And now, to reverse what I said in my last post.

Around these parts, training seems like a bad word. When I mentioned that I was training for the next brevet, a friend remarked, “I hate that word– it sounds like work. Riding is supposed to be fun.”

I do agree that riding is supposed to be fun, and it can be for me, when it’s wandering around the city, leisurely trying out new routes and trails, or riding to fun destinations. But right now, hilly brevets are not fun for me. There is always a point where I’m trying not to cry, and although I’m fine (and ecstatic) at the end of a ride, the day after seems to be a day of reckoning for me where I’ve discovered I’ve physically gone too far and am doing some harm to myself.

When I tell folks how I feel, the answer is always that I need to ride more. I don’t disagree with that– as I’ve discovered through Strava, I ride considerably less than my Bike DC friends, even those who don’t participate in randonneuring. I try to ride when I can, but carving out time is difficult for me, especially now when I’m in school.

Mike W. sent me a thoughtful email with tips on how to train off the bike as well as on. He suggested I work on exercises to strengthen my core and leg muscles. So I’m doing stuff like plank pose and burpees. I’m not exactly enjoying this, but I am already noticing a difference. I feel stronger.

So, I’m training. I’m training to not get beat up by brevets. I’ll be at the next one, and we’ll see how it goes.

5 thoughts on ““Training”

  1. now if you ride Tappahanock and it’s windy – you’ll find out why i like hills better better than flats. i think we had this conversation on the Urbana ride last year.

  2. Overcoming the mental stigma of the term “training” is a big step. But it is necessary, and can be fun if you let it.

    Mike started you off with some good advice for off-bike exercises. The other thing you need to do: ride hills! It doesn’t need to be the tedium of hill repeats (there is a lot of disagreement in the performance cycling world whether they actually do any good), but long hills need to be taken in to get the hang of the technique and strategy for tackling topography.

    My best tip for this: find hills in areas that are scenic. Skyline Drive, Mt. Weather, and myriad roads in the Catoctins provide scenic reward as well as challenge. Sadly, close to DC there aren’t a lot of great hills for training (Old Anglers-Great Falls is a good starting point, as are the hill roads in Rock Creek Park, and Sugarloaf is nice but all-too-short), but you make do with what you can.

    Definitely keep up the off-bike stuff – cross-training is a good thing! A strong core – abs, lats, and lumbar groups, as well as glutes – helps on the hills and for endurance, in general. I’ve found yoga to be helpful, as well, for both strength and flexibility.

    Good luck!

  3. You are right that brevets are a lot more fun with some training between them. Though to quote the disgraced Lance “it doesn’t get any easier, you just go faster” 🙂

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