Long Rides and Beer

James Knott's beard

I’ve grown a beard to make riding in the winter more tolerable. This will mask my face until the end of February

It’s January and a lot of people are hibernating right now.  However, we are having one of those “warmest Januaries in recorded history” months and I’m trying to take advantage of it.  I had set a goal of riding outside at least once a week for the entire winter and so far 90% of my rides have been outdoors.  I wonder if my spin bike in the basement misses me?  I only had to resort to riding indoors one day when my son was sick and I couldn’t leave the house.

So, because it’s been so warm and I’ve been able to ride outside so much, I’ve also been on track, or ahead of schedule, for my mileage goals for the year.  My goal is to ride 5000 miles and run 500 miles.  That equates to 96 miles per week riding and 9.6 miles per week running or 416 miles per month riding and 42 miles per month running.  Right now I’m at 391 miles riding and 65 miles running with a few days to go in January.  I’m pumped because if I can hit my mileage when it’s cold and miserable, then crushing it on beautiful days should feel easy.

I’m hoping that once it gets a little nicer, I can put a few extra miles in the bank so that I can ease off when I taper at the peak of race season.

For the record, I don’t think that setting random mileage goals is the best way to get peak performance for racing.  But, it is an ATTAINABLE goal that helps to keep me motivated to ride and allows me to enjoy the sport more.  The true point of all this is stay healthy and have fun.  I enjoy competing, but racing all the time is also a good way to get burnt out.  I’ve been trying to do a lot of less intense riding so that I don’t feel like I’m burning my wick all the time.  I can do that August to October.  Right now is about fun challenges like finding new roads and trails and spending time riding with friends when the opportunity arises.

James Knott's base layer

My cold weather gear has gotten more use than ever this January, which led to a serious case of permafunk in my base layer. I’ve bought some special detergent to help get the smell out. Hopefully that works because I can barely stand to smell myself after a ride.

That leads me to my point, when you put the following factors in to play:

  1. The mileage goal
  2. Lower intensity
  3. Desire to explore and hang out with friends

It leads to one thing – the long ride.

Most training plans that I’ve read include a long ride (133-200 percent of event length) at least once a week.  For OMBC Expert-level races, that means 3-4 hours of saddle time.  For 100k and 6-hour races it can mean even more.  Since my A-race this year is the Mohican 100 and the TriState 6-Hour race series and Chestnut Ridge 6-Hour are also high on my list, I’m trying to build up my endurance so that 6 hours doesn’t seem so bad.  I’ve made it a goal to do a long ride at least once every two weeks.  My last one was just over 4 hours, but I’m building up to at least one 6-hour ride every two weeks.

And, when you consider it’s January, I’m way ahead of where I need to be.  Each ride so far has been on my singlespeed mountain bike with a 2:1 gear ratio.  This seems to work well for the flatlands around where I live.  I push myself on hills and include a few fartlek sprints here and there, but for the most part, I’m just rolling at a casual pace.

Long_Rides_Jan_2017 - 1 (1) Long_Rides_Jan_2017 - 2 (1)

The trails have been too sloppy to ride, so I have done almost no mountain bike riding this month.  Usually, my destination is randomly chosen by the wind direction.  I check the weather app right before my ride and figure out a route that will suit my needs.  I try to ride into the wind on my way out, so that I have a tailwind on the way back.  This makes the second half easier and makes it more likely that I will log more miles because of my positive mental state.

I’m enjoying the long rides.  I put on some podcasts or some music (lightly so that I can hear what’s going on around me)  from my iPhone and lose myself in my thoughts.  This is where I come up with a lot of the ideas for my articles on Quickdirt.  Just a relaxing cruise through Delaware County!

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately.  What have you been doing to get motivated?  What kind of workouts are you doing?  Zwift?  Trainer Road?  How much time are you outside?  What do you think your longest ride in January will be?

Breakaway Quickdirt Trek jersey

The almost final version of Breakaway Quickdirt Trek’s team jersey. I’m so pumped to wear this in 2017.

Breakaway Quickdirt Trek team bibs.

The final version of the Breakaway Quickdirt Trek team bibs. I’ve never worn bibs before, so we’ll see how I adjust to that. Hopefully it doesn’t reduce airflow through my chest hair during races. That could be detrimental to performance. 😉


And in reference to the other half of my title, Madtree Brewing Company has signed up to be a sponsor for the Breakaway Quickdirt Trek race team.  I couldn’t be more stoked.  I was already buying Madtree on a regular basis.  I’m a big fan.  Their beer, Psychopathy, was already a staple in my fridge.  I was looking through their line-up and I think that PSA is going to be my official beer for race season.  It’s a little bit lighter with a hop edge – perfect for depleted athletes who don’t want something too strong.

Madtree Brewing PSA

Madtree Brewing Company is supporting the Breakaway Quickdirt Trek team this year. They make some solid beer and I’m looking forward to drinking a couple Madtrees throughout the season.