Posts Tagged :

cycling

Mallorca Miles Maketh Fitness

150 150 Patrick

On the way back from the cycling heaven that is Mallorca, and wanted to share out my explorations on the island – including some camp highlights. Also these notes are a good reminder for when I return in 2023 (oh yes, we will be back!). 

First up, the stats – 536 miles ridden and 29,950 ft climbed in 7 days. 💀 That’s an average of 76.5 miles and 4,200 feet every day. This involved a lot of independent riding – pre-camp, post-daily rides, and even on the rest day. Thankfully Mallorca makes riding easy to do!

While the climbs are my own, I relied heavily on my fellow campers on the flats. This included our incredible guides who keep us on the right path, well-fed and highly caffeinated (the last one is optional). And of course, good fortune that saved our campers from lost luggage, broken chains, and potential downhill disasters. 

Day 0 – A Great First Test

I landed midday and raced over to the hotel as quickly as possible. The first order of business was to unpack and get myself over to the Pinarello store. Super fast bike in hand, it was time to plan the route. We lost a little time getting my bicycle fit sorted out, but then it was off to the open road. There’s nothing like getting off a plane and being on a bicycle in less than 2 hours in Paradise! We planned to ride about 50 miles, but ended up focusing on the fun instead.

Day 1 – Orientation

The first official day of camp is all about getting organized. There is a lot of friction between people who travel with bikes, people who rent with bikes, and people who have never ridden together before. to make things easier, our guides sort the group by ability and for safety purposes — smaller groups are safer on the road.  the first day is a small test of all the things we will face this week. Traffic circles, other groups, rolling Terrain, and variable winds. it is the perfect opportunity for campers to practice riding in a group and learning how our guides will run the daily experience. A group lunch in Petra Was well X in terms of calories and the bringing all of the groups back together again.

Day 2 – Sa Collabra

With the first day of firmly in our rearview mirror, it was time to explore. With the weather looking honest in the coming days, we made the decision to head over to one of the most epic climbs on the planet. it is worth noting that even getting there requires climbing the Col du Feminia. Which is no small task. We refueled at a cafe station at the top before making the descent down the winding roads to the bottom. Even going down this climb is an adventure — there are more hairpin turn than you think is possible. It’s no surprise to learn this road was originally built by hand. I’m not sure how they would even get machinery there in the first place!

The Climb from the bottom to the top can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour depending on your goals and ability. This is a perfect early Camp test and a chance to stack yourself against tens of thousands of riders. It wasn’t my day, but I certainly enjoyed the chance to tackle these climbs in earnest.

At the top the group continued on to lunch and home. Matt and I made a right turn for adventure. There is a running joke on the island between me and a fellow Zwifter from England. He gave me coordinates for a gift that he had hidden at the top of a nearby climb, the Puig. With Matt in tow, or rather, with Matt towing me, we were off to find the prize. Coke collected, we continued to on the other side. We made an epic loop that took in 4 climbs add a total of 10,200 ft of climbing in just under six and a half hours of ride time. We made sure not to crack 100 miles just to drive everyone on the team crazy!

Day 3 – Recovery Ride

Regardless of the route people took on Monday, we were all tired by Tuesday. Given the chance of rain, this is the perfect day to spin over to the beach for photos and cake. Once again we gathered as a group for lunch to hang out and relax. After lunch the group split up on the way back with my group opting for some extra miles out towards Sineu. It is here that I ate the largest pastry of my life and managed to avoid the rain just like the other group.

Day 4 – Orient-eering

Another day of potential rain lay ahead, but it didn’t stop either group from making adventurous plans. My group decided to head over to the climb in the Sleepy town of Orient. hey picturesque Village nestled at the base of a Time where the road is covered in moss and is apparently deadly with any form of moisture on it! Good fortune kept the faith with several Mechanicals that forced us to slow down and keep Safety First. This resulted and I much longer day than planned oh, and we missed our fellow Riders after world’s greatest take place in Santa Maria. thankfully they had given us some leftovers which we devoured. as you’ll see in the map, we decided to take a more direct path home due to time constraints.

Day 5 – Off Day

After four straight days of 5 to 6 hours a day on the bike, it was time for rest. It was also time for some serious rain, which is always the right car on the island. The Limestone roads are not safe when they get wet despite what you see other Riders doing well you are staying dry.

