I have never ridden a century, so when I signed up for Venus de Miles Colorado I was, to put it subtly, SUPER STOKED.
I pushed “enter” and got on my bike. During week one, I rode five times, pedaling well over 100 miles and I loved every minute.
Then we went on vacation. When we returned, summer was in full swing and suddenly, between the heat, the wind and my sons’ busy days, I was having a hard time riding even 80 miles a week.
And while September 29th may seem distant from these long warm July days, any long bike ride demands respect and consistent training.
So what’s a busy mom to do?
In the past, my idea of training was to ride, ride and ride some more. I rode as much as I could to build up leg strength and make sure my seat was ready for several hours in the saddle.
But in a world that runs on apps, there is no excuse not to use technology to enhance your training.
When it comes to cycling apps, the marketplace is dominated by two apps: Strava and MapMyRide. No matter with whom I talked, these two came up again and again.
Both apps are free to download, but if you want all of their features, you’ll need to pay extra. While I’ve heard great things about Strava, my husband and brother both use Map My Ride, and we share routes on this app. So that’s were I started.
When I go out, I turn MMR on, put my phone in my pocket and ride. Like my bike computer, MMR tracks my distance, time, average speed and calories. But it also maps where I’ve been, my elevation gain and split times. On some popular routes, it even rewards me with badges (hello, Queen of the Mountain).
I think it’s more accurate than my computer, so now I mostly use the computer for timing intervals and watching the clock.
Busy Mom Benefit:
MMR maintains a list of my workouts with all of this data. No more trying (and failing) to keep a log. It does it for me.
Get a Plan
When I started looking for apps, I hoped to find something similar to the running app “Couch to 5k,” but for a cycling century.
I couldn’t, so I searched the internet and found free, generic training plans based on miles per day, week and target pace.
I looked through a few of these, notably one available at Kanbike.org. Most of them provide daily and weekly mileage and steadily increase the weekly totals with a reduction during the last week before the ride. As a basic roadmap, they can point you in the right direction.
Busy Mom Benefit:
These plans are free and they help you plan your training each week.
Take Advantage of FasCat Cycling
Even better, as a registered Venus de Miles rider, you can use one of three basic training plans from FasCat Coaching and Performance Center in Boulder. FasCat is a Venus de Miles sponsor, and Nadia Sullivan is a FasCat coach.
If you requested training assistance when you registered for Venus de Miles, you should have received an email from her asking you if you’re a “beginner,” “intermediate” or “advanced” rider. Once you respond, you’ll get a link to your plan which you upload at TrainingPeaks.com.
A TrainingPeaks.com account is free and after you apply your FasCat plan to the calendar you’ll get daily emails telling you what to do.
Busy Mom Benefit:
The daily emails save time and make your training regimen seamless. No one is going to make you do what they suggest, but you no longer have to think about what to do. I love it (even though I don’t always do it).
In addition to providing these free plans to Venus de Miles riders, FasCat sells similar plans and offers personal training, bike fitting and more.
If you’re super busy and super-motivated to increase your skills and speed, I can totally see how having a coach would help. If nothing else, a live coach makes you accountable. Even better, a coach can design workouts for days when you can’t bike, are injured, or on vacation with no bike available.
Pedals will start turning in the Venus de Miles ride two months from today! That’s plenty of time to train. You don’t have to ride 100 miles either. There are also 33 and 67 mile options!
Use this code for a small discount in your registration fee: bccokristen
See you on the road!
- From Couch to Century, June 22, 2013.
© 2013, Kristen Lummis. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.