‘Beyond the Peak’ – My Mt Evans Ascent among the Cat 3’s
Nothing could be more fantastic and exciting than being race primed and ready to go for every race all year long, right? It may even seam like some superb athletes are not confined to the rules of peak fitness but in reality they are probably just talented enough to win even without totally dialed fitness. If you are anything like me, this is not the case.
I found myself in tip-top shape for the The Black Dog Stage race. I finished 2nd at the Black dog and was able to hold onto my fitness bliss for one more week and win the Mike Horgan Hill Climb. So with three weeks between Mike Horgan and Mount Evans, my last race of the road season, I carried on, kept climbing hills, put in the miles and even hit a few PR’s up some of the Boulder signature climbs. I never let go of the hope that I could be even stronger than I was three weeks earlier.
We started our race up Mt. Evans and I felt just fine up to Echo Lake. I had enough fitness to stay with some of the strong moves from the real contenders. We had slimmed down from 40 riders to around 8. However, just past the ranger station the pace picked up again and I didn’t. I quickly dropped into a 4th position with another racer. At the time I didn’t understand why I couldn’t carry on with the riders up the road whom I was as strong or stronger than three weeks earlier. Eventually even my climbing mate dropped me and I settled for a 5th place finish.
Just a few minutes after the race was over and I started to analyze my lackluster performance. The answer was simple: I was ‘Beyond the Peak.’ I was fit but I had no snap. In order to reach my top fitness again, I needed rest, a healthy dose of volume and a smart little training progression. There just wasn’t enough time between my June peak and Mt. Evans. Upon making my little revelation, I picked up my moral and my bike and headed down the mountain with my good friend Andy Johnson who just experienced a ‘before the peak’ experience. I then hopped in my car and headed east without stopping until I hit Lake Superior for some much needed rest and relaxation with family and friends. With only a few rides and a bit of water skiing in 20 days, I am rested, revived and ready to roll my cross bike really fast! …now I just need to get back in shape!
Thanks for reading,Jared