It’s hard to call this a plan, especially since there’s a lot of playing by ear going on. It doesn’t have specific workouts laid out over 20 weeks or anything like that. This is more like a framework for a training approach, and it’s not based on any experience as a coach. It will be based on a bunch of data, which I’ll write about later. I’m the guinea pig, and I’m going to have to live with the results on pain day (results!). I have some assumptions, some limiters, and a hefty dose of experimentation going on here.
What’s tough about training for Six Gap Century is that it isn’t just a century ride–covering 100 miles isn’t the only challenge presented here. Actually, the distance itself hardly factors in when you look at the big picture.
Six Gaps is a complicated problem. It’s actually a set of problems.
Yeah, yeah…I know there are lots of cyclists out there who have banked enough miles, climbs, and saddle time that they can just show up on September 26, ride Six Gap, then go out and to a 100k recovery ride the next day. But I’m not really a cyclist; not even a triathlete at this point. I’m just a dude who has done a variety of endurance events, but nothing this big that’s cycling focused. I’ve always pretty much middle of the pack, and if I can accomplish the same thing here I’ll be pretty happy.
I need some kind of training plan. And I don’t enjoy cycling all that much, so I need one that keeps me engaged.
So I’m going to approach this problem like I’d approach any other–what are the challenges I’m trying to overcome for this event? What are the problems that need to be solved?
For me, the big issues that need to be covered are:
- Saddle Time – long endurance
- Exertion and recovery – really long intervals
- Climbing Strength – absolute power
- Weight – Watts/kg
- Bike handling skills – descend quickly and safely
- Mental toughness – grit
I’ll start with mental toughness. In the end, I think this is the most important muscle to exercise. How do I plan to do it? Lots of time on the trainer, and not a lot of time outside. My past experience with mainly-trainer training has worked really well for me, and I definitely feel a difference when I go outside for an actual ride–it’s way more stimulating.
Imagine spending a few months listening to podcasts about nature, and then going in and watching a documentary about the National Parks on an IMAX screen. It’s that different.
The side benefit here is that the trainer allows me to work on almost all of the other aspects I need to address, excluding bike handling skills. I plan to go over my plan for each of these other issues in later posts, but I’m definitely going to use the trainer as my main training tool.
I’m going to break it down further in the next post. I’m always surprised at how much I have to say about stuff.