Most of the blogs that I follow are talking about "tapering" this week. The ideas is that you cut back on the number of miles that you are riding to let your legs rest and heal in preparation for the big effort that is to come. I've never been all that good at finding the "low gear" to settle back into, but right now I'm working on a secondary issue of taking an unintended few weekends off due to poor weather. The weekends are where I get my big rides, and thus my big miles, in. Without a good solid Saturday ride, my miles can plummet quickly. Combining that with the knee stress I put on myself during the month of April, I really needed the time to heal. What it didn't do was put me in a great mental state for the ride, as my mileage for the month of May right now is matching 1 week of training in April. Thus this week I decided to ramp up slightly from where I've been so far in May, to get myself mentally and physically "awake" for the event.
The positive effect on this is that I feel as prepared as I could be for Mitchell at this point. Up until this morning I kept feeling like I peaked when we scouted out the mountain late last month. With the extra miles in this week I feel like I've gotten myself back established into my routine. I'm also going to be within 20 miles of my target prior to Mitchell (I'm at 1,962mi for the year right now). The negative effect is that I haven't let my knee have a lot of rest time at this point, and I feel like I'm going to have more soreness than I wanted to on the trip to Marion. The only thing I can do for that is to ride smarter on Monday, and not try to get froggy when the pack surges. I'm not doing the event for time at this point, my goal is completion.
It also is difficult for me to find the balance personally because I'm used to riding hard on a Saturday, not a Monday. For the Assault on the Carolinas I was able to ramp down easier, because I had my normal Tuesday night ride, then just a recovery day to work through. With Mitchell being on Monday, I have to figure out which rides I scale back for, and how much I scale back in order to have fresh legs. All things being equal, I really should have looked to do more heavy climbing on Mondays later in the training regime, so I could have gotten myself into the schedule for the event. I don't think it's going to make enough of a difference that I'll regret not thinking about the schedule as I got my miles in.
My plan right now is if the weather holds (we have a 50% chance of rain) that I'll go out for an easy ride with the local bike shop on Saturday. Sunday is the expo and packet pickup, and an early alarm time for Monday morning. I still have my dry bag to pack, and I need to do my final inspection and lubing of the bike.