My Year in Cycling: 2016

In 2015 I joined a cycling group (OvCare) and did the Ride to Conquer Cancer, Vancouver to Seattle (see my post on that trip). It was a good year, and a decent introduction to more serious road cycling, after cycling a fair amount through my life. But at the end of last year, I didn’t have a Garmin or speed and cadence sensors; hadn’t been in a group with an experienced coach; and didn’t know what FTP was. I was cycling blind, just “bike riding” really.

That’s all changed; I worked pretty hard in 2016 and enjoyed every minute of it. Here’s my year in TrainingPeaks:

TrainingPeaks 2016

Highs

The Whistler GranFondo (Strava link) was the culmination of my group training with Paul Moffat‘s Velosophy group. It was slightly easier than I’d expected (or feared?), and I came in at about 4:33. Most of the ride went well; I sagged a bit in the last 10km or so, which I think was a combination of inadequate nutrition—I have to learn how to eat more on these long rides—and my seat (I’m trying different ones over the winter). I was well-prepared overall, and I suspect one of the things that really made a difference was that I didn’t drink any alcohol for ten days preceding the race. As a result of that experience and the TrainerRoad article “Is Alcohol the Reason You’re Not Getting Faster?” I cut down even further on drinking.

The Fraser Valley GranFondo (Strava link) was tough, but notable in that it was the first GranFondo I completed. I’ve written about my struggles on this ride here: see 2016 Fraser Valley GranFondo.

I bought a Wahoo KICKR early in the year and did a couple of FTP tests on it, but it wasn’t until October that I really started to utilize it. I’ve actually enjoyed the indoor rides, and I think it’s really making a difference in my form and endurance. Unfortunately, I had to take four weeks off as I strained my Achilles’ tendon a bit.

Lows

I’ve written about my crash in August and won’t add much here other than that I’ve pretty much fully recovered; I have a bit of a remnant, maybe scarring, and some slight discomfort if I lean too heavily on my right arm where I hit the pavement.

By the end of the TrainerRoad “Sweet Spot Base Mid-Volume I” training program, which I did through October and November, I had developed Achilles’ tendon issue. I went to physio and only did some light rides; over time it improved and actually prompted me to make some adjustments in my pedalling technique on the left side.

The other low point this year was the Triple Crown (Strava link). I was jet-lagged, trying to fight off a cold, and I got two flats. It is a tough enough ride as it is, and I expect it’ll go a lot better this year if I take it on.

Conclusion

What a difference a year makes: I’ve come a long way in just twelve months, I am very much looking forward to 2017. I’m considering which events to participate in; I may do the Fraser Valley again or perhaps the Okanagan one (my sister lives in Penticton). I am thinking that a fully-supported ride like Trek or Haute Route might be a great vacation. And I want to see how well I can do to Whistler: as close to four hours as I can.

I’d better stop writing and get on my trainer.

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