Training: Commuting Counts, Right?

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. --

Most of my miles, 6000-plus a year, come from commuting to and from work daily. The rest of my miles, an additional 2000 to 4000 come from training and racing endurance events.

In the fall/winter timeframe the commute is slow and steady. I’m focused on maintaining fitness and making sure I’m getting plenty of rest for the spring events. Typically March 1st is the start of any structured training miles. The weather starts to break and we get some days above freezing. In addition to the 160 commuting miles for the week I’ll add in a big Saturday, getting 60-100 miles in depending on route and weather.

At the end of March comes The Cannonball Run. This is a 160-mile training ride that includes a run south to the Cannon River Valley for some big climbs in and out of the river bluffs. Mid-April starts the race season with the Ragnarok 105, a 105-mile gravel road race with roughly 7000’ of climbing. It’s always interesting to see who has or has not been getting their base miles in. Ragnarok is a warm up for Trans Iowa.

Trans Iowa is a 320-mile gravel road race of biblical proportions. It typically takes place the last full weekend of April. Two weeks after Iowa is the stellar Almanzo 100, the second 100-mile Minnesota gravel race of the season. Between the spring events, the weekends are all rest time, unless of course the mountain bike trails have cleared up. Once the season is in swing my focus is on recovering after events, keeping fitness, and building speed.

No year is like the last. Each year I seem to get a little more focus and a slightly better understanding of how my body reacts to the stresses of racing and riding. If I have a focus event ahead of me, like the Tour Divide or the Trans Iowa, I make sure that my fitness and recovery is tailored for them. I’ve gone into events without a good amount of rest or preparedness. I can definitely tell when my head isn’t in the game and my body isn’t up to the challenge. Unfortunately it has taken a few poor performances to learn it.

My methods are a bit ad-hoc and in some ways unorthodox. I’ve always wanted to hire a professional coach (it would be worth more than any gear I could buy), but I’ve never committed to doing it. Mostly because I’m not sure I would be willing to follow their direction and advice. 


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

This post filed under topics: Tour Divide Trans Iowa

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Joe Meiser

Joe Meiser

I've had a lot of good luck and made a series of choices to be working for the brand and in the bike industry. In 2007 I signed up for the TransIowa just to see if I could complete it. I completed it and discovered a few things about myself in the process. Adventure cycling has been in my blood ever since.


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captain bob | August 27th, 2010

You’re a freak of nature Joe!  That’s the same miles I put on my car each year.  Pretty cool and amazing!

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