Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ultra Training

I meant to post this at the begining of April but due to computer problems it did not post.

March and April need to be a big months for me as far as miles go. The 24th or April is my first big race of the year the Trans Iowa VI. Work has made my training very sporadic with some long hours and business trips. The weather the last couple weeks has been great so when I was able to ride it was pretty enjoyable.

Weekly miles:

Feb 22 - 333
Mar 01 - 190 (In New York for work)
Mar 08 - 199 (injured shoulder)
Mar 15 - 316
Mar 22 - 190 (In Canada for work)
Mar 29 - 196 (12 hour days at work)

Currently there is no traveling or "special" project at work so the miles will level out around 300-350 per week.

Training for ultra-distance events can very daunting. As with training for any type of sporting activity the weeks prior to the event need to be focused to prepare yourself for the event. When I was racing criteriums and road races I would work on sprinting, hill climbing or short burst of 100 percent effort. When your event is 24-26 hours in length specific training can be pretty tough. Training for ultra-distance races also includes comfort on the bike, fueling, hydration and night riding. To get a good handle in these areas you have to do looooonnng rides. Ideally a long training ride would be 10-12 hours. My longest this year has only been 8 hours. I have quite a few 4-6 hour rides but they are not enough. I plan to get a 10 hour ride this weekend.

Some of my miles have been on gravel with the cyclo-cross bike. Right now the roads are in pretty poor shape. There are sections that are like quick sand and are very difficult to keep a good speed or straight line. Hopefully some heavy rains will take care of the problem. Riding last Friday with a stiff cross wind on the gravel proved to be a bit of a challenge. Picture yourself riding down the road with a 20 mph cross wind. Your bike is leaning into the wind to compensate. The challenging part with the gravel is your wheels are basically sitting on ball bearings. If your center of gravity gets too far off you are laying in the road. When you hit the lose sections you need to be centered over the wheels but then the wind pushes you to the side of the road. During this ride I was actually looking forward to the head wind sections. Some of the aspects of gravel road riding that I love are low traffic, new roads and the new scenery. There are more miles of gravel roads in Muscatine county then paved roads. After 4 months of exploring them I still find new ones almost every time I ride. This picture is of a dirt road I found near the Cedar river off Independence avenue. My plans for the year are to keep riding the gravel once in a while just to keep from getting into a rut.

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