“8 Days In California”: Stage 7 recap, and a few words about motivation
Note: This is continuing coverage of the “8 Days in California” challenge, in which I’m currently participating. My usual Sunday weekly maintenance report will return next week.
Yesterday I rode the 7th stage of TrainerRoad’s “8 Days in California” challenge–the Queen stage. The Queen stage is the longest and most difficult stage of the eight stage event.
Stage description: The Queen stage of 8DC is comprised of 3 climbs, the final climb being the most difficult and including a hilltop finish. There are KOM’s at the end of each of the 3 climbs and a single intermediate sprint.
Stage strategy: The GC standings will largely affect our strategy, but if all goes well this will be another day of shepherding our climber to the final climb and then slingshotting our climber to a high finish, perhaps even a stage victory.
Brutal. Evil. Tough. Ruthless. Challenging. Masochistic. Pick your adjective–all are appropriate. This stage pushed me to my mental and physical limits. Check out my post-ride notes…
“The wicked Queen is dead. Before I get into my notes for this stage, I want to commend the TrainerRoad staff for an extraordinarily well-crafted stage. I was pushed right to my breaking point. I’m not kidding, I had nothing left when I finished. I don’t think I could have handled a minute more. Great job. As for the ride, I hung in there and got it done (with all options, of course) and exceeded all wattage targets. I felt good today, and for that I’m thankful. The back-to-back breakaway attempts that I had to cover in the middle of the final climb were so painful that it took everything I had to stay on the bike. After that everything just sort of went black. Seriously, I barely remember the final few minutes of that last climb. New 60 and 90 minute power output records. I think I earned a nice steak tonight!”
This was no cookie-cutter workout. The team at TrainerRoad clearly put a lot of effort into the Queen stage, striking a nearly perfect balance between possible and impossible. Stage 7 was right on the ragged edge of that line (especially after six straight days of hard stages), and I had to go to a very dark place to complete this workout. And when I say “complete” I don’t mean just riding along at whatever pace until I rolled over the Finish line (as some other participants have done)…
I’m not going to go off on a tangent (well, not too much), but for me a stage is not truly complete unless I meet or exceed all wattage targets and do all the optional KOMs and sprints. Of course I realize that each participant has his or her own reasons for doing this challenge, and some people are not going to take it as seriously as I do. I truly don’t mean to come off as belittling to those who are not being as… strict as I am. Sometimes I say things that are meant to put a bit of fire in people, and in myself. Most people respond well to words that are designed to inspire through challenge, but some people do not.
In general I have very low tolerance for people who merely go through the motions, and I refuse to waste my time with those who are not willing to put in the work. That’s never going to change, and I won’t apologize for it. I’ve spent more than ten years trying to help people reach their fitness goals, and I always lead by example. I have never asked anyone to do something I have not done myself.
It is unrealistic to expect my writing to precisely hit the mark for each individual reader. I don’t have the luxury of tailoring my motivational musings to each person who reads them, and so I have to paint using relatively broad strokes in my blogs. I know sometimes I can come across as harsh, but please understand that the things I say always come from a good place. I want everyone to succeed and grow, but those things don’t happen without a willingness to meet challenges head-on. I try to get people thinking in that direction.
So here’s my entire stage 7 ride with all data on TrainerRoad.
Nearly 3/4 of the riders who took on this difficult challenge one week ago have been dropped from the Peloton: 1,026 riders started this challenge and, with one stage left to ride, only 285 cyclists remain.
The final stage is today! At just under an hour, this is a relatively short stage. There are a couple of challenges in it, but it’s nowhere near the level of yesterday’s workout. See you on the podium!