Steve Abraham wants to pedal more than 75,000 miles this year, as do Kurt Searvogel and William "Iron Ox" Pruett. (Track their progress here.) RBR reader Michael M. wants to pedal the 430-mile Grand Traverse of the French Alps to celebrate his 60th birthday.
Without even knowing the route this year, I want to do the 30th anniversary Ride the Rockies. I want to pedal 3,000 miles this year after commitment-forced off-bike time and construction-stunted mileage the last two years. My goal equates to an average of a mere 250 miles per month, but as you can see from my mileage this month in the sidebar to the right, winter months do not make 250 miles in four weeks an easy goal. Summer months will pick up the slack.
These are not my big goals, however. These are just fun challenges for me. My big goal this year is the summit of Pikes Peak. Actually, I guess my big goal this year is to attain the fitness required to pedal 3,000 miles in one year and to keep it this time, not let it softly fade away.
RBR's Coach John Hughes, long-time distance cycling and endurance coach and sport science expert, asked reader Michael M. about the training objectives he plans to achieve before starting his French Alps tour. Michael M. then in turn outlined plans and goals, which includes spending quality time with his family. That part of the goal really resonates with me!
I don't make new years resolutions the way the average resolver does. I set goals each year and actually try to meet them. I don't give up after two weeks, and I don't consider it the end of the world if I don't reach my goal, as long as I gave it my best shot.
Reading the training-goal exchange between Coach Hughes and Michael M. helped me solidify my Pikes Peak goal and my long-term fitness goal. I am not going to ride up Pikes Peak (even though it is open to cyclists now) just because I say I'm going to do it. I'm going to train, and I'm going to be ready, and I'm going to do my best to be well-hydrated and adequately fueled throughout the climb so I won't feel dead at the end of the ride.
I can say I want to finish six quilts this year, and I might even be able to achieve that if I stay focused and limit new quilt temptations. I can say I want to design 80 snowflakes this year, and I'll probably do that without putting anything more into it than I have each of the last four years. Writing 80 patterns takes a bit more; I have to discipline myself to sit down and write each pattern within a week or so unless I want to spend a lot of time reverse engineering. I can say I want to shoot 40,000 pictures and finish writing two books-already-in-progress this year. These goals, however, don't require physical preparation and training, just dedicated time.
I know from my previous attempts on Pike Peak that I must train and develop lots of on-the-bike habits and strengths in order to achieve my goal. Seeing Michael M.'s eight-month plan, all written out, inspires me to do what I can to make my goal more achievable. To give myself the best chance for success I can.
I'm married to a cyclist who dreams of completing the 142-mile Kokopelli Trail in a day, WRIAD (103-mile White Rim in a Day), the 500-mile Colorado Trail Race in seven days and the 2,745-mile Great Divide Mountain Bike Race (from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide) in 21 days. I've infected him with my contagious dream to pedal up Mauna Kea from Hilo if we can ever afford a trip to Hawaii. Oh, and I mustn't forget, he'd like to motorcycle the Baja 1,000 one year. He, too, knows he can't just get on his bike and start pedaling, although his spur-of-the-moment effort likely would be much more fruitful than mine ever could!
So, I do need to set a few goals in order to be ready to take on Pikes.
I'd like to exceed 200 miles per month by May.
I hope to achieve 1,000 miles in June.
Ideally, I'd like to repeat that monthly mileage in July and August.
Before tackling Pikes again in September, after thunderstorm season, I'd like to make it to the top of Deer Creek Canyon (multiple times), Vail Pass (multiple times), Independence Pass (in May), all the passes in this year's Ride the Rockies, Trail Ridge Road, Mount Evans (sometime during the summer when danger of thunderstorms is minimal and multiple times if I can) and centuries in Santa Fe (May), Elephant Rock and MS-150 (both in June). Completing all those climbs will require a few and perhaps many unsuccessful attempts.
For all of these rides (and training), I'd like to stay properly hydrated and fueled. This is going to be a challenge for me because I often forget to drink or eat until it's too late if I'm having a really good ride.
To help me remember to drink and eat properly, I'm going to try to take more pictures along the way. If I can train myself to eat or drink every time I stop to take a pictures, I think I'll be much more successful in building my strength and endurance.
Through all this training, I want to balance my time writing, taking pictures, sewing, designing, gardening and being a really good wife. And friend. (Oh, and employee...) The cycling is important, but so are other things. I hope to be able to keep everything in perspective.
Most of all, I'd like for all of it, the whole mess, to be fun. There will be struggles, and there will be failures. I'd like to keep a good attitude throughout and be able to keep enthusiastically looking forward to each new ride instead of dreading the next suffer fest.
One month into this quest, I can honestly say I can't wait to get back on my bike this weekend. Let's see if I'm still saying that at the end of February...