Yesterday I had a dentist appointment in the morning, so riding my bike to work was impossible. But I have an "L4" workout ride (at my 1-hour maximum power) scheduled for Thursdays, so I still wanted to get a ride in. I decided to ride after work. My teammate Steve Rosen joined me, and I got an idea for a route from my friend Rob Jensen; a rather steep series of roads up Cypress Way in East Los Gatos. Well, the climb ended up being about 14 minutes for me, with a grade of about 8-13%, so it was hard work even with my commuter-bike's low 30x23 gears.
Because I didn't put in my usual 40 miles yesterday my legs felt fresh for a change, even after my 5x6-minute intervals at "L5" on Wednesday. I charged that hill like it was nothing, and the disappointment of my last two races was forgotten in the rush. The weather was a perfect high-60s with sun, and the view over the entire valley was spectacular. What an awesome workout. I will keep this route in mind for other times when I can't ride to work but need to get some climbing in.
I know that the "junk miles" I often get from bike-commuting isn't the best way to train for racing and this was another reminder of that. But, well, I care about my impact on the environment, hate the stress of driving to work, and like to save wear and tear on my car, and money, too much to give it up. I've managed to make it work well enough for me.
I am no longer periodizing my training, so I am not "peaking" and "tapering" for specific races. But I think I could come up with a sort of "mini peak:" Train through even my high-priority races, doing my intense workout rides like usual, but cut back on my commuting miles in the week or two prior to them. That will leave me fresher for the races without sacrificing my long-term training benefits.