As is customary, I’ve opened my big mouth and am faced with the proverbial “put up or shut up”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one to trash talk and overstate my abilities. However, I am one that is always challenging others to accomplish things they think are bigger than themselves; to push past their own perceived limits and discover things about themselves they never knew. Sounds all good so far, but I have a basic life philosophy that tends to get me in trouble. To wit, I believe that whatever you teach, you should experience first. Consequently, all my challenges to others end up first putting me to the test.
Way back in January when our annual Winter Training Program kicked off, each participant was required to have a goal to train for. Goals ranged from doing a 50 mile charity ride to having 2 separate peaks during the race season. For me however, having just finished filming the Pittsburgh Dirty Dozen as a charity project for Livestrong, and watching some of the strongest riders I know struggle just to finish, that event seemed to be the logical choice. So I said it, I would train to complete – NOT COMPETE – in the Pittsburgh Dirty Dozen Race.
Starting this weekend, September 4th, I will have exactly 12 weeks to prepare for The Pittsburgh Dirty Dozen. I’m going to post my training plan (both Heart Zones® as well as Power Training), and pre-ride schedule on this blog for others in the Pittsburgh area who would like to train along with me. The training plan will provide some structure to follow even though we will train in different areas. Every 2 weeks I will take on at least 2 (or more) of the 13 climbs as part of the overall training plan as well. Exact times and dates will also be posted here so riders who want to share the pain can join me if they like.
Point of fact is: this IS a race. Point of reality is: only about 10 to 15 of the 180 riders that rode last year were strong enough to garner any points at all. The format of this “race” is that the entire field is together at the bottom of every hill, and then the organizer, Danny Chew blows the whistle (by the way, someone needs to buy him a new whistle this year, it was sketchy at best last year), and the first 5 riders to the top get points.
While a few supermen and wonder women surge to the top like they have hidden motors in their bikes, the rest of the field climb at varying speeds, with an inevitable group on every hill pushing their way if they can’t maintain at least 4 to 5 mph. In surveying the group last year, it was clear that a lot of the field were experienced amateur racers, and that this was not bringing out the average casual rider. So when I say people were pushing, and there are always people pushing, it does not mean they were weak or inexperienced riders.
The graphic above is from the training DVD we created (Global Ride Productions) from last year’s race. It is slated to be released in 2 to 3 weeks, just in time to mix up some great indoor cycling with the outdoor application. Stay tuned, as I will endeavor to keep this updated once per week as we head towards this epic event.