Yesterday I rode with the team on a 50+ mile loop through Rochester/Maytown and West Olympia. Overall, I feel like I had some good success on the ride even though the pace got pushed up to around 19 mph from 18 the previous weeks. My goodness, I never knew that 1 mph could make such a difference, but it does. I’ve been having a bit of trouble with a knee since last week. I think that it stems from putting in these early miles in the year, and jumping right into 50 mile rides. Dr. Andy Pruitt refers to this problem as “Spring Knee” in his book Medical Guide to Cycling.
Fitness development to increased exercise involves adaptations in the nerves, muscles and tendons. All of these components respond at different rates. The first changes come with the neurology. Within a very short time, the contol mechanism is more efficient, signals are stronger, and can sustain for longer. Secondarily, the muscles increase in size and ability to contract. More muscle fibers get recruited, etc. Third, the tendons play catch up. Timing for this suite of changes is something in the order of 2 weeks for the nerves, 4 weeks for the muscles, and 6-8 weeks for the tendons. It’s no wonder why early in the year, many people drop out of a fitness program after 4 weeks. They have tendonitis and have to stop! Essentially, the nerves and muscles develop faster then the tendons, and mentally the athlete is feeling stronger… so they start adding on the weights feeling like they are ready to start pushing to a new level. Based on this physiology, it would be best to hold at a bit of a plateau to keep from stressing the tendons. So, here I am trying to manage this knee so that I don’t develop full blown tendonitis in the knee.
In terms of skills I had some great input from more seasoned riders about positioning in the wind, around other riders, etc. This kind of knowledge is very important for me, as most of my riding has been by myself over the years. How it all works out in a group, is very different… As it stands, I’ll be still trying to make the Mason Lake Race on Saturday for my first race.