Thursday, April 15, 2010

How Much Is Enough ?

As I sit at my computer on a sunny day, 51 years into my life, two decades into bike racing, feeling a little tired, a little apathetic and trying to ignor my aches and pains, I ask myself: “ how much is enough? ” Bike racers spend so much time riding and recovering, but finding the exact balance of those two elements of training can be difficult to figure out on your own.

I spent a lot of time on my bike this past weekend. It was an annual training weekend that I do every year. The event is made up of a casual group of 20 like-minded mountain bike racers who ride for 3 days, 14 hours, and with what seems like a gazillion feet of elevation gain. We sprint to graffiti, KOM at mailboxes and climb big hills by an unofficial clock. There is suffering, laughter and some more suffering. The only rule is that there will be no whining. We eat, ride, wash, rinse and repeat, all weekend long.

Last year I rested for a few days afterwards and tried to return to normal riding within the week, only to fall behind for a month. I’m not sure what I did wrong or what I thought I could do and could not, but this year I am resting longer and expecting less. It is good to put in some longer saddle time, but as a XC racer I am not sure if this many hours are needed. One good thing about doing long miles is that it helps build mental toughness, and everyone knows that climbing is 50% mental. In that respect, I find that long rides can be good training, but as soon as I lose sight of my true passion to ride a bike, it is time to look more towards quality and not quantity.

This leads me back to the title of this post… How much is enough? For those of you that have read these words in hopes to find the answer to this question that we all seek, I hate to disappoint you, but I still do not know. And as the next few weeks of my recovery unwind, I may not be any closer to knowing how much is enough in terms of hours on the bike, but I do know that a bike ride that ends with a smile is always better than one that does not.

For those of you that thought I meant something else ….

Some video from the weekend here:

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