I too like Hermes' idea! After reading Shovel and AzT's reports, I thought I, the Token Girl, would give it a try.
First, someone asked if I was tempted while being lapped by the pack during the Watsonville Crit, to jump back on. Sure I was! But, I knew (or think I know) that that is either not allowed or at the very least frowned upon, so I did not. I would pick up my pace a little as I caught a little bit of the draft, but I made sure I drifted back and stayed out of the way. It did get a little old hearing "good job, keep it up" every time the pack came by, though.
I spent the last four days in Lake County (Clear Lake). I took advantage of the heat and poor roads to work on my top end and endurance. I also did a few hill repeats. My B/F hates it when I do top end work because he doesn't want to "go fast" and struggles to keep up. Case in point was yesterday, when I was moving along at 22MPH on Scott's Valley Road, feeling really good, and he was yelling at me "slow down, what's the hurry???" (I explained to him afterwards to get on my wheel, it would be easier that way, and keep up or shut up - he told me I don't make a big enough hole in the air!).
The first day in Lake County was the day after the crit. I went out that afternoon in 98 degree heat for an "easy recovery ride" with my B/F. I intended to do an "accelerated warmup" - easy pace, then a ramp up to LTR and hold it for 30 seconds, then recover, then another ramp up. I did, and after that I held a strong pace, or tried to, for about 3 miles, followed by pacing up a 3% grade. Not only was it hot, but I was tired, hungry, dehydrated, and this sort of stuff was ill-advised. I learned that the hard way, too, by getting VERY nauseous and having to stop (B/F wanted to stop anyway).
The next day saw a 50 mile "noodle ride" to Clear Lake State Park. I took advantage of some of the straight, flat (bumpy) roads to work on top end and accelerations. I felt pretty good that day, and the ride went well.
The third day was a rest day, with no riding. I had a steak dinner with the B/F that night, something I don't do often - eat meat, that is. I mention the dinner because of what happened on day 4.
Yesterday was day 4. The B/F and I decided to ride out to and then on Scott's Valley Road, which had been recommended by the LBS. I did the easy pace to short efforts warmup that I'm finding works for me. The surprise this time was how well my legs responded, how fast I recovered, and how fast I got going again. The short climbs along the route were EASY. Yes, I said easy. When we got to Scott's Valley Road, I was completely warmed up and had endurance, top end speed, and "kick" like I rarely had experienced before. Thinking it was a fluke, and that I'd blow up at some point, I pushed hard to try to blow up ("slow down, what's the hurry???" - B/F!) and DIDN'T. What the hell? Was it the nutrition, the steak dinner - the protein? I think so.
Today I'm back home, at work, no riding today. Tomorrow will start another early morning training series. I've entered the Petaluma Criterium on August 11th, and I want to see some gains, how ever modest, by then. Oh - and I'll have steak the night before so I can validate my great training ride yesterday!