Train Less, Ride More

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By bicyclebluebook February 12, 2014

On Saturday, we had a big training session planned. A few of us would roll out with the group ride, contest the sprints and hills, and then add an extra loop that would give us two more hours in the saddle and another 2,000’ of elevation. The whole day would be training gold – 5 hours and over 5000’ climbed. Who knows how many kilo-joules? In addition to building Bicycle Blue Book and endlessly expanding our used bike valuation tool, we ride bikes, a lot. A few of us have decided to contest a number of gran fondos this year, in a fairly serious manner. The idea is to have events that keep us motivated without the danger to life and limb of a four-corner crit. It has been motivating – incredibly motivating – hence the big ride for Saturday.

Finding 5 hours to train on a Saturday morning is difficult for anyone and by Friday afternoon my planned ride had crumbled under the weight of family commitments. Multiple kids in multiple sporting events in multiple locations meant my wife and I had to divide and conquer. The time allotted for my Saturday training session evaporated. I kept a stoic exterior, but inside the alarm bells were ringing. I was missing valuable miles that everyone else was getting. How would I make up for that time lost? Would I ever get fit? I projected to events months away and began to see myself getting dropped early and often. I was in full on panic mode.

The solution I devised was to knock out some tunnel vision interval efforts in the late afternoon – the lunch in the gutter, fetal position on the curb variety. Once back from the pool and the track I kitted up and rolled. While rolling out to the hill, which I was about to torture myself with, the power numbers on my Garmin began to drop in and out, before finally fading away for good. The batteries had died. Filled with frustration, I rolled up and over my interval hill and began riding a 40 mile loop that I hadn’t done in quite a while. I shifted into a bigger gear and started up some tempo work.

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On the backside of the climb, I was greeted with a nice tail wind across some rollers through beautiful citrus groves. The roads were empty, the temperature was 70 degrees, and the views were spectacular. I kept wondering why I hadn’t done this loop in such a long time and how I could have forgotten how strikingly beautiful it is.

About 20 miles in, it occurred to me: I wasn’t training. I was riding.

With no intervals to do, no power meter to stare at, no teammates wheel to try and hang onto, I was just riding. It was like transcendental meditation, with a higher heart rate. The frustration of missing out on the group ride and not doing focused work melted away and I enjoyed riding my bike again, without thought of goals or fat burning or competition. While I still want to do well this season and still plan to knock out my intervals, I’m also going to remember to skip one training session each week, and just go for a ride. I recommend you do the same.

Posted by the Bicycle Blue Book, the web’s only valuation tool for used bikes and most trusted marketplace for used bike sales.
Photo: Betina LePlante

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