Part One: Base Miles and the importance of building a strong mileage base for the cycling season.
Without building a strong base you open yourself up to injury and or a miserable time in the saddle. A good base makes ALL the difference and after about 600 miles in those legs you will start feeling as one with your bike and those knees will be nice and lubed up just like your chain. I take things very slow during my base building and my philosophy has always been "Spin to Win." Early on for the first 400 to 600 miles I am running very easy gearing and often do not even get into the large front chain ring (BIG RING). I am spinning and not pushing those monster gears that you see many rookies doing this time of year, those BIG gears can ruin your knees if you don't have the base to handle the stress. By spinning an easy gear you are giving your muscles time to remember all that you put them through last season (yes muscles do have memory) and you're also building a good cardio base as well. Building a strong mileage base is also a good time to get fit with your cycling buddies that are also just starting out. Just to give you an idea, on Saturday I took a 40 mile ride that took me almost two hours to complete, I did hills and flat but rather than stand and hammering up those short steep climbs I sat back and spun some easy gears. I was totally spent cardio wise at the top of those short climbs but my legs were fresh as daisies. I got passed by many cyclist on Saturday and watched as they hammered the BIG RING and put down the hammer chewing me up like I was on a 60 pound Huffy. I simply smiled and thought about May and June when these legs will be ready and this two hour ride will be done in one hour. By May I will have well over 1000 miles in my legs and will be ready to send them into action, my spin will be perfected, my cardio will be great and I'll be ready for any ride. If you train now and start building your base miles come May and June you will feel so much better on the bike, You will show up at the MS150 and be ready to pull the rest of us home and do it in style. Remember...Don't worry about going fast or pushing BIG GEARS right now, spin the pedals, work on a smooth high cadence because it will pay BIG dividends when you put the BIG RING into action.