I’ve been riding most days now for a few weeks, after a hectic October/November travel and work schedule, with 7-10 day gaps in riding several times.
My data based on the 2011/2012 season tells me that a high personal performance at the Everest Challenge* requires a 10-month training schedule incorporating the following:
- 3-4 month aerobic baseline of 90-120 minute daily rides, though not without some harder efforts.
- Incorporate four double century rides to “shock” the body into a new level of endurance adaptation: Death Valley Double (now canceled but might self support), Solvang Spring Double, Devil Mountain Double, Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge.
- Extra strength and altitude adaptation in July: Trek to the Summit of White Mountain Peak.
- Target weight: 175 by mid-February, 170 by early June, 168 by mid August. Currently at 180 pounds, which is a 2.5 year high point. Coming down though.
* No word yet on a 2014 Everest Challenge. I am assuming it will occur, and I hope it will return to its late September date.
What has worked for me.
- Get a DEXA scan if you can, as a baseline. It tells you how much muscle and fat and bone you have, which helps set realistic goals and timing.
- Ride every day, or at least 6 of 7 days a week. That might mean a 1/2 or 1/3 easy ride for recovery—but get the body used to dealing with the constant riding. It also helps all the connective tissues get blood flow and regular stress to become stronger.
- Get enough sleep. I’m terrible at this due to a heavy work schedule, but I notice that it helps.
- Get a bike fit if you are unsure about your setup. In the winter, not in March or April—the body needs months to adjust if significant changes are made, and you don’t want to do that when highly fit (risk of injury).