I have a three week digital plan laid out for my training camp here in Gunnison. The first week was fairly low intensity, heading to what looked like a low key road race outside of Denver, then a week of harder more balanced triathlon training and a week of taper leading into Tahoe. Or at least, this was the first draft of my ideal plan. However, when uncontrollables start to interrupt an ideal plan it is very important to include one other quality – flexibility. That will be the new buzz word of the 2006 Tahoe Preparation Plan. Flexibility.
The first surprise of this camp came shortly after I picked up my rental car to drive to Parker which is just outside of Denver. I was super late getting out of Gunnison and had not picked up the car until 6:30 pm and by the time I packed it and was out the door it was after 7:00pm. I had somewhere between three and four hours to get there. Yuck. I found a good radio station and hit the road just as it was getting dark and resigned myself to a long non-stop mission to my homestay i for the Parker Omnium Road Race.
It is amazing to me how sometimes you know before it happens what is going to happen. It was dark and I was in the middle of a giant stretch of open space. I thought to myself, “What would I do if I broke down here?” I considered that I had a road bike in the back seat so if it were absolutely necessary to get somewhere from nowhere I could ride there. I guess that gave me some comfort to know that.
I bet it was only 15 minutes later that the engine light came on in my rental vehicle and all of a sudden I was coming to a stop. The engine was in the red for the temperature gauge and the check engine light came on. I was in the middle of I-dunno-where and no-cell-service-here. Plus it was freezing cold out, not a nice night for a bike ride on the side of a very dark highway with no shoulder and lots of large vehicles. I can add to that dilemma that I left the house with less than a bar of cell charge to start with and roaming drains the battery pretty heavily. My worst nightmare was playing itself out…
My first step was to drive at 10 mi/h back towards where I came from to find cell service. Then I called my friends in Gunnison and let them know that I had broken down near mile marker 143 on I-285 and I was nowhere near anything. There was no emergency assistance number on my keychain so I asked them to try and get a hold of the agency. Then I sat and waited. A long time.
In the meantime, Jackie and Ashley were dealing with both the corporate rental agency in Denver and the local LICENSEE affiliate (different kettle of fish) in Gunnison. This meant that the corporate agency wasn’t really responsible and the little guy that I rented from was a jerk and really didn’t feel like helping me out at all. His car broke down but I was responsible for getting the broke down vehicle back to Gunnison. It was not very cool at all. Luckily I had Ash and Jack on my side whooping some ass because otherwise I might still be sitting in a broken down car rather than telling the story of how Jim the tow truck guy drove me and my car back to Gunnison. To make a long story short, corporate renter people paid for about half the tow, I paid the other half, and this story will be continued once we figure it all out (still not resolved).
So after a very stressful and very late evening, the road race was cancelled for me so some mountain biking and a 5km trail run were inserted in the absence of the road race. I am thinking in hindsight that the new plan was even better than the old plan. We had a long, fun mountain bike ride on Saturday and a 90 minute run with a hilly, loose, technical 5km in the middle. GREAT training!
So this week we have thus far kept to the plan. Lots of training….. adjusted to correct for the 11% loss of VO2 max at 2300m (for every 100m above 1200m you lose 1% of your VO2 and this is exactly what I experienced before I called our physiologist to confirm). Altitude is tough. Our newest challenge this week is the weather. The snow covered peaks in the distance are beautiful, but snow is now on our 10,000 foot peaks we were planning to climb. Some flexibility is about to be exercised.
So, until next week when we see the fruits of my considerable labor here up high, good luck with your training. Make sure you roll with the punches because sometimes those things you cannot control end up making your plan even more effective. You decide in your head whether that is true.