Inspired To Divide Part 3: It's a Daily Operation
One of my goals in 2017 was to become better balanced in my training. For the past decade an a half I have been focused on cardio and riding and have neglected the other parts of my body. SO, I started doing more plyometrics, joined a boxing gym, did more yoga and refined even further the food I consumed.
The combination of all those things made a huge difference and I managed to slim down even more. I even lost my pesky back fat which seemed to never go away.
The extra activity did help in making my core much stronger, so that really addressed some of the nagging issues I would experience on longer events and rides ( lower back pain, numbness in hands, cramps)
But, expanding my training means I have spent less time on my bike in the past three years then I have spent in the years before. The facts are I don't ride as much as I used too. So to insure my training stays on point, I compensated. My compensation was by focusing on intensity and making the miles I did get, count.
I spent several months obsessed with trying to figure out what route to work equated the most climbing. My efforts meant that on most days I climbed close to 800 feet a day. Which is not a lot, that's less than a mile on the divide. BUT, it gave me the opportunity to focus on technique.
Smooth pedal strokes is key. I didn't do any stand up pedaling, cause I already know I can do that for days. Instead, I focused on climbing without using my lock out, which is intended to keep the front end of my bike light. Also would do climbs not holding my handlebars at all. To focus on power coming from my hips thru my legs, thru the pedals insuring my arms where not part of the equation at all.
Most days I would leave a little early and ride a little faster to ride some extra miles on my way to work.
I spent the past two months racing storms and proudly managed to only get caught in one torrential downpour. When I would get on road segments I would ride as fast as I could, the intention to avoid cars passing me. Would pedal at hard efforts and breath only thru my nose. When I trained for the Colorado trail, this helped me expand my lungs for the elevation change.
On Wednesdays If the road group caught me from the shop, I would jump in and ride with them.
ON other days if I saw them coming, I would drop into my aero bars and ride fast enough that they couldn't catch me.
What I couldn't get in miles, I made up in intensity. Lots of short hard burst interval style efforts, pushing myself to ride as fast and as hard as I could. It helped a lot.
On my days off, I would hook a trailer up to my bike and do mix terrain rides pulling my grandson.
Talk about a work out! It's totally different to have all that weight behind you, it''s a lot of work and its definitely good training.
Everyday I got on my bike I would ride with a backpack I wanted to stay conditioned to riding loaded. A month out I rode loaded every single time with a load. NOT a full divide load, but close enough to keep me trained. At the start of the year I switched to Flat pedals. Lots of folks asked me why? Two reasons, I like challenging myself, and I like the fact it makes me think and focus on a good pedal stroke to stay efficient. It took me a full six months to reach a point where I dont think about pedaling.
We did several LONG scouting rides for an upcoming tour I am running. These proved to be great times to ride in torrential rainstorms and stay focused on finishing miles and reaching goals, all key lessons when preparing to ride 3100 miles.
Aside from the cross training, car and storm chasing, the kid towing and the long miles, I also would intentionally deprive myself of sleep on some days to make sure my brain would stay sharp when stressed.
My last few rides will happen in the next couple of days. I feel good and strong and my ride all day pace is strong and steady. I dont know if my unorthodox training methods work, but the way I feel on the bike seems to indicate that its all working.
Part 4 is next.