It’s been almost 6 months since I’ve entered any type of race… The last being the Marji Gesick 100 mountain bike race in Marquette, MI. I missed the American Birkiebeiner ski race less than 2 weeks ago due to a rib injury, but am looking forward to the Fatbike Birkie coming up this weekend.

The rib injury came from a stupid slip and fall down my own stairs. I didn’t break anything, but pulled, bruised or tore something up that took me out of commision for a week and ended my skiing. It’s still a little tender and I wouldn’t go ski on it quite yet, as a polling action directly fires up the pain. But, I was able to get on the bike trainer after a week and get some good workouts in.

I’m in no way training specifically for Fatbike Birkie. I actually didn’t sign up for it till a few days ago, but really looking forward to it now. My training now is all about rebuilding my base. I’ve already shared a couple previous reports about firing my training back up, but I’ve spent most of my workouts between tempo and sweet spot.

If I were ramping up specifically for Fatbike Birkie, I would have gotten into some higher intensity work, which I’m not ready for yet. However, the work I’ve been doing will definitely set me up for a good base to build off of as summer approaches and I target some races later in the year. I still expect to have a good ride and finish as good or even better than previous years if I ride smart.

Here’s a little screenshot for reference of my Performance Management Chart out of Training Peaks for the last few months. You can see the fitness drop in February around that week after the rib injury… Prior to that I had a nice upward trend in fitness.

One audible that I did call on Saturday morning was to up the wattage to just below threshold (98%) and knock out some 6 minute intervals. It’s actually one of my favorite workouts on the trainer. Some 20 minute tempo intervals probably would have been more in line for Saturday morning with my current training block, but I thought I would bring the intensity up a bit to see how I handled it. I was also running short on time and wanted to get a quality workout in. This was a good trade-off and a good little primer a week before Fatbike Birkie.

Even though I wasn’t targeting anything for Fatbike Birkie and just want to get up there and be part of the race… I will probably toss in some short high intensity intervals on Tuesday and fire things up to avoid the complete shock of it on race day.

I was doing max force intervals once per week prior to my rib injury, but haven’t been able to do those as they require a ton of core engament. Those were a different monster, but were definitely a wake up call for the body once per week. Instead, I think a short high intensity workout with some higher cadences on Tuesday will be good for me as the race approaches.

I can say things like “I wasn’t targeting anything for Fatbike Birkie…”, but I still want to race hard and have a good race. It looks like I’ve only missed the gate 1 starting position by a couple minutes in the past, so it would be nice to earn a gate 1 position for next year.

As far as Fatbiking goes… I haven’t ridden my fatbike since December 7th when doing my last course mapping for the Solstice Chase Fatbike race. In fact, the time prior to that was October when doing some final recon to finish mapping the course, which was the first time I had gotten the bike out since the last winter season. I did ride a couple laps around the shop on it the other day and all seems fine. I doubt I’ll get out on it prior to Birkie, but we’ll see.

Even though I did get out Fatbiking quite a bit last winter, I had kind of hung it up a week or so prior to the American Birkiebeiner ski race and then never touched it again until the night before Fatbike Birkie. So… a bit of the same situation this year I guess. I’m really looking forward to getting out there though and having a good ride.

I’ve felt pretty defeated since the Marji Gesick. It wasn’t really Marji, but more of a stack up how how I felt during the Ore to Shore and Chequamegon 40 as well. Marji just happen to be the culmination of it. I put myself in a big hole with the Wilderman and then never was able to climb back out of it till almost December. I never let myself recover well after the Wilderman and then it stacked up on me.

So back to where I was going with this… I really love events and racing and can’t wait to get out in the mix of things again. I enjoy catching up with friends, seeing familiar faces and partaking in the camaraderie that happens around these events.

As far as race fitness goes in comparison to last year… As I mentioned, I actually did a fair amount of fatbiking last winter and probably had a lot more specificity to my fitness than I do this year. My strength and endurance is likely better right now than it was last year though. Also, not having done the American Birkiebeiner this year… I may be in a better overall state. That definitely caused some interuption to the bike last year leading up to Fatbike Birkie.

I believe my strength training paid off and I think my ramp into tempo and sub-threshold work is paying off as well. I am still heavier than last year, but I believe that will dial itself in as I stay consistant with training and fuel appropriately to nail my workouts. My last FTP test before starting this last block came out at 277. It came out to 282 in a test on March 30th last year. I will probably do another test the weekend after Birkie before starting another training block and my gut tells me that I will beat that 282. We’ll see…

It was May last year when my training and schedule started falling apart, so I never really got to build off the training I put in last winter. I feel like I’ve got a good plan and am going to be able to stick with this and stay consistant to keep building. I mentioned it earlier, but I don’t plan on really ramping up into a focused race build till later in the year. My plan is to continue building my base fitness. Once the roads clear up, I will start getting a longer ride in once per week as well to help. For now though, I’m going with the tempo and sweet spot type work on the trainer.

That might have all been a bit of rambling, but just some thoughts I had and figured I’d share them. In the past, I’ve kept my blog reports fairly structured and focused. I write a lot of stuff down like this at times as a general brain dump, but then never share it. Maybe I’ll share more stuff like this in the future…

-Steve

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