Of course, I was there to ride and convinced Matt to go out for a quick 40-mile loop. Truth be told, we were rolling the dice from the start with the rain coming in over the mountains. We split the difference, cruising the flats to warm up and then hitting the Sa Batalla climb for a coffee break before heading home. We had to take shelter from the rain at the top, and this was where I realized I didn’t have gear for wet weather (it was all in my hotel room!). I did however have a plastic bag, also known as a packet in Europe, that I put under the front of my jersey. While it certainly didn’t make up for the vest and arm warmers that everyone else was wearing, it was a lifesaver. descending in the rain flights pretty terrifying and I think my shoulders are still tight from how hard I was gripping the bars.

Day 6 – Three Out of Four Ain’t Bad

Our final ride day of the camp saw both groups opting for a more epic day. We set off early and plans to rent accordingly so that everyone can get maximum distance on the bike. One group was able to hit the local velodrome for some fun laps in addition to logging 85 miles. My group went a little wider around the island to find a few new monasteries to climb. Both groups found some solid headwinds for the first half of the day oh, the remnants of the storm from the day before. While we all suffered mightily to start, the winds hung around long enough to help push us all home.

It’s never easy to say goodbye to cycling paradise, but after a day like Friday I was happy to say goodbye to my two-wheeled dream machine.

Planning for 2023

We will be back in April 2023 for another year of adventure. You can learn more and make your deposit online here. You won’t regret it!

Suffering Up

HOW I PR’D MY SLEEP AND NAILED THE 4 KEYS OUTSIDE OF TRIATHLON

1024 740 Patrick

OK team, time for an update! After much back-and-forth, I’m pleased to report that we were able to attend and complete an off-road team event.

The logistics for this type of event or challenging because there are so many distributed across the United States. And there are so many different ability levels and specific cycling interests inside the team.

The Alpine Loop Gran Fondo fits the bill simply because it has different distances of events and different terrain options. Something for everyone! And just 2h drive from IAD Dulles Airport makes is pretty accessible as well.





The Team

EB (Emily Brinkley) helped me lock in MOOSE, my trusty NC-resident bike…and all relevant cycling supplies. That plus mojo, friend time and all the smiles made for a great weekend.

Matt Limbert surprised my by jumping into the event. We spent 3-ish days together in all manner of cycling situations…and it made the event itself 10x more fun.





Thursday Night Arrival

This is a total debacle. From a three hour delayed flight to a ridiculous hybrid rental car that had no trunk space, what was intended to be a 12 midnight arrival time into Harrisonburg turned into us getting there at 3 AM. 

Matt Limbert and I have agreed that we shall not speak of the food that we purchased and ate at the 24 hour convenience store on the way to our hotel.

Snitches eat burritos. I slept in until 9:45am!!!




Friday Ride

Given the late start, we modified the day. Instead of doing a full 70 mile loop, we opted to do an out and back I’m a climb known as Reddish Knob. Seems pretty straightforward, until we started climbing.

What started out as a gentle grade quickly kicked up and made for 30 minutes of really tough work. \

Thankfully it was shaded, a theme that persisted with our climbs all weekend.

The majority of this road was paved but it was not easy. Approx 140 TSS.


Saturday Ride

Opted to travel out to hang with EB (Emily Brinkley) because EB! We get to meet some of her friends and had a great time catching up over coffee.

We took that opportunity to ride from Bryce resort, which resulted in another fantastic session.

We took a loop with some single track on it and added on some more gravel riding.

Approx TSS 140 again, with 50% of ride time climbing! 

We did get a little lost…

But we found EB during her charity golf tournament…



Alpine Gran Fondo

With 90 miles and 9,000 ft of climbing in two days, we were clearly completely tapered for the Fondo itself. The Fondo is 110 miles with approximately 10,000 feet of climbing.

There were five categorized KOM’s and plenty of places to work and have fun along the way. I captured a video to sum up my experience across the aid stations:

The Highlights

Matt Limbert “told the story” of the ride .. instead of straight data … End it really worked!

I thought the narrative model was really effective at helping to set expectations to across what was going to be a long day.

The main themes of the story were that we were going to ride our specific numbers, not over-reach, and be really quick through the aid stations. 

The Food

As you undoubtedly noticed in the video food saved my day.

There were plenty of places across the road where things got hard very quickly.

Seemingly flat and fun sections turned into time trial drag races.

Quick detours through the forest turned into dirt roads with 22% inclines. This is not a long ride for the weak of mind or spirit.

The Pacing

This was the real game-changer. Our ability to work within our limits meant we could recover…but it wasn’t easy.

There was plenty of carnage out there on display, it took a great deal of savvy and patience to make sure we didn’t end up similarly. 

