I've started a series of blog posts over at Wired.com called Bike Geek -- I'll be charting my progress in a cycling training regimen designed to get me ready to race this fall. To read all the posts, you can go to the Bike Geek home page. I'll also try and remember to post links to individual posts here. Here's the start of the first entry:
I used to be a pretty good bike racer. Not a world beater, but competitive at a state-wide level. But that was many years ago. Since then, things like a job and a wife and two kids have cut into my cycling hobby. I used to ride 300 miles a week. Now, I'm lucky to ride a third of that.
But last winter, after over 15 years away from competitive cycling, I tried a cyclocross race. Cross, a melding of road racing and off road racing, is kind of like steeplechase on a bike. You ride, but you also have to carry your bike up steep climbs and over unrideable obstacles. It's kind of absurd, really hard, and an insane amount of fun. One race, and I was hooked.
I decided that I wanted to race cyclocross for the 2008-09 season, and I wanted to be competitive. But with the aforementioned job and family commitments, my time is limited. That means that every moment of training that I do has to be very, very focused on exactly the kind of fitness I need to race; I just don't have any time to waste.
When I raced before, heart rate monitors were just entering the mainstream. Today, the advent of power meters which measure exactly how much work you're doing on your bike, combined with GPS and heart rate, can provide an incredibly detailed portrait of your workouts. In combination with fitness testing, this lets you target your weaknesses exactly, and spend all your time doing exactly what you need to do to improve quickly.
So here's the challenge I've set myself. By the start of cyclocross season in September, I want to be ready to be competitive.