Archive for the ‘training’ Tag

Antler Lake Training Ride   Leave a comment

Sunday, May 13th, the fourth Target the Tour training ride and what a beautiful day it was. As we gathered for  our 0930 start, the sun was shining, the temperature a very comfortable 15C, there was no wind to speak of and the landscape had greened-up significantly.

The distance of this week’s ride was 45K – not an increase in distance, so the goal of the week was to pick up the pace a notch or two. The group of maybe 30 or 40 riders listened to an informative and entertaining pre-ride talk on re-fuelling on the road and then we were off.  The group spread out fairly quickly once we got on the road. The route took us out southeast of our usual starting point at the Country Boyz Tempo on Highway 16, through Ardrossan and on towards Antler Lake.

The group stretches out on a quiet undulating road in rural Alberta

The roads were a mix of the very quiet country road with a few stretches along busier roads, with shoulders and moderate vehicular traffic. As was pointed out, the Tour de l’Alberta, for which this series of training rides is preparing us for, will be along highways so we must train to be comfortable riding in those conditions.

Heading east along the busier secondary Highway 530

Pulling a Trailer

As we rode along it was very nice to have had a number of people comment that they have seen my photos/blog of our earlier rides. That was certainly nice to hear. I wasn’t always able to chat with these people on the road but look forward to doing so later.

This day’s ride again to took me to roads I’d never traveled and places I’d not seen, even though so close to Edmonton. The turnaround point was Antler Lake [map}, a small prairie lake just southwest of Elk Island National Park. We cycled around the  community on the east side of the lake – I was surprised to see how many lakeside homes/properties there were.

Wide shoulders

Our route back took us for awhile along the  busier Highway 630 but fortunately there was a nice wide shoulder on which to ride and really not to much traffic. A gas station/convenience store along this stretch offered an opportunity to take a brief rest and re-fuel

We crossed railway tracks a couple of times and both times I had to wait as freight trains thundered by. I was certainly reminded how important rail  is for moving goods around this country. As it turned out, the second time we waited we needed have as our turn-off was the  still a little further down the highway.

Waiting for the train

 

Roadside/trackside Pond

Bird in the reeds

 

Being out in the country on a quiet morning gives one the opportunity to soak-in nature. I particularly enjoy riding past the many ponds, especially when they are alive with the croaking of heard (but unseen) frogs. Then there is the bird life: ducks, geese, red-winged blackbirds to name just a few that I saw on that morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rolling Road

Horses among the trees

 

 

Not all  of the animal life was wild – there were lots of dogs, a couple of pigs and some horses seen along the ride.

 

 

Windmill

 

As we rode back north, and particularly west on Highway 530, I noticed a headwind (at a point where I hadn’t notice a tailwind on the way out). The wind was brisk enough that for short times went down onto my handlebar drops to reduce wind resistance a bit.

 

 

Finally we cycled up through Ardrossan and made the turn onto the service road paralleling the Yellowhead Highway. Even though it had not been a particularly long ride, it did feel  good to be in that homestretch and to see our starting /finishing point.

In the home stretch … another good ride!

Back in the parking lot it was the usual post ride ritual of shedding the helmet, gloves and cycling shoes and squeezing my bike into the back of my car. After that there were a few minutes to chat and meet a couple new faces, before driving home.

More photos from my cycling excursions (and many other things) can be found on my Flickr photostream.

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Prepare for Your Tour (not just the day’s ride)   Leave a comment

On my last little ride I was reminded how it is that the little things that can make or break a cycle touring experience. As I prepare for a 3-day, 100K per day tour in June it is not just the muscles and cardio-vascular system that need to be brought into shape. As I learned a couple of years ago, while riding the Golden Triangle, it is the little, unexpected things (i.e. parts of the body) that can sink the ship.

On that tour, it was a mysterious knee pain that eventually did me in. It was fine during the first day of the ride but my knee became an issue mid-way through day 2. I never had experienced knee issues through my training, even though I had worked up to cycling comparable daily distances. What I hadn’t done in training was to string multiple 100K days together. There can be a cumulative effect to the wear and tear on your body, so keep that in mind. If you are aiming for a three day tour do not be satisfied with just doing one long ride per week.

Other potential weak spots on my body, that I just got a twinge of a reminder of, on that last ride were my Achilles tendon, my neck and my butt. My Achilles reminded me of the need to continue to work on my flexibility – something you might not think is important for an activity like cycling, but it is!

The pain in my neck came from just holding my head up while in the cycling position. This is another one of those things that can really get worse on the second or third day of a tour, so one must prepare with consecutive days of long rides. I’d also suggest that a good practice of relaxing and counter stretching the neck muscles during the day will also help. A pain in the neck may not stop you from cycling but it sure can make the ride miserable and distract you  from seeing the sights and enjoying the experience.

