It’s mid-December and if you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about your goals for 2019. Some people call these forward projected ideas ‘goals’ and some people call them resolutions. Regardless of what you call them, it’s time to start thinking about making some.
So how do we make these goals into possibilities? Start with your biggest desire and work backwards. Someone once asked me, “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is obvious…”one bite at a time.”
Begin with your A-event, and ask yourself, “how can I get there?” Maybe before you even answer that question you have to ask a follow up question, “Am I willing to do that?” “At what cost am I willing to do this?” “How badly do I want this?”
While I might not broadcast my biggest dreams and desires on my blog for the world to see, I will be more candid than ever before. For me, my biggest goals and dreams have circulated around athletic pursuits and podium positions for 13 years. That is a long time for someone only 23 years old. I’m accustomed to the goal making process, the thrill of success, and the bitter disappointment of defeat.
If you asked me what I was willing to give to achieve my goal, I would have said almost anything. I would have listed back to you the sacrifices I’ve made, the social events I’ve missed, and the sleep I’ve deprived myself of. I would have cited it proudly as if I expected a nod of approval.
The truth is though, there have always been things that I haven’t been willing to give up to achieve my goal. I was a student and I was dedicated to receiving my degree, to doing it in an impressive fashion, and being done in 4 years. I never would have verbally placed this higher than my athletic pursuits, but the fact that I graduated cum laude, with 2 degrees, and as the Health Sciences student of the year tells you a lot.
Now….school is done. Now…I can’t see anything in the way. When I look down the straightaway I see a straight line to my goals. I see a line to the athlete that I want to be. That means that if nothing lies between me and my goals…the only thing that can stop me is ME.
Taking that feeling to heart: that I can actually get in my own way, I decided to map out exactly what I want to do in order to reach my ultimate success. I’ve decided to put all my eggs in one basket.
When we make subjective feelings into objective actions we can create tangible results.
A part of my master scheme this season is to escape the cold with some warm weather winter training and get in the much needed early season racing. I have always felt like it is difficult to enter the early season Pro XCTs with a lot of pep in my pedal stroke. This year I want to change that by racing a month before.
In the United States, early season winter races are hard to find which means I had to look World-Wide to find my early season race.
This year in February I will have the opportunity to compete in Spain in The Mediterranean Epic!!
The Mediterranean Epic is in Southern Spain in Oropresa del Mar. The race takes place from February 14-17. The weather is in the 60’s in this beach city even in February. The Mediterranean Epic is a 4 day stage race with stages ranging from 50-80k and 5000-8000 feet of climbing per stage!
Not only is this race an incredible opportunity to escape the bitter cold here in the US, but it will also allow me to race myself into fitness. After all- there is no better way to train than to race.
In fact, the USA Cycling coach’s handbook states that an athlete should compete in 7-10 competitions in order to reach a state of readiness for major competitions. I’ll be knocking out 4 race starts prior to March!
So…how do you prepare for the Mediterranean Epic?
If you want to conquer this race as an A event:
This will not be an easy race. In fact, it will likely be one of the hardest ones that you encounter. One of the best ways to prepare for a stage race is to mimic the demands of the competition. That means completing high stress training days in a consecutive fashion. While most training routines call for a stress and recover protocol, if you are new to stage racing you will want to practice stressing your body for multiple days in a row.
If you have a long season ahead:
Even if this isn’t your focus event, you can prepare for the event with your normal pre-season training. Come to the race as you are. It will challenge you and push you and make you better for the remainder of your season. It will help you build a stronger based and the terrain and competition will force intervals into your training.
For me, adding this race to my schedule is a win-win. I feel motivated and excited for the opportunities ahead. I think this race will serve as a missing puzzle piece for my season.
Plus…it gives me another excuse to keep practicing my Spanish. So…here we go. I can’t wait for 2019!
(Ok maybe I need a lot more practice ;-)…
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2 thoughts on “Preparing for the 2019 Season: The Mediterranean Epic”
When you mentioned it is best to try an train your body for the stress levels of stage racing, what does that mean while training? Do you just train for longer levels of intensity or or is it more like your training your body to handle going longer without maybe say 100% of your nutritional levels? Or is it that your considering elevation or just trying to harden your mind an body physically an mentally to handle long days on the bike.. I couldn’t even imagine (currently) the hours of training it must take to get prepared for this..
Thanks for your question. This is a great thought.
When I talk about preparing your body for the stress levels of stage racing I am referring to the repeated stress on the body. Most training philosophies will have you training very very hard, and then following up with a few easy days until you are ready to go very hard again. This produces very quality workouts. When you are stage racing though, you are asking your body to go that hard multiple days in a row which you must train for. When preparing for stage racing I will do multiple hard training days in a row in order to mimic that type of fatigue that I may experience later in the race. This creates fatigue resistance and muscular endurance. This is also a strategy that you can use when you are training for extremely long events say (Leadville) when you won’t train as long as you will race. The goal of this is to still maintain the quality which comes from learning out to maintain your nutritional levels as close to 100% as possible. Does that make sense? Feel free to reach out with further questions.