Training for a dummy

No-0ne has ever accused me of being overly cautious when it comes to my hobbies.  I started out doing stupid things very early in life on my power wheels police motorcycle at the age of 4 or 5…which ended in me getting a nice scalding for riding out in the street.  Moving on to BMX and freestyle bikes, Mountain bikes,  racing 4 wheelers, playing with molten metal, having kids, more mountain bikes and now the latest craze… stupid long gravel grinders.

It started out as just a couple long group rides and Cedar Cross last year, you can read Jim here, and the Team-Virtus report here; this was well before our blog.  Last year in June, while a bunch of my friends were out in Kansas racing, Jessica and I were checking facebook and listening to local radio stations, somehow I got the Dirty Kanza 200 bug.  I decided I would give it a run for 2013, and Jessica agreed that it is stupid.


I’m not the only one who needs this.

After our Monster ride last October, I took a little time off from riding.  When I started thinking of training for DK…I decided that I should start around the end of December or beginning of January, which I did.  This would give me plenty of time to train properly for the 200 miles of Kansas gravel roads.

It was right around the time I started riding again that we also decided to add a race into the schedule.  The wonderfully excruciating race called The Ogre.  This is a 150 mile gravel race in the Lake of the Ozarks area.  If you are not familiar with this area…I’ll sum it up for you…if you are not climbing, you are probably descending.  This race is early…and probably going to be the toughest race of the year.  This was added to our schedule thinking that a team race would be a 75 mile relay between Jim and I, which is not the case.  Each team member starts and finishes together and completes the entire event.  Clearly more communication was needed before we registered.  It’s too late now… we are registered and fully committed to possibly dying somewhere around the LOZ.


It will be easy to find us out on the course, just look for the circling buzzards.

Since the weather has been pretty good this year (minus the last couple weeks of snow and rain), I have only had a handful of training rides indoors.  I’ve done two spin classes at the gym, and a few rides on the trainer, other than that I’ve been outdoors, which is how I like it.

It’s really hard to transition from riding outdoors to an indoor trainer.  It’s in my dark unfinished basement, and the thought of it is just dreadful.  To me though, it’s a necessary evil if I want to give myself even a slight chance of finishing these damn races I’ve signed up for.

Reasons for hating the stationary trainer:

1.  I’m indoors

2.  I am not outside

4.  It’s like riding your bike, only not really.

5.  Hard to stay on there when the couch is so close.

There are some upsides to having the bike clamped in the trainer:

1.  No weather

2.  workouts are repeatable

3.  It’s easy to do intervals.

4.  If my mind wonders off, no ditches or cars to take me out.

5.  uhhhh…I think that’s all I got.

So my couple rides on the trainer before today were basically figuring out how to keep occupied for the length of the workout.  I tried netflix movies and concerts…no good.  I tried just putting in a movie…no good.  I just get bored really quick.

Today I left the TV off and just put my headphones on to see if I could just listen to music and make it through a workout.  Well, something miraculous happened…I had a great “ride”.  I also had a clear head to think and pay attention to what I was doing.  Never mind what I actually did during the workout (it was awesome).  I found the time to ponder on the idea of what is a proper warm up for training, racing or just riding.

Usually, personal trainers, aka Google,  will tell you that a warm up is an essential part of the workout. There is also supposed to be a cool down period…but who does this really?  I have found information on warm ups stating that it can be as little as a 5 minute walk on a treadmill, up to 20 minutes of sport specific work, almost like a workout before the workout.

Throughout the last year or so of riding and racing, I have concluded no matter what I do, my warm up time is no less than 35-45 minutes of fairly intense exercise.  When I do a spin class, during the first 25-30 minutes of the class…I start to question why the hell I do this stuff, and wonder if I am having a heart attack.  I’m out of breath, panting, sweating buckets, heart rate is through the roof and I my sinuses clear themselves without warning.  I got the same feeling at the mountain bike races I’ve done.  After that first 1/2 hour, I start to work into a pace, my heart rate slows down, so does my breathing.  I start to pick up speed with less effort, feeling like I could keep going all day.  That’s usually when the class is over, or in case of the mtb races, my speed didn’t increase, but I survived the race without a heart attack.

So, for the workouts,  I wonder where the real benefit is.  Is it during that first part of the workout when I feel like I’m going to pass out, or is it after I settle down?

Now for the real reason I wrote this….what are everyone else’s thoughts on warm up necessity, length and intensity.  Does anyone else feel like crap this first 45 minutes of a run or ride.   Is there something I can do to help shorten the warm up time?  Should I hammer it right out of the gate to get it out of the way?  I’ve kinda tried that at the show me state last year..didn’t seem to help much.  Is there any tricks…or should I just deal with it.  This is also the first time I’ve actually trained myself to compete in an event.  Prior to this I just rode my bike and if I finished the ride I was happy.


The website says this is the “compact” warm up station. I wonder if it will fit in the van?

Please leave comments below….I’m interested in hearing what your thoughts are.


3 thoughts on “Training for a dummy

  1. Listening to music is AWESOME! I pop the headphones on and before I know it an hour and a half has passed. When I watch a movie, I find myself constantly checking the time or my phone and the time seems to crawl.

    Sometimes when I ride on the road it takes me a long time to feel good. Since I am dumb and try and ride with the “fast” guys my heart rate is jacked almost the whole time, but I find that I always feel the best toward the end of the ride. I never get a proper warm-up in, so maybe that would help. When I am at the gym I usually run at least a half mile to get a little sweat started. The same goes when I am on the trainer. I usually spin in the small chain ring for at least 10 minutes till I can feel that sweat start. Then I feel that I can put the hammer down.

    If you do a sufferfest video, they will give you a good 5-10 minute warmup period before they have you drop the hammer and suffer.

    Others I have talked to say it takes them a good 30 minutes to feel warmed up. Hell, pros put in an hour or more before a race. To me that is way excessive, but I am sure there is some sort of science behind that.

    So I would think that you should at least get the blood flowing before you drop the hammer. Same goes for a cool down also. I always try to ride an extra 10 minutes, spinning freely before I end a trainer ride.

    Hope this helps..

  2. I watch TV series (what’s the plural of “Series”?) on netflix and leave it on continuous play. I have found, that like music, if I can not perceive the ending (“This is a 2 hour movie.”) then I can watch it, get into it, and forget I am working out. I have watched the entire series of Son’s of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, Breaking bad, and more. LOL.

    I too hate training inside though and one of my common results is to push really hard as if pushing harder for shorter is the same as going longer and slower. Right now, I know this makes no sense, but when I get 20-30 minutes into a workout it somehow becomes the obvious thing to do.

    My “warm-up period” varies depending on what I am training for/on. If I am training for a 5k, it is about a mile. If I am training for a half-marathon it is about 3 miles. If I am in spin class, it’s about 20 minutes. On an outdoor ride, it’s about 5-6 miles.

    I completely agree with you on indoor/outdoor. I absolutely HATE and DESPISE indoor workouts. They are truly WORKouts. Outdoor workouts on the other hand are just stress relief and training.

  3. I almost always feel like crap when I’m mountain biking, so where the warm-up period meets the “man, I need to ride more” reality I’m not sure. In cx races, usually the first lap was the worst, so maybe 1.5-2 mi on bike?

    In running, the first mile is normally terrible and then things improve for a while.

    I’ve been watching tv/movies during my trainer rides. This doesn’t usually get in the way of riding intervals or stuff like that (I’d like to pretend I’m being sneaky about my training methods, but the reality is that I’m clueless). This weekend I read a book for most of a 2:45 ride. It helped pass the time but was really only conducive to an easy pace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s