Posted by: wheelywonka | July 25, 2010

Training Tip #1 from a Jedi Cyclist (not!)

This morning I got up early and squeezed in a short ride before church on my Cad 9.   There’s a ride I can do directly from the house that I’ve been using as a training benchmark for years.  It includes the hills and flats of the incorporated cities of Hill Country Village and Hollywood Park.   I like this ride for a number of reasons:

  • Plenty of variety (hills, sprints, curves, etc.)
  • Very little traffic
  • No dogs
  • Very smooth pavement
  • I can access the course directly from the house (did I mention this already?)

There are two types of training rides you can do.  There’s the one that consists of a course you’ve never done before.  This is exciting because you have to react to the road as it is presented to you.   More than likely there are things you want to look at as you ride, because hey, you’ve never seen these sights before. 

The other ride is a course you have done countless times.  You could probably ride it with your eyes closed using muscle memory.   The advantage of this type of training course is you can use it to measure what sort of shape you are in.  If you do it at a faster average speed than you normally do, then you are in better shape than you typically are.  You can also use a familiar course like this to test different gearing and pedaling techniques.  For example, try seated climbs at a very low gear one day, and try it standing at a higher gear the next day.  This gives you an opportunity to refine your techniques and become a better cyclist. 

The ride I did this morning was one of the latter type for me.  I’ve been doing it since 2000, the year I first rode a Bike MS South Texas ride.  Today I rode 24 miles at an average speed of 16.2, which is actually quite good for me during week 1 of my training,  and considering the number of sharp ascents on this route.   As the ride progressed, I kept pushing myself to increase my average speed – from 15.5, to 15.7, and finally to 16.2 at the end.   This required me to stand and grind during the climbs, and it meant pedaling hard at the highest gear during the downhills to insure my speed stayed as high as possible for as long as possible.

I suggest you find a benchmark course like this.  Do it once a week or so, and record your time and speed.  As your conditioning  and technique improves, your time should go down and your speed should go up.  This is a crude but effective way of determining your conditioning level.  This type of benchmark training makes a great back to back, with the first day being the ride with your team.

See ya’ on the road!



  1. […] July 26, 2010 · Leave a Comment Bike MS Ambassador Wheely Wonka (aka, Peter Ray) was busy riding and — lucky for us — blogging about his training, including a great post on evaluating your fitness based on a regular ride you can use as a benchmark. […]

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