It's rather odd to have DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) after so many years on the bike, but I always embrace it with joy.
DOMS means something is working.
Pain, as I've learned, is one of the best indicators:
It will let you know that you need to make a change.
It will alert you to something new or odd.
Pain will guide you and provide limits, borders, and frames.
Steering way clear of any cliches, but you know the one.
For example, foot pain in the form of plantar fasciitis will let you know that you need to work on your gait, flexibility, and foot strength.
Pain in your back will force you do work on your core strength, posture, and balance.
And the sweetest of all, muscle pain from good old hard work and suffering tells the tale of growth and gainz ;)
So yeah, I ❤ DOMS.
Yesterday was a day focused on pure power.
The drill on the bike is called "standing starts" and, as the name suggests, means sprinting with a super-heavy gear from a standstill.
You only do 4 of those for 20 seconds, but that's enough.
You burn through 2 all-out sprints in the warmup, so plenty of watts flying around.
I hit over 1000W in the warmup, and the 20s efforts peaked at just under 900W.
You do the first one sitting, then next three standing.
It's a HUGE effort, and finding the right gear was important, as you do this in Slope Mode, and not ERG.
So you have to find the right gear that will have you recruiting ALL of the muscle fibers while at the same time just right to get on top within 20 seconds.
For me, it was Level 2 slope in The Sufferfest app, and 50x14. I hit just over 100rpm. Maybe next time I'll use the 15 to get a bit faster, but these felt jolly good.
But that's not all.
You see, after this drill, you're hit with 30-minute strength session. I topped it off with 15 minutes of Yoga and embraced the fatigue as it arose like mist from a bog.
It's at those times that I start worrying about what's next and check the next day's schedule.
"Defender"... I did it before... 4 intervals of 10 minutes.
Starting at just over threshold and then dripping down to just under threshold every 2 minutes.
"Yeah," I thought, "I can do it no probs."
Today during "Defender," I was undoubtedly fighting the fatigue but also the added strain of pushing ~threshold at 80rpm most of the time. One of those 10-minute intervals is at 100rpm, which I honestly found easier, even though it was more difficult. That doesn't make sense, but that's how it felt. So I pulled it off well, painful, but manageable. Watching Quintana battle it out with Contador, Froome, and Yates certainly makes this session even more enjoyable.
So it is with a respectful expectancy that I await tomorrow's finale of this three-week block: ISLTA (It Seemed Like Thin Air) - a 2.5-hour scramble over the climbs and attacks of the Giro.
I rode this one back in July, before taking the Full Frontal 4DP test, and just set it to 270W FTP.
It was a VERY hard ride, but I was so pumped at the end that I know I'll love riding it again.
This time though, I'm better prepared, although more fatigued - so we'll see how it goes!