Training for the BWR was interesting. It is the longest event, or ride for that matter, that I have ever done. Two years ago I rode 109 miles and since have done two centuries in the fall. Ideally, I would have ramped up the volume with some mega long rides but isn’t it funny how life works out?
In December, I took three full weeks off of the bike. It was my first break in two years and it was needed. I started back up in January and had a great month with endurance rides. Then, I got sick with bronchitis in February. I have asthma and allergies and even though bronchitis has been the norm since birth, it is discouraging. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Not only does it mess with my body physiologically, but it really dampens my headspace.
I recovered, had a wonderful team camp…. And then got sick AGAIN in March, but this time with pneumonia. While I had pneumonia I also had a string of unfortunate events with Fischer getting lost (and luckily found), moving to a new house, working full-time while sick, and finishing my Master’s Degree and teaching credential. All of this happened within 10 days and it was challenging. I felt like a kicked dog.
The point of all of this information is that life happens– good and bad. Things rarely go as planned. I had to work really hard to adapt while still being confident and stoked to do this big race! I know athletes say this all over social media but it takes a village! My support group is amazing.
Here are a few of the many aspects of preparing for the BWR:
My training on the bike has been fairly low volume considering the race was 8 hours and 22 minutes in the saddle. My Carmichael Training Systems coach Adam Pulford is more than willing to adjust my plan often to account for life so we have been discovering ways to get in good work while not pushing past the limits of my immune system. Most weeks I ride 9-11 hours. My biggest week was a 14 ½ hour week which I did during my school district’s Spring Break. I am a Professional Mountain Biker so 3-4 of the days tend to be on my Pivot LES hardtail. Also, I coach with the NICA Idyllwild Middle School and try to make practice 1-2 days a week.
About 70-75% of my volume is on the weekends! My favorite part about this journey has been heading down to the Recon Rides. I woke up at 5am and made the two-ish hour drive with my dog, Fischer. Fischer played neutral support with Paul of Velofix San Diego North while I went out and enjoyed gorgeous 80 mile rides with rad people!
I have been working with WUKAR Fit for a little over a year. Honestly, I think it has had the biggest impact on my cycling! I have gained about 4 pounds of muscle and it has helped my technical riding ability a lot. Also, on long rides my back and neck are totally fine. Before working with Art I used to get really bad neck and upper-back pain from long rides on the road bike. I have strength routines twice a week and I work through different phases. I do a lot of deadlifts and kettlebell swings and squats. I also use my Rev Board for balance in between exercises. Art has been working with cyclists for over 20 years and he is really knowledgeable when it comes to producing the power necessary for events such as the BWR! My favorite part about working with Art is that he is ALWAYS seeking new knowledge.
I recently started working with Transition Performance to up my mental game! I have read a lot of sports psychology books, researched mental strategies for visualization, and watched many TED talks but that is not the same working with a trained professional. The mind is such a powerful thing and while I am a very positive person I admit I have struggled with confidence when it comes to racing. Seth has worked with me on developing a pre-race mental routine and I was excited to use this new skill for the BWR! I also have started using his new book, Pave the Way, which helps me work through different scenarios and create routines.
These are the three main pillars in my training. In my opinion, they are all equally important. While I hope to continue to increase the amount of work my body can handle, I am proud of being so committed to improving myself as an athlete!