So it is the middle of November; race season is predominantly over until April. At this time of the year I ride more for pleasure while trying to maintain a decent fitness level and keep the fat off. I try to keep under 10% body fat at this time of year, and get down to 5% for race season.
Ideally, I would ride twice a day if life would allow it. Generally, I try to get in at least 3 -5 rides per week. Most rides tend to be approximately 25 kms. I have a road bike on a trainer at this time of year, for days that work, family, or weather don't allow me to get out. I resisted getting a road bike until this spring when consistently wet weather made the trails unrideable for extended periods. This turned out be the best thing for my endurance!! So during spring and summer, I try and add two road rides per week to my training schedule. And I try to get a weight work out in a couple of times a week to maintain muscle mass, tone, and to maintain a strong core. Finally I play hockey once a week. Can't give up the hockey; as a staunch prairie Canadian it's in my blood. Been playing since I was 6 years old.
I am often asked, how do I find the time for all this?? It helps that I am self employed and, for the most part, have some control over my work hours. I also have a very supportive spouse who understands my passion for this sport, and has been witness to my dedication and improvement to it in the last 3 years. My kids are all over 18 years old and independent. We have a tremendous amount of local trails in the area (more fodder for a future post). The truth is, you set your priorities, and do what you have to do to achieve them. And I am at the point in my life where I can take the time and effort to make mastering this sport a goal. Truly, if the MTB companies were smart, they would direct way more of their marketing efforts and dollars towards my age category.
As far as nutrition goes I generally try to maintain a ketogenic diet (let's see if this creates any controversy!), and try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. I will include carbs in my diet on race days, in my pre-race meals, during the race, and in my recovery meal. My race day meals are carefully measured, based on my experience with experimenting and results. Also during particular taxing work outs where I feel my energy levels waning I will toss back a pack of Sharkies Organic Energy Sports Chews; they are much more easier on my stomach than gels and taste like candy. I will include more details on my nutrition plan in an upcoming post.
Nutrition is a huge part of this sport, and it is so important to find what works for you. I have begun working with a professional nutritionist; Theo Phillips at http://www.foodtofit.ca/. My experience with nutritionists and dietitians is that they have always stuck to old school science which is outdated and ineffective (don't even get me started on our great Canada Food Guide!). Theo is very modern, progressive, works with athletes, and understands their nutritional needs, and is willing to try new things.
Another helpful friend is Darrin Robinson at http://www.timetoemerge.com/. Darrin is the best personal trainer on the planet. On December 2003 I weighed in at over 240 pounds and over 30% body fat. By April 2004 Darrin had me at 185 pounds and 5% body fat. I am currently weighing in at 195 pounds. If you are in the GTA you need to check him out.
Then there is my local bike shop (LBS) at http://www.bicycleworkswaterdown.com/. Craziest fools I have met, but the best riders in the area. Their technical MTB skills are off the charts, they are fast, and so fit riding with them makes you better, and makes you want to be better. Of course, I also get the best deals on bikes, accessories, and organic beef (yup there's a story) there. And there is always a warm coffee.
So that sums up where I am at. At least my fingers are getting sore from typing, work is calling; so is a trail.
Stay tuned for what I ride, where, and who with...