After a much-needed 5 week break post-'cross season I began base miles for 2.5 weeks and all of a sudden I'm hoarse and hacking a lung. Today was the Redlands Prologue, a 3.1 mile hill climb which kicks off the 27th year of the Redlands Classic. I am guest riding for Webcor at this race, as Webcor Builders was the birth of my whole bike racing career, and continues to support me as we put legs onto the Crankbrothers Race Club. But probably the biggest factor that weighed in on my decision to guest-ride for Webcor is the host housing: Cid Breyer has been hosting riders for over 15 years and it's like coming home to mom! She takes amazing care of us, cooks up a storm, has the greenest thumb ever, yells herself hoarse in support of her riders, and is the best to hang out with - just wish she were in the pack as my teammate!
Base miles are wonderful and all...especially considering that this is the first season I have actually done them after rushing from road to mtb to cross to mtb to road to cross, etc. But the efforts are what hurts so good. Sitting on the couch, skiing powder, eating cookies, drinking glass after glass of wine, dipping bread in olive oil, socializing like a parrot...none of that in the off-season really prepares you for going hard on your bike. Hearing your legs scream. Wheezing and weaving. Spitting up chunks of breakfast or the gel you recently ingested. Sweat running into your eyes. Feet swelling from heat. The hacking that continues through the day. The mean chants and curses that recycle through your mind. It all comes back to you quick though. And how to make it easier? Keep flogging yourself. That's why I'm here.
I'm pleased with my day today. I felt pain and I felt strong. I raced the 3.1 miles in 12min, 56sec, while the leader, Amber Neben came in at 11min, 12sec. She started right in front of me. She didn't wait for me. It's a solid start to my season and I look forward to building on the fitness the rest of the week and creating opportunities for my teammates to shine. Building bricks here, and stage races are very concrete bricks to stem from. Tomorrow holds a 72-mile circuit road race starting in the town of Beaumont.