Long Slow Distance, that is.
I've been thinking about starting a weekly endurance-training series for mountain bikers looking to get into long-distance and/or 24-hour racing and finally went ahead and sent a feeler out to the BBTC Listserve. I wasn't expecting much of a reply. Maybe a few people telling me nobody would be interested, a few others asking if there would be any dirt jumps on the rides, and maybe, just maybe, a couple people would say they were interested.
I got nearly a dozen replies from folks who are interested and I can't believe it. Of course, it's easy to say in November that you want to start doing long-distance rides in January. It's a lot harder to drag your ass out the door on a cold January morning when the sleet is coming down and you know that you're going to be riding a lot of fireroad. We'll see how things turn out, but right now I'm cautiously optimistic that I won't be riding alone.
Anyway, for those not on the BBTC Listserve, but who live in western Washington and want some info, here it is. I'm going to be leading a series of training rides to help increase speed and endurance throughout the year next year. The goal is to start off a bit on the short side and not too fast so as to not scare anyone off, but ultimately ramp up the distance and pace so that people will feel confident in tackling 100-mile rides and/or perhaps an overnight epic on the flanks of a volcano. Hint, hint. Since endurance riding isn't just about saddle time, I'm hoping to help people work out their nutrition and equipment strategies.
Many of the rides, at least in the winter, will start and finish in the Snoqualmie area although I'm going to try to mix in a few that start elsewhere so the same folks don't always get stuck driving furthest. I anticipate most of the early rides will be in the realm of 25 to 40 miles and will rely on the SVT and Tolt Pipeline Trails to connect different sections of singletrack. There is also a forest road route that can be utilized to pedal from Fall City to Index that I want to investigate. And, of course, I want to pedal onto the ferries at Anacortes and ride to Moran State Park on Orcas Island for a lengthy car-free day trip.
Those are to just get us through the winter and early spring. I have other ideas too (like the Tiger Mountain Peak Bagger ride I did last winter with Craig Beaver) but they won't vary too much until the snow melts and the high country opens up once again.
So, if you're in the western Washington area and eyeing some of the longer distance races or, perhaps, want to get some quality saddle-time in for an upcoming multi-day bicycle tour, then shoot me an email and I'll keep you updated. I expect to start the series off in early to mid January and it will be every Saturday. You'll find the rides posted on the BBTC calendar at www.bbtc.org. See you out there.
PS: Dress warm.