This Friday will mark me 8 weeks out from the BC Bike Race. Eight more weeks until I put my body and mind to the test during 7 days of single track riding in British Columbia.
I began this journey about a year ago. I wanted to sign up to do the race in 2016, but for one reason or another – it didn’t happen. As I’m pretty goal orientated – I *made* 2017 happen and signed myself & my husband up in the first few hours that the registration was open. (Good thing, as the race sold out in less than a day!)
For the last year, this event has been woven into my everyday life. I’ve been extremely grateful for all the blog posts and articles that I’ve read to help mentally prepare me. In part, this is my way of paying it forward – I hope that others can learn from my experiences, too.
A few things that I’ve done differently over the last year:
- I got a coach. I would say (beyond #2) the largest financial investment that I’ve made towards BCBR has been to get a coach. See, despite my degrees in sport medicine and exercise physiology, I’m lazy. My skill level is also intermediate… and we ALL know, when you push yourself hard and get tired – your skills decrease. (To be more exact: a 10% increase in fatigue = a 40% decrease in cognitive function.) In order to ENJOY the ride and HAVE FUN, I knew that I needed to be FIT. The only way I was really going to do this is to have someone looking over my shoulder and bossing my workouts around. The money has been totally worth it. I’m significantly stronger and have more endurance than I had a year ago. From what I’ve read, I can’t be fit enough for this race… so I’ll take everything that I can get. Of note, I’ve also been working diligently on my skills…
- Bike Upgrade. My previous bike was a Specialized Rumor… which I’ve about rode to death. It was time to upgrade (don’t worry, it found a great “retirement” home at the house in Hawaii and will visit it often). After many demos, weighing out parts and obsessing about paint color… I decided on the Kona Hei Hei. It’s taken me a while to dial it in for my needs and riding style, as I’m not used to carbon everything and an Eagle drivetrain – but now LOVE it!
- Leaned on my friends. I can do weekday training rides on my own… but weekend rides are BEST with buddies (and food/drink after). Regardless of what the training schedule had planned for the weekend – my awesome friends have been willing to help me reach my goal. Even if it meant meeting up in weird places (so I could do extra mile before) or suffering through long rides (when they’d rather be at the beach).
- Time (and more time) in the saddle. Enough said.
- Weight lifting. I really don’t like lifting weights; it’s kinda boring and the regulars in the gym are a bit weird (or at least the 6am crowd is). But I’ve noticed a significant drop in ‘uncomfortable-ness’ in mountain bike riding after a time in the gym, especially in my hamstrings and mid-back. Makes complete sense (and one of the first things I’m looking forward to stopping for a little while). Additionally, the day-on-day riding is bound to wear my body down. Now is the time to strengthen it up.
- XC Racing. I’ve started cross country racing here in Southern California. There’s a series that allows me to travel around on Sundays, and more importantly, allows me to get in a ‘hard’ training day without having to push myself on the bike riding the same local trails. It’s also introduced me to a whole, new set of friends – as I’m racing with a team. (See #3)
- Travel more. Along with #6 – I’m getting out of my San Diego bubble for riding more. I can only go on so many long bike rides on the same trails before going insane. Therefore, I’ve been getting out more. This has translated to more races and more “hey, let’s go visit friends in the central coast (or other place) and ride”. This also means more time with my husband – which has been awesome.
It’s been quite the adventure already and I haven’t even crossed the border. This next handful of weeks I’ll focus on logistics and prepping for the trip, and I’m sure training, training, training.
I’m so grateful for having the opportunity to do this – no matter how it all ends. The trip thus far has been worth it.