Sunday, February 16, 2014

Plans for 2014

One of the most enjoyable bits of the winter ‘off season’ is planning the following year’s rides and targets. In a turn of events, this year we are aiming for speed! We are still riding long distances and have reserved entries for two 1200km Grand Randonnees, but we aiming to complete them with a faster moving speed than similar rides we have previously done. We won’t necessarily be aiming to reduce total time than we have previously, as we may use the extra time for sleep!
This change of emphasis has had some interesting effects - firstly, the diet has started early. In the UK it was normal for us to put on some ‘winter plumage’ in the dark, cold winter months. Over here in California the weather rarely stops us riding, so there is really no excuse for the weight gain. Instead, we have started our annual reeling in of alcohol and ‘treats’ early with the aim of getting our weight down further than we have in previous years.
We have also started training; with a (sort of) training plan and everything! What us? TRAINING!?! At the moment, we have mostly just invested in all the modern toys, gadgets, training aids and are learning how to use them such as his & hers PowerTap cycle power meters.
We have even tried some non-randonneuring events, including a very low key 100 mile Time Trial (TT) last weekend, and a 10 mile TT this weekend. At the moment the times from these are acting as our baseline starting point. Hopefully we’ll see some improvement on them!

The mental shift is also interesting, as the first thing to do to improve speed is actually to aim to go faster. We rarely push hard for sustained periods on the longer rides, and historically there have been times where our aim has been to just keep moving. As the old audax/randonneuring saying goes “time moving equals miles”. It’s going to be interesting to see how this speed experiment works on the multi day rides, but it can only be helped by us practicing on the shorter rides first. By ensuring we are focusing on average speed rather than overall time on the long rides the goal is that it doesn’t dent our enjoyment of the sport, as it will allow us to spend time at the controls with other riders. We’ve never found it difficult to find people to keep us company on the road either, as tandems are always a popular choice for riders looking for a ‘tow’.

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