2012 Cycling Goals – Making it Happen!
Wow, 2011 is almost over! I cannot believe how fast this year has flown by and how many miles the Masher and the Renaissance Man have rolled out. By some standards our 2011 mileage may be small, but for my first full year in cycling, it was a big first step. So after seeing that all things are possible on a bike, I am setting some pretty big goals for 2012. So let’s get started:
Goal #1 – Ride 4,000 miles. This represents a 60% increase in mileage over 2011 mileage of 2,500. This is very attainable if the weather cooperates and I get the winter miles in that I skipped last year.
Goal #2 – Ride 6 Century Rides. – 2011 saw the RAM Cycling team burn up 3 century rides. 2012 is going to see us move to double that number. We are already working on our calendar and feel very confident in meeting this goal.
Goal #3 – Ride more hills and more rides per week. This is my only goal that I do not have a firm number to measure against. How will I know that I succeeded? The test for me will be in October at the annual GABRAKY ride. The big hill on Day 3 – there will be no walking.
Goal #4 – Increase my average speed to 17 mph. As a beginner cyclist in 2010 (and a hefty cyclist weighing in at 270 lbs.) my average pace was a less than respectable 12.3 mph. 2011 saw me increase this 16% to 14.3 mph. Why the increase? Weight loss, better conditioning and a new road bike all played a part. How do I plan to get to 17+? I plan to be more consistent in my training and to work hard at achieving the goals above.
To be successful in achieving these goals, I must work hard to integrate the goals into my lifestyle. Ride more frequently and shorter distances (2011 saw an average ride distance of 26.1 miles per ride) at a faster pace. I am definitely excited to get rolling in 2012! So let’s make it happen in 2012! Follow the adventure right here at www.ramcycling.com.
RECREATIONAL CYCLISTS GET BUSY EVERY APRIL!
Most of the recreational bicycling clubs in the United States get cranked up, literally, every spring as the official “daylight savings” time change occurs. This is when you can begin riding in the famous, or sometimes, infamous group rides and find out who put in work during the winter and who was lazy. April also happens to be the first month of the year that you can begin to find organized century rides, multi-day rides, and fundraiser rides that will be spotted all over the map every weekend through September. RAM Cycling participated in their first big ride, the 2012 Redbud Ride in April, and already have two slated for the month of May, Gran Fondo Louisville sponsored by Upland Brew Co. & Horsey Hundred put on by Bluegrass Cycling Club.
OVERALL FITNESS IS KEY TO SEASON SUCCESS
In my short, but very interesting and somewhat well traveled, cycling career, I have come to the realization that it’s much easier to stay in shape, than to have to get in shape. In the 6+ years I’ve been riding, I have experienced both a busy and lazy off season, more than once. My key tips to prepping for a busy cycling season include: base miles, climbing miles, and speed miles. The more you ride your bike, the better shape your legs and butt will maintain. If you have a lazy winter, then it’s wise to start out slow. Begin riding 15-25 mile loops at a moderate pace, just trying to toughen up your butt, and get your legs used to spinning again. As you feel comfortable, slowly increase rides occasionally up to 40-50 miles. This is will be your foundation (or base miles) for a great season, and if you choose to stay busy on the bike in the winter, then this routine in the perfect goal set! Once your foundation is sturdy, begin incorporating hills and mountains into your regular loops, this will build your overall stamina, as well as, boost your leg strength and aerobic fitness. Finally, it’s a good idea to go for speed at least once a week on a regular training ride. There are numerous ways to ride to increase your speed, but none better than intentionally riding with someone you know to be faster than yourself. I have discovered that I can not push myself nearly as hard when I ride alone as I can when I’m pushing it to keep up with a strong fast cyclist. As I mentioned previously, it’s much easier to stay in shape, and these are some easy ways to do so through the winter until the main season arrives, like it just has!
EASY TIPS TO RIDE THROUGHOUT THE SEASON
The following are simple ideas to help you ride as much as you see fit. Once the bulk of the season is here, it is very important to take advantage of cycling opportunities, because unfortunately, it seems to wind down way too fast. These are some random thoughts that I have personally experienced to help keep you rolling:
* Keep the bike rack or carrier mounted to your vehicle, this can save valuable time and help you make it to group ride on time
* Always take your bike on vacation with you, even if you only ride once or twice, it keeps the habit going which is key to maintaining good cycling fitness
* Pack you bike and gear to children’s sporting events, especially tournaments, there’s always down time that can become up time
* Find group or organized rides that you would like to do and go ahead and register early, it usually saves you a little on the fees, and once you commit, you’ll most likely stay committed
* Do a big organized ride as early in the season as you can . . . they are contagious, once you do one, the passion encourages you to do more
* Use the buddy system for regular riding . . . it’s easy to get burnt out riding by yourself or doing the same route over and over, so have a friend that is depending on you (and vice versa) and keep changing the loop
* The obvious: fuel yourself properly with well balanced meals, proper hydration, and focus on core stretching and strengthening exercises regularly, these tips will make a huge difference in your performance on the bike
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR MORE RIDE REVIEWS
KP the Masher will continue to post details on future organized rides, including random thoughts from various riders and overall ratings with recommendations at the venues that RAM Cycling participates in. Look for these reviews posted as Masher’s C.H.A.R.G.E. (communicating how all ride group events). If you are a cyclist, and would like to offer a guest blog post review of a ride that you have completed but RAM Cycling has not, we would love to hear from you. Please click on the “Contact Us” box in the right column on this page and let us know.
