My Favorite Ride

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(It’s not everyday that a 3X Ironman World Champ contributes to the blog. Peter Reid, straight from Squamish, BC, took a few moments to write about his “favorite ride” for us. Enjoy, and Thanks Pete.

As athletes we discover that some paths are more enjoyable than others. Some of these paths are about performance or heart rates while some others are based on just getting out the door. Many athletes love the short and intense workouts on the track or sprint sets in the pool while others favor the long day in the saddle. I enjoyed the long sessions which is one of the biggest reasons I enjoyed training for Ironman. In fact, I love the epic rides. Plus, I strongly believed that in order to run a fast marathon in Kona I needed to ride and ride and ride. If I didn’t to the rides then there was no energy to run fast. Focus on volume on the bike and technique on the run lead to success in Kona. Anyway, that was my formula. It worked a few times so I was happy.

When I lived in Victoria, BC my favorite ride was a solo epic 6 hour loop on my cross bike. I would do this ride once a week from August all the way to Kona. I should have been doing my long rides on the TT bike but the EPIC felt like it gave me something special for race day. I lived basically downtown Victoria so the ride would start out on my trusty Specialized TriCross weaving the fun bike paths to get out of the city. Timing was everything to make it enjoyable. If I left too early I would be riding the first part of the ride in commuter hell. Eventually the bike path would turn from asphalt to gravel. Really the bike path, The Galloping Goose Trail, was an old train line that was converted into a bike path. The extra rolling resistance from the cross tires on the gravel and the false flat incline of the path were awesome for strength building; but, you never really noticed the effort because the scenery blew my mind. I would ride past the coastline of the Island, alpine lakes and amazing old growth. Eventually I would get to the end of the official trail of the Galloping Goose. The end was a massive sign and fence with an abandoned trestle on the other side. In order to continue there was a bit of bush whacking and a careful walk across the trestle – my favorite. At this point I was in the wilderness of the island. The trail would become truly abandoned in 30 minutes of riding but luckily due to the discovery of an old logging road which could be accessed with a careful walk across a small dam the ride with continue. At this point I would be 3 hours into the ride and the true ride began. I called it “The Biatch”. A 20 minute climb on a logging road with a washboard surface that I could only summit with a 39 X 27 at a cadence of about 50. The climb was always a struggle but there was a reward – a view of the southern tip of the island and the Olympic mountain range in Washington. A couple of super long descents would follow then back to paved roads with some rolling climbs to make my way back to the city. I absolutely loved my ride. Even though my legs were screaming I was ending the day feeling mentally rejuvenated. It was an easy way to build aerobic strength.

I have since moved from Victoria and now live in the Recreation Capital of Canada, Squamish BC. Squamish is known as a big playground for sports that include: rock climbing, kiteboarding, white water kayaking, hiking, backcountry skiing and my favourite mountain biking. My Favorite Ride has shifted from the use of TriCross to the Specialized Enduro with it’s 6 and 6 travel. Mountain bike riding in Squamish always starts with a long climb on a fire road with a fun descent on incredibly built trails with features. The route is based on working the trails names from North to South. After about 40 minutes of climbing on a fire road I turn the front and rear supension from firm to soft. The journey begins with Cheshire Cat then Cheshire Kitten followed by White Rabbit. Shocks are switched to firm with another long climb then it is time for Rock n Roll, Cliff’s Corners, Rob Corners and Roller Coaster which are done in firm mode since this section is fast riding. Once again another epic climb, a switch to soft suspension and the last rush of the day: Angry Midget, The Plunge and Hoodz in the Woodz. Once exiting Hoodz it’s an easy 30 min spin home covered in mud with a smile from ear to ear. I am no longer an IM racer but it’s still about cracking 4 hours on the long ride. As one of my old training partners, Roland Green, would say: “It’s not really a ride unless you crack 4 hours”.

Hopefully my new Favourite Ride will help in getting ready for some racing adventures in the new year. The last one sure did.

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