Best Bets

Bikin’ Mike’s Best Bets! gt-hhh4a-HHH2007start1page1-img3

If you are looking for a bike ride, these are rides that we know about and/or have ridden in. This year we have taken the rides leading up to the HHH and designated them as “The Road to the Hotter’N Hell” (Part 1 of our Best Bets List).  This series is actually a simple training plan for people to use as they prepare for the HHH. At each ride, we have designated a target distance for you to ride, depending upon your goal at the HHH. Part 2 of our Best Bets List includes the rides after August. Let’s ride!

Best Bets Part 1

As my old Uncle Bob used to say, “There’s more than one way to get to 4”. When it comes to the HHH, there’s more than one way to get ready. This year, we’ve developed a training plan that you can use as you prepare for the 50, 62 or 100 mile route. It sticks with the basics and provides lots of room for taking a weekend off. Check it out and join me on the Road to Hotter’N Hell.

Let’s Start With Saturday Rides

Most people have a full schedule of work, chores and family during the week. Let’s face it. It’s hard to find time during the week to get out and ride a lot. So, let’s build up some regular riding by using the organized bike rides in our area. They do the work of planning the route and putting support in place. All you do is show up and ride. Each Saturday, you’ll have a route distance to ride to achieve your target distance at the HHH. These distances start small and build up over time without wearing you out. The idea is to build your fitness over time without depleting your fitness along the way.

We’ll add some other components to the plan, but first look over the organized rides listed. Check off the ones you plan to ride and circle the planned distance.

Our #1 suggestion – Cross the Finish Line with money in the bank!

Target Distances

Designated Rides (list subject to change):                  100        62           50                                         Website Links

March 16             Beauty & The Beast                             46           34           24

April 6                   Ark-La-Tex Challenge                         46            35          22

April 6                   Ride Ataxia                                                49           24           24

April 6                   Smokin’ Spokes                                       57           27           27

April 13                 Lancaster Country Ride                   42           24           24

April 20                 Tour de Cypress                                    52           45           30

April 27                 Muenster Metric                                  40           40           22

May 4                    Shiner GASP                                             50           50           25

May 11                 Ride for Heroes                                      58           39           23

May 18                 Bosque Tour de Norway                   60           40           20

May 25                 Honey Tour                                               67           46           30

June 1                   Rodeo Ride                                               65           42           20

June 1                   Possum Pedal                                          51           37           20

June 8                   Tour de Agua                                            66           41           25

June 8                   Collin Classic                                           62            40           20

June 8                    Fire Ant Tour                                           62           50           32

June 15                 Tour de Italia                                           63           50           40

June 22                 Wild Pig Pedal                                       60            45           25

July 13                  Peach Pedal                                             61           39           39

July 20                  Tour de Paris                                          66           57           35

July 27                   Goatneck                                                 70           41           41

August 3               Blazin’ Saddle 75                                 62/75    40           40

August 10            Red River Rally                                    80           42           42

August 24            Hotter ‘N Hell                                      100         62           50

Suggestion: use the spring rides to build up to about 2/3 of your target distance. Stay steady with that distance as the heat of the summer builds up. This will help you acclimate to the heat. Then, just a few weeks before the H’NH, add in one or two rides between the 2/3 and full distance to “ramp up” for the big day.

The Road to the Hotter’n Hell – Part 2

Best Bets continues below

Weekday Saddle Time

When getting ready for a long distance bike ride, once a week may help you survive, but you won’t have as much fun as you will when you are better prepared. This is where weekday saddle time comes in. It doesn’t have to be much. One or two rides each week of 1 to 2 hours in length will make a big difference. For best results, these rides should not be all out race pace nor should they be casual and easy. One ride should be a moderate pace (you can talk, whistle or sing) as you breathe through your nose. The other ride should be a little quicker (you can speak in sentences, not paragraphs) as you are breathing harder through your mouth. This mix of pace also helps you get used to working harder in the heat.

Heat? Why Ride In The Heat?

Please don’t avoid the heat as you prepare for this ride. Yes, we got lucky last year, but more often than not this is one HOT ride. We spend most of our time in controlled environments at 72 degrees. Home, car, work, restaurants, shops, school – you get the idea. So, if we are on the bike 10 hours each week, that leaves 158 hours when we were in a cooler environment. For best results, make sure that all your training is in daylight hours and as much as possible you are getting out in the heat.

With athletic activities in the heat, it is also a good idea to stay hydrated, fueled, properly clothed and using sun screen.

So You Want To Get Faster?

We’ve talked about Step 1 – longer, graduated distance rides as you get ready for the HHH. Then we talked about adding one or two rides during the week to improve your chances of success and increase the opportunity to enjoy the ride. Next up, we talked about how any effort to prepare for the HHH should include some training activities in the heat.  Now, we’ll look at the desire many riders share – to get faster.

In order to get faster, you have to get stronger. Getting stronger takes focused effort. It doesn’t just happen. If you are time challenged, the easiest way to work on this goal is to add some high intensity intervals. Hill repeats and/or  wind sprints (outdoors) and/or training on an indoor trainer (the new smart trainers provide lots of options). These efforts should challenge your breathing AND your heart rate, as well as your legs. You can find lots of interval training ideas online and in a variety of books, including Train Smart.

Another way to work on speed is to take one of those weekday, one hour rides and turn it into a time trial type pace. Once you get warmed up, work up to the highest pace that you can sustain for one hour. Stay as steady as possible at that pace. If you are outside on the road, you’ll need to stop for traffic, stop signs and traffic lights. NO POBLEM. Use that traffic stop as an opportunity for a sprint style takeoff (start in a low gear, as you accelerate your leg speed to 100rpm, add another gear in back, repeat until you reach your desired gear/speed). This is a great technique that is both legal and effective.

Train Smart

Use these easy steps to build an intelligent training plan. Start with the base of graduated distance rides. Add on some weekly saddle time. Sprinkle in a few high intensity efforts along the way. Finally, make sure you are getting in regular training time in the heat. It really does get very hot in Wichita Falls in August. Need more information? Check out my two books. Train Smart and Ride Smart.

Let’s Ride

If you still want more ideas on how to prepare for the HHH, look for me out on the road. I’ll be attending many of these rides as I prepare for the 62 mile distance. I’ll be pulling “The Blaster” and sharing some energetic music with the other riders on the road. I’d be happy to share some ideas and tips with you, or simply share some miles on the road. It’s my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning.

Best Bets Part 2 –  Fall Cycling

September 21                 Cotton Patch Challenge           Greenville

September 21                 Wild West                                          Waco

September 28                 Autumn in Bonham                       Bonham

October 5                         CareFlite Paluxy Pedal                Glen Rose

October 12                      North Texas Bicycle Rally          Trophy Club

October 19                     Tour de Cure                                      Fort Worth

October 19                     Marfa 100                                           Marfa

October 26                     Trick It Up Ride                                 Farmersville

November 2                   Dallas Bike Ride                               Dallas

Welcome and hello everybody. My name is Mike, I work and I play and I ride a bike! For nearly four decades I have been devoted to building a healthier community through the promotion of cycling as the ultimate hobby and recreational pastime. LEARN – TRAIN – RIDE – A fitness educator since 1974, I began coaching cyclists in 1987 and opened our Training Center in 2000. I love everything about cycling, from the feelings I get during a great indoor workout or outdoor ride, to the people I train and meet while riding in rallies and rides throughout North Texas and other parts of the United States.