“8 Days In California”: Stage 2 recap
Yesterday I completed the second stage of the “8 Days in California” challenge, and it was even more difficult than the first stage.
Stage description: Stage 2 of 8DC includes 2 major climbs. The first is long and mid-race with a long, but steady descent afterward while the second is short but steep and concludes the race; this is where we are likely to see a challenge for the GC.
Stage strategy: Our plan is to again protect our climber and General Classification (GC) hopes over both climbs, covering all threatening attacks if possible.
On Sunday Lisa, her parents and I all went out to eat to celebrate Mother’s Day. Drinks with my Mother-In-Law sounded like a good idea at the time, but I was seriously regretting that choice about 15 minutes into this workout. While doing that medieval ~17 minute climb towards the end of the stage (starts about 51 minutes into the ride and ends around 1:08) my breakfast tried to make an encore appearance. No more drinking for the rest of the challenge.
This stage was brutal. This was especially true thanks to my foolish over-indulgence the night prior. Looking through the comments from the other riders–many of whom were not able to complete the stage–I think we’re all pretty much in agreement that this stage was especially tough.
My Intensity Factor (IF) for this stage was 0.97. “Intensity Factor” is a measure of how intense a ride is. “IF” is based on the rider’s Functional Threshold Power (FTP), which is the maximum average wattage a rider can sustain for one hour. A ride with an Intensity Factor of 1.0 would equal an all-out effort for one hour, so my ride yesterday (IF of 0.97) pushed me right to my breaking point. My Normalized Power (NP) for the entire workout was 261 watts, which is 0.967% of my FTP of 270. The simple formula is (IF = NP / FTP). So now you know how “IF” is calculated and what it means. 🙂
When workouts or rides are that intense, it becomes largely a mental exercise. It’s painful, your legs are barking, your lungs are screaming, your heart feels like it’s coming out of your chest… You want to quit, you want the pain to stop. Notice I keep using the word “want”: “want” and “need” are two entirely different things. It’s not just good physical training to fight through workouts like this, it’s good mental training, too.
On yesterday’s ride I set new 10 minute (300 watts), 15 minute (298 watts) and 60 minute (256 watts) trainer power output personal records. It was probably the toughest trainer workout I’ve done to date. Definitely in the top 5.
Here’s the entire ride with all data on TrainerRoad.
1,026 riders started this challenge, and after the first two stages only 413 remain.
Today’s stage looks like it will be as tough as yesterday’s: the IF (Intensity Factor) and TSS (Training Stress Score) for Stage 3 are virtually identical to yesterday’s stage. Stage 3 has four major climbs, each with a KOM at the end. There are also two sprints in the later half of the stage. This is going to be a really tough stage to get through, especially on the heels of the past two stages.
I’m feeling good this morning, I’m going to kill it. 🙂