The Results

While it’s not a race in the traditional sense, the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo does have a cumulative timed section format that allows for competition. Surpisingly, I did fairly well overall and in the “top 5” range of my category! #plottingfor2022

2021 ALGF Mini Results

We Will Be Back! 

This was a great event in a world-class location. Aid stations were great, Harrisonburg had all the things, and there are multiple ride options (road vs gravel) as well as distances. This could become an end-of-season fixture, I won’t lie!


Thanks for reading!

~ Patrick

ps – the Sleep PR? That was 8 hours for two consecutive nights after my red-eye flight home. Yep….8 hours ride time + 2 hour drive + 2 hour flight had me home at 12:30am!  Zzzzzzzzzz

The Official 2021 Phoenix Challenge Report

976 774 Patrick

The first annual Phoenix Challenge Ride is officially in the books! After months of planning and strategery, it’s hard to believe I’m sitting here on a Monday morning writing this post. Congratulations to all of the riders, whether you took the Half or the Full challenge. 

Our motto: We Ride. We Rise. The Phoenix Challenge is here to push your limits. To challenge what you think is possible. To help you unlock fitness and mental strength. Our handpicked route is a one-way ticket; with only two-wheels to get back you have your own personal mission. 

It was a total blast, the perfect combination of social time, cycling, and suffering. We certainly hope that you will join us again for another adventure soon! Follow along at www.weridewerise.com for future Phoenix Challenge updates. 

DCA Reagan International Airport

Pre-Ride in Front Royal

After weeks of training and final ride preparations, it was time to go and find elevation to make us fitter and stronger. The hotel was approximately a 90-minute drive from Reagan international airport. Totally easy to get there, and right off the highway. Lots of stores and places to get food, so we opted for Chipotle for some fresh calories. Paul from Black Bear Adventures rolled in at 9pm and was ready to go — he’s so prepared 24/7!

Riders continued to arrive on their own schedule, and checked in online. The only issues we had the morning of our folks who decided to drive in that day. If possible, staying overnight the day before makes a big difference and relieves a lot of stress. 

Day One: Dickie’s Ridge to Waynesboro

The admin team was up bright and early, on site for a check in around 7 AM. Lots of coffee was needed!

This is our first chance to meet many of the riders, and hear their stories. It was great to see new friends and old connecting as they strategized for the day. 

The official ride start time was 9 AM, but many opted to leave early according to their fitness and ride expectations. The wet weather meant extra layers were in order, as well as flashing lights on the front and back of every bike. Given the nature of Skyline Drive being on a ridge, the weather is highly variable. 

Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast.

Most riders headed South, aiming for a 104-mile ride. A select few decided to ride back to the park entrance, adding another 8 miles and a few hundred feet to the equation — why not!?

There are three stops along the ways with stocked stores and shelter: Elk Wallow, Big Meadows and Loft Mountain Wayside. Each approximately 30 miles apart. 

Taking those into account, we were able to stage support as needed along the road and use Big Meadows as a more extended lunch break. We needed it; if only because the wet weather meant we were burning extra calories from a healthy amount of shivering! 

Lunch at Big Meadows was the perfect pit stop; more than one person opted for some hot chocolate / coffee! The yummy handmade bars were also amaze; pretty sure I personally at about a shopping basket’s worth!

The further we went the more the weather added a degree of difficulty to the equation. Wet roads are one thing, but the fog really made for some dramatic riding! 

By the time we got to Loft Mountain, we were ready for a coke and some solid downhills. The draw of Basic City Brewery kept us laser focused, and I have to be honest a beer never tasted better.  

We Survived Day One!

We ate our fair share of salad, pizza and nachos before retiring to clean bikes and prepare for the early start on Day Two. No rest for the wicked!

The Official Data

Day Two: Waynesboro to Dickie’s Ridge

We woke slightly earlier on the second day to pack up and have all of our gear ready for pick up. Rolling out to Basic City Brewing parking lot, the group met up and began the climb out of Waynesboro to Skyline Drive. 

While a few early departing folks skipped ahead, everyone had to deal with the challenging terrain from yesterday – in reverse! 

Personally I was tired, but my legs actually felt better on Day Two. I think there is a little more variety in the early terrain that made it easier to get into a rhythm than the strong challenge of the first day.

There were no skipping stops this time, as calories were in high demand. In fact, almost all the SAG food was gone by the time we finished the day. 

The weather was once again very dynamic. There were bouts of sunshine and stunning views interspersed with fog so thick, finding the food at Big Meadows required a better sense of smell than eyesight! 

