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For the last five years I’ve taken my trainer to the office and ridden there, during lunch, in the off-season.
This year things haven’t quite worked out as they had in the past. Sadly, I just can’t easily fix what’s keeping me from my normal trainer time… so I improvised.
No more noon rides, I put in my 45 minutes on the trainer after I get home, around 5.
That’s my commitment to fitness.
I can whine and lick my nuts on the couch, or I can get busy making use of what I’ve got – and let’s be clear, I’d need a whole lot of yoga to… well, let’s stay on track here.
I thought it would be interesting to break that down fully. There are 168 hours in a week. I only need seven of them to stay fit through the off-season. Only twelve in-season.
Digging further, I need 50-ish for work and 42-46 for sleep. Call that 101 on the high side. That means I’ve got 67 hours left to fit in my seven hours for fitness (and sanity).
I can make that work. For me, it’s fit and happy or…. not.
I’m came up with this topic, and began writing the post, atop my steed, on my trainer, pushing the second hardest gear (52/12) in the hardest setting (7) on my trainer. I started the 45 minute session in third hardest (52/13). A person commented on one of my posts yesterday, and it got me thinking about being as fast as I want to be.
I’ve got a towel on my handlebar to mop up the sweat in between sentences and scenes from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. You can have your Zwift. Give me a good movie and 45 minutes and I’m a happy guy.
Last year, when I came up with my off-season plan, I could only muster a few minutes in 52/13. I’d have to spend much of the ride in 52/15 and shift up to the harder gear in intervals. Before the end of the winter I was spending most of my time in 52/12 and dabbling in the sacred 52/11. The week before March I was spinning in 52/11…
When the new season hit I was more than ready. I was stronger than I’d ever been going into a season and I had fun with it – all season long. I’ve managed to maintain that fitness to where I don’t have to take the time to work up to the harder gears this year. So next year, as long as I remain committed, I can enter the season even stronger.
Going fast is, and always has been, a commitment. I have been willing to work hard enough to be pretty fast. I also have to keep this in perspective – the A guys in our group are a lot faster than I am… I’m simply not willing to push hard enough to be that fast. I could be that fast but for the willingness. A friend of mine put it best after completing a 4:15 minute century this summer: “I just rode a hundred miles and I didn’t enjoy one of them”. I ride a hundred and don’t enjoy five. Maybe.
The key to cycling at a 20+ mph pace is being able to push on the pedals hard enough. If you’re waiting for a magic pedalstroke or better, a magic bike to get you there, it’s not going to happen. Well, if you pick up an eBike…. Let’s not get too deep into the weeds though.
The key to pushing harder on the pedals is to force yourself to actually push harder on the pedals – and this is the commitment because pushing harder hurts. This is where most people get lost and where the winter trainer season is the perfect place to begin.
On most trainers, smart trainers excluded because they offer up to 2,000 watts of resistance (I’m just talking about the cheaper turbo trainers – mag and wind) if you can use the hardest setting and ride in the three hardest gears in the back (with the big chain ring up front), you can build up the fitness over a winter off-season to be fast enough come Spring to hang with the 20 mph crowd.
I’ve got a Giant Cyclotron ($160-$180) and that provides enough resistance that I can not only keep up with my group in March, I can spend a good deal of time up front.
There are limits, of course. If one is overweight, a winter on the trainer won’t fix that and extra weight always has an adverse affect on speed (a season on the bike and some excellent eating habits will probably do the trick though). Speed also doesn’t accommodate “cheating” very well. If one were to challenge oneself once a week, that won’t bode well. Once a week isn’t enough. It’s a nice start, but we’re talking about three hard days a week – it’s a full commitment, not half. In fact, I was going to get into the HGH doping topic as well, but let’s face it, if you’re not willing to work hard enough to make doping work, well we needn’t consider it. The main point is, you either have the willingness or you don’t. Don’t be ashamed that you don’t, but do be honest about it.
If you truly have a desire to get faster, it just takes a little commitment, and a whole lot of pushing on the pedals. There’s no better time than right now to start.
I know what you’re thinking – if it’s top-secret why would he share it in a free blog post?!
