Saturday, April 4, 2015

Leadville Training

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Since my blog is so popular (no one is reading it), I've decided to document my training here (ah-hem...) I'm not very good at follow through when it comes to this space and I'm pretty sure my version of (coach-less) training will not be super impressive to anyone should they stumble to this place... but the idea of keeping track of my training here has a purpose... 

Here's the thing: Leadville is a big freaking deal. People hear I'm training for it and they look me up and down wonder how in the world I'm going to push this vessel to do 100 miles on a mountain bike at 10,000+ feet. So part of this is about my training, part of this is proving that I can do it, and part of it is about proving that anyone can do it. (Cause if I can do it, anyone can. I truly believe that.)

I started doing a little spin/core clinic at my favorite bike shop, Two Wheels One Planet about 5 months ago. It's been a great way for me to push myself in a different way and make sure I'm getting some core workouts in (I HATE strength training/core training/anything that isn't endurance training). I met Will there, the shop owner, who heard my story and took a liking to it. Will's response to my announcement that I was doing Leadville was the same as almost every other person (who knows what Leadville is): What are you going to ride? Ummm... I have a perfectly good aluminum 26" Specialized that I happen to LOVE and THAT is what I'll ride! After a lot of conversations with a lot of people and a lot of comparing the weight of my (heavy) bike to the weight of other people's (carbon) bikes... I gave in. 

Will was instrumental my bike purchase in a couple of ways...

1) He let me try different bikes. I'd only ever ridden my sweet stumpjumper (which I still love) - and had never experienced life on a 29er or a 27.5 or a hardtail or a carbon mountain bike. So for a few weeks I experimented with a few different bikes. It was probably the most important time in my 5 years of riding a mountain bike. I learned so much about my strengths and weaknesses and what I could expand on just with the purchase of a new iron steed. I have always been a better climber than descender, but a 29" hardtail carbon bike made me a beast on a long slow incline (hello, Leadville!). That being said, the 29" hardtail carbon bike also made me feel like I'd been in a car wreck. Like, for reals. Bones I didn't realize I had were hurting. Ribs hurt. Neck hurt. All the things hurt... After 18 miles. I could only imagine what I would feel like after 100 miles. Also, this fancy hardtail only had one chainring in the front, which made an amazing climber out of me on a long, slow incline, but I couldn't get it to turn on anything really steep... I needed more gears. 

So I went with a carbon 29" full suspension 2x (2 chain rings in the front - more gears, and the ability to get up steep hills, hopefully). She's a Giant Anthem. She's my second mountain bike, but the first one I chose and paid for myself. Together, we are going to make some amazing memories. 

2) Will hooked me up with an amazing deal on my new steed. He also hooked me up with a rack (until I can afford to buy the one I've got my eye on). 

3) The peeps at Two Wheels One Planet have also been instrumental in helping me achieve one of my new year's resolutions - to ride with groups. I've been riding with the TWOP group on Sunday's, swallowing my pride when it comes to tired legs and crappy descending skills and learning a TON. I'm getting better at this whole mountain biking on things other than a fire road thing. 

It's been a really rad, empowering experience to do all of this with nothing but my own motivation behind it (meaning, no male influences driving it). I've never had a shop treat me like I knew what I was doing, or treat me like I deserved to know what I'm doing. I am gaining confidence in the fact that I am a cyclist and quite frankly, I'm getting really strong on the bike. 

So there you have my first post on Leadville training that doesn't actually talk about training for Leadville at all. S'ok. more to come on that... 

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