When I was in Mississippi, I did a lot of Zone 2 riding. By a lot, I mean a whole crapload.
Chug-chug-chug for hours and hours.
My body adapted to the decreased intensity and increased volume. Sure, I did a little Zone 3 and higher riding during the Tuesday night Destroyer ride or other group rides, but the majority of my hours were long, slow distance.
Now that I'm back home, confined to the trainer, and constrained by family and work commitments, my volume is almost a third of what it was down there, and the intensity has increased significantly.
My body is confused with this sudden reversal, and is trying to adapt. Power levels I used to easily sustain on the trainer in the spring for 60-90 minutes are a struggle now. Some of it may be mental, as it always is when I start on the trainer. That said, I usually get into the groove before this point. My body seems to be programmed to believe that every ride is going to be three or more hours long, and governs its power expenditures with that in mind.
Slowly it's getting the idea, though. Little by little, the power has been creeping up to the lower edges of something I'm not disgusted by.
When I'd finish a long ride in Mississippi, I'd hurt. I'd be drained in a way that took hours to recover from. Eventually I'd refuel and rehydrate and my body wouldn't hate me quite so much. There were times where I could barely walk up the single flight of stairs to my room. Times where I dropped the bike on the floor, then crawled, fully-kitted, into the shower and sat under the water for what seemed like an eternity. It was a penetrating, fuck-you're-drained type of ache. Usually after a full night of sleep, I'd feel great. I'd be happy I went out and rode the previous day, sort of a delayed endorphin rush. Then I'd go out and do it again.
Now the ache doesn't creep up on me towards the end of a ride. It's there after a couple minutes on the bike, once my legs are warmed up and the actual work starts. It's there until the end of the workout, then disappears after I'm off the bike for a few minutes. The sweat stops rolling down my back and the endorphin rush hits. I feel great, and the next day I do it all over again.
It's almost like they're two different sports.
I'm not in any hurry. I've got months to build my fitness. Trying to do too much too quickly will do nothing but make me sick and disinterested. Gotta play the long game here. Besides, ski season is here and the mountains are finally getting snow. I'm going to hit the snooze button on my ProTour ambitions and revert to World Cup delusions.
Fiddling around with stuff keeps me engaged, which keeps the illusion alive. 


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