Find Your 2017 Lodestar Cycling Event
It is deep winter here in Central Indiana. It’s grey and cold — too cold even for the most hard-core cyclists — although some brave the wind, wet, and snow with their mountain or fat-tire bikes — combined with a significant investment in winter cycling apparel. (And kudos to you!) Most of us cobble together some sort of workout routine involving indoor cycling and jump outside on those few days when temperature, road, and light conditions permit.
Whatever works — go for it. Whether it’s a group indoor training program with coaches or CompuTrainers; spin classes in a health club; a great basement pain cave with superb video/music/animation; or a “smart” trainer connected to social media programs like Zwift — use whatever will get you to mid-March in reasonable shape. Many cyclists turn to cross-training during the winter months. They switch from cycling to trail running, to a weight-lifting regimen, or maybe to something like an intense Cross-Fit program to increase core-strength.
Of course, heading south with your bike might work. Tucson, Ft. Myers, or the Florida Keys works for many. Just remember to come back.
But the absolute best thing to make your winter plan successful is to commit now to entering in 2017 the most big-ass, bodacious, life-affirming ride or race of your life.
Our customers continually surprise and motivate us when they tell us about their riding events and plans for the year. Their ambition, creativity, and farsightedness are inspiring to us and drives them and us forward during the winter.
We have this year, for example, a group of customers planning a 3-week continental divide bikepack adventure ride. Dang it! I want to do that. They are even planning for and making their own bikepacking bags. We have customers committed to and training for big, hairy, exciting cycling races and events — sometimes even involving new cycling disciplines. Some are committing to team racing and a season-long series of mountain bike (www.Dinoseries.com) or criterium or asphalt road racing. Some are trying their first century asphalt ride (like the 3-State, Mountain Challenge in May). Some are choosing an outrageously tough event like Dirty Kanza 200 Gravel Ride, the Leadville 100 MTB Race, the 162 mile Ride Across INdiana (“RAIN”), or perhaps a long self-supported, time-limited “Brevet” (like 400 kilometers PLUS!) put on by the Indiana Randonneurs.
I do see a trend toward trying gravel road events done in a “Gran Fondo” timed format. Some of the best of these are in the Midwest. The granddaddy of these races is the Dirty Kanza 200 mile ride in the Flint Hills of Kansas (June 3). And locally we have a couple of extremely popular gravel races like the Zionsville Harvest 50 over Halloween weekend and the Gravel Grovel 100 km race in the Hoosier National Forest over Thanksgiving weekend. These long, timed gravel road events reduce the danger of peloton racing and bike-car interactions, but they call on your endurance and mental toughness — besides connecting you with a part of the countryside that you don’t see often.
If you need help finding your lodestar riding event for 2017, come in and talk with us. Or check out our Nebo Ridge shop website’s list of Upcoming Events, where we keep and edit a list of cycling events and rides that we think are stellar, and which may help you create your best year yet of cycling and fitness. I wish you luck. And ask me next time you see me, how my training for the 2017 Dirty Kanza 200 is coming. (This is the first year I’ve signed up for the 200 miler rather than the 100 miler.) Fear is a great motivator!