Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tour Divide Training


"High Performance" Training on a Touring Bike
How do you train for the Tour Divide?
I have no clue!  My solution this year was to buy a Fatbike.  Hmm...

Fat, Heavy and Fun.  Perfect

Sure, there are all sorts of tech options out there.  Heart rate monitors, power meters, functional threshold testing, nutrition plans, cross-training discussions, coaches, 12 step programs.  There is a market for anything and everything that can make you an unstoppable cycling Jedi.  These programs always seem like a lot of work to me.  Work as in drudgery.  If I had to calculate differential equations every pedal stroke while biking I'd probably hang it up and go fishing a lot more.  Some people are able to make things like power meters, heart rates and Cytomax fun.  Sick people.  Biking has always been fun.  Even when I raced years and years ago I kept it fun.  Probably why I got out of racing and probably why I wasn't a podium fixture.  But the Divide, what's not fun about racing the clock from Canada to Mexico?

Riding Fat Uphill Is Good Training
When I set a goal to race last year in 2014 I decided I just needed to go full tilt boogie and ride.  Ride lots, ride hard, ride fast.  Do what I enjoyed and try to overdose on it.  I had a goal that seemed insanely challenging to me.  That's what made it so mesmerizing.  What makes this year different for me?  It's even more mesmerizing this time.  I know the happiness and enjoyment I experienced while racing last year despite some discomfort.  The simple beauty of racing mostly alone through a vast and amazing landscape.  I recall the disappointment I experienced when withdrawing from it and of course I remember the food.  I'm greedy and I want it all again!  Well, not the quitting part.

Divide Training Food
I think one thing that Valerie and I have done in our training is to always keep it fun.  We always have a blast on the bikes.  Of course it helps when your spouse is also a built in training partner.  What Val lacks in pure speed she makes up for in endurance, intelligence, sheer will power and climbing prowess.  I'm quickish on the bike, a fast descender, have all sorts of mechanical abilities and an iron stomach.  We learned from one another and pushed each other to acquire the other's strengths.  Perhaps I was at a major disadvantage.  I'm a sprinter and a downhiller...  Probably not the best ingredients to cook an ultra with.

Full Body Workout.  Full Soul Relaxation
Well, this year I have a firm, structured training plan in place.
1.  Ride the fatbike.  Laugh and smile at how fun and ridiculous these things are.
2.  Run.  Realize why I prefer biking to running.
3.  Cross-Country ski.  Realize there isn't much snow this year so it's probably better to hit the bike.
4.  Core-strengthening.  Chop wood, stack said wood.
5.  Do it all a lot.  Do it all fast.
A Perfect Fatbike Downhill "Training" Run
I've set a finish goal time for myself this year which might be insanity.  I have no way of knowing until I get out there and ride as fast as I can from Banff to Antelope Wells.  I'll be racing.  I'll push as hard as I can.  I'll try to eat better this year.  I'll try to keep the rubber side down.

Mostly I'll try to remember at the end of a 200 mile day and have no food or water why exactly it is that I'm out there.
It just seems fun.