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Tales of an endurance athlete
Duathlete at heart, but will do aything running/cycling/swimming/multisport related. Within reason of course:-)

Ride ride ride... and eat... lots of both!

tiggaby tiggaApr 13th 2011
Record volume in training are being registered on the bike for me, but then when no running or swimming is being done....
I can certainly feel I've done no hard running as my cycling legs feel pretty damn good at the moment. It's only for the next couple of months but I have never just cycled before... I've always done some form of run training in the week as well as biked. I really am amazed by just how much running affects my cycling legs. I had knock the London marathon idea on the head because I picked up a foot niggle. My left big toe 'joint' would hurt after a long run and the day after my 2hour run I could barely walk and cycle, not wanting to risk an injury that affects RAAM I decided to pull the plug on the runnning side and just bike. London marathon entry deferred and next year I'll give the race more attention and the preparation it deserves! I was in reasonable run shape too finishing 5th in the Terminator and 58min 10miler at the end of my long run, both after a 4-5hour brick on the Saturday.

Just how do you prepare for something that is done in 15minute 'bursts' in alternating 8 hours shifts for 6 days, 24 hours a day, all weather, night and day, uphill/downhill... lots to think about.

I'm not even sure if I'm honest, but I am not going full on ballistic on the mileage front just yet, we have 2 months and 6 days to the start. The scary thing is it seems like just last week we had a full 6 months and plenty of time to get the miles in the bank so to speak. Obviously 4 months ago I wasn't riding much, I still had a winter to get through and I focussed on gym/strength sets and pushed myself on the leg press sets I was doing. Pushing to the limits of leg press, along with lots of core and upper/lower back meant I picked up some muscle and compared to last year I finished the gym phase weighing in 6kg heavier than the same time last year. I peaked at 79kg and a full 5 sets 30 of single legged seated press at around 105kg, which a 'PB' in leg press. Still pretty lean though, but I was hoping the extra strength gained in the gym would transfer well to bike and time trialling. I am back down to 74kg now though and constantly being nagged about looking too skinny... just the way any endurance athlete would like it?
So far so good:-)
No back ache, riding a huge gear (compared to normal), holding decent pace and best of all feeling good for it! I've not yet climbed on my TT bike so all my training to date has been done on my trusty Boardman Road bike. Bog standard carbon competition off the shelf with only a 50/34 front chainring At high speed I'm struggling a bit, but it's good training. I'll change the gear ratios soon though... as I get stronger the pace is getting faster.
My standard week at the moment is around 550-600km a week. Majority of that is on my lonesome and I've been riding steady and probably at an average speed of 33km/hr. Which is more or less our target pace for RAAM. Still to ride the TT bike and put on a set of 'fast' wheels.... I'd say I'm getting there, and in a better place in my head more than anything.
I've had some breakthrough rides:
I rode 600km in just 4 days, the first 3 days was in the wind and rain in the New Forest at 4hours a day holding 20+mph, eating loads and still loosing 2kg in those 4 days!
I ride a pacey Saturday group ride in the New Forest with some quality athletes. It's incorporated into my longest day so I ride up to 5 hours, it hurts:-) My last outing with them though was a strong day, it took almost nothing out of me and I still managed to clock up another decent 85km after leaving them. That day I got home and I'd registered 163km in just 4hr35min... 45km of those were in the group at about 41-42km/hr, the rest by my self! Average heart rate was 137! Four weeks ago I was doing less at a slower pace overall for a HR of 146. Huge improvement in efficiency at pace. I feel like I am well on track

May is a mental month. Packed with volume, some key sleep deprivation tests and all that whilst working Mon-Fri just means I'm in Zombie mode. Get up,eat, ride before work, work/eat (no I don't sleep at my desk!), the odd run at lunch, eat, work (I promise I don't sleep at work!), eat, ride after work, eat lots, sleep, sometime I sleep eat?.... and repeat!

The past 3 weeks I've ridden close to 1700km. I'm consuming roughly 4500cal/day. I go through about 4-5 packets of Bassets Jelly babies a week... Jelly babies are my source of riding fuel:-)
In May the plan is 3200km (100+km/day average), how close I get that depends on how I cope... my priority is to remain injury free and fresh when I start the race so if it gets too much I will just back off or take a few days unscheduled rest. There is a fine balance between training the volume required, finding what my body handle week in and week out. Training at this type of volume is a bit of a learning curve but I am enjoying it and I am super strong on the bike at the moment and heading in the right direction.

Riding at 21mph sounds and feels easy enough to me now, but with 3 or 4 days of riding at that pace on fewer hours sleep is a bit of an unknown. It scares me a little simply because I want to as strong as I can possibly be but having never done this type of endurance event before, what kind of mess we could all find our bodies and minds on day 4 or 5 is all a mystery! We're lucky though, we have a superb bunch of characters as crew members, two of whom are physios so their duties of leg rubs are going to be the thing that revives the legs for another 8 hour session of riding 15mins on 15mins off! More on race tictacs a bit later... Progress in training is fantastic at the moment and serisouly can't wait for my TT bike to be dusted off and see what she's capable of with these new mega mileage legs powering them pedals.

This weekend.. 180km, including my pacey ride with the New Forest crew on Saturday and then a day in the saddle as I ride to Lymington, around the Isle of Wight and back home... round trip 210km. More of that sunshine please, I quite enjoyed it last weekend:-)

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