Last year I blogged about training for the 60 km Christie-Phoenix ride, up from the 45 km ride I had done for the previous three years. I upped my training regimen and challenged myself to get comfortable with the 60 km distance ahead of the August ride. As I wrote in my first blog on May 6, 2018, “I don’t want August 18 to be the first time I ride 60 km.”
Over the spring and summer leading up to Ride Day, I achieved my goal and then some. Cycling 60 km no longer seemed so daunting after I knocked off some 50 km rides and then enjoyed a weekend ride out to Sooke and back with some buddies, which added up to 110 km in total. Finally, I hit 73 km in a single day (including stops at three different breweries!), which proved to myself that I could handle 60 km on the day of the Tour de Victoria. And sure enough, I did, even if it was a little tougher than I expected.
I want to add a shout out to my fellow bloggers last year. Reading about their experiences throughout the summer and then on Ride Day was a real inspiration to me. The Tour de Victoria truly is a “ride for everyone.”
Looking back since last August, I am really proud of myself for all the riding I did throughout the fall and winter. Usually, once the weather begins to cool in the fall, my riding drops right off. In the past, I rarely took my bike out between October and April, but last fall I kept pushing myself to keep riding. I bought some warm pants and a cycling jacket and found that as long as it was clear and dry I was comfortable riding even when the weather dropped down to the freezing point as it did for quite a stretch over the past winter. I even got out for a ride or two when the thermometer registered below zero!
At New Year’s, as I looked back at my previous year of cycling activity recorded on Strava, I found that I had covered more than 1,600 km in 2018, and I pledged to increase that to 2,019 in 2019. It sounds like a big number, but I am inspired by my friend Denise who is in her 70s and challenges herself to ride 100 km every week. Over a full year that adds up to over 5,000 km, which certainly puts my goal of 2,019 in perspective!
The other thing that I am really proud of is running the T-C 10K with my 10-year-old son Jakob. I have never been much of a runner, but last September I decided to tag along with my son at his school’s Terry Fox Run and was surprised when he ran 6 km! I couldn’t keep up with him, but I managed to cover 5 km, jogging and occasionally walking when necessary. Afterwards, I asked him if he wanted to try to run the 10K in the spring and he agreed. We only got out for a few training runs, but on the day of the Run on April 28, we were able to finish together.
And all that riding (and a little bit of running) has really paid off. I know I’ve improved my endurance and fitness since last year because some of the hills I used to complain about no longer scare me like they used — in fact I even find myself relishing the challenge of surmounting them now.
Now, when I go out for a ride I like to get to at least 30 km, if not 40 km. Otherwise, it just seems like a short ride. I tend to ride loops around the city so that I don’t double back on myself. A typical ride might take me out along the E&N Rail Trail to where it meets the Galloping Goose in View Royal and then back along the Goose across to where it turns into the Lochside Trail. I like to stop at the Root Cellar for some fruit or a can of coconut water, and then ride around through Gordon Head and Cadboro Bay and back into downtown along Beach Drive and then Dallas Rd. Lately, I’ve started adding a loop around Mount Douglas to that ride just to add some distance to it.
And then in February, I took it one step further and committed to the 100 km ride in the 2019 Tour de Victoria. That’s right — I’m going to try to hit the century mark this year.
Gulp! What have I gotten myself into? I’ve never even come close to riding 100 km in a single day. And from what I’ve heard, there is a particularly nasty hill on that route — a lot tougher than anything I’ve tackled before. As a big man, hills are extra tough for me. After all, I have to haul a lot more weight up them than most people… But my friend Mike is going to ride with me so I know I’ll get lots of moral support from him.
Over the next three months I will train for it, and like last year, I hope to ride at least 100 km in a single day before the actual Ride on August 17. If you read my blog last year you will remember that many of my training rides involved stopping at a brewery here or there, and I’m sure that will continue to be the case this year, too.
Next month, I’ll provide an update on how my training is going, and maybe I’ll recommend a post-ride beer, too. Cheers!
Joe Wiebe, the “Thirsty Writer,” is the author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries, the definitive guidebook to British Columbia’s burgeoning craft beer industry, currently in its second edition. Joe has ridden in all of the Tour de Victoria rides and will be challenging himself with the Christie Phoenix 60km this August.