For the past few years, since stopping training with a coach, I've been able to go to event rides and get through them without much difficulty. I was aware that my finish times were slowly creeping up but I was also in denial as to the trend and where that would leave me. So what if I took 25 minutes longer to ride a particular metric than it did the previous year. So what if my latest climb up Mt Mitchell took 30 min longer than when I last rode the event with 74 miles already in my legs. So what?
Family life and a growing daughter were reason enough to stop working with a coach. If I hired a coach I was damn well going to do what he/she told me to do. After 5 years of ever increasing family conflicts it was time to stop. For a couple years after I would train loosely and get some decent results. But that waned and the last couple of years have been a downward spiral. That takes me to today's ride.
The Devil's Fork Metric out of Mars Hill, NC is one beautiful low traffic ride. It is very well supported and a pleasure to meet the people working each sag stop. Everyone is so accommodating. It's a tough ride though with at least 6600' of climbing in 64 miles, and some of the climbs pretty steep in the 13-15% range. Three years ago I rode it in 3:55 ride time and 4:10 total. That's pretty decent. Today, not so much, with a 5:17 ride time and 6:07 total. What's worse is I had to really suffer to get that. I guess I'm at a crossroads with riding. I need to get out more for sure. One slow 20 mile ride in 2 weeks won't do it. So, I can no longer go to these rides and fake it. I have to put in the work to get the results or suffer the consequences. Suffer is the correct word for sure.