Quest of the obsessed might say it better.
Time for some geek talk, it's been awhile since I mentioned stuff like TSS, the training manager and the like.
So what does one do when GLR is in the plan but fitness is at rock-bottom post surgery? Time for some planning, that's what! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that an event like the Grand Loop requires massive endurance, a functional gut, solid technical skills...and about 20 other things I could mention. To nail the first (and to an extent the second) the training manager, as usual, comes to the rescue. Knowing a bit about the demands of ultra events, how I respond at certain CTL/ATL levels, it's possible to map out a plan projecting TSS forwards. I do this in a spreadsheet of course. It's turned out to be darn close in reality to what I had mapped out back in the winter when I had all those long hours of no riding to fill my days. Here's the pic, click for bigger.
This is one serious build, even by my standards. Coming from a CTL of 57 in Dec to 150 last weekend - that's a march of the pigs :) Note the occasional big spikes - that's characteristic of ultra cyclists. Days of 500+ TSS will do that to your CTL curve. Even so, the upward trend is more or less constant over the long haul. Those really big spikes tend to incur some hefty recovery penalties. In some regards, this makes ultra cycing ideal for the working rider who has lots of time on the weekends but not so much on the weekdays - I couldn't train like that all week long every week or I'd be toast.
This is a bit of an experiment. I've never done an event anything like GLR - the closest would be a 24 hour event. GLR is more like 2 24s and a hundy strung back to back. I estimate TSS to be about 2300 for the event - that's more than 7 days of full-tilt racing last summer in TransRockies. But with this tool I have confidence that endurance is right up there at or close to PB levels as I'm about as high CTL-wise as I got last year. The difference this time around is I never got smoked in the process, and that's a good thing.
Last week saw very little training, so TSB shot upwards in a hurry (5 day ATL TC). Starting this week at +54 TSB, there's room for a 1000 TSS week while staying positive TSB the entrire time. How about that for a "taper" week?
So there are all my training ideas in a picture. Make sense?