Well, because it’s also ultra-fabulous! I can’t keep an ultra-fabulous training plan to myself, now can I? Of course I can’t….
Okay, so come in here, real close… Closer…. Okay. Here’s my plan: on Monday, I’m going to ride my bike, pretty fast. Then, on Tuesday, I’m going to ride my bike, real fast… again. Then, on Wednesday, now this gets tricky, I’m going to ride my bike again but a little slower this time. For Thursday, I’m going to throw you a curve; I’m going to ride my bike! I’m going to take it easy though… because on Friday, guess what? I’m going to ride my bike again – and on Friday I won’t care what my pace is, simply because it’s Friday.
It gets really interesting for the weekend though! On Saturday I’m going to meet up with all of my friends and we’re going to ride our bikes wherever we want to go, because we’ll be on the gravel bikes, pace won’t matter a bit. For Sunday, I’ll give you two guesses what I’ll be doing but you’re only going to need one: You got it, I’ll be riding my bike with my friends (probably a rinse-and-repeat of Saturday).
This is all weather permitting of course. If it’s raining or snowing, we’ll simply take a day off until the weather is more favorable. See, this is the end of the season, friends. There is no training plan. Training plans are for the two months of winter leading up to the spring! Relax and have some fun, would ya? Sheesh.
For men: 66 + (6.2 x weight) + (12.7 x height) – (6.76 x age)
For women: 655.1 + (4.35 x weight) + (4.7 x height) – (4.7 x age)
For me, once you include the special multiplier, the number works out to 2,952.
That’s how many calories I get to eat in a day. Sometimes I go a little over, sometimes I’m under.
I am, obviously, outrageously active:
1.2 points for a person who does little to no exercise
1.37 points for a slightly active person who does light exercise 1–3 days a week
1.55 points for a moderately active person who performs moderate exercise 3–5 days a week
1.725 points for a very active person who exercises hard 6–7 days a week
1.9 points for an extra active person who either has a physically demanding job or has a particularly challenging exercise routine
I picked “A very active person” even though I’m probably “extra active” – better to err on the low side, I figure.
My number, should I choose a sedentary lifestyle, would be slightly over 2,000 calories. Great if you love eating twigs, leaves and seaweed. Not so much if you’d like to fire down a burger now and again.
*Obviously, riding a bike or running is no guarantee you won’t end up playing pill roulette. Bad things do happen to fit people. On the other hand, without fitness and an intelligent diet, your chances of blowing an ungodly amount of your monthly income on pills increase exponentially. Sadly, that choice is quite real.
For those of us who exercise regularly already, the news that exercise can help fight depression won’t blow up anyone’s skirt. Hell I knew and was writing about that years ago… I just never knew so little would work! And there’s a study attached to it.
Personally, I’m an hour a day kind of guy, but for others, say those who don’t like to get our so much, the hour a week news could be a life-changer.
My friend, Tony, put out a great article about the subject in the Title, so please check it out at the link above.
After, try this little experiment: Go to a supported ride or a running race. Look around at the participants for a person who appears angry or sad.
I doubt you’ll find one. Out of all of those people, you probably won’t find one person in a foul mood.
I know I’ve never been out of sorts before one of those events. The vast majority of us will be smiling and having a good time – and that’s before the event. After is even better!
Any way, please check out Tony’s post… Then pass it on… and get your butt out the door!
I was in the middle of an awesome 50 mile ride with some friends yesterday and something occurred to me… I realized how thankful I was for being fit and that I’ve stuck with cycling.
It’s not about the fact that I still fit into the same clothing sizes from my youth, because I can’t. I’m much thicker today than I was 25 years ago – and my wife would tell you that’s a good thing.
It’s not that I can whoop all over a bunch of other cyclists, because I know a bunch of guys who can eat my lunch – I don’t get into the arrogance like that, anyway.
What I was thankful for, as I was cruising down the road with my friends, was that I get to participate in the first place. I ride with some really great people, and if I hadn’t put in the effort earlier, none of the good times I’ve had over the last five years would have been possible – and I’ve had a lot of good times.
For that, I am grateful.