Friday, August 19, 2011

Banks-Vernonia Trail

I'm planning to ride a nearby 21-mile trail -- -- known as the "Banks Vernonia Trail" tomorrow. I'll ride it from one end to the other and back again. The idea is that if I like it, I'll simply do that twice on my birthday.

If the terrain checks out as expected, it will be basically uphill going out, and downhill coming back. Everything but one brief dip is less than 5 degrees. The dip, apparently a fraction of a mile, includes portions that are 11 degrees. This occurs about 12 miles from the start.

To train, I propose riding it once a week every week until my birthday. The first week I'd ride one "loop" (all the way out and back) and then a partial loop of, say, 5 miles. More if I feel like it. The second week I'd stretch that second loop to the 12-mile spot where the steep portion is. The third week I'd go the entire way, not pushing myself, but timing myself, ending up going a total of 84 miles. The fourth week I'd do the same, working consciously to save myself for the second half. By this time I should have the feel of the trail enough to be able to gauge my effort somewhat. I would go as fast as I could on the final lap.

That would leave me two or three more weeks to simply ride it again and see how I do.

What I like about this plan is that it would simplify my training routine, which has become a bit of a bother, recently, especially since I don't know what I'm doing. I've been spending a lot of time analyzing different strategies. Riding once a week is simple. Besides -- and this is important -- I seem to do best with long, long recovery periods. So I could pretty well count on being rested for each ride. Which definitely has not been a constant in recent weeks.

The trail is reputed to be clogged with kids, bikes, pedestrians, and horses on weekends, so my rides should be during the week. (Tomorrow is an exception, but (a) I'm going to start early, before the crowd; (b) I'm only doing one loop; and (c) if I run into congestion it won't matter much, because I'm making no attempt to time myself.) After tomorrow's ride, I'd plan to ride during a weekday, preferably Wednesday.

Besides the long ride, I'd plan to get on my bike once or twice a week for short and leisurely rides, just to keep things moving.

This plan looks very attractive to me at this point. Criticism would be much appreciated.

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