Just over a month to go before the Death Ride TourV, and I'm feeling the crunch of trying to get into shape for the ride.
After 6 months on extended Army "vacation", I'm already in pretty athletic shape, but not quite ready for the 230 miles I'll be biking in the mountains. Only being able to ride indoors or on a mountain bike around an air base has left me severely deficient in my preparations. So, I've decided to prioritize my training to best prepare for the long miles and hill climbs.
I'm really nervous about the length of the first two days. The first day will be 73 miles to Telluride and will end about 600 feet lower in elevation than the start in Silverton. That leaves a lot of climbing and a total ride length that exceeds anything I've ridden in over a year. The second day will be 111 miles to Durango with a total drop of over 2000 feet. The drop helps, but the time in the saddle really worries me.
But the last day will be the hardest. It's 20 miles of mostly flat terrain that I've ridden before, followed by a solid 3500 foot climb. It's only 48 miles total, but the toughest climbs of the whole tour are saved for this day.
I've taken to doing shorter rides on back to back days. The daily routine builds up my saddle seat time, so I recover quicker and can ride all three days of the Death Ride without falling prey to saddle sores. Also, the short but quick rides help me build the fast twitch muscle fibers I'll need to conquer the steep climbs in the Colorado Mountains.
I've been in the pool a couple days a week to build my lung power, since I haven't had the time to drive to Cloudcroft for the altitude training I wanted. And I've been forcing Char to come to the gym with me for some strength and core training that should help with all around strength and endurance.
So, everyday is a struggle to pick out a workout plan to get ready in time without overdoing it and injuring anything.
So far, I’ve been able to knock out a 46 and 50 mile ride. My quads are killing me after every ride that's longer than the one before. Next week I hope to do a solid 60+, then follow it up with a 70+ ride the next weekend. I don’t plan on doing a standard century ride before the tour, there’s just not enough time to build up properly, or recover. I hope I’ll have enough fortitude to just stick it out in the saddle that day.
They don’t call it the Death Ride Tour ‘cause it’s easy.