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“8 Days In California”: Stage 5 recap

8DC Stage 5: My workout graph
8DC Stage 5: My workout graph

8DC Stage 5: My workout graph

Yesterday was the 5th stage of TrainerRoad’s “8 Days in California” challenge, and my legs let me know early on that they were feeling the cumulative effects of the first 4 stages.

Stage description: Stage 5 is the closest thing this tour offers in the way of an easy day. After an early, moderate climb, a flat course favors the sprinters. There are 3 intermediate sprints and only a single KOM.

Stage strategy: Our goal today is mostly to tuck in and rest up in preparation for the time trial. This may be the only stage that offers us a chance for recovery too, so we’ll do our best to tuck in and conserve as much as possible prior to tomorrow’s time trial.

There was an 8 minute climb almost immediately on this stage (just 4 minutes in), and my legs were cold and heavy. I powered through the climb, but it wasn’t pleasant. A short while later I was fully warmed up, and got into a nice groove.

Here are my post-ride notes…

With the promise of a welcome respite from the intensity of the previous four stages, I was looking forward to Stage 5. I filled my bidons, threw on an old pair of bib shorts and, with a few words of encouragement from my lovely wife still ringing in my ears (“You look like a dork”), I was off to my BTT. The first eight minute climb on cold and tired legs quickly reminded me that even though this stage was less intense, it was still a race. It took me about 25 minute to really settle in, but once I did I felt good. Even though I was supposed to be taking it easy in preparation for tomorrow’s time trial, my competitive nature compelled me to hammer all the sprints and the lone KOM.

I definitely didn’t shy away from the sprints or the KOM. In fact, I came extremely close to breaking my existing 5-second (1,001 watts) and 10-second (896 watts) wattage records on the final sprint. Considering those two records were set on fresh legs and yesterday’s attempt was at the tail end of the 5th straight day of tough race stages, I’m pretty happy with that.

Here’s my entire ride with all data on TrainerRoad.

Updating the current status of the ever-thinning Peloton: 1,026 riders started this challenge, and after the first five stages just 329 dedicated cyclists remain.

Today is Stage 6, and it’s a time trial. This is going to be a tough stage. It’s a one hour stage, but the main challenge is a grueling 20-minute climb towards the end.

As tough as today’s stage will be, it sits in the shadow of Saturday’s wicked “Queen” stage. I just saw what’s in store, and it’s pure evil. More on that tomorrow…