Having cycled the Annual Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle for the last 12 years, I am feeling like I am starting from scratch again this year as this is the first time I will be cycling it on a mountain bike. Cycling on a mountain bike compared to a lightweight racer will mean that I will have to rethink how I am going to train for this event in order to have as enjoyable a day as what I’m used to. Cycling on a mountain bike means that I will be moving much slower than if I was on my racer because of the excess weight of the bike and the rolling resistance it has on the road.
Why a mountain bike?
I have decided to use a mountain bike this year to make it more of a challenge. Don’t get me wrong after each year’s event I am tired and sore, but having done it so often I want to experience a new dimension to what this event is all about. I am gone past the days of racing around the ring, only stopping on a couple of occassions and being back in Killarney come 4 in the afternoon. This year I want to make the most of the day at a very leisurely pace, stop as often as my body will need to and enjoy the craic. Also when I finish the day, I hope to feel more of a sense of achievement and remind myself again what it was like to do this for the first time which I did in 1997, when I was fat and very unprepared.
How will I train differently?
Cycling a mountain bike is alot about patience and less about speed. Pushing a heavier bike will inevitably mean less speed and possible more hardship but with a good training plan I hope to eliminate the hardship element as much as I can. Having not really looked at my mountain bike in a while my priority has to be getting out on it as often as I can even if it is only for a couple of miles at a time. As the spring progresses I will have to integrate my mountain bike into my normal training schedule and use it for longer spins gradually getting used to cycling more slowly on a heavier machine. Ideally I would like to have a number of long spins done on the bike before the event, when I say long I mean sixty miles or over on the bike. I have this under my belt, then will be fine.
What will it mean on the day?
On the day I will have to tame my competitve nature. When I see people I am used to chasing and racing with on the road, I will have to let them go ahead of me. I will have to be focused on conserving as much energy as I need to get me home to Killarney. I will also probably have to put up with the slagging, but I am looking forward to the challenge.