I’ve been training intensively with the aim of placing at the top of the group for 13 double centuries this year. See previous entries for the incredible workload I’ve been able to handle this year—that’s delight not bragging—every athlete loves it when things just work well.
Strength is up considerably, endurance is more than ready for a double century—this is probably the best condition I’ve been in this early in the year for at least 6-7 years. The two weeks of “summer in winter” in late January and early February I did not waste but hammered things hard, and my body just happened to think it was a very good time to do so. I am climbing 20% faster than just a month ago. That is partly reduced body mass and partly increased fitness.
As of today, the rapid weight (fat) loss is supported by this hard data, which stuns me since I did not think I could approach even half of these values for these periods of time:
7-day caloric deficit per day: 1323 calories
14-day caloric deficit per day: 1517 calories
30-day caloric deficit per day: 1285 calories
I now seem to be able to handle an average of 2000-calorie daily rides at ~215 watts and still recover and become stronger day by day. I never thought I could tolerate that high a level of continuous exertion, but there it is, for 2+ weeks now—see the graph showing fat loss and caloric deficit. I have taken zero (0) days off working out for 37 straight days now.
Today is Feb 12 and workout done, I now go into taper mode on Feb 13/14/15/16 for the Feb 17 Camino Real Double Century. I expect weight to rise 4-5 pounds as my body full loads with glycogen.
The main thing I’m at risk for is impaired lung function, with a huge pollen dump starting about 3 days ago (semi-opaque layer of pollen on car windshields). I cannot afford to lose 10% or 20% of small airways, or I lose that much power—aerobic effort has to be...aerobic and if the lungs cannot deliver, the body is forced into anaerobic energy. The relatively high power levels seen below are (excepting some high power sprints) achieved by keeping my lungs clear. It feels like that with clear lungs I can hit 250 watts or so almost all aerobically, again, if the lungs are totally clear. If not, that drops to 210 watts—just going by how it feels. So lung function is a HUGE deal.
Three days prior, just one day of pollen was enough to narrow down my sinuses so that airflow through there is not much at all. I also noticed a day later some minor small airway impairment—this after totally clear lungs for a few weeks.
To forestall impaired lung function from allergen pollens*, I have ridden 3 days with the 3M Particulate Respirator 8233 N100. It works and is comfortable (if annoying to have to use it!), but not as well as I’d like: strong breathing tends to pull it into the face. It’s clearly not designed for athletes. I am actively looking for something better. One bonus is that in cold temps, the intake air is a bit warmer, which eliminates cold induced bronchospasm, which sometimes can get to me when breathing deeply at 45°F and below.
My subjective impression (legs, lungs, perceived effort) of my fitness is pretty simple: if I can keep brain focus, I can turn in a time that has a high likelihood of winning the Camino Real Double (or any other where I am not beaten by drafting riders, since I ride solo taking no draft). That is supported by very high power (watts) numbers for long sustained efforts. Power levels are running well above the 210 watts that won me (decisively!) the 2015 Central Coast Double, the question being of course what I can actually average for 200 miles. But CCD had a great deal of climbing and was thus much more demanding.
* The “French Broom” flowering now is awful (bright yellow flowers, huge bushes, invasive species)—the stink of it permeates the air 50 feet away. Pines are shedding a very heavy pollen load also. Later comes oak (worst of all for me), grasses and all sort of flowering stuff.