Saturday, February 6, 2016

The lead up to TransAndes.......

I can't believe it has been almost 7 years since I did my last big mountain bike stage race.  I slipped into the stage race lifestyle so easily that it felt like I had never 'retired'.

There is something magical about stage racing.   Wake, eat, race, eat, recover/hang out, eat more, sleep, repeat.   Throw in limited access to the outside world and true bliss is achieved.

My goals for TransAndes were simple.  Be fit enough to have fun and not get an overuse injury.  Easier said than done when the race falls in January and you live in Park City, UT and it is puking snow every day!  Seriously.  What is up with all the snow this year!

My training leading up to TransAndes was solid considering the weather obstacle.  We made a few Holiday trips to the desert for big miles while our winter rides at home were more focused.  I think I only rode the trainer a handful of times, so I became a bit of an expert on what it takes to train in the cold.

Here's a few tips:

The essentials:
1.  High quality winter riding boots.  I have the Lake MXZ303 winter riding boots.  I wear these in temps below 35ish with just wool socks.  I recommend going a 1/2 size bigger than your normal bike shoes
2.  Bar mits :  These work great for endurance/tempo riding.  For intervals I wear Pearl Izumi lobster gloves with liners.
3.  Layers-nothing specific here, just a lot of breathable layers

Many of my rides would start with intervals followed by a few hours at endurance pace.  I would change out all my sweaty base layers after the intervals so that when my body temperature dropped later in the ride I didn't get cold.

Pretty simple, but it actuality it took me about 4 times as long to get ready to ride than it does in the summer!

Just like summer, though, there is beautiful nature to be seen on the bike in the winter.

 My Pivot Les became my go-to bike for winter training.  In this photo I mounted 27.5 wheels on the 29er frame so that I could run 2.8" tires in the snow.  Not quite a snow bike, but almost.......
 Some days my race set up was sufficient to tackle the snow
 This photo was from one of our trips to the desert.  This is the bike I ended up taking to TransAndes, however I rebuilt it with a 2x11 to tackle the Andes steep climbs. A full suspension bike is the way to go for a stage race; after consecutive days of racing being being able to sit on the saddle (as opposed to standing over bumps) becomes cherished!




Up next, TransAndes report!








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