I’m sure anyone you ask who has completed this 5 day stage race can attest that it is simply grueling. The race takes place in Silver City, New Mexico. Never heard of it? Not shocked. It’s a dusty desert village lacking wi-fi and home to roughly 9,000 artists, drifters, and former professionals looking to disappear. It also sits at about 6500 ft. These factors make it a difficult place to stay and race. The race itself consists of 5 stages; 3 road races, a crit and a TT, each of which are intense in their own ways. This is a race I did the first time only to say I’d never come back. I did go back again and now this will be the third. Can we say ‘third times a charm’? Fingers crossed… This will be the only race I’ve done so many times and I greatly want to do well. Based on how I ride, I really should be able to perform at this race, it suits me. Anyhow, I’m trying very hard to go into it at my best and improve any chance I have.
I’ve had some higher volume weeks of 20+ hours while in Tucson. Long days in the saddle, lots of intensity, climbing, and also plenty of active recovery to prevent burn out. It’s been great to tackle climbs like Lemmon, Graham and Kitt Peak. The Tucson group rides have been challenging which have really helped me ramp up the intensity in unpredictable ways. There’s also been more time on the TT bike, a definite weakness of mine. My coach has been experimenting with my training in terms of loads, intervals, and rest while allowing for a bit of fun. It’s definitely been a process to try and nail down how my body responds and peaks, but I’m very confident that the work will pay off! Beyond actually riding, I’ve started using AMP PR Lotion in attempt to maximize my performance capabilities and have been analyzing my data often to really stay dialed in to where I am and where I can improve.
I am really working on making my non-training time useful to my performance outputs. This has included getting to bed early, measuring HRV, recording appetite and mood, turning on headspace daily, stretching often, getting an occasional massage (I’d do it more if I could afford it!), and not letting work pile up and become stressful. Really what this all equates to is embracing the full athlete lifestyle. While staying at The Homestretch, I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with other professionals and elites who are all super focused on their training and racing. This environment puts athletic goals front and center which has done wonders for my focus, mood and racing priorities.
Gila is a climby race and being a bit lighter will help improve going uphill; it’s just fact. So weight loss has been a priority going into this race. I’m not going to go into huge detail here because I did that on a separate post! -> Read it HERE!
Besides eating to lose weight, there are a few things I’ve been doing to prep my body for Gila. The elevation of this race creates a problem for those suffering with chronic iron deficiency. I’ve been working to up my body’s ferritin stores by consuming iron rich foods like grass fed ground beef, iron absorption enhancing vitamin C rich foods, and Swisse’s CoQ10 which also supplements 12% of my iron needs daily. 12% might not seem like much, but supplementation of iron can be difficult on the body, so a small amount is really what you want (it’s called supplementing ya know!). Of course, the real star of this supplement is the CoQ10 which research shows that even acute supplementation can increase time to exhaustion. I’ve also been really good about my ride recovery, making a shake or having a glass of chocolate milk immediately after finishing a workout. This has helped improve my recovery so I’m fresh for the next workout and I’m less hungry later in the day. The last big dietary focus has been upping my antioxidant intake through lots of greens, berries, and beets.
So wish me luck guys! I’m feeling strong and put in the work, so it’s time to go out and ride hard for my team, Femme Équipe at Gila!