‘Joining the Century Club’ – Training, by Aaron Madrid
Here is part 2 of Aaron Madrid’s ‘Century’ series. You can check out the first installment here and keep your eyes peeled for further editions. Today @AaronMadrid talks about training and preparation for your event, both physical and mental and how #30daysofbiking helped motivate him so much!
Joining the Century Club – Part 2
So you have an event picked out, now it’s time to start thinking about training. I know not everyone is like me, but like I mentioned previously, a support group can really be a valuable asset. My support group came from four locations. I discovered this very website where you are reading this article now at the beginning of my cycling journey. I subscribed to the RSS feed and continue to read every article posted each morning as it drops into my email box.
As you surely know already, the information on this website is both educational and often inspirational. I am proud to be a part of such a passionate, knowledgeable team and to be able to now contribute my own voice to theirs.
Through Lovingthebike.com I discovered #Bikeschool. As an active twitter user for quite some time, I originally scoffed at the idea of a tweet-chat. However, I showed up to my first #Bikeschool early in 2011 and now I attend as often as possible. Many of the people involved in those Thursday night conversations I speak to on a daily basis. I have even managed to make quite a few very good friends because of it. The discussions are always fun, informative, and engaging, three things I find very valuable, especially when it comes to motivation.
Through both of these groups I learned about #30daysofbiking. The group that created this social cycling movement is equally as fun and they organize an amazing global event. The idea is simple, ride your bike every day for 30 days.
I further learned about Team Lovingthebike which was being put together for #30DaysofBiking, so I joined up. It wasn’t anything major, just an opportunity to socialize your rides with other friends and reach for a specific goal. You can search around this site and Google for lots of information and posts from both this year and last year’s events. Lastly was the encouragement from my family.
Being a new father, I needed to only look at my daughters face to find the heart to go out and push myself to become better. Lastly my wife was very supportive and allowed me to ride my bike every day.
Let the Century Training Begin
Now we need to start training. This is actually pretty easy… just ride your bike. Every day you possibly can make it happen, get out and ride your bike. I’m competitive by default, so 30 Days of Biking was perfect motivation for me to get out and ride. Each night after work I would take 30 minutes to an hour and go ride. Sometimes it was just up to the store down the street to pick something up, but as long as I was riding I was ok.
If you are just starting to ride don’t worry about anything besides getting on that saddle and going. The more you ride, the faster and farther you will go. I remember thinking that 10 miles was incredible, and for a 320 pound nerd who spent most of his life on a couch in front of a television… it was. Eventually you reach a point where you just feel comfortable on your bike.
It get’s easier and easier, and that is when it’s time to start Googling some of the serious stuff. Once I felt really good on my bike I decided it was time to take it up a notch. I started asking more questions in #Bikeschool about technique and form. I watched videos on YouTube about proper pedaling, and breathing and I got even faster and stronger. I subscribed to Bicycling magazine, which, while informative, has really just caused me to have bike envy for every bike I see. Don’t get me wrong, I love my bike, but the rides in that magazine are frequently way out of my price range…and beautiful. At this point I still didn’t have anyone really to ride with and I was too afraid to join our local club for fear of looking like a newbie (sorry, that’s a geek term for someone who is often inexperienced to the point of being laughable).
You have an event chosen, you have a great support group to ask questions and learn from, and you are riding your bike every day. What else can you do to prepare? Truthfully… not a lot. Of course, there are specific things you can do on your rides, like interval training and hill repeats (climbing a steep hill over and over again) but the most important thing for incredibly busy people like us, is to just ride. A couple of rules of thumb, if you can go out and ride ¾ of the distance you are aiming for, you can do it all. That extra quarter will come easy from the endorphins and adrenaline on the day of the event. Another rule of thumb is, make sure you are at least riding your goal distance over the course of the week. Meaning, if you want to ride a century, make sure you are at least riding 100 miles in a week. Right now because of my commute to and from work, I ride about 150- 200 miles a week, depending on my weekend ride. I usually rest on Sunday (it’s important to take a break from hard riding if you can).
Thanks to Aaron for a great 2nd edition,