Mitchell Training Plan

Mitchell Facilities sign.

The clock is ticking. 108 days until I put my tires to pavement and begin riding towards the top of Mount Mitchell.

My off-season training program worked great and I can already tell that I’m stronger on the bike, but I cannot stop there. I now have almost four months to train. Besides, training is the best part.

Here’s what I’ll be doing:

Weekly Spin Class: This is something new that I haven’t tried before. A group of us hired a personal trainer who will lead us on a road cycling and hill climbing exercise program. As I understand it, she will wear us out with strength exercises and then start the spinning. The emphasis while spinning will be on resistance to simulate mountain climbing. I expect lots of grunts and groans for this class. Since this will include a strength program, I will stop lifting on my own time. This should be plenty to maintain my lower body strength and then some! This will also be a good transition from my own weight program to getting in better bike shape.

Cross-Training: Running has worked and I’ll keep at it. The difference is I’ll be keeping it shorter and running faster. What I’ll try to do is a mile at a time and keep at a certain speed. Right now I can probably sustain an 8-minute mile. I will warm up and recover on elliptical machines.

Weekday Riding: Daylight savings time is just around the corner. Until then I’ll try to squeeze in a few short 20+ mile rides in the late afternoons. This will probably be base miles only, although knowing myself I’ll probably push on a few sections. Once the time changes, I’ll be able to stretch my rides out a little more. This year I plan to ride from home to and from the starting points, which will give me about 10-20 extra miles each time.

Base Miles: For the next few weeks my rides will be easy, with the goal just to accumulate miles. I’ll take care of a lot of these in one shot when we head to Santee for President’s Day weekend. After that I’ll do short weekend group rides of 30-50 miles at a time. When the season begins I’ll ride in a couple centuries to get additional miles.

Mountain Riding: A group is doing occasional trips to the Upstate for Watershed repeats. I’ll try to tag along for some of those. I’ll plan to focus on speed for the first trip up and go slower on subsequent trips. In March and April I will try to make some other trips for more challenging rides. These will probably be unofficial Freewheeler rides.

Everything Else: It is easy for me to neglect upper body and core. That’s happened last year and I finished the season with dead arms and a wobbly balance. My time will only allow for two short workouts per week at the gym. This is when I’ll try to squeeze in these important supplemental exercises.

If I do all of the above, I’m going to kill it at Mitchell. That’s a big if.

3 responses to “Mitchell Training Plan

  • Frank Burns

    ….hey, this all sounds far too serious. I’d say you really need to chill out a bit and enjoy just riding a bike. Are you chasing stats or riding a bike? I stand back in awe at the science that goes into some people’s riding. I am challenged by just counting my own daily/monthly/annual mileage!

  • aaronwest

    Cheers, Frank!

    It does sound serious, maybe more serious than it is, because most of it is just riding my bike. A lot of my friends say that training is the most fun because you get to ride in the mountains all the time. The Mitchell challenge is pretty daunting. Many cannot do it. The more I ride, the easier and less painful it’ll be.

    The personal training session was not my idea. A friend of mine put it together because he is training for his first Mitchell and needs all the training he can get. I am going more in support of him, but it won’t hurt me either.

    I guess it is all about priorities. My passion is riding up mountains and I know that requires a lot of fitness.

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