Post Trans AM Bike Race – My First Love Will Always Be Triathlons

Posted on 27 July 2016

After finishing the Trans Am Bike Race earlier this month, it reminded me why I will always love triathlons as my favorite endurance sport. The Trans Am Bike Race was definitely an amazing event and lifetime experience. However, I clearly missed trail running and swimming and thought about it so many times during the month of the race. My post race reflections, ideas/tips for enthusiasts and full Trans Am Bike Race Highlights -Pictures will be coming soon.

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The fitness benefits of a singular focus on riding (in training and the race) over the past 7 months included: increased cycling efficiency, power /weight ratio, and the aerobic engine. I estimate that I covered 11,0000 mile (All of my training is recorded in time not miles).   In 30+ years of riding and racing, I don’t’ ever remember being able to just cruise with such a low heart rate during riding while climbing, sprinting and aerobic efforts.  As we all know so well, high mileage cycling builds an efficient and strong aerobic engine. It was interesting to see my resting heart rate drop below 40 with all this cycling (my lowest resting HR recording).

Prior to the race, my training plan incorporated cycling specific strength work in addition to all the cycling 2-3 times per week(with weights and body weight) and the key areas were strong – (triceps, shoulders, quads and abs). Using my 4 key body weight sessions the average results (not “to failure” were as follows):

  1. Plank – 4 sets of 2:30 holds
  2. Squats – 200
  3. Pull Ups – 4 sets of 12
  4. Pushups – 4 sets of 40

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Post race recovery – after riding 4,270 miles (actually probably closer to 4,400 miles with all the “additional” riding to and from locations) my body had disproportionate strength.   It was shocking how strong the legs are even during this recovery.  However, the overall arm strength decrease significantly, thus the benefit of cross training and triathlons – Keeping in mind the results below are during Recovery which is expected to last 2-3 months and similar to RAAM riders and the body is tired.

  1. Plank – 3 sets 1:30 holds – clearly lower abs are weaker
  2. Squats – easily 300 no problems and plenty of power low
  3. Pull Ups – 2 sets of 8
  4. Pushups 3 sets of 20

I have always loved riding, but the benefits of combining it within a triathlon will always be my first love as it builds a stronger overall body. As expected, weak arms and shoulders resulted after the race. It’s been challenging to recover the numb hands/fingers and the body from being so exhausted from this race.  It will take many months but I definitely look forward to getting back to triathlon training and rebuilding strength this fall!

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