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“8 Days In California”: Stage 6 recap

8DC Stage 6: My workout graph
8DC Stage 6: My workout graph

8DC Stage 6: My workout graph

Yesterday I rode the 6th stage of TrainerRoad’s “8 Days in California” challenge–the tough Time Trial stage. Here’s the recap…

Stage description: Time Trial! Today’s TT is short but it finishes with a tough hill climb. No KOM’s or sprints, just individual racing against the clock.

Stage strategy: We’ll follow a structured team warmup and hope for a couple of high finishes due to our climber’s time trailing prowess as well as our new rider’s excellent time trialing & climbing capabilities. Should our new rider sit lower in the GC than our climber, we’ll use our new rider’s time splits to inform our climber over the course of the TT.

The main challenge of the time trial stage was the 20 minute climb that starts shortly after the 30 minute mark. This 20 minute climb would be challenging in its own right, but I experienced some additional complications that made it especially painful.

Here are my post-ride notes…

“Today’s stage was a time trial and IT HURT! My legs felt good, but my cardio was a little off, which doesn’t mean anything except that the 20 minute climb was more painful than it otherwise might have been. With 5 minutes to go in the final 20 minute climb I developed a stitch in my side, so that made an already painful climb even more challenging. Overall, though, I felt great today! I set new 5, 10, 15 and 20 minute wattage records. I could use the 20 minute wattage record (296 watts) as the basis for my new FTP (296 * 0.95 = 281 FTP), but I am going to wait until the 8DC is over and test it on fresh legs when I start the next training program. No sandbagging!”

In addition to my cardio feeling a little off and the stitch in my side, I’ve got an old knee injury that has been flaring up the past few days. This old knee injury generally only bothers me on very long rides, or–as is the case here–when I don’t take occasional days off. After six straight days of tough workouts, my knee is letting me know that it is not real happy. The pain is annoying, but it’s definitely in the category of “fight through it” and not “you need to stop”.

I think my cardio was feeling off because I’ve got a bit of congestion in my respiratory system right now. My throat feels a little scratchy this morning, too. I definitely could use a day off from riding, but there are just two stages left and I’m not quitting.

Anyway, putting those issues aside, I really felt good yesterday. As mentioned in my post-ride notes, I set new 5, 10, 15 and 20 minute wattage records! In theory I could raise my FTP to 281 now, but I suspect it’s actually a little higher than that. I’ll be re-testing my FTP on fresh legs shortly after the 8DC is completed. I figure my new FTP is going to come in between 285-290, but we’ll see.

Here’s my entire stage 6 ride with all data on TrainerRoad.

After six tough stages, the Peloton has seen a lot of carnage: 1,026 riders started this challenge, and after six brutal days only 310 cyclists are still pedaling for the team.

Today is the 8DC Queen stage, and it’s going to be incredibly painful and very challenging. This is the longest and toughest stage of the 8DC. Even on fresh legs this 93 minute workout looks to be among the hardest I’ve seen, but after a week of tough daily stages this is especially evil. There is a ~25 minute climb at the end of the stage that is just plain sadistic. I’m nowhere near 100% right now, so I’m going to have to dig deep to bag this one…