So here we are in the start of the new year. This year will be different though. This year will be better. Last year was good, and successful, but this year, well, let’s just say there are big plans. Why? Well, that is probably because success is built on success, not on failure.
Last year I decided that I would focus on one area. Cycling. I would train hard, I would spend all of my spare time and mental energy on riding, training and being a better and more successful rider. I started the success in early summer with my very first century ride. I chose the “Ride to Montauk” mainly because it was flat, and figured that would be easier than hilly. I still don’t know if I agree with the logic of that process, but all the same, I did it. I bonked 3 miles from the end, and had to drag my sorry ass over the line feeling like a wrung out towel, but I made it. I followed this up with 180 miles over two days in the MS 150 ride from Boston to Provincetown. I then rode 125 hilly miles in NY a month later and then followed by 80 mountainous miles the Berkshire mountains, and finished the year with the Bicycling.com Fall Classic Gran Fondo. (Which, by all definitions is understated in how hard it really is).
Though all of that riding, and training every weekend; over the 2000 miles of riding for the year, those rides were the hardest I could bear. They took everything I had, and then some. I completed them, not by much, but I made it. Getting back to my original point though, “Success is built upon success”.
This year I plan on riding the 150 mile version of the Ride to Montauk, the Harpoon B2B, again the ride in the Berkshires and the Bicycling Gran Fondo. This year I don’t want to just “survive them”, I want to enjoy them. I want to finish them and have enough left over to enjoy the party at the end. To do all of this, I have to be a better rider than I was last year.
Step One: Weight loss. Every pound lost is one less pound to carry up the hills. I have plenty of pounds to shed. Somehow, through all of the riding last year, I didn’t lose any significant weight. I might have even gained weight. I was pushing all 220 pounds of me, which included almost 60 extra pounds of fat up the hills. 60 pounds. That is equivalent to carrying over six gallons of water on my bike, or a 5000 BTU air conditioner. Losing that weight (already on my way and have lost 15lbs so far since Jan 1) will make the it better
Step Two: Get an earlier start to the season. Last year I started riding when the weather started getting above 50 degrees. I stumbled doing the B-SIG, and didn’t actually finish it. I really started riding and training in May. This year I have been riding in the cold, when the weather is above freezing. I have been riding indoors on the Proform TDF bike. I am seriously considering a spring training camp, perhaps in VA or CA to build a lot of base miles.
Step Three: Remove alcohol. To be honest, this is the easiest of the tenants for the new year. Alcohol has a lot of bad effects on the body, and has some serious effects against athletic performance. Last year I noticed that I didn’t drink for the two days before a ride, I slept better and I had a stronger ride. Drinking wine in moderation once I am at my goal weight is acceptable, as long as it isn’t within the week of a major ride or training session. Drinking to excess is too far of a set back to ever entertain.
Step Four: Fuel properly on and off the bike. One of the revelations from last year was that the longer rides felt better if I ate more ON the bike. This lead me to the conclusion that I was probably under-fueled during most of the rides and even to the point of bonking. Eating enough on the bike is key. This year I plan on eating on the bike like I mean it, and being reasonable during the week. No more (Well, I rode 65 miles three days ago, I am sure I deserve this chili cheeseburger).