Another week closer to November! Are you getting ready?

With a long three-day weekend,plenty of Iceman athletes were in the woods to enjoy some sun, warm temperatures, and a nice reprieve from being indoors. Spring is slowly turning into something like summer, and that means plenty of chances to rack up long days in the saddle and explore new places to ride. 

It’s also brought some changes to how we ride and who we ride with. Last week, northern Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula were given the green light to slowly re-open, and that prompted the League of Michigan Bicyclists to update their guidelines. In these areas,they advise:

– Group rides should be 10 people or less

– Practice social distancing when stopped; give at least 30 feet (10 yards) of space when riding in a line

– Don’t share water bottles or snacks – bring your own

– No snot rockets! If you have to blow your nose, use a disposable tissue and throw it in the trash

– Ride two abreast only with other members of your household

– Wear a mask whenever there’s a chance you’ll come into close contact with others, because masks are the best way to protect them if you have the

If you do choose to ride with a few friends, consider keeping it the same crew to prevent further spreading. 

So, what sort of training should you be focused on? With so many races kicked back to August or September, many riders have essentially restarted their base mile phase, opting for longer,less intense rides to rebuild a solid aerobic base. The key is to work backward from your first event and incorporate something like three weeks of base, a rest week, three weeks of longer tempo intervals (think 10-15 minutes at this point in the season), and then shorter, race-intensity efforts leading into the target event. 

It’s also not a bad idea to use the first race or two of the year as a way to experiment with how hard or much you ride going into a race, making small tweaks to your nutrition, and even with how aggressive you are early on in the race, just to see where you’re at physically. “Training through” some events can have a big impact on your overall fitness and set you up to hit your bigger targets in prime conditions. 

Of course, some folks are already firing on all cylinders. If that’s where you find yourself heading into June,work in some race-type efforts a day or two per week to stay sharp. Focus on certain Strava segments that might give you something to really work for a mimic that race-intensity that is so hard to duplicate out of competition. In Traverse City, we’ve seen riders hitting the Speed of Light route, an 11 mile lap on the Vasa Pathway, at full tilt, mimicking a 35-40 minute race effort on their own, using Strava Live Segments to chase their best time or even the KOM. 

Whatever you’re doing on the bike right now, the most important thing is to enjoy it. Go fast, go slow, ride long, ride short. We’re incredibly lucky to have a tool that keeps us fit and healthy at a time when health is newly appreciated. Make sure you make the right decision on riding solo or group rides based on local guidelines and what’s safest for you. As long as you’re pedaling, you’ll be happy you’re out there!

Checking In – Pros & Locals

Without spring races, it’s been a prolonged season of base miles. So, when is it time to sharpen things up?

With many races now scheduled for August, we’ve finally got a target to work backward from. A lot of our Iceman riders put their training on a bit of a pause the past month or two, pulling back from their normal efforts and going for big, fun rides when the weather allowed or, every now and again, getting their competitive blood flowing virtually on Zwift. 

We checked in with some locals and pros on how the pause changed their training, and how they’re looking to restart. TC rider and single track legend Dan Ellis, for one, let himself come off the gas and simply enjoyed as many miles as possible with his son, Grady. Grady is making the jump from Slush Cup to the full dance this fall, and has been chomping at the bit to get riding as the weather improves. “I think being able to just spend time with him in the woods has been really good for us. I don’t need to worry about fitness now, and that will sort of come as we get closer to normal, safe riding conditions,” Dan explained. 

For pros like last year’s winner,Alexey Vermeulen, there’s a bit of a different perspective. Alexey races for a living, and that means he needs to be in race-ready shape whenever someone says, “Go!”. He’s been balancing big base mile rides, Zwift races, and plenty of quality time with his dog, Willy, in his backpack. “Since corona has taken hold, my coach and I have taken a more flexible view on training which has allowed more adventure rides and Strava hunts,” he let us know. He’s looking to make his first start of the season at the rescheduled Dirty Kanza, currently slated for September 12. 

As spring weather finally arrives,it’s going to be easier to get back to more normality on the bike, offering a chance to check out our favorite trails and explore some new stuff, too. We’ve already been out in the Pere Marquette Forest looking at your course for 2020,and in just a few rides have unearthed a few neat ideas that may or may not seethe light of day. The intel we can share is that while 2019 was all about the climbers, this one is for the rouleurs. Less climbing, more speed, and one of the fastest finishes yet!