If I've learned anything from my few short years of mountain bike racing it's that having a goal is crucial to success.
So, in the keeping with my "bigger is most definitly better" mentality, I've set a goal for the 2006 season not only to finish the Shenandoah Mountain 100 mile mountain bike race next September, but to do it in under 10 hours - on my single speed. I have some training to do.
After a few conversations with Team El Toreo racer and top 20 finisher Ron Glowczynski (that's him in the pic racing at this year's SM100) , I've become intrigued with the challenge of training for an event of this length.
In Ron's race report from the event, (http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/RoanokeCycling/message/271) he mentioned that he had never done a mountain bike race of more than 42 miles, yet he was able to train and race very well (16th overall) at the SM100.
I've always done well in short, fast events, but the longer races have been a real challenge. In May of 2004, I barely finished the Middle Mountain Momma race , a 21 mile climbers delight held at Douthat State Park near Covington, VA. Leg cramps and nausea had plagued me from about half way into this awesome course. I'd cramp viciously when I tried to pedal with any power. If I tried to get off the bike, the back of my legs would seize up. I'd walk a bit, feel a tad better and try to remount, only to have the front of my legs lock up. It was agony. I felt like I was going to puke or pass out, or both, for hours after I had hobbled to the finish line. The rest of the 2004 season was very similar: lots of pain, cramps and poor finishes. Something had to change.
I spent the majority of this past spring doing rides of 4 hours or more, trying to build a good base for the higher intensity training that came later in the year. I had set a goal for the 2005 season to finish STRONG in every race. After many training hours and miles, some dietary improvements and some great products from Hammer Nutrition, I accomplished my goal. I finished the 2005 Middle Mountain Momma feeling fresh and strong - on a single speed.
So, the goal is set. I know it will take a lot of hard work to accomplish it, but I believe I'm up to the challenge.