With the unfortunate cancellation of the Fall Bear Mountain race, dedicated New York area cyclists now have the Spring edition firmly in their sights. Many racers think that the first hairpin turn and critical acceleration to the Tiorati climb is where the real race begins. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, due to its unique placement on the calendar, the competitors most successful at Bear this year have been working on their strategery and tacticalizations since 2003 or before.
Training for Bear is truly a multi-year process and hopefully - done correctly and with plenty of both active and passive recovery, which is crucial - you can make significant, incremental improvement in your performance each year. Your family, as always, presents the additional challenge or support mechanism, especially as it grows. With several years of experience, hopefully some of the thoughts below will help your overall race experience in 2008.
As a long-time reader/first-time poster recently pointed out, the Spring Bear often conflicts with Mother's Day. Unmarried orphans, clearly, always enjoy a substantial advantage, which is why you'll often here the race referred to as "The Orphan's Classic." But even if you're not lucky enough to be gifted without any known parentage or someone willing to spend the rest of their lives with you, you can still hope for some success if you are careful in your periodicalization. This article is targeted to those racers who again aren't fortunate enough to be orphans, street urchins, or raised by wolves.
In that case, it's best to at least start out your first Bear unmarried if at all possible, and with minimal siblings. This is a training load that even the novice should be able to handle. Simply convince your mother to move the brunch to Saturday - nothing too strenuous the first year, or the additional stress may prove too great on race day, and impede performance. Just move it forward one day. As you progress year to year, shift it by one week. Be sure to alternate; move it up one week in even years, for instance, back one week in the odd years. Or create your own schedule based on the Olympics, or the Lunar calendar. Above all, make sure to keep it interesting! These beginning Maternal Managememt Intervals (MMI™) provide the base for all subsequent workouts.
It's important to try these on other holidays as well, preferably before your first Mother's Day. Choose an easy training load that you know you can handle - for example Groundhog Day, St Patrick's Day, or Arbor Day. Ease into it. Some people cross-train using Father's Day, but I don't recommend it. While it may be a fun change of pace in the off-season, managing the paternal unit is just too different a skill and of limited training value. Remember, you need to be specific in your MMIs to your target - managing your father, a friend, someone else's mother, or your pet fish will simply not encourage the same results.
Once you are comfortable having performed several MMIs, and you know how your body will adapt to the additional training load, try some intervals that may be of greater stress so your body can overcompensate for race day. Try switching your mother's birthday on her, and see how your body reacts to the stimulus she provides. I'd recommend doing this interval telephonically the first time, to avoid any undue ligament, deep tissue or severe bone damage. Electronic mail is a helpful training tool in this regard. Also, it has to be mentioned that there are always two components to the MMIs - intensity, and duration. While you can vary the intensity of the stimulus by trying different holidays, be sure to very the length of time before you begin the MMI. Start out a month in advance of a holiday as the notification period, but try to work up to several hours before a major holiday. I can assure you that the first Thanksgiving you tell your mother two hours ahead of time you're not coming until Friday, your heart rate will soar! Again, it's best not to try this in person the first time. Do a telephonic interval, preferably with a training aid such as an industrial strength ear plug. If you have a weak heart, any conscience, or have sustained previous eardrum injuries from an MMI, however, check with your physician first and use a carrier pigeon to deliver the message.
Once you've perfected the MMIs as a single person with one mother, you just increase the intensity as you add in-laws and siblings to the mix, but the basic structure of the training does not change. Divorces and re-marriages add additional complexity, but as long as you start out with a strong base as described above, nothing is impossible with focused periodicalizationism. To give you a very personal example, one of my clients comes from a polygamous family where birth control is frowned upon. While he got dropped on the first Tiorati climb for the 4th year running this spring, and managed to bobble my feed zone handoff to him by dropping the water bottle into his front wheel and somersaulting down the road, he didn't get any guilt, red-faced screaming, or have nook withheld from him at all leading up to the 2007 race. Now that's what I call a successful Bear!
I don't know if anyone else would agree but it's been a weird winter around these parts.
Whew! Its been a crazy couple of weeks. I’ve got a pretty substantial back log of race reports to write. I’m going to attempt to survey my final three weeks of Cyclocross racing, Season 1. If it is too long, I’m sorry. Maybe I’ll just ‘twitter’ the next on.