Physically Preparing for HAM'R
In June 2014 I completed 2 Person RAAM with Joel Sothern, the preparation for this event and the actual racing of the event left me with what is known to RAAM athtletes as the RAAM bump. Once you body recovers from RAAM you are usually in the best cycling condition in your life.
My next big competition for was the Powerman World Long Course Duathalon Championships in Switzerland on September 7th. To prepare for that event I spent 3 weeks in Roan Mountain, TN training on the Blue Ridge Parkway. My weakness as a racer is my climbing ability so I spent my time working on that weakness. I left Roan Mountain in the best climbing shape I have been in.
In Switzerland I finished 6th in 50-54 age group in Du Worlds. Du Worlds was a 10K run followed by a 150K and finishing with a 30K run. My finish is a testament to my bike fitness – I was in last place in my age group coming off the first 10K – but I was able to move up to 2nd after the bike and was strong enough to hold on to 6th place.
After Switzerland my training was very unfocused because I really didn't have a direction. I did a couple of long rides and some 50 mile time trials rides and little mountain biking and running in Taos, NM to give my self some altitude training but no direction.
When I decided on November 26th that I was going to own the HAM'R – I had to look at my calendar to figure out how I could get my body ready in one month to be riding 12 hours a day every day. The keys were to build my endurance while allowing my body to adapt. I had to turn myself into a properly fuel machine with legs of titanium and a backside of leather.
To do this I incorporated two principals I use in all of my training. First use a progressive build in the number of hours ridden to get to my target and using harder days followed by recovery days. I started my long hard rides out at 6 hours and my recover rides at 3 hours. The goal was by the end of December for my long rides and my recovery rides to be the duration in the neighborhood of 11 hours a day. During this time I'm dialing in my nutrition and losing about 10lbs. I'm also dialing in my clothing and everything else that needs to be right for me to succeed.
My HAMR Plan
One of the first questions people ask after learning that I’m going to ride more than 75,000 miles in one year is how? Do you have a plan or are you just going to go out and ride 206 miles every day?
Actually, I do have a plan and it’s based on going incrementally farther and faster as the year progresses and I have more daylight to ride. My plan calls for riding long six days a week and doing a century ride on the 7th day as a rest and recovery day.
Everything in the plan is just an estimate since much will depend on the weather and where I can start and stop each day. My goal is to start out riding 10 hours a day the first week on my long rides and then add 10 minutes to the time ridden each week as I get more daylight and better weather. I plan to increase my time on the bike to 14-15 hours during the summer and then taper it back down to about 10 hours a day by the end of 2015. My speed goal for riding is to start out riding my long days at about 17 mph which, for me, is actually a little slow. As my fitness improves, my average speed will get better and by mid year I should be riding at around 20 mph or better and should be able to hold that fitness level for the rest of the year.
I put together a projections spreadsheet that uses these assumptions to show how to accumulate more than 78K miles. The spreadsheet also shows the mileage that was accumulated by the current record holder and how far ahead of schedule I should be as I progress through the year. The fact that my projections are on the low side for the speed I ride and the number of hours that I need to commit combined with the fact that these projects give me two weeks of burn days, (days I don’t have to ride because of weather or other emergencies), leaves me very confident that this can be done.
You can view a PDF of the document or play with the spreadsheet yourself by clicking the link below.