The final area that I was reminded of the need  to develop some multi-day endurance is the butt. A long day in the saddle you may be able to endure if you have a few days off following that strenuous day, but to get back and ride consecutive long days you must be accustomed to it. The only way to get accustomed to it is to do it – build-in to your training program multiple consecutive long rides. There is no shortcut!

With any training, keep in mind that the key is to build up slowly and steadily. This goes for your daily distance and your multiple days endurance. Above all, in your training pay attention to your body. It may get sore but don’t push it if it may cause an injury. A real injury that ends up keeping you off of your bike for weeks is not what you want! Give yourself lots of time to prepare for your goal and then work towards it slowly but steadily.

 

Posted April 18, 2012 by Randy Talbot in Cycle Touring

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A Day of Firsts   Leave a comment

I’ll be glad when I’ve done enough rides this year that each new one is not a big deal, but seeing as how I’m still counting them on the fingers of one hand…

The Hill at the west end of Rundle Park

Today (2012 April 11) was serious ride number 4 (or is it five?) Well for sure it;’s the third ride on my touring bike and those in the last 5 days. Today’s ride was about 30 Km and took about an hour and a half. Thirty K represents a 50% increment over my last two rides and that is a bit bigger than I would like (to ensure I don’t push myself too hard too fast). Well, I don’t think there will be another 50 % increase in my single ride training distance and this one did go smoothly.

I did my typical Dawson Park to Rundle route but added an extra 5K (each way) riding north  to Hermitage Park and back. This route provided me with five moderate climbs from the river valley floor to the top of the bank. Longer climbs would be good but I’ll settle for quantity (number of hills) over quality (length of climb) for now.

It was a day of a few firsts. First of the firsts: with a temperature of +16C this afternoon I was able to ride comfortably in cycling shorts (instead of long pants). I did still wear a long-sleeve jersey but didn’t need a jacket today. The second welcome first was the first sighting of green grass along the side of the path – a sure sign that real spring is approaching. The third first (already mentioned) was achieving a 30 K distance. Hopefully this  accomplishment will seem pretty trivial in a month, but for now I’ll take it as a milestone.

Another first of sorts. Today was the first time this year I saw evidence of street cleaners cleaning off the winter sand from the roads. This was on Ada Boulevard and the cleaning seemed to miss the sand next to the curb so it is still necessary to ride a meter or two away from the curb to be safe.

A couple of notes about animals on this route: First watch out for the Canada Geese. There are lots of them, often on or beside the bike path around the lakes in Rundle and Hermitage Parks. I had no problems with them but did sound my bell before passing a couple of pairs that were on the path. They are big birds and if they were startled they could get defensive and who knows where that could lead. As it was they seemed surprisingly oblivious to me as I rode by. The second animals to watch for  are the dogs in Hermitage Park. The park included an off-leash dog area so there are lots of canines, of all sizes and shapes. I have never had any problems with the dogs here and fact I quite enjoy seeing them. A cyclist just has to recognize that the few kilometres here will be relatively slow as you must watch  what the dogs (and their sometimes oblivious owners) are going to do. If you want to cruise through this area like you might on other bike paths – don’t! Do everyone a favor and turn around  before getting to the off-leash area (about 1km north of the Beverly Bridge).

Foot Bridge between Rundle and Goldbar Parks

Silver Triangle Here I Come   1 comment

After our second spring snowfall had melted away enough to leave the street mostly dry, I got my touring bike out last Saturday (April 7th). It was a chilly afternoon ride, but the sun was out so can’t complain too much. I did my typical early season route which is from central Edmonton, along the bike path in Dawson Park then along Ada Boulevard to Rundle Park, a lap of the park and back. With a good 100psi in the tires I sure noticed that  the riding was a lot easier than the time I’d taken my mountain bike on this route a couple of weeks earlier.

My motivation for heading out on this day? Well, I had just registered to join the Silver Triangle tour. This Edmonton Bicycle and Touring Club (EBTC) organized ride will be happening in mid-June in central BC ( the Canadian province of British Columbia). The riding starts in Silverton on Slocan Lake and we will ride over to Kaslo on Kootenay Lake, following it south to Nelson, up Highway 6 through Winlaw, back along the shore of Slocan Lake to Nakusp . I’ll also be looking forward to a visit to the Ainsworth Hot Springs along the way.

I have not ridden this area before but am told it is beautiful and traffic should be light. We will be covering about 100 Km per day with some mountainous terrain – hence the need to kick off some serious training. The challenge as always will be to push myself to get the cardio-vascular system and muscles in shape, without causing injury to a knee or something like that.

A key part of my training will be participating in the EBTC Target the Tour Classic training rides each Sunday. The intent of these rides is to train for the Tour de l’Alberta ride (and particularly the 185K distance). That ride will be my secondary personal goal for this season (well the first half anyway). As such this year is looking similar to 2010 for me. That year I started with the Golden Triangle in May and then did the 100K distance in the Tour in July.