While we're already cyclists, the idea of riding 4500 km in a month intimidates us. Before all this started we had never trained based on some objectives or a fixed schedule; training for us was more about feelings and how in shape we felt. We realized early on that this had to change: in order to complete this adventure we needed to go one step further. Soon, words like intervals, training zones or functional threshold would become a part of our daily conversations.
At the beginning of our training, it was all about building a base and all we needed to do was to cycle for long periods of time in our comfort zone, trying not to push too hard. For Javi this was the best way to know Stockholm and enjoy the views, but it also had its bad parts as we didn’t feel like we were improving a lot, and patience is not one of our virtues (specially Javi).
We realized that to get anything out of such slow-paced training we would need to ride 40+ hours a week like professional riders do. Sadly, we weren’t professionals and didn’t have that sort of time. We switched to more precise training and started following structured training plans. These amounted to high-intensity intervals during the week and easier rides on the weekends. The high-intensity intervals were done indoor on the turbo trainer, a torture device that anyone who starts taking cycling seriously eventually comes across.
One of the weekend rides in the mountains of Madrid. April 2018.
At first we thought that the turbo trainer was the best thing ever. For guys like us, working and studying, the limited amount of time we have is the greatest obstacle in our preparation. Also, for Javi, the darkest months of the year came to Stockholm and snow covered the streets: the turbo trainer was the only option.
As time went by, our training plans turned more and more demanding. We would turn to each other and say: “We have to be improving because my legs are killing me”. But after 4 months, training indoors started to weigh on us. The things we like about cycling, such as discovering new places, being outdoors or the feeling of speed, were no longer present. Instead, all we had to distract us from the pain in our legs was music and Netflix.
We are fortunate because the trip itself provided enormous motivation, especially on those bad days when you are not in the mood for training. On really bad days, however, self-doubt washes over us and we question all the training decisions we’ve taken; on those days, the trip itself is the biggest source of anxiety. We’ve sacrificed a lot of things to prepare our bodies for this adventure and we can only hope it will be enough.