Thursday evenings are a magical time. Team Physiofit gets together for one of our two weekly training sessions. Yesterday’s session was jumps during our ride along Treeline. There were only 3 of us for the evening’s ride. The drill was supposed to have us stay in a pace line and every minute the person in back jumped to the front and maintained the pace of 18 to 19. We set off down Treeline for a warm up and then began jumping.
At first things were going really well, I had jumped to the front and was maintaining the appropriate speed. I wasn’t feeling any pain or soreness in my leg and I had a crap day at work so I was ready to ride it out. I had been able to keep up with CHill on Saturdays brick so I was feeling confident I could complete the training session well.
Then Levy jumped to the front at somewhere between 22 and 25 and took off rather than slowing down to stay with the line. I was still in the front of the pace line, riding into the wind, and doing my best to catch her. I just kept checklisting my form and pushing on the down stroke with everything I had. CHill jumped and had no problem catching up, then Coach jumped with no problem catching up. I felt like I had been smacked with a baseball bat, literally and figuratively.
My left leg started fatiguing, so much so that when we finally had to stop, I unclipped, and it shook as I stood there. I can not accurately explain the emotion that hit me like a mass transit bus. Sadness that I couldn’t find the grit to catch up, anger that my leg wasn’t as strong as I wanted, and bitterness that the girls were still dropping me like I was a noob. We regrouped together and started jumping again. Yet again Levy took off, I dug in and tried with everything I had to catch up…into the wind still. We turned into Plantation and I was still pushing, yet my form had gone to hell. I was crumpled over my aero bars, still pushing on the down stroke but heaving for air with each push. I was so close to bursting into tears… finally Coach told Levy and CHill to make an extra loop while she stopped to check in.
The sidenote here is that Levy is super fast, in every sport. The girl is just a natural athlete and I admire that about her. So much so that she is my target in every session, the goal is to hang with her for 5 minutes more each time we train together. And Coach, well she’s always been fast but she’s also my PT so she knows my tells long before anyone else can see them. She also knows what I went through over the winter to even be back on my bike right now and how much I don’t want a repeat.
Back to the side of Plantation. Coach talked me through a few things, asked me lots of questions and basically just had me spin out my legs. We all made a few loops before we finally caught up to create a pace line again. Coach explained the drill again and had me start out in front. I’m guessing while I was out there she stopped and chatted with Levy and CHill to explain the situation because when the jumping started again we all stayed together and CH kept checking in (My biggest supporter outside my family!) Despite the rocky start I was able to maintain 18 to 19 (still into the wind) the whole way back to the start. I ended up with the last jump before we hit our cars. I kicked it in the best I could and barely passed Levy before we had to turn. Of course I took the opportunity to scold her for making this so damn difficult!
The reality is (now that it’s a few days later) the difficulty and perseverance is what builds us. Its how we get stronger. To hit that wall and dig in and climb over it…well there is no feeling like it when you are standing on the other side looking up. After a shower, a beer, a good nights sleep, and lots of perspective I feel better about the session. I know I’m not back to where I was in November but I’m getting there.