Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ready for anything, maybe

Late last month I signed up for the High Point Ride, an excursion that summits Mount Greylock and then returns to the starting point on the second day.  The participants may ride 100, 140, 200, or 300 miles over two days.  I initially thought that I would do either the 100 or 140 mile version.  I started to think that the 100 mile might be best for my current level of fitness until one of the ride leaders suggested that I try the 140 mile version.  After a month of training, I agree with that assessment.

Before I started my training month, I had about 730 miles under my belt.  That was better than this time last year, my first year back after a few lean years following the birth of my children, but less than comparable to pre-children cycling though not dramatically so.  I had the chance to train hard, by the standards of people with young children, for the last month.  I rode about 530 miles, including a number of 50-65 mile rides.  I have climbed over 15,000 feet during the month.  I did a couple of short loops out to Lincoln that manage to roll over 1,400 feet of hills and did a couple sessions on our local climbing hill (1 mile, 320 foot climb with a 1 mile descent done 5 times = 1,600 feet of climbing).  My last long ride, done on a Ride Studio Cafe training ride, was a 60 miler with 3000 feet of climbing done at 16.7 MPH.  It helped to do it with a group but I can say that I wasn't drafting for a majority of the ride.  My last short ride was a reasonably flat 23 miler done at 16.6 MPH (and done before 6AM and before breakfast - I don't know about you but I do better once I am fully awake and that's not possible so early).  At this point I've put in 1250 miles this year.

I did the local training hill this morning and feel great.  I pick up my bike from the cafe (it really is a cafe as well as a bike shop) tomorrow.  I will take that bike for a short ride Thursday AM and maybe commute on Friday and then call it quits for training.  I want a light day followed by a mostly rest day before the two days of hills.

Generally my endurance is where I want it to be for a ride like this and my hill climbing ability is in a decent place.  I've been doing my usual suite of post riding/running exercise - pull ups, sit ups, stomach crunches, and weights - to increase my core and upper body strength.  I would have liked to have done more running, especially on hills, to increase my capacity to stand on climbs when necessary but I've been standing on climbs just for exercise and fun.

Will this training be enough?  I don't know but I'd like to think so.  I have spent a lot of time climbing hills in western Massachusetts (and Vermont and New Hampshire) and my general rule has been that I will enjoy a 50-60 mile ride in the hills if I have 1000 miles under my belt.  And my bike is getting a new low gear so that I have the same gearing as what I used on the 2009 100K  D2R2, according to the still available Sheldon Brown's Gear Calculator, so I should be able to deal with the steep hills, as I did on the D2R2. The daily distance is about the limit I have done this year so I may be maxing out here but I have the next week off (preschool vacation week) so I will have time to rest, or at least not have to get to work.  Maybe the ride will be a hard couple of days that I will enjoy or maybe it will push me to the limit and I will have to wait for the van for a lift to the summit of Mount Greylock.  I have been pushing myself hard and feel great while working hard and after the rides so I think I am as ready as I can be at this time of the year.  And I'm hoping for good weather to test all of this out.

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