There are a lot of key factors for a successful TDR run, some mental, some physical. One of the most important, if not the most important physical factor is one’s overall power to weight ratio……….
The same day I scratched in 2014 was when I began seriously planning for 2015…………A few weeks ago, back in Nov, I had a long conversation with Matthew Lee about the Tour Divide. Mostly we talked about rules and race organization. But somewhere in our conversation my 2014 attempt and failure came up. In the excitement of discussing 2015 plans and strategies I casually tossed off a comment about wanting to start 20 lbs lighter in 2015. I can’t remember exactly what Matthews’s response was but it included a distinct 20 lbs?, wow. And I suspect I heard, and correctly so, some polite incredulousness in his voice.
As the TDR gets closer I am busily working towards making good on that somewhat impromptu declaration. The 2015 TDR bike and gear are 95% finalized. In 2014 the bike and gear were 42 lbs (dry). This year the bike will be between 29 and 32 lbs.
So let’s see, 20-11=9lbs. Ie: come Banff I need be about nine pounds lighter. This is going to be very difficult,in 2014 I was as light as I have been in at least 20+ years. Basically to meet my weight goal I need to get back to my high school size. So while not impossible it will be very difficult. The actual numbers you ask? I hit Banff last year at 157lbs. My goal for 2015 is to reach 148. (Realistically I would be ecstatic to just crack 150)
Health considerations you say? Pretty simple really, as I work to lose weight I will monitor my % body fat and general energy levels. By simple calculation I ‘could’ reach my goal if I get down to the ‘lower % fat limits’ for a man my age. And I am talking recognized/acceptable numbers, nothing extreme or excessive. “Adult males 40 to 59 years should strive for 11 to 21 percent body fat and those 60 and over want to have between 13 and 24 percent body fat.” So from a % body fat perspective I need to get down from a current 162 lbs at 18/20% to 150/148 at 12/14%.
How? Always so simple on paper, always so very difficult in execution. Just simple exercise and nutrition.
I will ride the bike as much as I can. I usually train fully loaded and mix it up between single track and bike path/gravel and truly love the smooth & steady 4+ hour rides. As days get longer and warmer I will work in some overnight trips etc. I will cross train a modest amount. As I travel (50-75% of the time) as conditions and time allow I will strive to hit the hotel gym, run the stairs, whatever to burn calories.
I will habitually use the calorie counter app on my smartphone to help motivate me to stay at or just below my allotted calories. And I will use the same app to balance out my intake for a healthy ratio of carbs, fat and protein etc. No latest craze fad diets for me as a part of my system is to be able mostly to replicate my training diet while on route.
Side Comment on TDR food:
Ha, I usually (always?) chuckle just a bit when I read TDR blogs or reports that incorrectly imply you ‘have’ to live off of sugar and hamburgers to race the TDR. No, you just have to know the on route options and be willing to make the effort to secure it to have a fairly healthy calorie intake. Vegans, vegetarians and other food non-conformists have all successfully completed the TDR. If they can make do, (admittedly with extra effort) then someone who eats a more traditional diet need only pre-plan and hence ‘know’ where to find a good balance of both fresh and processed items. This is not to say every day is equal in nutritional choice but the false idea you cannot routinely find fresh fruit, vegetables, pasta, non-hamburger protein or whatever on the TDR route is just that, false. However I also think as the days pass food becomes more and more just ‘fuel’. I think this food=fuel phenomena makes it easy to simple use what’s most convenient, rather than make the effort to balance out one’s diet.