Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dusting Off The Trainer

My 2015 mountain biking season began today on a road bike in the home gym.

Early last winter I didn’t feel compelled to train hard. My first competition goal was a WEMS race on June 7, and even that was more of a tuneup for a WORS race on August 24 than an important objective by itself. I didn’t log any indoor trainer time in January 2014, then I made a good effort throughout February, and by early March the weather was nice enough for outdoor rides.

For me, trainer rides are a necessary evil. Prior to today, my last one was on December 4. In the meantime I did 7 outdoor rides and 8 hikes. That’s fine for general health, but not enough for race-level fitness. With 4 mountain bike races tentatively planned for this May, I couldn’t wait any longer to get back into structured training. So, today was Day 1 of a 12-week plan. It’s not an indoor training program per se; I will get outside whenever I can.

If this is a typical winter, then by March I should be doing most of my training outdoors. When the 12-week plan ends in early April, my base will be solid and I should have an opportunity to work on mountain biking skills. And skills matter! In 2014, my first laps at New Fane were 31:30 and 31:50, respectively. By the end of the summer, I was routinely turning consecutive sub-27:00 laps. I attribute only some of that improvement to fitness. Sharper skills and a deep familiarity with the course were more important.

My hope this winter—and every winter—is that we will get less-than-average snowfall. It’s the snow and not the cold that keeps the mountain bike trails closed in the spring. If we get an early opening, then maybe I will add the Greenbush WEMS race to my schedule so that I’m racing on all 5 weekends in May!

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