Should I be taking the easy road?

I want to start a plan this off season to prepare for next year and get faster. I’ve been cycling for about a year and I want to be able to hang with the “A” guys. Next year I’d like to dip my toe into racing but don’t really have any races planned and would like to try a little bit of everything to see what I like.

I can kind of pinpoint April/May as when I would like to be in peak “race” form so I can kind of work my way back from there. The only real big hurdle I see is my lack of sleep.

I work 2nd shift and normally get home at 12:30-1 and have to wake up 7:30-8 which usually nets me around 7 hours of sleep on a good day. I can usually go to bed earlier on the weekend and sleep in so I can catch up.

Should I go for the easier plan to make it easier on my body to recover? Or is there a way to go super hard with recovery to make up for a lack of sleep?

You can’t out recover lack of sleep – speaking from experience! If you are getting 7 hours that should be adequate if it is sound sleep. I would aim to do your bigger rides on the weekend and aim for 9 hours if possible! On top of that, aim to win in the kitchen and do all your yoga and revo on your rest days!

I would probably say to stick with the intermediate plans, like you did for your fondo.
If you start the 32 week off season that will bring you into early may, which would be a little later than ideal. I would say to do our foundations plan, resistance training plan and then SS’s 1 & 2 then jump into some race specific intervals once you figure out which races you will want to do!