Now that the decision is made, is it time to start training? No – first we have to set a goal!
For the 2013 edition I started training in January, 7 months prior to the event. At that time I stepped on a scale showing 95 kilos, and felt reasonably fit: I was excercising 5-10 hours per week.
7 months later I had accumulated 6500 km’s / 65.000 vertical meters cycling; close to a 1000 km’s cross country skiing plus a fair bit of gym and running, 395 hours of training altogether. And the scale showed 87 kilos. On the Haute Route my goal was to get a final result, i.e. not end up being picked up by the broom wagon on any of the seven days.
The event itself went very well: I never had to worry about cut-off times; in the results I was closer to the winner than to the last person to get a finish time. More importantly, I enjoyed the ride thoroughly: both riding and the views, and I didn’t let it bother me that I was scared to hell on the downhills. As a mate of mine put it: “it was kind of boring that we didn’t fight for the top positions, nor did we fight against the cut-off times” – well, I wouldn’t put it that way as I truly enjoyed the riding, the views, and the atmosphere, but are those alone a reason to go back?
Compared to last year I’m sure I’m in much better shape, I’m more than 5 kilos lighter, and I have my normal 2-3 years cycling kilometers behind me this year so far – and there’s still more than 10 months to go. Only there’s one problem: training for this year’s event I prioritized cycling over so many other things in life, it’s just not possible to keep going that like that.
When cycling uphill we tend to measure our performance by VAM (velocità ascensionale media), or average ascent speed. In this year’s event my best VAM’s were around 930 meters. VAM is derived pretty straight forward from your power to weight ratio (www.53×12.com should you need to know more). I don’t currently use a power meter, but by knowing my weight and VAM, we can pretty safely claim that my sustainable power output is around 325 watts for an hour’s effort.
So, the goal: No, I’m not going to be fighting for the podium places, and no, I’m not really interested in wether I finish 200th or 300th. But if I have to have a goal – and here I am now stating it publicly – I say I’d like to have my VAM at 1000 meters. At least for one qualifying climb. Just to make budgeting for time easier 😉
There are two ways to achieve it: 25 watt increase in sustainable power, or losing weight down to 81 kilos. Or a combination of those. Sounds like a tough but achievable goal?