Finding Time To Train Image ©Huw Williams
Moving from recreational cyclist to racing cyclist.
Planning time to train.
So, you love riding your bike. You’re definitely getting better at it. You’ve joined a club, you’re enjoying club rides and your fitness is improving. You’ve been chatting to a few Time Triallers and Road racers and think you might like to give it a go. But where do you start?
If you have been looking round on the internet you will have come across reams and reams of conflicting advice and if you have dared to venture onto a cycling forum well you probably ended up with your head spinning from all the differing opinions. People can be very persuasive when they actually believe what they are saying, and, you in turn, believe what they are saying as they are so persuasive. It’s a no win situation, and it will probably have ended up putting you off rather than spurring you on.
The thing is, with training, is what works for one person, won’t necessarily work for another. Some people can happily train for 20 hours a week, work full time, fit in numerous family activities, cook, clean, keep house and still look as fresh as a daisy at the end of it. However, most of us work in some capacity, whether it be at home or at a work place, juggle bike rides, kids, pets and husbands. And spend most of our time looking like death warmed up! (I hope that’s not just me!)
What you need to do is work out exactly how much time you actually have available for training.
It’s no good looking at your schedule and thinking hmm maybe I can get up at 6.30am on a Sunday morning to fit in 2 hours training before the household wakes up. Chances are, if you love your Sunday lie in till 7.30am you just won’t use that time, so you’re automatically down on your training time by 2 hours.
I’m very lucky in that I generally have one day in the week where I can go and do a long ride, while the kids are at school, all other training takes place either when the kids are in bed or on the turbo. So it is doable. Sit down look at your life. Plan the time you realistically have available. If a family member suddenly breaks down in their car and you can’t fit training in, don’t be hard on yourself. Family comes first, it can be disheartening missing training but maybe you can squeeze that training in somewhere else in the week?
You have sat down with pen and paper and worked out that you have 6 hours a week available to train. What you then need to do is factor in an active recovery week. So allow yourself every four weeks a low intensity week, the recovery week can be the most important part of your training and will help keep you motivated.
We then start to formulate a four week plan with week four as recovery. This means that week three will be your 6 hour week. Week two may be slightly less than 6 hours, say 5- 5 ½ hours and then week one will be 4 ½ – 5 hours. So you can see, steadily over the four week period, we are building your training load with your available hours being your maximum available of 6 hours. Active recovery on week four could be anything from 3-4 hours.
When you look at it like this doesn’t training seem a lot easier to fit in your life? When you start to plan like this, your idea of doing a TT, or road racing, seems so much more achievable doesn’t it!
GranFondo - View Of The Coast - ©Image Copyright Randy Ruhlman
Imagine a ride over the rolling hills of California, nestled between the vineyards of Sonoma County and along steep cliffs, as you ride your way towards the waves of the Pacific Ocean. On the first weekend of October, avid cyclists did just that, as over 7,500 riders descended on the town of Santa Rosa, California (just north of that mythic city of San Francisco) for the third annual Levi’s GranFondo Ride. Along with Levi Leipheimer and these thousands of cyclists, many other professional cyclists and celebrities gathered to ride and have a great time with all the proceeds going to charity.
Levi's GranFondo 2011 - Image ©Copyright Randy Ruhlman
The charity is Forget Me Not Farm, promoted by Levi’s wife, former Timex/Cannondale rider Odessa Gunn. Her involvement with animal rescue and rehabilitation has been instrumental in getting awareness and funding for the ranch & foster programs, but it is more than a shelter for abandon critters. The facility acts as a therapeutic refuge for at-risk children, pairing them with animals around the farm and charging the children with their care.
The ride itself incorporates three varied routes, a bit of “something for everyone”, each with a different profile, degree of difficulty and length. All three traverse incredibly scenic terrain, down the Russian River Valley toward the town of Jenner at the Pacific Ocean. The Kings Ridge route takes the GranFondo riders over the hills toward Ritchey Ranch (yes, that Ritchey) where the bike legend himself was reported to be serving sandwiches at the lunch stop.
A very organized ride, the mass start–all the groups at once and at the sensible hour of 8AM–was well managed and the numbers of volunteers and CHPs officers (California Highway Patrol) controlling intersections along the route was impressive. Rest stops were plentiful and well stocked, as were comfort stations. Of course, the scenery was beautiful, as if one had expected anything less. And in typical California coastal fashion, there was some fog along the ocean. Some of the vistas and hill tops were cool and obscured, and a few areas along the ride were reported to have some visibility issues, but aside from that, the ride and post ride weather was excellent.
GranFondo Post Ride Celebrations - Image ©Copyright Randy Ruhlman
Naturally, one of the rewards of a great ride is in the post-ride lunch and festival. The post-ride food offerings ran the gamut from specialities like the very popular Paella stand, to Mexican and Indian food to BBQ beef and plenty of regular post ride cuisine. And, of course, providing the much needed post ride refreshment: an assortment of New Belgium beers to quench the thirst. Along with food and a continuous array of entertainment, there were dozens of Exhibitors at the finish line festivities, including Camelbak, Chris King, HED, Nissan & SRAM, just to name a very few.
All in all, it was a great event.
The pre-ride organization was just that, organised, as was the smooth start with its 7,500 cyclists. The course was well policed and marked and the post ride entertainment and
festival was fun and entertaining.
GranFondo Exhibitors - Images ©Copyright Randy Ruhlman
So what makes a great ride–just that! Levi’s GranFondo 2011 was a ride where you could challenge yourself, have fun, and know that it is all was going to run smoothly. And it is definitely a ride we won’t hesitate to sign up for when entries open for next year’s event.