The Rest Week

3:36 AM

When it was running, I obsessed over miles.  Now that it is cycling, it is hours.  Every four to five weeks on my training plan I get a rest week.  My hours drop down to six, and my planning goes from involved to spontaneous.  Getting twelve hours in a week can entail intricate plotting, particularly if a bad stretch of weather comes along to throw things off.  Six hours, especially six hours in a week of glorious 70-degree weather like we are currently having, only involves enough forethought to not go over the allotted hours.  I take a zero day today because I really want to go along with the spouse on the ride he has planned for tomorrow.  I feel wasteful in letting a perfectly good cycling day go by, even as I remember I am sticking to a plan for a reason.

The rest week is more than about letting my body get a little catch-up time on recovery.  Even though I love the bike, I get worn down at times.  The level of involvement is so much higher than my previous sport.  Three bikes means three bikes to maintain, and I can suddenly realize that every one of them has an invisible “to do” list attached.  Take my road bike, for example.  It is crying out for some attention with dry lube and rags (I am personally embarrassed to be out riding with a noisy drive train), the ratty bar tape needs replacing, I’ve got to switch the pedals out from sturdy mountain to sleek Speedplay, and I’ve yet to make the transition to my good wheels that I will ride through the summer. 

Beyond the time it takes to maintain the bikes, there is the time involved in riding.  A good workout is always going to be around two hours for me, and when you add in the getting ready part along with the clean up at the end a workout squeezed into a work day can make you feel like you didn’t get much else accomplished.  Often the messy state of our house is more a testament to our training than anything else, as dishes pile up in the sink and dust bunnies threaten a takeover from under the bed.  I begin to miss the days of running, when all you needed for a good workout was an hour and a pair of shoes – out the door, and you were off…

Which brings me back to the real purpose of the rest week.  Rest.  Rest the body, rest the brain.  The fact that I am missing the bike, and that I am feeling this sense of anticipation is a good thing, because it means that the rest week is having its intended effect.  My energy, depleted by the accumulation of training, is filling up quickly with just a little time off.  Base 2 begins next week…

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