With the Vision Quest only 9 weeks away, the wife and I, (and many others) are in the full swing of preparing for the event. Now that we’ve done it once, it’s little consolation as we look towards preparing for this years event.
Here is the rub: how do we train with all this wet stuff pouring out of the sky? (Now we know why the Cascade Cream Puff takes place in June, eh?)
So, last week, it rained in some form or another almost every day. Leaving most trails either unridable or super soggy. But that isn’t the only obstacle to training. Everyone has these little obstacles, I guess. Some are children, or an overly consuming job. For others it might be an injury or some other unforeseen circumstance. For me though, my obstacle is less painful and more frustrating.
Obstacle #1 Rain (we all have to deal with this)
Obstacle #2 Equipment
Most people reading this are pretty aware at my relationship to bike parts. It’s usually a short one. But starting at the beginning of October, things began to go awry.
Out on a regular road ride, my wife says, “you know, that bike just doesn’t look like enough for you. Those stays looks like pencils.” I knew she was right as I could feel the frame flex under me as I would stand to power up climbs. It was only about a year old and had less than 500 miles on it, but I thought I should sell it before I ended it. So I did. To ebay it went, then it went. Got a good deal on it, but, oh well.
1 month later, on my first “training” ride in prep. for the VQ, I had headed out to get 20 miles in before meeting up with my dad for a local loop. About 4 miles in, my crank snaps. We all know the story on that. This kept me down for about 3 weeks till I could get those blessed Profiles installed.
Meantime, that left me with my only other bike, my SC Bullit. 38lbs of love. Out for another training ride, I soon found myself HATING the bike. SLOW, sapping my energy! All the joy was gone. It’s an awesome bike for bombing down anything or for a 7 mile pleasure loop. But for high-mileage, altitude gaining rides, it sucks. I thought I’d tough it out though. Nov 28, we were heading out for our local 26 mile loop with a friend who’s a…slower rider. At mile 8, he refused to go on, and forced us all to head home. I was a tad miffed at missing a sweet dh singletrack at the end. No dessert. On the drive home, I began playing a game of go fish in my head. RF Cranks: Aluminum SC Bullit: Aluminum. GO FISH! The Bullit had had a crack for a few months. I thought, “Ahg, no biggie, it’s a Bullit! Then, I thought about how quickly and easily those cranks had snapped and I became worried about that Bullit. I decided to strip it down and see about warranty.
Doh! That first crack @ the shock mount wasn’t an issue at all! Look at what I found at the weld where the dropout meats the stay! Was my life spared? Who knows..but I’m glad I found out this way…
Okay, bike #2 down. What now? Running.
Bought some running shoes, and for about 3 weeks, that’s all I had.
Midway through December, the Vulture was up and running, just last week the new Bullit is up and running. I have had 2 training rides up to this point.
That brings me to last Saturday and hope in sight for the end of this post.
How do you train for the VQ when the sky’s are clear, the trails are closed, rain is eminent, and you have no road bike? Hmmmm….
The wife is a gem, so she was willing to get creative in regards to how we would get some training time in. (Without my dead weight, she would have surely set off on a “Ride To Arizona” ride. Her affectionate term for a long road ride…usually ones where she leave and comes back about 5 hours later having ridden the circumference of Orange County.)
Last year, the week before the VQ was rained out as well, so I borrowed a plan from Hugh, who had gotten creative on another rainy day. It involved riding asphalt hills.
Our plan? Follow along.
Step #1 Drive to Laguna Beach.
Find the biggest, tallest, steepest hill, park at the bottom and ride up it, lots. We did.
Park St. in Laguna is about 1.5 miles of ridiculous steep. It gains in the neighborhood of 800’ – 1,000’vertical feet in a mile or so. Ouch.
1st trip up. Whew, I don’t remember it this steep! Wow! Leslie is loving it saying she want to come back all the time. 19 min to the top, standing almost all the way. Ouch!
2nd trip up. Hmmm..THAT’s where I left those hamstrings! Oh. 23 minutes to the top. As usual, Les gets there about 3 minutes before me and circles back to me 2 or 3 times. Nice. That helps the motivation eh?
3rd trip up. Man…do I got the juice? It’s in there..I just can feel it, or see it.. The wife starts talking about heading home. So I plan a tough guy/girl test. We get to the bottom, she starts heading for the car, I covertly flip it and start heading back up… There, I’ve thrown the gauntlet. Let’s see how tough she is now! (dying inside! Don’t….let…it….out….) “HEY! Another one?! What’s gotten into you?” (*enter sound of tires buzzing by me)
4th trip up. What have I done? Can I even make it without walking? This trip took the longest of course, but we made it. My legs feel like I’ve just ridden the first 2/3 of the VQ. I tried standing. Nope, not a good idea. Get on bike, coast to car.
Step #2 Lunch
I don’t eat food when I ride long, just gu. Works for me. I suggest a juice bar for lunch. The veggie-oriented wife is game. Big juice smoothies with natures-heroin thrown in; eg protein boost, etc.
Step #3 Road ride?
Wife asks me to put her road bike on the trainer. I say, let’s just go ride. She says ok. I say, “Wait, all I have is…the Bullit?” Uhg…. 30 miles and about 2 hours later, we had banged out a pre-rain road ride post hill-repeat workout. OUCHIE! But, I thought I might have the oomph to throw out one more gauntlet… We pull in the garage and start putting away bikes/gear. I run inside. By the time she come in, I’ve got the running shoes on and the dog leashed up, headed out the door. “Hey!”, she yells. By the time I’ve made one loop around our complex, her shoes were on too and she had joined the pain. Our complex is a 1/4mile loop. Each step was pain. I couldn’t take real steps, only “baby steps.” Baby steps to the mailbox, baby steps to the dumpster. 4 laps later I was done. DONE. DONE. Wife grabs the dog and keeps going.
Step #4 Ouch.
All in all. A great day of prep. As we were running the drops starting falling too. Sweet!
So remember, next time you can’t ride dirt…just get creative!
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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Thread: Rain Training (warning: LONG)