Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Leadville Training - Buildup to the Rwanda 50 Miler

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Alright so now that I've said that I'm going to track my training here, I'm actually going to try to track my training here.

I have been riding a little bit since I found out on Jan 15 that I was selected into the Leadville lottery. I have ridden 717 miles this year and accounted for 49,626 ft of elevation gain. That's kind of rad. But 717 miles doesn't sound like that many...

The Leadville 100 isn't a super technical course. It's a lot of fire roads and a little bit of pavement and a few technical sections (from what I've been told, anyway). The hard part of Leadville is the distance, duration, and altitude (again, from what I've been told). So this is what I'm training for. Long and not-so-slow hill climbing on not-so-technical hills. It's hard to train for altitude in SoCal... So I'm trying to add a few rides/races elsewhere to be able to anticipate what the altitude is going to do to me.

One of those races is the Fire Road race in Cedar City, Utah. It's 100k and starts at 5800 ft and climbs to 9500 ft, twice - with 7500+ feet of elevation gain. I feel like this might be a good gut check to see how training for Leadville is going. So really, I'm training for Fire Road.

In an attempt to train for Fire Road I've decided to do the Rwanda 50 mile ride here in the OC in April and starts at 800 ft and climbs to 1800 ft with 5,556 ft in elevation gain. I feel like this will be a good way for me to know how it feels to be on a mountain bike for 50 miles. So really, for now, I'm training for the Rwanda 50 miler.

I rode my brand new iron steed a couple weeks ago, the day after a 65 mile road ride. I figured it would be a great ride since my legs were mostly fresh (coming off a vacation to Costa Rica and a lot of laying in hammocks). I was stunned to realize that I didn't seem to have the muscle power in my legs that I'd had going into my Costa Rica vacation. I mean REALLY! It was awful! I kept having to get off the bike when I should have been able to ride! I brought up the rear for the entire ride which really causes a mental breakdown for me. I stayed off the bike for the week and tried to run (ah-hem, last minute training for my CancerBirthdary Ragnar celebration) and found my legs were REALLY beat up from Sunday's mountain bike ride. So I stopped running and decided to "wing it" for the Ragnar relay this weekend (I'm responsible for 16 miles of the race... should be interesting.)

On Friday I finally conceded to the constant nagging of my new mountain bike to take her out again. So I did, with a group of friends to a relatively easy trail. Again, my legs didn't have the muscle I'm used to, but this time because my legs were so fresh, I was able to make it up the big gnarly hill. I beat everyone up the hill because I couldn't seem to spin like I wanted. So I was mashing, up the hill. Still, blaming my legs for not doing what I was asking of them. I almost fell over when I finally got to the top of the hill, leaning on my handle bars, trying to find breath and looking at the ground when I realized that my chain wasn't anywhere near the big ring (the smallest gear) and also realized that it wasn't my LEGS that were the problem, it was the rear derailer!
Whiting, after I realized I still had my legs!

I took the bike to the shop to get the shifting situation sorted (which I now realize I can do myself) and took a day off before going back out. Sunday was my longest mountain bike ride ever... 32 miles, 4700 ft of elevation gain and quite possibly the best ride of my life. The bike makes me a beast of a climber and a much more confident descender. I know that time in the saddle is contributing to my improvement - but I'm still shocked at how great it went. I'm feeling really strong and really happy and pretty confident that I can handle the Rwanda 50 miler.



And there you have my first ever training write-up...

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