Greetings, My wife and I are noobs to the sport and have a goal of being able to complete a 2-day STP in 2013. First, is this realistic? I'm 41 and about 30lbs overweight at 5'11 3/4", 204lbs. Wife is 51, 4'11 and around 155lbs. We just purchased our first bikes (hybrids): Specialized Sirrus Comp and Vita.
Our immediate goal is just to get out there and start riding. However I believe we'll also need a structured training plan to get into shape for next year's ride. I don't know much about the sport, but here are some things I'm already thinking about:
1) We both need to shed some lbs, aside from the aesthetic benefits, will definitely help for comfort/endurance on longer rides
2) Nutrition/fitness - I lost 25lbs on the Body for Life eating/exercise regimen a year ago (and gained it back when I stopped), so wondering if this is appropriate to build cycling fitness. Concern is the cardio workouts are short duration/high intensity, which from what I've read is opposite of an STP ride.
3) Probably need to join a cycling club to learn about the sport and get used to riding in groups. Thinking about Cascade Bicycle Club out here in Seattle.
4) Is it too early to start formally training for this? The training plan on the STP site starts in Feb, so perhaps I just plan to "ride a bunch" until then?
Appreciate any help or advice from fellow Clydesdales/Athena's out there. Headed to the bike shop for some shorts and gloves right now!
I had to google for STP. As I understand it, it's a mass participation event of about 200 miles over two days?*
Yes, it is realistic. If you are both in good health there is no reason why you couldn't be ready to do this in, say, six months even starting from scratch.
Second, very little specific training is required beyond merely increasing the time you spend on your bikes. Riding big distances is not about speed, or about being super-fit. It is mostly about being comfortable enough on the bike to tolerate riding for several hours at a time. Riding further is much easier than riding faster.
Losing weight is always a good idea but isn't critical. You'll see plenty of people fatter than you doing this event. As far as an exercise regime is concerned, the main issue is time. If you have the time to spend 7-10 hours per week on the bike, you should be fine.
Just ride. Increase your time on the bike progressively. Once you get to the point that you can ride seventy miles in a day, you can be pretty confident about riding a hundred at your own pace - like I said, further is easier than faster. Once you can ride seventy miles two days in a row, you can be absolutely confident about doing the ride. It really isn't any more complicated than that.
One possible goal is to train up to a century late this year, then keep your fitness over the off season and be ready to hit it up next February.
Long rides are more taxing than you think...much more than your cardio fitness come into play. Having the core strength to complete those rides, as well as having experience fueling and drinking over those kinds of distances will be important.
I would find a good century for this year and get on the program...then after your first hundred mile plus ride, you will have a good gage as to what it's going to take in the way of additional training g to do the second day.
You can do it! One piece of advice that I can give you: start riding and dont stop. Even in the winter time. Outdoor riding is better then indoor but indoor will work. You do not get much snow out there. I used to live out there all my life so I know the rain thing but you can still ride in the rain. I have gained so much weight loss and riding strength by commuting to work in the winter time and attempting longer rides in the winter time.