First I should qualify my comments here, I don’t really train for anything.  I’ll use the term “Cross Training” for clarity and understanding only, not as a practice that I personally use.  Training doesn’t sound like fun to me, so I see no reason to take something that I enjoy and make it “not fun.”  I do believe in being prepared however, so that is the concept behind these thoughts.

I found that in 2007 at PBP I was perhaps in the best shape I had been in for many years.  In thinking back to my preparation at that time I recalled that I had done more than just distance cycling.  I was also mountain biking quite a bit, I was getting in lots of skiing (telemark) and going to the gym regularly.  My gym workouts were weights and flexibility focused with a moderate aerobic warm up and cool down. As a result my overall condition was pretty good and I was getting some good personal results in my cycling.  A couple of highlights for 2006 and 2007 were a sub-11 hour double century, a 20 hour 300 miler and a 30 hour 600 km event, all total times.  They were not events that I raced but simply reflected personal best results for me.

After PBP I changed my plan somewhat and focused more on long distance and did less of the other stuff.  I thought that more saddle time would benefit me for the long rides. Well, the result was not what I expected. 2008 was a bad year, I DNF’ed at an early season double century and at a 600 km brevet in spring.  At other events my results were we’ll off my previously logged times for those events. I stuck with the plan though and just tried to put in more miles. Early 2009 turned out to be a bad start on the year. I put in more miles but my results were still getting worse. What was wrong, was I done, just worn out?  I was confused and decided to rethink my plan as well as my commitment to long distance cycling.

Beginning in late summer of 2009 I began a period of self examination. I cancelled any long rides I still had on the schedule and just did a few events and some favorite local rides.  I got back on the mountain bike and started hitting my favorite local trails frequently.  As fall came around I bought a ski pass and headed to the gym on cruddy days. I even started walking more!  You might have guessed by now that the conclusion I came to was to put more variety back into my preparation.  Try to have more fun and not to be so single minded in my efforts, to have less tunnel vision.  I have enjoyed the renewed excitement of these other disiplines and it surprisingly has made my road rides more enjoyable as well.

It is still too early in the season to know if I am getting back into my personal “zone” but I am encouraged.  My one event so far this year was an early January 200k (story below) and I had a good day!  My road rides are fun, I’ve been mountain biking about twice a week, I ski when the snow is good and I don’t mind going to the gym as much. My next event is in February so that will be my next gauge of how things are working out. 

 Anyway, that is my plan and I’m sticking to it!