Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Century Challenge & Endurance Cycling Guide

America By Bicycle's Century Challenge & Endurance Cycling Guide, reproduced with permission by Rodale Press, contains the following chapters:
  • 11 Ways to Guarantee Great Long-Distance Rides
  • Best Foods for Cycling (And When to Eat Them)
  • How Fat Can Improve Your Endurance
  • Tips & Training for a Successful Century
  • The 9-Day Countdown to Your Best 100-Mile Ride
  • Proven Ways to Break Through a Training Plateau
The guide also contains three 10-week training schedules, based on a cyclist's individual goals:
  • Schedule 1 - Goal: To Ride 100 Miles
  • Schedule 2 - Goal: A Century with Strength to Spare
  • Schedule 3 - Century Time Goals
I'm behind schedule on my self-imposed timeline to begin outdoor training by January 15 (considering winter weather in New York City, that was unrealistic anyway), but if I begin a 10-week program on March 15, I'll complete it by May 30 - with room to ship my bicycle to Astoria, OR, in advance of the tour. Assuming my cycling lessons continue to go well, I should be comfortable enough to follow Schedule 2 on my own ... since my goal is to be able to cycle a century (100 miles) with strength to spare.

Since I moved to New York City almost four years ago, I've had a fairly intense strength training program, alternating three different upper and lower body workout routines over six days per week. I'm not a GTL freak, like the cast of Jersey Shore (which I do not watch; I saw the reference on Ellen), but I'm definitely not one of those people who thinks 30 minutes on an elliptical machine is a satisfactory effort at the gym. I'm also an avid participant of indoor spinning classes and recently included Bikram Yoga on my list of favorite workouts.

All in, I'm hoping that I'm not too far behind to play catch-up on sufficient training for my transcontinental cycling tour - even though the AbyB Tour Kit makes a clear note that a seasoned cyclist should plan to train for 5-to-8 months prior to the ride and new or novice cyclists should use a 12-to-15 month time frame. Needless to say, I'm in the latter category. At worst, AbyB also mentions that those who don't train enough have tough days for awhile until they get used to the daily grind. I hope that means that the tour is not entirely impossible without the suggested six months-to-a year's worth of preparation. I'll let you know after Day 1.

I did receive some encouraging advice and words of wisdom from a new friend, who recently addressed my uncertainty and concerns: Katie - Your youth, strong physical condition, enthusiasm, and attitude are all definite pluses. My biggest advice is to make sure your bike fits really good. R&A is one of the best shops in the country, so you should be in good hands. After that, just get comfortable with the bike and log some miles. Don't try to do too much too soon ... ease into it. I would also try to get familiar with different types of roads and weather conditions. Ride in the rain a few times and ride with some traffic (NYC should have tons of that).

The new friend, Mark, will be one of my fellow cyclists on this summer's tour with AbyB. He's also a fellow blogger and is using his transcontinental ride to raise money for the American Lung Association. His reasons for riding are far more admirable and far less shallow than mine; I'm doing this big ride for ... myself. And that's pretty much it. My last big hoorah before I'll finally be willing to consider letting someone lock me down with a soccer mom van.

But 2010 is also a landmark year for Mark. While I have just turned 30 years old, he will soon be 50 - and he appears to likewise embrace each new year with anticipation and hope rather than remorse and regret. I wonder if he views aging with a similar sense that I have: gratitude to get to see a new year and another age that many others do not. As I often convey to friends who are conversely approaching 30 with a sense of trepidation and foreboding: We must be grateful to be given the years of which others are denied so that the few they might have been granted were not lived in vain. I guess that's part of my own little guide to living life.

I hope - and look forward - to reaching and celebrating every milestone with each of my loved ones ... whether it's a century on a bicycle or a decade in a lifetime. You know who you are.

In the meantime, I wonder if any of the other cyclists on "The Across America North Tour" with America By Bicycle are hoping to look like this when we're done cycling across the United States ... or is that just me?

According to Bicycling.com, you can look like that by doing this.


Christine said...

Have I told you how much I <3 your blog?!?! Another great entry.....keep 'em coming!!! Luv u!

Gloria said...

Katie, you're just the raddest.

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