It’s true – yours truly – the editor (me, aka The Pez) – will be following the guidance of Frank Overton – PezCycling News ToolBox contributor and owner of FasCat coaching, with input from our own ToolBox crew of Bruce Hendler of AthletiCamps, and PEZ training and fitness editor Dr. Stephen Cheung, Ph.D. Frank will be putting me through an 8 week training camp, designed to take my currently good level of base miles and build on my intensity and endurance, to be tested on June 19.
The Race = The Goal
The goal is the toughest one-day mtb race in these parts – it’s a 65 km cross-country circuit called the “Test of Metal” – I’m sure you’ve got a version in your area… I’ve done the race twice before, the last time was 1998 and my time was 4 hours. I’m sure I can do better than that.
Armed with my Computrainer, and heart rate monitor, and Frank’s guidance, we hope to turn up my fitness level to where I can get closer to 3-1/3 hours for the race. In the past I’ve never really approached my training with much science or even organization, usually tracking only my mileage, hours in the saddle, type of ride, and how I felt.
You’re A “Real Rider”
Now I know what you’re sayin’… what does an mtb race have to do with this road-race site? Well, let’s see a show of hands on this – If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, then you are likely a “real” rider, and will get something out of this…
1. I love riding and racing at a somewhat competitive level.
2. I have a day job that conflicts with my training/ leisure time, but alas, one must pay one’s bills…
3. I’m older than I used to be, and with the “experience” of age, have gained a revealing appreciation for what I’ve already accomplished. (ie: you don’t have so much left to prove)
4. Admit it – your family – now that you have one of your own, has become pretty important.
5. I love the road, but I love riding, and even own a mountain bike!
You’ll understand that with the sweetness of age comes a lessening of amount of time you have to devote to such simple pleasures as logging endless training miles whenever and wherever you please, so a more scientific approach is now required to reach those youthful levels of vigor!
Bottom line is many of us “real riders” just don’t have the time, nor the interest to ride and train like we used to, but we still want to stay fit, and test ourselves against other people like us. So we pick and choose our events – maybe 3-4 a year – coming at key times designed to motivate the fitness and keep you riding all year long.
Why Me, Why Now
Coming out of my racing retirement seemed like a good thing to do, since I’ve been enjoying some career-high fitness levels thanks to my winter prep for the Spring Classics. Some of you know that I was roadside at the Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem, and Paris-Roubaix earlier this month – riding the routes, seeing the races, and taking in as much Belgian-life as I could drink.
Going to the Classics gave me the reason to suffer through those cold winter training rides, and also the motivation to explore new types of winter fitness building, like riding on the track, and getting a CompuTrainer to enhance my indoor sessions. The benefit has been the best Spring time shape of my life.
The problem has been that I have no idea how fit I really am, or what to compare to. I love riding on the road, I love road-racing, and the riding in Europe is my cycling-nirvana. So most of my miles are road-based, but the road-racing scene in my area requires more effort to enjoy than I’m willing to make. The races are a long ways off, eating up too much of the weekend with travel, and the level of competition is more intense than I need – like I said earlier – been there, done that. So what’s left? – one or two well placed riding vacations in Europe and a good mix of other cycling events to keep the pedalling fun and fitness high.
So we’ll be back with some specifics on how measuring my base and tracking my progress over the next weeks. Let us know if you have any questions and stay tuned as I boldly go…
Need some training advice?
Check out Frank at FasCat Coaching, and Bruce Hendler’s Athleticamps