I recently did the MS Charity ride out of Windsor. I get so much joy out of doing charity rides. I know that physically I could have the capacity to do a triathlon or a race, but I like coming together for a cause and going at my own pace.
With that being said, I do like to be competitive with myself and see the improvements that I am making. I don’t want to be a slow poke or the last one finishing a ride. After all, cycling is about doing something healthy for yourself and it’s just plain fun to compete with yourself.
The MS ride I did this year was 50 miles, which was the same distance I did last year. When I rode last year, I struggled up some of the hills and people were passing me a lot. I still finished middle of the pack. I had a goal this year of finishing the ride with the same time or a little bit faster. It was the same exact route as the prior year, but this time through it felt different. I was flying up hills and passing people by a lot (I know it’s not about that, but it still feels really good!). When I was done I checked my average MPH which was 14.9, a personal best for me and most importantly I finished an HOUR and 9 minutes faster than last year. That’s insane, it’s more like stupid. What was I doing last year, walking my bike?! Needless to say, I was stoked at my progress.
Being the personal trainer I am, the sciencey aspect of me wanted to dig a little deeper as to why I got so much faster and more conditioned. The answer may surprise you all, it has nothing to do with any work on my bike. Yes, I was riding a little bit more than last year but I was just riding. I wouldn’t do intervals or speed training. The answer was the changes I made to my workout programming. I incorporated more heavy lifting, mainly because I love it but when I was in college playing softball it made some awesome changes to my performance and my body. My workouts are 2 days a week of squatting on one day and deadlifts on the other day. Within those workouts are sleds, sprint intervals, rowing, airdyne bike, lunges, core work, medball slams and all fun stuff like that.
It’s crazy how workouts focusing on heavy lifting, and have nothing cycling specific in it but can significantly improve your performance. I can’t wait to see what else I will be capable of doing.
Moral of my blog today. It’s always fun to compete with yourself. Keep on improving. Lift heavy stuff. Have fun 🙂