NOTE -- We had a request by a reader to hear about some of the Training that some of the Salsa Crew and our sponsored riders partake in. They will be coming throughout the next couple weeks. --
ONE OTHER NOTE -- Danielle, who wrote this post, and another of our sponsored rider's, Tim Ek, will be conducting a FREE endurance racing clinic this Friday evening as the Salsa Two-Four gets underway here at Afton Alps in Hastings, Minnesota. There will be a riding portion, followed by a discussion/Q&A session.--
I do a variety of races throughout the summer, and my training varies depending on what's next on the schedule. I have an awesome coach (Lynda Wallenfels) who is an accomplished endurance racer, and she keeps me on track throughout the season.
Winter is a great time for me to work on building strength, so my coach has me doing intervals a few times a week. I usually do these on the trainer so that I don't have to worry about bad road conditions etc. The workouts are usually pretty short (under 2 hours) but so hard that I'm usually one minute away from falling off the trainer by the time that they are done. However, it's also really important to do some long rides outside each week. Michigan has a great cycling community and it's usually pretty easy to find people to ride outside with and we mostly ride at an endurance pace. Usually it's hard to ride actual snow covered trail in the winter, which is a shame. I feel like a Mukluk would enhance my winter training 100%!!!
Once winter breaks, I say good-bye to the trainer for good and do both intervals and long rides outside. There are a few hundred milers early in the season that I like to do, so I usually do a few longer races beforehand as training. For example, this season I did a four-hour marathon race in Arizona in February, then two 65-mile gravel road races in March and April. Training races are a great way to dial in race nutrition and pacing.
Summer is all about racing and recovering. This is when all of the hard training that I did over the winter and spring pays off. I still ride every day, but my training becomes very specific to what race is next. For instance, right now I have a 24-hour race coming up next weekend (the Salsa Two-Four). So this week I'm doing a few mountain bike rides in the dark to practice my night riding skills.
Another important aspect of training (especially during the race season) is recovering right. Too often it's really tempting to start training immediately after a race. But that can be detrimental to your fitness if your muscles aren't fully recovered from the heavy stress load you just put them under. During recovery days I try to get a little extra sleep, use the foam roller, and stretch!
Once fall hits most of my endurance races are done for the season. It's a good time to mix things up a bit, and I do as many cross races as possible just for fun. My training becomes a little less structured and my ride lengths depend on what I feel like doing. Once the snow starts falling my coach usually has me take a few weeks almost completely off and then it's time to start training for next year!
Although my training changes depending on the time of year, there is one constant that never changes. Having a strong core is very important, especially for endurance athletes. A good book to follow for core exercises is Core Performance: Endurance by Mark Verstegen. I hope this info helps! It works for me.
We've sponsored the Salsa Two-Four In Support Of MORC for the last 3 years. This year's event has really taken a step forward to becoming the bike, art, and music festival that we'd hoped it would eventually become. Massive props to Amanda from MORC for her work on this event. MORC runs it. Salsa sponsors it.
Here is some of what is going on: FREE endurance racing clinic, Friday Night DH Race, 24-Hour Racing, 8-Hour Racing, Bike Games With Salsa, Homemade Salsa Competition & Tasting, Artists Displaying & Selling Bike-Related Art, Live Music, Food, Bonfires, Camping...
And here is the kicker...aside from the racing, this is a FREE event! C'mon out and take part even if you aren't racing! For more info visit Salsa Two-Four
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These are a few of my favorite things: Mountain biking, good coffee, good food, and hanging out with my husband, family and adopted greyhound. It really doesn't take much to make me happy. Of course, winning a race every now and then is good too! www.daniellemusto.blogspot.com