18/11/2018 Random

Trail to Ard Rock 2019

As most of you will now know I have an entry to the Ard Rock Enduro Festival 2019. All thanks to my bro, Craig, who planned it all without telling me. The first I knew of it was a message one morning, shortly after arriving at work, with the ticket confirmation. As you can image I was blown away by the surprise, Yeah baby, I’m off to Ard Rock!!!!!!! Trying to digest what was happening, I didn’t know who to tell first? I was made up. My head was all over the place. Thoughts went from “need to get new trail shoes” to “I’m going to Ard Rock bitches” back to “I need Google for training ideas”.

After letting my wife know the news it was time to speak with my mates. We all know how supportive mates can be when it comes to exciting news. Yup! You guessed it, they were extremely supportive after they stopped laughing. All day I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I was buzzing from the excitement of doing another MTB event. This time it was serious, this time it was for real, I was going full enduro. This meant one thing…. I need to train and train hard.

Training and Fitness

So after I had calmed myself down I began to think about where I was going to start in getting fit again. Not really having a good knowledge of fitness techniques, and only knowing a small amount of what I’ve picked up over the years through friends and people I’ve met, I knew I had to get serious and stick to some form of training regime to improve my fitness to enable me to get round the famous Ard Rock course. Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

As some of you may be aware, the No-Name Syndicate have been getting some MTB skills coaching from Andy Hampshire, from PerformanceMTBUK, this year, you can read more about that here. Upon hearing my announcement on Ard Rock, Andy got in touch and offered to help and guide me with the training for the festival. Could this get any better? This was amazing! As you can imagine I was on cloud nine. As Andy stated on my insta post “Training starts now”!

A Proper Training Regime

A couple of days went by and I contacted Andy to see what this wizard had up his sleeve. His first task was to analyse my efforts on Strava and look at my stats. Based on his findings, his aim is to concentrate on getting my heart rate working in zone two, which is referred to as “Fat burn club”. This is where you have to maintain your heart rate between 112 – 148 bpm. “piece of piss” I thought, could I have been anymore wrong? Yes I could it would seem.

I commute to work on my bike, so this seemed like the ideal opportunity to implement Andy’s training. I’m using my Garmin Forerunner watch to measure my Heart Rate during my rides. For the first few days I managed getting my average around 133bpm, which I was happy with, but there were moments my heart rate reached 162bpm. I still needed to work at this, I need to learn to pace myself better. The good news was I was pretty much there already.

Having fed this back to Andy, his suggestion was to try to stick to 75% of zone two. So, I’m doing OK, but, the one thing I am struggling with is getting my flow on my commute. Sticking to the cycle lanes is a nightmare, due to the amount of crossings I have. Because of this I feel like I am getting my bpm up to where I need it, then I’m having to stop, unless I’m lucky to catch the lights allowing me to cross.

A Learning Curve

This is a massive learning curve for me. But I feel it’s giving me so many gains already like…

  1. My legs are not burning out
  2. I’m learning to find a pace by using the right gears at the right time
  3. Making my dullard of a commute a damn sight more interesting

It’s still very much a case of “early days” right now but for the first time in such a long time I have focus again. I am starting to feel much better in myself and I cannot wait to see where this takes me. Please check back and follow my progress as I work with Andy to train for Ard Rock 2019!



Featured Image: Photo courtesy of Ard Rock Enduro