Couch to 200 (Pete Basso)

0D5A5750We are a little over 1 month from the BTC 200 ride and most of us are way behind banking miles in our Strava accounts.  Covid-19 restrictions including social distancing have made it a lot harder to wake up for that cold, early morning ride without a buddy or group to meet you at the ride start. Let’s face it, it’s been a rough start to the season.

So if you’re like me you’re wondering, “How am I going to capture some essence of riding form with the time left before our ride date?”  It’s a legit question.  A question that I’m going to tackle right now.  

First we must break this down to what is needed to complete this ride.  

  • Lower body endurance
  • Upper body fitness, hand, arm, shoulder and neck strength 
  • Nutrition / hydration regularity
  • Bike fit, how you’re positioned on your bike

Let’s unpack this bullet point by bullet point.

  1. Lower body endurance:  
    1. Riding daily for 60-90 mins at least 4x per week.  These are higher intensity rides
    2. Your first few weeks outside you should focus on recapturing your base fitness.  Ride at z2 / z3 pace 
    3. On the weekend, try to mix in a 3 to 4 hour ride
    4. After the first couple of weeks, start riding with higher intensity on your daily rides with short z3 and z4 intervals, (2-4 mins), short power hills.  For the longer weekend rides, mix in some longer z3 intervals and hill climbs.  Group rides are excellent for this kind of intensity. 
    5. It’s important to build intensity thru hill climbs and intervals as we get closer to the ride date.  That fitness will make it easier for you to sustain the 18mph pace over 200 miles.
    6. Ride at least one century ride, (100 miles), in May and another in June.  
    7. The week of the ride, you’ll taper by riding easier rides leading up to the day of the ride. I’ll be more specific in emails leading up to the ride. 
    8. Stretching – make sure you are stretching both upper and lower body parts.  Stretching builds strength.  Here’s five great post ride stretches.  
  1. Upper body fitness:
    1. Leaning over your bars for that long does take a toll on your upper body.  Specifically your triceps, shoulders and neck.  Spending time on your bike definitely helps to get your body used to that positioning.  However, building strength in your core and upper body will help make the ride more enjoyable.
    2. Planks – perfect for building arm strength, core strength and neck strength.  Do 3 sets at 1min three times per week.  As we get closer to the ride and you get stronger, move the time to 90 seconds then 2 mins.
    3. Pushups – this will vary based on your current upper body strength.  Try 3 sets of 10 – 20 pushups 3x per week.  Increase the reps as you get stronger.
    4. Here’s a good video that you can use to strengthen your core
  1. Nutrition and Hydration: 
    1. We provide nutrition and hydration on the ride but you need to get your body used to certain foods on longer rides.  We’ll provide items such as Erin Bakers Breakfast Cookies, Gu Gels, Bonk Breakers, Cliff Bars, Salted Nut Rolls, Gatorade, Red Bull and more.  Because the ride is not “intense” in nature, you’re less likely to have problems with varying foods.  But if you have a sensitive stomach, make sure you’re dialed in on what works for you.  Try different foods on your longer weekend rides. Eating real food on these rides is more important than eating bars the whole day.  Lunch will provide you with the ability to add some real to your caloric intake.
  1. Bike Fit:
    1. Very important.  If you have not been fit on your bike by one of the local bike shops, invest the money and get it done.  It can change your whole experience on your bike and eliminate potential problems while riding 200 miles.  If you have any discomfort on your bike, believe me, 200 miles will expose and exacerbate that discomfort.  Best to get it taken care of now and enjoy the ride.  

While I’m not the world’s foremost expert on training and fitness, I can share with you that after completing seven of these rides, I’ve learned what it takes to finish the ride in comfort.  If you have questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to me.  I’ll do my best to answer them.  If I can’t help you, I’ll point you in the right direction.  

Keep the power to the pedals and the wheels turning.  We’re looking forward to the ride date and the sharing this glorious day with you.  (More emails will follow over the next couple of days)

~ Pete Basso