Personally, I need a regimented plan and measureable goals to work toward. Otherwise, I find myself constantly questioning the effectiveness of time spent training. Am I working hard enough? Am I training too hard and risking an overuse injury? Should I be doing cardio or strength training? All of these questions started to come to mind. I had not ridden seriously during 2015 and my stamina was not at the level I needed. I had returned to college, started a new job and my daughter entered elementary school. My life was busy and cycling had slipped way down on the priority list. I needed to make changes in order to elevate my fitness higher on the list; not only to prepare for the Snake, but to lose the “freshman 15” gained over the summer. It was November and the days were getting shorter. The only time available to train was early in the morning. The window of 4 AM through 6 AM offered the best opportunity for this time crunched cyclist, father, husband, student, and slave to corporate America. I quickly started looking at my training options. I could have ridden outside with my lights or invest in the necessary equipment to train indoors. I opted to add another hour or two each day in my home office with the latter choice.
My preference to train indoors led me to several options. I am a firm believer of positive reinforcement from those around me. I knew that it was possible to get the needed support and motivation from others through an online social media/training tool such as Strava. I had seen others following various structured plans and uploading their data and gains to show progress. This knowledge led to the discovery of TrainerRoad. An application used by many other friends and team mates to improve their cycling abilities. I wanted to couple this tool with a state of the art cycling smart trainer to get the most out of the time spent on my bike. After applying my motto of “buy nice or buy twice,” a second hand Wahoo Kickr was purchased to act as my resistance and power measurement tool in conjunction with my road bike. I believe the combined functionality of a smart trainer and proven training software provides a good foundation for efficient training. Consistent use of the trainer has allowed me to steadily increase my Functional Threshold Power (FTP) over the past 4 months. Not all of my requisite training was done indoors. Facing the outdoor elements and ascending realistic gradients was necessary to build additional endurance to prepare for this event.
I have to say outdoor social rides were the most enjoyable part of all my training. Between the months of November and January, several weekend group rides were organized with members of KSD and FMBR to build our base fitness up to prepare for the first event in January. While each ride was challenging, they were also jovial, due to the antics of a select few, you know who you are, that made us smile when all we wanted to do was get off the bikes. The support from each and every person helped push me to improve. Ride after ride, my endurance returned and I felt able to maintain a faster pace without feeling my heart beat in my ears after a long sustained climb. Before I knew it, January 8th had arrived and it was time to make the trip down south.