Monday, February 16, 2009

Training Starts Today

Yesterday I woke up a few hours before the rest of the family. I made coffee and read blogs as has been my morning ritual lately, then went for an early morning ride before church on the dirt roads around my house. There a couple blogs I consistently find interesting; however, I concentrated on the blogs of elite and expert MTB racers. Two things became clear. First, I have overestimated the natural ability of the elite racers. To race at their level, elite racers were born with certain physical abilities I don’t have but more importantly, they are highly motivated people. I look at their puke-in-the-mouth training efforts and I am at the same time frustrated and relieved I do not have their drive. Second, the expert racers that I compete against have very similar training plans as me. We all obsess over our weight like high school cheerleaders and follow a four week period where we gradually increase effort for three weeks then rest on the fourth week, then reduce effort from where we were at on the third week and increase and rest again. Like me, most expert racers put Joe Friel’s Annual Training Plan (from the Mountain Biker’s Training Bible) in an Excel spread sheet and follow a base-build-peak-race-transition cycle.

Today’s introspective lesson to myself is I must stop obsessing over where I fall in the overall pecking order of racers. To finish Yankee Springs in 1:46 is a well thought out and reasonable goal. Where that falls in the normal distribution of racers is sort of irrelevant. With any luck at all, the fast racers will all suffer debilitating ITB friction syndrome but I can’t control that. Kidding…I’m not really, I mean...I'm really not bitter.

Today I start to transition from my base to build stage of training. Bill is going to meet me at my work so we can start training on hills. I don’t like to increase both the duration and effort of my rides at the same time so the plan was to be riding 10 hrs a week before now. Excellent plan but in real life that just didn’t work. I have been riding pretty consistently so I am not going to get all worked up over not meeting that specific goal. It is only February and I am much further ahead than I was this time last year. And the important thing is just to be faster than Bill. Oops, there’s that pecking order thing again.


  1. Isn't the snow and cold great! People look at you like you are a total nutbar with an ice covered jacket and balaclava. The confidence I gain from just being out there, outweighs the lack of training hours I get compared to my competition. It's not about the number of hours...

  2. Hey Matt,
    Yes, it is great...your blog was the final nudge I needed to get outside...kicking myself for not riding outside in winter in previous years. And nothing smooths out your pedal stroke like climing an icy hill.

  3. A good place to go to for advice on IT band friction syndrome related knee pain would be .


  4. Thank you Ben, but there is nothing on that page that tells you how to inflict ITB friction syndrome on the other racers.