Friday, March 13, 2015

For TDR Rookies (ya I know--worth what you paid for it....)

try to always train fully loaded
Some ‘veteran’ gear selection and training observations directed towards TDR rookies and 1st time multi-day racers:
#1 what is your intent?  IE: why are toeing the line in Banff? 

A) to finish in AW’s with your absolute best time, ie: you intend to race.


B) mostly to 'just finish' and enjoy the experience, ie: you intend to tour, maybe fast, maybe fast & hard, but still your main intent is to tour rather than race.

The following perspectives really only apply if you answered with an A.

Gear choices for a Multi-Day race:
All gear choices should be evaluated by this criteria: To the best of your knowledge, when deciding between gear choice A and choice B, which one will help you arrive in AW’s the soonest. 

It’s really that simple, yet also incredibly complex.

Example A) Navigation—to my knowledge the fastest nav method when used by an experience user is a bar mount GPS unit that is always on.  All other methods, especially maps and cycle computers are always slower.  IE: no matter how fast you go with maps you could have gone faster with the GPS method 

Example B) Lighting, charging and batteries—to the best of my knowledge a tested/proven dyno hub system is equal to or faster than all other methods.  The main reason dyno systems are becoming main stay on the TDR is their fully self-contained capability to ALWAYS let you continue at a relatively fast pace in the dark.  No other system can fully match this capability.  IE: no matter how fast you go with other systems you could have gone faster with the dyno hub method
So if you intend to pull out all the stops and ‘race’ just apply this same rational to all your other gear choices.  You will by definition arrive at Banff with a light, race ready rig. 

Training for the TDR:
Training for the TDR is not just physical conditioning, it’s a given that if you plan to ‘race’ you will arrive at Banff fully fit.  Fully fit can be loosely defined as able to ride your fully loaded TDR bike for 12-18 hours, just below, to well below anaerobic threshold—and then rinse and repeat for about 15-25 days.  In other words you basically need a solid base and if you don't have most of it by now work hard to get there.
fully loaded back in Jan.....

Marshal’s simplistic Rookies TDR Training Plan:
Starting today-by the end of March have all your gear choices behind you.  As much as possible always train on your fully loaded bike.  Eat so as to hit your body weight target, ride so as to hit your mileage/time targets

Thru April--Practice setting up and breaking down camp.  Practice fast convenience store pit stops.  Practice GPS navigation with whatever system you have chosen.  Pull several 100+ mile rides, no slug fests but easy pace overall, overnight if conditions/work allow.  Always be testing and refining your gear choices during this period. .

Thru May pull off at least one, if not several, full blown ‘multi’-day efforts.  These multi-day efforts are where you build confidence in your fitness level and gear choices.  Now is when you put to the test the whole package, fitness, gear, multi-day craftsmanship, navigation, mental self-control etc etc.  These multi-day practice efforts need not be done at maximum physical exertion but should be stiff enough too lightly to moderately fatigue you both mentally and physically.  During these May efforts continue to test/refine your gear but by now you should be down to deciding which pair of socks to use—ie: the thick ones or the thin ones.

End of May—rebuild your drive train, new tires etc etc.  Test your rebuild with +100 miles or so.  Taper if you feel the need but a true taper/peak routine is rather meaningless for the TDR.
Best of luck!  Especially to those who come to race



  1. Great tips Marshall, thanks. It is hard to know, as a rookie, how much training is going to be enough. I guess you could argue that there can never be enough but most of us have jobs, families etc, etc.
    Good luck with your training.

  2. Yup, most of us have jobs, families etc, its fun to train steady and hard but its not real life, just one more piece of the pie