This Saturday I’ll be lining up for the Bailey Hundo. It’s not going to be 100 miles this year as they’ve made some course changes in the last few weeks, which are changes for the better I think, so the race will now be 90 miles with 10k of climbing. Still a hard day at the office. I’ve always like to write a pre-race blog and kind of sum up my training for whatever event it is. It’s good for me too look back on whether the race goes well or goes sideways. No matter what happens Saturday the past 5 months of training have been a lot of fun.
I’ve definitely rediscovered the love for riding my bikes… for a really long time. It’s been there in the background for the past few years while I’ve mainly focused on ultrarunning but this year has reignited my love for riding and racing. Training to race on the bike is nothing new for me and I’ve worked with some great coaches (Pete Coulson/Cody Waite/Trevor Glavin) that helped me get to the level I am at on the bike and have coached myself to some good results. So going into the year I knew what kind of training worked for me and what it would take to get my cycling back to a competitive level.
The game changer for me this year was getting a smart trainer (wahoo kickr). I used to despise riding the trainer and while living in Southern California it’s something you rarely have to do unless you want to. The smart trainer changed all of that and actually got me really motivated to actually train and not just pedal around. I followed a pretty typical base, build, race specific training plan. I used TrainerRoad for the basic structure but also made adjustments to the plans based on what I know works for me.
Training with power again (on the trainer and my road bike) let me get pretty analytical about my training.. in a good, fun way. Slater I and used geek out on what we’d call “nerd” graphs. it’s all in good fun and I don’t rely 100% on the data as after 12 years of racing I have a pretty good Idea of how my body feels and when I’m fit. Nonetheless, it was fun to track. I used the Strava Fitness & Freshness chart (very similar to training peak PMC) to track everything. I used power on the trainer, power on my road bike, and heart rate on my mountain bike and while running to quantify everything. For those of you aren’t into this level of geekery each workout is give a TSS (Training Stress Score based on duration and intensity in relation to FTP and Max HR) and it then tracks CTL (Chronic Training Load – measure of Fitness), ATL (Acute Training Load – measure of fatigue), and TSB (Training Stress Balance – measure of form). This may a little too much for most and it typically is for me but I had fun tracking this stuff this year. Even though i used this information I didn’t let it 100% drive my training. It’s still all about having fun for me. I would typically do 2 structured workouts a week and then the rest was off of feel and just having fun. The only time I would do more than two workouts was when we had snow. Then I’d add in another to break up the monotony of riding indoors. I never paid attention to any power or HR numbers on long rides. Those rides were about enjoyment… and I know high volume works for me. If for some reason your are more interested in this stuff TrainerRoad has a really good article here.
The chart above I where I was at yesterday after my morning mountain bike ride at Green Mountain. After the ride I was still sitting at a +11 TSB/Form. I am planning on hitting a +20-30 on race morning. Before Battle the Bear (the highlighted section) I was at a -1 TSB and had a solid race but for sure wasn’t fresh. None of the numbers really mean anything until you’ve done this for a while and you figure out how the numbers correlate with how you actually feel and perform… and it’s all 100% individual. Just like anything with training and racing you have to learn by trial and error. There are general principles but everybody needs different kind stimulus, and a personalized training plan in order to get the most out of themselves. That’s why I’ve never been afraid to share everything I do training wise. People can do exactly what I do and It may or may not work for them.
I could not have pulled any of this off with out the support of Maggie. It’s not easy to do what we do while having a more than full time job and an energetic toddler…. but I love it and we make it work without sacrificing family time. Yeah… our days are packed from the time we get up (445am most days for me to get in my training done before work and breakfast with Fi) to the time we pass out (keeps getting earlier!) at night but we support each other 100%… in pursuit of our racing goals and everything else we do. I for sure couldn’t do it without Maggie’s support. Whether it’s her telling me to get my ass out the door to knock out a long ride on saturday when I am lingering around the house, or helping me knock out a long trainer session by getting on the trainer next to me and motivating me to knockout the last 60-90′, or wrangling Fi for hours at a race, which is never easy…. and I do the same for her. We make it work and have a lot of fun doing it. A lot of times right after long rides /runs or hard workouts we head straight to the park or pool. There’s no way we’ll let our training take away from family time or fun for Fi. That’s not an option.
I’m stoked for Saturday and the Firecracker 50 which will be about 2.5 weeks after the bailey hundo. I can’t really have a time goal for the Bailey Hundo as the course has been quite a bit different the last few years. As for place, I want to finish as close to the top as possible and the ultimate goal is to win the thing overall. There are some solid pros coming out to race, and I’m not racing Pro, but I plan on putting up a fight. That might be a bit far fetched but I’ve trained my ass off and done as much as I could have possibly done to get ready for this one. So I’m going to roll the dice and go all in and see what happens.
That’s it. I’ll post a race report some time the week after the race… or at least that’s the plan. We’ll see how long it takes to get out.