It was a crisp cool morning as six cyclists gathered at the parking lot behind City Hall in Georgetown, KY at the spot where Bluegrass Cycling Club departs for its normal club rides. The group consisted of Tim, Linn, Gene, Curt, and myself who are all five training to ride in an epic challenge at Assault On Mt. Mitchell on May 19, plus one additional rider, a self proclaimed party crasher, Chuck. The ride and route was my idea. I thought an extra century ride would be great for our AOMM training especially since I was able to incorporate a few tough hills into the route. There was some discussion about what to wear as the ride started out in temps in the low 50s and would rise to the upper 70s.
We clipped in around 8am, and headed south toward Keeneland horse racing track. It was slightly breezy, not a strong wind, and the skies were mostly clear, it turned out to be a near perfect day as far as the weather was concerned. Near Keeneland, we turned southwest and rolled past some beautiful horse farms into Versailles for a brief store stop. The next section was our first climbs of the day where we dropped into the Kentucky River valley along Clifton and found the pack split up as we began the climb back out. The Clifton Rd. climb is about 3/4 of a mile over an average grade near 8%, and is mostly straight up with one right angle turn to the right near the top, where the grade is the steepest. Next, we rode several miles, back down to a lower spot in Millville, and regrouped just before our second climb. Turning right onto Duncan Rd., we again clicked down into lower gears with less resistance and pedaled up another mile or so at a lighter grade this time, probably averaging near 5%. At the top of Duncan, we found ourselves on the east edge of Frankfort, the capital city of Kentucky. Another store stop seemed a little quick at this point but it would be a while to the next, and it was beginning to warm, as everyone had now reduced they’re layers to only shorts and short sleeves.
Now rolling back towards the east for a section along the outskirts of Midway, we rolled along some more horse farms, beautiful scenic hand stacked rock walls, and rolling fields of farmland. The terrain was not difficult on this portion as we rolled past the historic Switzer covered bridge and then made an unscheduled stop at a rural Baptist church to repair a flat tire. This was just about the halfway point for the century ride and I loved the message that was spelled out on the welcome sign at church: “When You Feel Like Giving Up, Give It Up To GOD!” After the brief mechanical stop, the group enjoyed a long slightly downhill run into Peaks Mill on a winding road lined with cliffs and trees and the colors of the various flowers in bloom were stunning. This run could have been really fast, but now headed back due west, we found the full on head wind that was fairly stiff. We actually enjoyed the push in our face for about 15 or so miles until we bombed down Hwy 127 hill back into Frankfort for the next store stop. This is where we lost Curt, who had been battling an upset stomach on the entire ride, and he chose to call his wife for a pick up.
Departing the capital city, we rode along the Kentucky River behind Buffalo Trace distillery for several miles before finding probably the steepest climb of the day, another 3/4 mile stairway climb near 10%. This climb placed us high atop the river, where we enjoyed some awesome views of the river valley riding along a beautiful ridge briefly, then once again enjoying a very fun descent as the group was able to play some cat and mouse, taking advantage of drafting each other. But as is usually the case, what goes down, must go back up. “No free ice cream,” is commonly heard in reference to the riding terrain in the bluegrass state. The Shadrick Ferry Rd. climb was, in my opinion the toughest of the day. It’s grade is very similar to Clifton, but it is a winding road so you can’t see the top until you’re there and it stretches a little further, reaching just past a mile. Once again, headed back east toward our starting point, we now found that wind to be at our backs as we rolled along the Elkhorn Creek out the other side of Peaks Mill and began our last extended climb of the day, about a 2.5 mile gradual ascent at an average grade around 3%, with a short steep section near the top. Enjoying the tail wind over this section, we rode pretty fast into Stamping Ground where we made our final store stop. The final 15 miles back into Georgetown was agonizing over some tough rollers with very broken pavement. Our bodies were tiring, it was very warm, and this pavement caused my butt to hurt for the first time all day. Nevertheless, we broke up a little as we pushed strong past Scott Co. high school and back into town at the start/finish line. All riders were complete within minutes of each other, near 4:30pm, and we enjoyed some conversation with other friends who were also finishing their BCC Saturday group rides.
The final stats showed 105 miles ridden over some hilly terrain with nearly 8000 feet of climbing, average air temp near 70, and average pace nearly 17 mph. The most important stat was that we gained more stamina and endurance, and this group has the confidence that we will ride strong in the Blue Ridge mountains when we Assault On Mt. Mitchell in a couple weeks. Yes, we will have to endure nearly another 3000-4000 feet of elevation over the same distance at AOMM, and yes we will all climb at our own pace on the 25 mile climb to the top of eastern US, but we will regroup at the finish and have created plenty of great cycling memories that will last forever. See you at the top guys, when I get there! *masher