Peaks and Valleys.

Lately my brief brushes with form have resembled a roller coaster. Good legs have never lasted more than a couple days, and are immediately followed by dead legs for another couple days. The good legs rarely appear when I want them, and nothing I do can seem to shift the timing.
This mirrors my experiences in stage races, where my Achilles heel, recovery, results in some spectacular tumbles down the results sheet. It seems like I'm not built to go more than a couple days without the wheels coming off. I've had a couple stage races where success was determined by somehow slowing the rate of decline, but for the life of me I can't figure out how I made that happen. I've tried all sorts of snake oil and gizmos to help bounce back from hard efforts, but they've done little except lighten my wallet. The only thing that seems to help is time, and the vast majority of amateur stage races don't include rest days.
One thing has been consistent lately, though. I always hit the lowest point on Sundays at the Dome. It makes complete sense, because my hardest workouts are always on Saturday. It's usually the longest workout of the week, and the intensity is always higher.
"Why not just make Sunday the hardest workout?" you may ask. Simple. I have to leave early Sundays to coach at Alyeska for 5 or 6 hours. A brutal workout at the Dome would not leave me with the energy required to herd pre-teens around the mountain. I'd probably end up hurting myself. Instead, by dulling my legs the day before, I don't have the fully charged legs to tempt me to push harder, thus draining my reserves for the real workout on the hill.
Still, it kinda sucks not being able to play with the fast kids. As it stands now, I have about ten laps of intensity before I drop off, although lately my sinuses have been loading up after about five. Snot rockets on the Dome's track are generally frowned upon, so a pause at the side to drain the phlegm is required. I'll have to send a nice card to the toddler's daycare for this.
On my Training Peaks graphs, Sunday's numbers are generally lower than Saturday's. I did climb on the trainer this past Sunday and do a pretty solid workout after my post-Mighty Mite nap, so I had a nice peak to end the week for a change. Mondays are rest days, so overindulgence can be excused.
Up. Down. Up. Down.
As I get older, the peaks and valleys get more pronounced. I just wish I could predict them better. Once the road season starts and I have actual pavement under my tires, it will get even more chaotic. I'll burn a lot of energy when I get sprung from the trainer dungeon. Every chance I get, I'll be out there hammering away when I should be resting, burning matches that I should save for rides that actually matter. After a winter of pedaling furiously and going nowhere, it's something I need to do to maintain my sanity. The resulting imbalance is just a consequence I accept and hope I can correct later. I rarely do.
To be 100% honest, I'm just glad I still have something that can be characterized as a "good day". A steady menu of the alternative would likely make me reconsider my recreational choices. My lazy streak would probably lead me choose something like binge watching all eight seasons of "Desperate Housewives" while forcing massive quantities of pie and ice cream down my throat. The multi-discipline cross-training component of this particular option is what makes it so enticing to me.
So, for the foreseeable future, I'll have to watch as the fast kids ride away from me every Sunday. I'll try not to bury my sorrows in a plate of nachos the size of a pitcher's mound. I'll enjoy the time I get to spend with my daughter on the hill that wouldn't be possible without a little restraint on my part. Maybe, just maybe, I'll become immune to the latest daycare superbug.
One day it will all pay off, and the peaks and valleys will align in some magical way to allow me to get that one result on race day that makes it all worthwhile.
I can dream, can't I?


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