Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Slow and Steady Loses the Race

During last year's Leadville race, I thought I did everything required to break the all-important 12-hour barrier. Before the race, I lost some weight and built up enough endurance to ride all day long. During the race, I ate and drank and stayed on my bike. Ten years ago, that effort would have given me a sub-11 ride. Nowadays, it gets me a 12:25 time. This means I need to build up my endurance and increase my speed this year, especially my climbing speed. How am I going to do this? I'm glad you asked! Here's my tentative plan:

Lose 16 More Pounds Before June - I currently weigh 181 pounds; I want to weigh 165 in early June. And then I want to stay in the 160s for race day. This is, of course, easier said than done. My current plan is to eat like this every day: I'll have a bowl of cereal for breakfast, eat soup or salad for lunch, snack on nuts and dried fruit so I can ride home without getting dizzy, and then eat only one dinner. No snacking. I'll limit myself to one dessert a week, with Saturday being the firm and final end of the week. (Last year, I was able to sneak in extra desserts by claiming Friday to be the end of the week and feasting again on Saturday.)

One Long Ride a Week - Until April, this will be a long, casual ride to build up saddle time. After that, I'll start doing more hills and building up my average speed. On Sunday's ride, I averaged 13.5 mph on a 43-mile ride. For those of you who aren't into cycling, that's not exactly swift. People going that speed are usually wearing jeans and a headband.

Single-speed Road Bike - I want to buy the Specialized Langster for $800, but I have a difficult time making big purchases. I swear, even if I had millions of dollars in the bank, I'd still keep going back to the bike shop to stare at the bike and rub my chin. If I do manage to pull the trigger and order the singlespeed, I'll use it for bad-weather commuting and pull all the fenders and lights off my road bike for speedy fair-weather rides.

Bursting - Some geeks call this "riding intervals" but that doesn't capture what I'm doing. I'm not riding intervals. I'm bursting. Picture the bicycling equivalent of someone getting shot out of a fucking cannon, and that's me. I'll do two bursting rides a week, each time on my way home from work. I know exactly where the sprints are, but I don't need to tell you. OK, I'll tell you. The short hill up Nickerson, a half-mile stretch at Myrtle Edwards Park, another half-mile stretch on Alaska, up the lower West Seattle Bridge, and then up the hill where my house is. The final bursts vary according to the route, but I fear giving too much information.

More Hills - Seattle has a bunch of hills that'll help improve my climbing ability. One 45-mile ride I did last year is called The Seven Hills of Seattle. I ride up two hills in West Seattle, one hill in Magnolia, two hills in Fremont, and two more hills in West Seattle. I recently mapped another 25-mile ride called The Seven Hills of West Seattle. It has seven hills.

Club Rides - I need to ride with other people who'll push me to go harder. I'll do the Chilly Hilly in two weeks and the STP ride with Nick and Elden in July. Once a month or so, I'll ride with a group in one of the planned Cascade Cycling Club weekend rides. Why not meet fellow riders?

More Mountain Biking - I did only three mountain bike rides last year before Leadville. I need to ride hard up Preston trail on Tiger Mountain at least five times during the summer.

There it is. My training plan. Suggestions are welcome.


  1. Hey, I didn't know you took requests!

    If I were you, to save time, I'd restrict my training regime to bursting. That way you'll only have to ride your bike for like 10 minutes a day.

    Also, if I were you, I'd try to train my body not to need water or food while I ride. To do this you should stop eating or drinking whenever you're riding. Just think of how much time you'll save at leadville if you don't have to stop to refill your water and food stores!

  2. Good to see that at no point did you mention EPO as part of your regimen. Of course, that would be an improvement over the banned substances used in the first Tour de France: alcohol and ether.

  3. At least absynthe was allowed.

  4. Bob, you and I need to talk, Man. I tried to email you but it came bouncing back.

    Were you at BYU the same time as Robert Raleigh? If you were I think we might know each other.

    This is me:

    erlybird ONLINE

    I for one would love to join you on one of those 13.5 mph rides!

  5. Yes, from what I understand, Bob, the Green Fairy helped many a rider scale Alpe d'Huez.

    Slightly off topic, I'm thinking back to a post a few years ago by Big Mike in Oz. It featured arseicons. The standard one is:


    I'm guessing this is a sight you'd get used to around, say, Columbine Mine. Then on the turns maybe it's something like:


    A word of warning, though. After the race you'll probably want to avoid ones like this:


    that have been around.

  6. Bob had pancakes and sausage for breakfast. I watched while he made it and served me. He's clearly off his diet already.