I have tours and organized rides this year and am itching to begin riding, which translates loosely into training. I have been very consistent getting some miles on the stationary bike at the gym but it doesn’t seem like I’m working that hard. It may be that when I’m on the bike and have music blaring, my head is down, and I float in and out of awareness that I’m riding. During my years of training as college and semi-pro athlete, I learned how to get into a zone to help pass the time during mundane routines like long distance running and biking. But also during those years I was very strict about my training start times. For example, in college I would always begin training the first Monday following the 4th of July. I would increase the intensity gradually and by the time pre season camp opened, usually the last week of August, I was in peak pre season fitness. Three weeks of very high intensity training getting into game fitness was nothing more than routine. The walk on candidates who came unprepared were very seldom still around after the third day of camp. Most couldn’t walk because of the massive lactic acid buildup in their legs.
On multi day bike touring, the third day is usually the point where riders either keep going or begin to look for ways to opt out and get back home. Getting prepared for a long tour is very much like the preparation of athletic teams. Besides the many rides of varying intensity during the weeks, there are also some bike events or group rides. Those are like the friendlies or scrimmages if you will. It’s a chance to test your fitness and adjust the training to be in the best possible shape for the season, or in my case, the big ride.
The scrimmages for me are the Five Boroughs Bike in NYC in May with 32,000 like minded riders. In June, I will join 300 friends for a short 200 mile supported tour in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland. In late September the hilly Woonasquatucket Watershed Ride will be the final tune up. All of this is in preparation for a 1200 mile tour from St. Augustine, Florida to Austin Texas beginning late October using the Adventure Cycling Southern Tier Route
October is one of two options for a start time. The other is late March of 2015 and that could be a problem. Heavy duty training on the road and riding “scrimmage” events doesn’t happen in New England in the winter. Most of the training would be indoor at the gym. A March start to the tour could put me in the “walk on” category and the third day of that tour could be interesting because training inside just seems too easy.