The AIDS/LifeCycle may seem far away, but there are only 17 more weekends for training. The bad news is that there’s no time to lose. The good news is that there is plenty of time to train up!
So far this year, if you’ve been following one of your local train ride groups, you’ve probably done relatively short rides averaging less than 30 miles each. For our group, last Saturday was our first hill climbing ride — about 1,000 feet of climbing on gradual hills with some steep climbs. And if you can do that, with just a bit more training, you can do the entire ride.
Here are some tips to keep you fit as the season progresses.
First, stick with the training rides. If you are trying to solo the training season, consider the many benefits of a group ride. Riding with others will keep you committed and teach you lessons you didn’t even know you needed to learn.
The gist is: if you’re skipping official training rides, you’re cheating yourself out of an awesome experience. (See post.)
Second, gradually add in solo rides. This early in the season, you probably need to add in only one or two weekly rides, or 30 miles max, in addition to your weekend training rides. Your extra rides don’t have to be hard, but they have to get your body used to the stresses of riding. Commute to work or the grocery story by bicycle, if you can. Pick up some miles at a cycling class or on a trainer. Here are some tips for adding in extra miles.
If you’re lucky, those extra miles can be done with others, but I recommend riding by yourself regularly. This gives you a chance to cut out the chatter and focus on the skills you’re learning and the effects they’re having on your body.
Third, don’t let the increasing distances and amounts of climbing intimidate you. On the ALC, an average day is 80 miles of riding with 3,000 feet of climbing on average. Everyone will have challenges on the ride, but each person’s challenges are different. Some will dread Day 2, with 109 miles to go. Some Day 1 with blustery chill pushing up 5,050 feet of climbing. But in the end, no one is alone on the ride, and everyone committed to doing so will finish.
Remember that you are an athlete. By abandoning a more-sedentary lifestyle to pedal for others, you are as much an athlete as any professional and cycling is as much your sport as it is theirs. Own it.