in cycling. I could barely hold 150 watts and 4 mph or just enough to keep the bike upright (plus I was stung twice on my back just for added insult
). I had to stop several times, which I had never done before. It took me well over an hour to get to the summit. I was completely discouraged because at that point I could see no way I could get over this type of fatigue in one week and do the event this weekend.
Not being a cycling veteran and have never faced fatigue like this while training in other sporting events for 27 years this is a whole new feeling. Just in instinct I knew this week in this condition of fatigue was not about tapering it was about resting without any cycling at all. All of my leg muscles are extremely tight from weeks of training that they literally feel like they are going to rip wide open if I slightly bend my legs.
Sunday - I did nothing at all.
Monday - I did a morning and evening session of stretching that was painful.
Tuesday - I stretched this morning and plan to continue twice a day until Friday.
By the end of this morning session of stretching my legs are starting to feel a little better, my knees feel a little better and my confidence is coming back a little. I made some adjustments to my nutrition schedule. I am still not sure about this weekend, but there is alway a bailout option just before the last major climb that occurs at mile 80.
It will be interesting to see how this weekend will turn out. I am making plans to do the full route, but the kicker is trying to do a sub 5 hour century the following weekend. Then I plan on a week of rest and vacation.
If anything these are times when we get to learn lessons, sometimes by hard knocks, and learn how to avoid them in the future if possible. I am still analyzing the past several months hoping to learn something from this.