Late Season Training weekend: This weekend had some crazy weather here in NYC, on Saturday I woke up to a balmy 38” in my bedroom, yeah it was so easy to hop out of bed and get on my bike. It was brutally cold my whole apartment was frozen. My dog loved it, but it was so cold I put on 5 layers as I consumed my pre-ride nutrition. For those of you interested my nutrition for a 50 mile ride (depending on intensity) is really just a PowerBar (vanilla crisp flavor) one of my favorites 1 hour ahead of my ride followed by hitting up a PowerBar Energy Gel pack, (Double Latte flavor) with some Ironman Perform to wash it all down.
We begin our ride at Central Park’s Engineers Gate on 91st and 5th Ave, the usual meet up spot for Asphalt Green Tri Club members going for a ride. Taking various streets to the GWB (George Washington Bridge) we traversed the narrow and sometimes highly congested crosswalk for pedestrians, cyclists, and runners on the south side of the bridge heading into Fort Lee, NJ. We descended the bridge off ramp and hung a left beginning the descent down to what is locally known as “River Road” this was the site for Ironman New York City’s (which was unfortunately canceled going forward) transition area held at “Ross Dock.” Passing through the shadow of the GWB
riders hit a series of “rollers” (small hills in repetition) picking up speed and taking in the scenery is always my favorite part to this ride, and why I usually insist we take “River Road” when training on 9W through the NY/NJ Palisades area. The real trick to “River Road” is to stay down in “aero position” and keep one’s heart rate in high zone 2 (for me roughly 138bpm) maybe into zone 3 (around 142bpm) because at the end of “River Road” there is a challenging hill waiting for you. Now many people take “River Road” and plenty of riders know about what I like to refer to (as Coach Ben Lloyd coined the term) as extra credit by taking on the full beast and descending to sea level by taking the right in the fork of the road down to the Hudson River docks. Turning around in the parking lot you now have a monster hill workout waiting for you before reaching the route known as 9W. Climbing this long can take a lot out of your legs and keeping your heart in the proper zones leading into this climb is key, of course that means while actually ascending “Alpine Hill” a smart triathlete will watch his zones and power-metrics in order to preserve the legs and keep as fresh as possible for the remainder of the ride because the kicker with “River Road & Alpine Hill” is that you face these challenges 6 miles after leaving Central Park, so your legs aren’t really warmed up.
Finally after reaching the top, my riding group and I regroup and we head out on 9W in a well organized group riding in a spaced out pace line. There is no drafting in triathlon and being tucked down in an aero position the brakes are not near the handle bars so each rider needs to allow for more space between bikes. Anyway, we ride north on 9W till we reach Piermont and make a stop at a favorite bakery for coffees and hot chocolate, I had half of a hot chocolate another gel pack and then we turned around and headed back to the city returning along 9W to the GWB and back to central park. Along the way there are four decent climbs, which we used high cadence to ascend and then on the flats we rotated intervals of 2mins all out and 1 min recovery. This works well with the distances and space we had between towns and intersections allowing us strong efforts with ample recovery as this was a “Late season training ride.” Keep in mind the push for these late season efforts has come from deep within, as the clock gets tics down to the date of my surgery I know that returning to cycling and training is going to be a month or more away, and that I want to make the most of every opportunity these days present. If something goes wrong and I cannot return to my active lifestyle I want to know I spent as much of it doing what I was passionate about.
While this post might be a little dry it is important to know that wasn’t the end of my day, I still went home and did some strength exercises and core work; plus, I ate a solid recovery meal at my local brunch spot with my marathon training girl friend (She will get some mentioning in the upcoming posts). The afternoon was completed by watching Kona streaming live via NBC Sports and an old Kona DVD from 2010 as the commentary to the live coverage was possibly worse than the GOLF channel. (Sorry NBC, but seriously it was painfully dull).
Knowing this was a full day of triathlon I made sure to make the focus of dinner and going out about my girl friend, as I have learned that balance to social and personal life is key to keeping my support crew willing to support me and help me reach my overall triathlon goals.