Thursday, March 5, 2015

Love/Hate Relationship? ( yup I am talking training)

So easy to train here--some of the best single track in the US (Wilson Lake State Park, KS bty)

Sooner or later every TDR blog includes some posts about training.  Same ol same ol--but here is another one. 

Thru the years I have never been very dedicated about training.  At least compared too many of the recreational mountain bike racers I am around.  And I guess it shows as I have never achieved much in terms of podium spots in the recreational racing arena.  On the other hand the few times when I did buckle down and routinely trained, why I achieved high levels of success, wait, wait, no I did not, I just fantasied more in-depth  about going fast…..  

yup, wilson lake offers 30 miles of single track plus this rather unique
slalom section
Actually I have proven to myself over, and over again, thru 30+ years of riding/racing, that I have a very limited potential to ‘go fast’ on a bicycle, regardless of training effort.  So why train at all?  Two reasons, first and most important because I like to ride my bike, a lot.  And when the mood strikes to go hard, and regardless of my potential compared to others, I can really tell the difference between modestly fit and ‘almost ready to race’ fitness.
Historically how do I train?  In the past I have done all the usual, heart rate monitors, power meters, intervals etc etc. But once the novelty wears off I lose interest as my personal race results never seem sufficient to justify the extra effort. 

So for a long long time now I just ride for fun and after I get some base miles I occasionally put in a semi-hard effort or two.  Living in the mountains it’s quite easy to do mock intervals—just ride a little harder than normal on the local trails and you are soon doing max efforts, over and over. 
closer to home--some snow intervals? say, where's the fat bike when you need it?
The sharp, high altitude climbs have also taught me the opposite of doing intervals—ie: how to pace my effort over rough terrain so as to not blow up. 
Which brings us to this year’s TDR.  In my own way, I am training more routinely, extensively and seriously for this race than ever before, ever! 
I spend way to much time doing this as most times it's my only real option out on the road
What I did for past AZT’s, CTR’s and 2010 TDR was small potatoes compared to my current efforts.  Not necessarily in terms of how many hard/interval efforts I am willing to do but rather the whole package. Will it make me ‘fast’?  Heck no, you can’t fool Mother Nature.  But will my program help me to finish the route at or just under 20 days?  Maybe (or maybe not), but if the stars align just a bit I believe I am doing all I can to get there.
So in a nut shell here is my 2015 TDR program: Shed 20 lbs from my failed 2014 effort. 
Yes, I have mentioned this before but about ½ will/has come from my bike/gear and the other 8-10 lbs from my personal-fat bank account.  Down to my 1974 high school weight says I. (6/7 lbs to go....)
Specifically I watch what I eat and do some form of cardio virtually every day. 
hey-doggy days also count as cardio the way we do them
I also toss in some light, basic core exercises most days. So after 60 plus days now of at least 1 hr per day of cardio I am seeing/feeling some modest but noticeable payoff.  Using the smartphone calorie counter app combined with my desire to not be too hungry when I go to bed I am balancing out my net calories each day for a small neg balance.  If I don’t do some type of cardio the smartphone says I can’t eat enough to feel satisfied / almost full at bed time -- so for now it’s still a positively reinforcing loop. So simple but its working so far.
All in all this simple base building while losing some weight phase seems to truly be working as I am still slowly sheading weight, % body fat and belt loops.  I also pay attention to not overstress my near 60 yr old body.  So even though I am training with virtually zero rest days I don’t think, or feel, I am over training.

So sort of still in the base building mode in terms of efforts on the bike but can’t help but push hard once in a while.  As ones fitness level rises it becomes harder and harder to resist taking advantage and putting down the hammer.  Soon I will test my current fitness with some real efforts.  First will be the Stagecoach 400.  I am seriously considering treating it as a full blown race effort.  Then again I may just cruise it and enjoy some long hard days. April is a difficult month due to work schedule.  But come May I will be in the Grand Junction area for said work, and who knows, I may even arrange a private night affair/date with the full moon and the KT.  At minimum I will spend a night or two out in the desert at the end of some all-day efforts.

Ok--time to check the smartphone app and hit the sack.....


  1. Your weight loss progress/goal is impressive. I'm nearly two decades less "experienced" than you and am having a heck of a time trying to lose less. Keep it up! You'll be floating up the passes this year.

  2. Climbing has always been a weak spot for me. But relatively speaking I do much better the lighter I get….hence my big focus on overall ‘bike/body’ weight
    Thanks for reading……..