Living in Boulder full time, the thought of taking on such a task the second week of January has never been appealing. This year, it's much of the same, but I'm going to give it a try.
Since we just signed up last week, I'm not exactly prepared for this. I was very consistent over the fall, but with holiday travel, and unfavorable riding conditions in Boulder, I've not ridden much the past 6 weeks. I will need to be smart and attentive to survive this thing.
Here is the itinerary (click on the day to view route)
Total: 463 miles
Keys To Survival
Use the group
My first rule is to keep a lid on any sort of hard riding or racing, especially to the top of climbs. This is a lot more volume than I'm used to and I want to return home in one piece.
Keeping the intensity low doesn't mean I want to ride slow. I don't want to be out there for 7 hrs when I could have used the group to be home in 6. Within the group, I will need to keep my ego in check and not get stuck on the front for any long periods of time...especially in the first 2 days or the first half of each ride.
Always be safe and alert. I don't know the people I'm riding with and will need to always leave some extra space and stay focused...especially once I start to get tired.
I will constantly be eating and drinking. This will allow me to have the energy to get the most out of my fitness. You might find that during the summer you can get away under fueled, but now isn't that time. The intensity should be low enough that I'll be able to consume a lot of calories. I don't have any tricks with eating other than thinking about it...basically like you would in a race.
I also told Taylor that we need to make sure that beer isn't the first thing that hits our lips after each day is complete! We won't be living like monks, but we need to take the recovery serious.
More than my fitness, my biggest worry is comfort on the bike. What your bike feels like for 3 hrs is different than what it feels like for 6.
Many of you will notice that when you've come out of your winter and put in those first few long rides of the year, there is a break in period you go through. You'll find that the position you were able to ride comfortably for hours on end, seems a bit less comfortable even for short periods of time. But, as you find each year, after some time, the body adapts.
I'm not to that point yet, so I will be going through the beak in period during this camp. There are a few things I'll need to do in order to make this transition less painful.
Saddle discomfort: This is my main concern. I'm going to bring two totally different saddles that both agree with me. This way if I need to change things up, I have the option.
New shorts: I'll bring 4 pairs of gently used 51 SPEEDSHOP Castelli bibs. Old shorts can either be worn out or contain bacteria since most of us don't use hot water or the dryer to preserve the longevity of our kit.
Chamois cream: I'm going to use an ample supply of assos chamois cream and bag balm. I'll stick to what seems to be working best over the 4 days.
Riding style: Changing my posture and cadence on the bike will keep me from getting stiff and hopefully minimize most saddle discomfort. I'll ride in the drops, on the hoods and bar tops. I'll also alternate standing vs being seated with varying cadences
Tires: As I hate to stop and change a puncture, I typically use bomb proof (hardshell) tires. You rarely flat, but the are slow and uncomfortable. I'm not in a position to be pushing extra watts or dealing with a harsh ride, so I'm going to use Continental GP4000s (25) with latex tubes on Zipp 202 Carbon Clinchers. I'll run between 80-90 psi.
I'll bring my run and swim gear, but doing either will depend on my fatigue level. If I had to take a guess, I'll probably be pretty tired.
Here is the bike I'll be riding. I'm gong to be testing a Stages power meter, which seems to work for fine for me thus far (I'm fairly balanced right to left). I'm riding 170 cranks, compact 50-34 front chainring, and 11-28 in the rear.
This ride is going to be beautiful...I'll write a post camp summary about how I turn up.