I've been going on for a while about CRMBT, and before that, Tour de Kota. I looked back at my posts for the last 3 months+, and all I've written about, with the exception of my family reunion in July, is getting ready for, riding, and remembering bike tours I've done. Sometimes I think about other bike tours too.
For me to be able to ride a multi-day tour, especially through the Rocky Mountains, I need to train. I can't really simulate the climbing. I can find some stretches of similar gradient, but nothing that goes on for 4, 8, or 15 miles! I can't simulate the altitude either, but with proper hydration and a little extra time for acclimation pre-tour, I haven't had any problems there. What I can do to train is ride. Ride in the wind, ride a lot of miles, get my legs used to pedaling for hours.
In years past I didn't do a very good job of maintaining the fitness I achieved from preparing for and riding through the summer months. I would slow down in the fall, and as the weather worsened, my riding gound to a halt. To exacerbate the situation I would make poor choices with my diet and end up gaining too much weight. Every spring I would find myself trying to watch what I eat and ride as much as I could with the immediate goal of shedding some pounds to make the riding easier.
As summer wore on I would try to increase the miles, and decrease the weight so I would be better prepared to climbs mountains, and have less of me to drag up them. I would set some kind of goal for the weight I wanted to achieve by August, and usually come close to meeting it. Perhaps my goal was too modest.
A couple years ago my doctor "threatened" to put me on medication for my cholesterol if I didn't get it under control. I attended a "healthy heart" class and had a dietician help me know what to look for on labels, make me aware of good fats and bad fats, and give me a selection of things to eat that would help, or not hurt, in my attempt to lower my cholesterol. Not "dieting", but just making better choices for meals and snacks helped me lose quite a bit of extra weight, and maybe more importantly, make it through last winter without gaining weight.
Between controlling my weight and being able to keep riding through the mild winter, I think this summer was the best "riding shape" I've ever been in. I'm still short, stocky, and slow, but for me, I did pretty good. So now I'm trying to keep myself motivated to keep the riding going through the winter. The diet choices have become second nature. I allow myself treats, but stay away from highly processed junk most of the time. But the weather has to cooperate to keep me on the road all year. I hate the trainer and can only handle about an hour, even with a dvd to watch.
With the 2013 CRMBT route already announced, and my application in to take advantage of the early-bird discount, I'm already day-dreaming of riding in the mountains again. In the meantime, I'm enjoying cool mornings and warm afternoons to get in three or four rides a week. Yesterday Roger and I rode just a little more than 50 miles, and still made it home in time to watch college football all afternoon.
I'll take my camera with me and see if I can find anything interesting to share of my rides through eastern Kansas over the next few months. I encourage everyone to get outside and do something. If you like to ride, get on you bike and pedal. And, if you love to ride, I would encourage you to try a week-long tour. As someone I met in Colorado put it: eat, sleep, ride, repeat. It's a wonderful way to spend a week, and see a part of the place where you live, or another place. And if you can make it to the mountains, come ride CRMBT!