Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Challenge


HBC has now announced two challenges for 2015:  (1) the 7-days-riding challenge for January (Score:  Sam doubled the goal and rediscovered riding in the rain; Max failed to complete his own challenge but did accomplish the "B" goal of getting out more in January than any prior year; nobody else entered).  And (2) the 10K feet of climbing over 7 days challenge for February (Score:  nobody got close, but Sam went skiing).

Time for March

Before I announce it, I will introduce the thought process:

  1. We are about to get to the long riding season when the weather warms and the sun stays up longer and Randonneuring gets underway.  (Or, gets underway for those of us who don't go in for sub-freezing-temperature permanents.)  Challenges for April and May are likely to look more like "25K feet climbing" and "300 miles riding" than the "just get on the bike" challenges for the past two months.
  2. That said, I have not had time to get meaningful outdoor rides in.  I'm either riding early in the morning before light or late afternoon after dark and on the weekends it has been snowy, cold, icy, and on some days like today, all of the above at once.  30' daily rides is possible if not always convenient, but serious riding is a pipe dream.
  3. There also is a value to training, by which I mean "riding in a way that I would not if I were not convinced it would provide benefits."

The Challenge

Program your  Garmin with seven workouts between 30' and 1 hr. in length.  The workouts need not be extreme but should be something more than "ride 1 hour no goal."  Options include high pressure intervals, Zone 2 steady-state, and even drills like single-leg rotations or back-pedaling.  Complete the workouts on seven consecutive days, riding outside if you like or inside on the trainer.  Nothing wrong with throwing the workout in the middle of a longer ride if desired -- for example, the DC Rand 200K is next Saturday, and I plan to look for 30 minutes of concentration somewhere mid-ride.

The point of this:  kind of like the January challenge, but intended to be things that are not necessarily pleasant.

Anybody else in?


sam said...

What I like about this is that so far I've just used my Garmin as a fancy bike computer. I know that it can be programmed for workouts (not to mention navigation), but I've just never bothered to do so.

So yes, this seems like an excellent idea both from the perspective of getting some more focused training in, but also for the luddites among us to actually take the time to learn how to properly program a Garmin...

Max said...

You hit it on the head. To be clear, the programming function is painfully rudimentary, but it works, and I definitely get something more out of riding when the stupid machine is beeping at me because the power is too low. (Though surprising how easy it is to ignore that beeping late in the series of intervals.)

Unknown said...

Not done and sorta done. No Garmin, just an inexpensive sat. track Cat Eye, and what's the deal with 7 consecutive days? Jan. and Feb. were lost causes here but now that it might get above 20 degrees, I figure 7-10 focused sessions for the month would be good and maybe even feasible; but not all in a row!

Unknown said...

7 Days in a row is tricky. I don't use my Garmin for indoor riding, but I will be happy to post the equivalent Computrainer results files. My general pattern is Ride 3 - Rest 1 - Ride 2 - Rest 1, so this will be a bit beyond the norm.

Max said...

Digger and Damon give the real-world story. Both of you are right -- it makes no sense as a real training tool.

SO why 7 consecutive? No reason but that we agreed last summer that the hardest thing in cycling is to show up every day and we started our monthly challenges for 2015 with that in mind.

My approach to the overtraining thing: I definitely plan to take off days in the seven. So this morning sucked. Tomorrow will be 10' warmup/45' zone 2/5' cool down. Friday will, I hope, be short intervals in zone 5. Etc. It meets the programmed workout requirement in that it is a purposeful workout rather than a bike ride.

But even if you went hard all week, I don't imagine there's any danger of hurting oneself from a single week of silliness. This is no harder than a week of back-to-back-to-back centuries, which many have done, or a week of 25K climbing, which many have done.

Unknown said...

Oh, I should plan a week's vacation out in southern Utah, then this challenge would be fait accompli!

Max said...

One of many great reasons to plan a week's cycling vacation in Southern Utah!

Max said...

So it's going well but 7 days is, as usual, a tough nut to crack.

Early on, three in a row. Nothing to write home about.

More recently, four in a row. Good 5 x 3' at 300w, then 12 x 1' and 25 x 30" before a 45' steady state in Zone 2. I throw in 10' no target warm-ups and 5' cool down, usually zone 2 (but no target for the Z2 workout) as well.

With my travel schedule and the construction zone here at home, to make this work in time I will need to start Saturday and run through next Friday. I give myself a 40% chance.