Where to next?

I feel like I’m at a crossroads. I’ve been pedalin’ steady for about a year now. Gradually getting stronger and stronger, and riding farther and farther. I’ve ridden more miles in this calendar year than I’ve ridden in my life, and I don’t want to stop. So many more rides to do, so many places to visit.

I’ve got a problem though. The rides I like to do are challenging. A century is cool, but the thought of a 400k or a 600k are what I dream of at night. A ride as epic as the Furnace Creek 508 has me up all night reading blogs of the finishers. I’m finding that I’m at a point where I need more guidance in terms of training. Is it possible to complete these epic rides at my fitness level? Yeah, I think so, but it would be very difficult. I’d prefer to show up and ride like I know I’m going to finish at a reasonable time. The less time I’m on the bike, the less chance of something going wrong. Less chance of injury etc.

So I need to increase my pace. I need to get stronger. But how? When I showed up for the Mt. Laguna Bicycle Classic I felt like I was at a race. The riders all had lightweight bikes, full kits and the legs to back it up. I felt like I was in over my head. In hindsight though, I don’t think I’m as far away as I felt that morning. I know I’ve been getting faster and stronger, but I just need a better plan.

I just bought the Cyclist’s Training Bible based on a friend’s recommendation. I haven’t started reading it thoroughly yet, but just thumbing through the pages it looks promising. I’m going to start using my iSport on a more regular basis. I’ll move it over to the Casseroll. It’s no Powertap, but it will give me some feedback and allow me to track and share my progress.

I got to chat with George Vargas, a 4 time 508 Finisher, at the end of Saturday’s ride and he gave me some tips to try. He had already shared some knowledge with me at Death Valley. Putting his tips into use on my commute paid off on Saturday. So I know that with some guidance, I can make vast improvements in just a little time. I just need some guidance.

I’m not alone in this. Marcus from Ride & Ruckus is feeling the same.

So the question is this. Do I settle for rides of 100 miles or so, or do I keep going for epic rides, like the Paris-Brest-Paris? If you read this blog you probably already know the answer. Anyone know of a good coach?