A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ride the Rockies 2014 Training: Riding on REAL Hills

I saw an interesting article posted this week on Twitter by @BicyclingMag called "The No Climb Climbing Bike Workout." The tweet caught my eye because it said, "Yes, you can get better at hills without having to suffer up them." I thought, "That sounds good to me!" But then I noticed the part after the link where it noted, parenthetically, "You still have to suffer."

Darn it. I was really hoping for a secret way to train for the brutal climbs on Ride the Rockies 2014 without having to suffer!

The article did have some great tips for simulating climbing workouts on flat land (or an indoor trainer) by varying combinations of gearing and cadence. I do a lot of variation in gearing on the CyclopsFluid2 trainer already. After reading the article I'm going to start working more cadence variation into my workouts.
I have taken my indoor trainer outdoors on nice days when there's still snow on the roads, but it's still not the same as riding on the road.
But there's still nothing like riding outside on REAL hills. Fortunately I have some pretty decent hills right outside my front door (I live at the top of one). And thanks to an unseasonably warm spell this past week (while the rest of the country is freezing), I have been able to get out on two nice road rides totaling more than 70 miles. So far this month I've ridden 250 miles toward my goal of 300.
Living in the foothills of the Front Range of the Rockies provides plenty of hills and amazing scenery -- when the weather allows for outdoor riding!
But even when I lived in Kansas I was able to find hills to train on. So no matter where you live, just find the biggest hill around and do lots of shorter hill repeat workouts along with your longer distance rides. Both are important to build up the endurance and climbing skills needed for a weeklong ride in the Rocky Mountains!

The ranches along Highway 105 in Colorado raise cattle, horses, bison, llamas, sheep, and even a camel or two. I've also spotted plenty of deer (pictured), elk and a fox or two on my rides. Ranches help preserve open space and provide great wildlife habitat.
Once again this year my goal is to ride 2,000 miles prior to the start of Ride the Rockies on June 7. I logged 1,863 before the start of RTR last year after a slow start in January (190.34) and February (186.51). With a strong start this January I'm well on my way to reaching my goal this year and be in the best shape of my life for RTR 2014!

How is your training coming? What tips do you have for preparing for the climbs of RTR? Leave a comment!

Ride on!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ride the Rockies 2013 Recap: Riding into History

The Ride the Rockies 2014 Route Announcement Party is Saturday, February 8, from 6-10 p.m. The route announcement will begin at 8:00 (mountain time).
At long last I sit down to close out my recap of Ride the Rockies 2013. A series of signs this week reminded me that I need to close out this journey and get ready to begin another one. First, the email announcing the Ride the Rockies Announcement Party arrived. I am planning to attend the party again this year and tweet out the route as it is announced. So if you want an advance look at the route follow me on Twitter (@REAL_BEEFMAN)!

Paul the Pilot captains overseas flights and Team Bar2Bar!
Then yesterday I was flying from Washington Dulles to Denver and bumped into my Team Bar2Bar buddy Paul "the Pilot" Mattson coming home from an overseas flight. Yes, Paul really is a United Airlines pilot, as well as the pilot of the tandem he has ridden with both his daughter, Lea, and his son, Till (last year they all rode solo). Making friends like the Mattson's is one of my favorite parts of RTR.
PTP is always recruiting new members for Team Bar2Bar

So, I am psyched up and ready to start training in earnest for RTR 2014! But back to the final day of RTR 2013. At 47 miles the final day from Canon City to Colorado Springs was the shortest of the week. But it also pushed us to 545 total miles making RTR 2014 the longest in history.

I enjoyed riding the final 47 miles with RTR friends Hankster (above right) with his dog Stimpy in the right saddlebag) and Jillian (above left) the massage therapist (a good friend to have on RTR!). Also spent some time riding the final miles with Woody (below left) who always wears a Hawaiian shirt to ride, and Tegan (below center), who always rides in a dress. Hope to see them all back for RTR 2014!

My wife, Leslie, and Angell cousins from the Springs were waiting for me at the finish line at Cheyenne Mountain Resort. Nice to have family who appreciate and support my cycling habit!

Crossing the finish line is always a bittersweet moment. So much joy and feeling of accomplishment and yet a little sad that the adventure is over. But now the anticipation for RTR 2014 begins.

Ride on!