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!


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