The final push was as tough as advertised. If not for a Coke and Twix at Elk Wallow, I might not have made it. Rolling up to Dickie’s Ridge and my car was pretty darn satisfying. Mission accomplished, and it was time to cheer in the other finishers as they completed the route. 

The Official Data

Half and Full Finishers

Not everyone was able to do the full two-day tour. The course is tough, and these folks earned Half Phoenix honors. For those able to go the distance, the Full Phoenix recognition is theirs. Stay tuned for our Hall of Fame page on the website at www.weridewerise.com by the end of June. 

That Sock Game

Virtual Finishers, Too!

That’s right, there we even a handful of riders in the UK who decided to take the Virtual Phoenix Challenge. They charted their own two-day adventure to earn the right to be a Phoenix finisher. They even had better weather than we did; we might have to go abroad next year!

The Final Numbers

My two-day totals were 226 miles and 21,000 feet in 12 hours ride time. Add in 20+ new friends plus countless memories and it’s clear the event was a great success. 

We can’t wait to do this ride again in 2022, so be sure to join the Mile18 newsletter list to get early bird sign up links, discounts and regular training advice. 

Happy riding!

~ Patrick, Chief Phoenix

Long Bike Rides – How to Build a Peak Cycling Mileage Week

954 632 Patrick

Whenever you are training for a big ride day — whether that’s a grand fondo, something like the Phoenix Double Century Challenge, or just your own adventure – there’s a block dedicated to peak miles. It’s part of your Long Ride Preparation.

This is the week, two weeks, or perhaps even three weeks (depending on your fitness and the ambitions you have for the big day) where you really add additional training time. These are your biggest mile weeks. 

Sometimes it’s just a weekend or a few days. Or maybe you are going big and making the whole week a volume focus. Whatever it is, hitting peak miles in your training is both an opportunity and a challenge.

The Mental Side

From a mental perspective, those peak weeks are designed to test your resolve. Being successful at these longer events requires you to knowingly enter a space where things are going to be tough. Where you understand that you’re going to be challenged. And not just your life choices, but also: route choices, pacing choices, friend choices, course choices, etc. 

Is this really a good decision?

Part of the reason we do these peak weeks / peak miles is to recalibrate you mentally for the challenge of the big day. As an Ironman triathlete, I know I have to ride 112 miles on race day.

So my peak weeks would have me doing double that mileage in terms of total training volume. And I would also go out and do a 130-mile ride or 150-mile ride once a season. This is part of that mental reset. If I can do 150 miles and be on my bike for eight hours, I can easily ride 112 miles.

The Self Assessment

After eight hours, five hours sounds positively reasonable! That’s a key part of these peak weeks. As you proceed through this peak block, do a quick self-assessment to see where you’re at and then keep a blog or keep a log and know, Hey, how am I struggling?

These notes are the counterpart to your ride data. Log them where you can refer to them. If you’re preparing for another long ride, it’s really helpful to be able to go back and look at your notes from the last one. What worked? What didn’t? You can now implement those changes.

The Physiological Challenge

On the flip side of that, we have that physiological challenge. While mental challenges can have you up and down, physiological challenges can derail the whole peak week and really sets you back if you aren’t careful. 

Think about handling the peak miles from a physiological perspective in three critical ways. 

Number One: Make it Achievable

We want it to be a stretch goal, but not like a stretch goal with a gap that we have to jump over. On our bike and pray that we make the other side. And if we don’t, we may be broken. That’s a bridge too far and not one that we want to cross so early in the season. 

If your average weekly mileage has been 150 miles, that stretch goal might be 250 miles. It’s just another a hundred miles. That’s one long day. It’s two medium-long days.

If you can modify your week, then you can add riding on top of the regular rides that you have. This could be just as easy as saying I’m going to ride in the morning, my normal ride. And then in the evening, I’m going to do a bonus 20 miles on the trainer or around the neighborhood to add that extra a hundred miles between Monday through Friday.

And in other cases it may be, I’m going to go out to some specific location and do a, a century ride or something similar on terrain that’s applicable to my event or whatever it may be, whatever it is, understanding that, that. Delta between where you are now and where do you want to be?

It has to be a step change, but a step that you can reach. So it’s challenging enough, but not over challenging.

Number Two: Pace Properly

We have to maximize the pacing long ride pacing, especially early season. Pacing should be biased towards a negative split. 

When I look at the ride files of athletes and the early season rides, they almost always want to hit the ride hard.

Peak 20 minutes or peak 30 minutes for heart rate? It’s almost always is located to the front the data file because we’re full of energy. We’re full of ambition. That first hill? We hit it. This is not the recipe for success in a peak week.

