Training is my least favorite portion of this experience. I absolutely loved picking out the gear for the ride, and I would have been happy to just stay at home and use it in my backyard. But reality prevails that I have to be physically ready for the ride, so here is what I did. I have read other riders blogs on this ride, and I know they are awesome riders. I will only have to attach fishing line to one of their bikes, and I will get this ride done.
Training began in February with about two rides a week of 40 miles. I had been riding before this for some time, so this wasn't as if I had been sitting in a chair for a year, and then went out and rode. I was doing one ride a week of 40 miles during the winter season. I picked up the riding distance and number of days until the first week of May when I did an organized century ride of 100 miles preceeded by two 40 mile rides earlier in the week. I added a day of riding after the century ride and proceeded to do three days in a row, and then the next week of four days in a row. Last week I started with a 74 mile ride on Saturday, 42 on Monday, 34 fast pace with a friend on Tuesday, 42 on Wednesday, and 90 on Friday. The rides all include climbing of some sort with the 90 mile ride including 5300 feet of climbing. Even with all this riding, I know I will still be at the backend of the group.
Observations: Chocolate milk does work great as a recovery drink.
Contact points with the bike need to be monitored: hands go numb, feet develop hotspots, and what can I say about the crotchal area. Solutions include constantly moving your hand position, move cleats back on shoes to relieve foot problems and invest in good insoles, and use chamois cream before each ride.
I have never done multiple days of riding in the past, only preparing for century rides, and your body does respond differently. It does eventually learn to recover in a day, but only after forcing it through some tough times. There have been good days on the bike, and bad days, and now with the Big Ride looming, I know that I just have to get through the bad days and keep going. I just have no idea how many bad days there will be. I don't know if I will ever be physically ready for the ride, but I can't wait to start and end this training period.