Have you been training? This is the question posed by a mountain biking friend when I spilled the beans that I would be riding in the 34th annual "Assault on Mt. Mitchell" (yes, I have received confirmation of the registration transfer). Hey, it's a fair question..after all, who in their right mind would attempt a full century with 11,000 ft of climbing without training for it?
C'mon, you have to ask?? ME of course!!! Although I have to admit, I wouldn't say I haven't trained on my bicycle. I have ridden almost 1000 miles since the beginning of the year. Not a lot by some standards, but plenty by other standards! Most of my rides are in the 30 to 40 mile range - not even half the distance of the assault!
In fact, the furthest I have ridden my bike (in the last 20 years anyway) is 63 miles. Some might say I'm setting myself up for failure. I have a few choice words for them, however, I won't repeat them on this public blog. The thing is, if I didn't think I was capable of completing the ride, I would not sign up for it. The real question for me is whether I finish in 8 hours or 12 hours (or something in between). I'd like to think I can do it in 8 or less, but I don't really know as I have never done a ride of this intensity before!
I've had several of my friends comment to me about how this will test me...yes, of course it will test me, but it is not about about the combination of distance and elevation gain - it is all about the third variable - time!
For example - Besides biking, I'm a runner as well. Not the fastest runner for sure. I mean, lately I run a 5k in just under 23 minutes. Not terrible for a 43 year old guy, but certainly nothing to be super excited about. That works out to be an average pace of around 7:20 min / mile or so. However, I know I can go out and run at a 10 min / mile pace just about all day. The difference in a 5k between 7:20 /mile and 10/mile is HUGE! I mean, if I run at 7:20 per mile I would be over 1 mile ahead of me running 10 /mile in a 5k race!!!
The real point is, if I stay hydrated, keep up on the nutrition and refrain from riding at my limit (from the outset), I am very confident I will finish the Assault. Especially since this is my first attempt, I don't really care if it takes me 8 hours or 12 hours. This year is establishing the baseline for which all future years are to be judged!
And yes, this is the first, and it will not be the last. I will continue to ride this event until I am no longer capable of propelling a bike! And, I will always do my best, regardless of whether I have trained for it or not!
2 years ago