My recent training is paying off huge. My average heart rate last night was 171bpm, which is nuts.
Temperatures were high, and with very little sustained climbing, the pace was murderous. My heart rate jumped straight up above 170 and stayed there for at least the first 15 minutes, and rarely dipped below that. (My average for the race was 171.)
I was sitting 10th until the very last half-mile or so, when I was caught by two guys. They both sprinted past me in the final seconds of the race to push me back to 12th. I was so cooked that even when I realized I was in a bunch headed for the finish line, it still didn't register that I should sprint out of the final corner to hold them off, and even when they passed me, my only thought was to check their leg markings to see if they were in my division. Whups...
I'm pleasantly surprised with how I feel today, after turning myself inside-out last night. I'm fatigued, certainly, but I'm not the kind of stiff & sore I expected. One more way my trainaing has paid off, I supposed.
I have thoughts about what went well, and what didn't. But ultimately, it's clear that if I want to move up in the field, I simply have to get stronger & leaner.
I was told recently that I'm too big (frame, not fatness) for cycling, but mountain biking is the realm of speedy gorillas. So many guys in the field are built like power lifters. So my near- to long-term training goals are to drop the rest of this excess fat I'm carrying around, and add some serious muscle.
But for now, the name of the game is to get out and do the rest of my training for this week, and then recover & prep for next week's race.