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.


  1. Good luck. I will be tracking you again this year.

  2. Thanks! I'll take all the blue dot cheering I can get.

  3. Obviously your meticulously structured training plan worked like a charm! Congrats on a mesmerizing and truly inspirational ride on the TD this year, Josh - simply amazing!

    1. Thank you Gary!
      Yeah, I guess that chopping and stacking wood will be on all future TD winners training regiments. Perhaps I'll set up a training camp for them to stack mine.

  4. Congrats on a great ride! Your positive vibes are contagious. Only thing better than biking, is biking with a Winston in my pack! Btw - love the blog!

    1. Thanks Dan! I agree, biking with a Winston to a lovely river is about as good as it gets.

  5. Looking forward to your 2015 Tour Divide trip report (victory lap). Saw you come over what we call "Bostick Hill" just North of Silver City in the Gila, riding with Petervary and Beltchinko at the time. Your smile was infectious and you had several friendly words for my daughter and I. Your effort was the surprise of blue dot following and discovery of your blog was icing on the cake. Keep it coming please.

    1. I recall you and your daughter very well. You both brought a big smile to my face. Something I needed desperately at that point in the race. Thank you so much! Every smile helped me get to the finish line.


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