O2-fitness athlete, Michelle Faurot shares her strategy to jump start her preparation phase of training. After a busy holiday season I knew it was time to jump-start my training. I had a huge year on the bike last year training and racing RAAM and masters road nationals, but the holidays with lots of family visiting put a real dent in my time to train. Peak training months during last year averaged over 50 hours/month on the bike. By December last year I was down to 6 hours on the bike. All indoors, by the way, as we finally have snow here in Reno. Early January wasn’t much better. I had five hours on the trainer before I departed last Friday for an epic event called The Coast Ride, a three day point to point from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. That’s about 125 miles per day. My group of seven women from the Reno Wheelwomen team brought two vehicles to support us, so I knew we would all have to share the driving. My hope was to be able to do at least one full day.
After Day 1 with 68 miles and 4,500 feet of climbing I wasn’t so sure I was going to be able to achieve that goal. The weather was cold and rainy and after initially feeling good on the bike, I got tired and wasn’t recruiting my glute muscles properly so my thighs started to cramp. A good lunch helped me feel better and remember all I had learned from coach Julie Young. While I hadn’t been on the bike much, and no time outside, I had been doing regular strength training and outdoor activities. I also realized that this was going to be a mental battle more than anything else.
Day 2 I rode 68 miles, some on Highway 1 through Big Sur. Still rainy and grey, the coastline when you could see it remained spectacular. I rode easy for the most part, focusing on form.
Day 3 was the big day. 128 miles ahead of me. Still rainy and now muddy. I knew I needed to ride with a big group, and I found one almost right away. It was nice to be with the pack, riding together at a reasonable, fast clip. Now I needed to focus on staying with the group. The pace in my group picked up on the way to the lunch stop. The group got split by cross winds, and I was happy to stay with the lead group. We then started to hit some long climbs, and now the first mental battle kicked in. A couple times I thought I was sliding off the back for sure. I hung in, thinking at times of all the squats and leg press I had done over and over, It became kind of a mantra. I was really pleased to have stayed with a solid group of guy bike racers up those climbs.
Post lunch was more of the same mental battles, knowing I had a solid group, and working hard to make sure I stayed with them. No cramping and our group rolled into the hotel with a 17.7 mph average for the day. 7,000 feet of elevation gain. A huge thanks to Julie for helping me believe I could do this. It was a fantastic way to start the season!
Final stats for the weekend: 264 miles, 16 hours, and 16, 620 feet of elevation gain. Post ride pic, all smiles!