Not gonna lie. Training is going okay. I will not win any races. Hell, I can't even seem to get any Strava KOM's, but I am getting stronger. I am feeling better.
I'm even eating a little better. The past few weeks the "try meter" has been registering pretty high. Missing very few days due to laziness. Now that doesn't mean that I am logging huge miles. Most days all I am able to get in is an hour before work. That might be an hour climbing up American Fork Canyon, an hour redlining on Murdock Canal, or an hour shooting the shit with Jeff on our recovery loop through Lehi. Though I am not racking up huge elevation gains I am feeling better on the climbs.
Tonight I met Cobourn at the mouth of the canyon to make a quick run at the cave. With a 10 minute recovery waiting for him and a tailwind I felt really good heading up the canyon. It's nice to be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you reach landmarks. That damn Forest Service sign that says it's a 1/2 mile to the Timp cave visitors center has seemed grossly inaccurate the past few months. Now it seems about right. Maybe someday soon it will seem inaccurate the other direction.
The only place I am really lacking is distance. Maybe not distance but time. The races I have my sights on all require long hours in the saddle. Last Labor Day I spent 10 hours suffering through the Park City Point To Point. It was hard. It was hard but I never felt like I wasn't going to make it. I'm not sure I have that kind of endurance his year. The Crusher on the other hand. That was 7.5 hours of hoping I would die. It was earlier in the year, and I was slightly less than prepared. The only reason I finished that race was because I had paid $80 for a souvenir jersey and there was no way I would be able to wear it if I had thrown in the towel. There's motivation for you. Expensive souvenirs. That's very RAGNAR of me.
This weekend however, I am facing a bit of a challenge. The Wasatch Back 50. I may be unprepared. I have not logged more than a couple hours at a time in the saddle and sources tell me that I should plan on at LEAST 6 hours to finish. Yeesh. The other bonus is that the course for this race is about 50% new trail. New trail means it's going to be a rough bastard. If there is one thing that makes cardiovascular suffering tougher it's rough trail. The good thing is that I will be far enough back in the pack that I should benefit from the traffic ahead of me "riding in" the trail. The other good thing is that I haven't registered yet so I could always back out. No shame in quitting before you start. Or something.
Historically I have had good luck diving head long into things I was ill-prepared for. WB50 should be no different. Last year it took place one week after the Crusher and due to some last minute land disputes was a largely dirt road affair. It was also about 150 degrees. A 50 mile race the week after a 70 mile race seems like you'll be taking it easy. Like it is a step back. But your legs still hurt and you spend the week between rationalizing about how you don't need to ride because you just flogged yourself the Saturday before. This year the excuses are nowhere to be found. The non pre-registration back out is seeming like a more and more viable option. Kind of like the old adage about better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool. My version would be "Better to not race and be thought fat and slow than to show up and remove all doubt."
This post took a whiny turn. Which is weird because I set out to talk about how positive I was feeling after applying my wife's advice about "Just trying". The fact is I am back to enjoying riding my bike. That's why I do all this shit right? Because it's fun. In my heart of hearts I really do love to ride my bike. I love the endorphin rush of pushing a little harder than my body is willing. When I don't get wound up about KOM's and heart rates down in my nougatty center I am having a good time. No time spent straddling a bicycle seems to be time wasted. It helps when it is not ALL suffering. The awesome thing is that the more you do it, the better it feels. The less pointless it feels. There are days when you feel like you are firing on all cylinders. A machine. Like you were built for this purpose. Then the next day you feel like shit. But you keep chasing the dragon. And hey, it keeps me off the meth right?
So I will ride my bike in the morning. I will climb when I want to descend. I will push myself to improve. I will race the WB50 this weekend.
Unless I bail.