"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


San Luis Obispo: Day 5

March 11th, Black Mountain:

I am really too tired to give much of a blow-by-blow on yesterday, but I'll allow this much...

Up The Grade again, I struggled less. Focusing more on my form through the pain, keeping my breathing under control, I never lost an inch on the wheel in front.

Last year, when the rollers began on the run up to Black Mountain, I was already off and riding alone. Yesterday I stuck with them up at least two hard climbs before losing my wheel I crossed threshold. Yet even then we managed to bridge up briefly, Randy, Billy and I, before I was gapped again on a descent. And after getting dropped again, I bridged up and caught them again as they soft pedaled towards the entrance to Black Mountain Road.

This year's edition of the Black Mountain Pain Cave was harder, longer, and more fulfilling. I started at the same time as the leaders, yet still they didn't put much of a gap in front of me, and I managed to catch a few who had left before me. The last I passed too early, too hard, and I let my excitement get the better of me. I popped about 200 meters to the top and he counter-attacked me. The gap was too much to recatch...I came in behind him about 50 feet, out of the saddle and rocking my bike before collapsing on the top tube and handlebar, breathing shakily, and holding off a wave of nausea while streams of sweat drained onto my hands.

Another fast run out back to Santa Margarita, and I got dropped after flirting with bonking. I just had to pull off to eat something before I really did bonk and not have a way to get home outside of the van. I was soon on my own for about 10 minutes before Randy and Grosspietch came up behind and got me moving faster again. We caught the second group and had a hard, fast rotation going. We nearly caught the leaders in fact.

I heard they had some conflicts up the road that had slowed them a bit, breaking up the flow of their rotation where before they'd been absolutely flying. This is why I would ride until I fell off my bike for my coach, Randy Warren. His direction is so focused and positive, it doesn't allow for any misguided anger, or loss of direction of energy. He doesn't berate or yell, but gives encouragement every time, with a correction, if needed.

I also had the joy of being on Kirby's wheel, smooth and efficient, it's inspiring to see the amount of speed and power he can produce when among riders with seemingly twice his strength.

Hard day. TSS Score of 422 if that means anything to you. Normalized power of 269. If it doesn't, don't worry about it. I shouldn't be either.

Today: Montana D'Oro, Thursday Night Farmer's Market.

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