To help me answer answer these questions I have enlisted the services of b78 coaching. I’ve been placed with a coach who does a lot of cyclocross and mountain biking, and who has done the BC Bike Race twice before, as well as competed in other multi day stage races. For me this is the perfect fit.
They use a service called Training Peaks that allows them to map out my weeks of activities, and I enter them in the system as I do them. Harmon Connect also has hooks into Training Peaks so that as long as I use my Garmin, the workouts get entered automatically into Training Peaks. Very handy.
I’ve only been on the program a couple weeks, but so far so good. I’m finding that having a coach layout my workouts helps me stay motivated and accountable, which are both very good things. I am quickly realizing how much effort and time I’m going to need to put into this though. My upcoming week has a run on Sunday, a spin class on a Monday and Wednesday, a 2 hour easy spin on Thursday, then a 3 hour or longer ride on Saturday. Also sprinkled in there are some core workouts which are killer, but essential for proper pedalling technique.
My coach mentioned the other day that there are only 4 months to go until the race. That is a bit scary to think about, and makes me nervous. Since I signed up, I’ve tried to make each ride count. Do an extra loop, learn to love hills, ride to the trails instead of drive, etc. In spin class I’ve tried to put in extra effort with higher cadence than called for, pushing right until the rest, putting in as much effort as I can. The net result is that I feel great while riding these days. I’m feeling very strong and fit. I’m nervous about the race, but still looking forward to it.
There are some side effects of the training that I have noticed so far.
The first, which is no big surprise, is increased food consumption. I am hungry throughout the day and all it takes to make my tummy grumble is seeing someone else eating something, or hearing someone talk about food.
The next side effect is the amount of time needed to prep for and clean up after riding. After I get back from a ride I typically need to eat and shower; sometimes I will have a nap. I still have to clean the bike though and get it prepped for the next ride.
Bike upkeep is an expensive proposition too. I had to replace the drivetrain on my mountain bike this year. Thinks break or get tweaked and need replacing. Batteries need replacing, fenders need to be purchased and installed, lights are needed, etc.
The final side effect is increased laundry. Again, not a surprise, just something I hadn’t counted on. I have a few sets of riding gear, but when I am riding 4 times a week, I generate a lot of laundry. It also means I need to consider wants I wear for each workout, so that the kit I want to wear for long rides is clean and dry for me.
So far this has been quite an adventure getting ready for this race. I am loving how much riding is m doing, but this does mean less family time, which I am missing. Only a few more months to go until life returns to normal 🙂