Rather we want all of these miles to be steady. And then the last portion, the last 20% last 25% — if you’re feeling good — can show a little bit of flash, a little bit of effort. That’s where we start to separate out from the baseline training and all the riding. And the beginning of the first 80% was just to set you up for that last 20% where we make the fitness.

That’s where the fitness happens. It happens at the end. So bias yourself through pacing towards a strong finish in these peak week miles, whether it’s individual rides or just all the rides across the block of the week. Super important. And then finally, The third part of this handling peak weeks is around recovery.

Number Three: Recovery Mode

When you’re in long ride peak week mode, recovery becomes critical. Not just recovery on a macro perspective, but on a post-ride perspective. We have to get it right, because during peak weeks, there’s not a lot of time between these critical sessions. 

If you’re doing four hours today and four hours tomorrow, and you started at 8:00 AM and you’re done at noon, you can start at 8:00 AM tomorrow. You’ve only got 20 hours left. And you’re going to sleep like seven or eight of those hours.

So you’ve only got 12 hours left to do stuff to get you ready for that next day. So the recovery piece is part nutritional. It’s part hydration, making sure you’re refueled afterwards. It’s self-care in terms of stretching or recovery boots or compression tights or whatever you use. It’s also part scheduling, making sure that the rest of your day is not full of work that’s going to exhaust you doing a long ride. So skip that four-hour yard work project!

Remember, don’t go too big with the peak weeks. Be smart. If you do it just right, you will peak at the right part of your training and be ready for the big day. 

Good luck and ride on.

Long Ride Preparation for Your Next Cycling Challenge

150 150 Patrick
Get Ready for a Century Ride

It’s almost time for that first long bike ride of the season. Before you roll out on a massive bike ride or gran fondo, here are a couple of key things that you should be thinking about so you have the ride you want instead of the ride you want to forget.

Know the Route

We use the route as the box within which we’re going to operate simply because it determines a couple of key things. How long it’s going to take you, what the conditions are going to be like when you get there and how hard it’s going to be in terms of elevation and logistics. Those three elements combine to create the experience of what that long ride is.

Bonus Resource: How to Plan a Route Online Using Strava, Ride with GPS, and Google Maps

Solve for the Ride Not for Your Fitness

If we know that the long ride that you’ve planned to do is going to take you four hours or five hours or eight hours — you have a duration of time that you need to solve for. Here are the key elements to consider. 

Nutrition. What are you going to eat and drink across this bike ride to make sure you can be successful? And more importantly, will there be opportunities on that ride for you to refuel and stay on point second?

Pacing. How are you going to pace this century ride? Is this a gran fondo that’s going to be competitive with friends or is it a long ride you’re out for just picture-taking and loving nature? Or is it a long ride with a time goal? Are you going for a fastest known time or something similar?

Those elements determine the effort at which you’re working.  For this to work correctly,  the nutrition and the effort must intersect. 

Safety. The route that you’re taking — is it a lot of main roads? Is it completely off the beaten path? How can you ensure that you will be safe as you compete or complete this event? 

This is a huge part of the equation. We think about long rides. It’s one of those background, subconscious kind of stress level things. And we’re not so worried about. If you’re in a sort of well-developed or well-populated area, but as you head off the beaten path you have to be prepared. 

Get Equipment Ready 

In addition to those key elements above, you also need to make sure that your equipment is ready to go. Give your bike a once-over, making sure all your devices are charged – from your bike computer to your electronic shifting! 

Now you can move on to the supplies. The first long ride of the year just takes a lot of mental power. You want to make sure that the tubes you have for your tires are the right stem length. You want make sure that you’ve got that extra sealant if you’re tubeless. ‘ 

You should make sure that you’ve got the lights and all the flashy things on top of your bike. Don’t forget the new tires in case your trainer wore them down. 

Schedule a Fake First Long Ride

One of my key tips to you is just to schedule a fake long ride the week before your real one. This way you can go through the process of what it would be like to pack everything together, to go out for that ride. 

I literally walk around my garage with my helmet upside down like a shopping basket, filling it with all the items I need. CO2 cartridges, food, salt pills, a copy of my driver’s license in a Ziploc bag, my backup a battery, my sunglasses. All of this goes into my helmet. 

I now have seven days to fix any missing or broken things, as opposed to trying to fix it in the morning of your long ride!

What Is Your Early Season Long Ride Preparation?

If you have ideas or thoughts for us, please leave comments here or on the YouTube channel