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Standing Saturday Winter Training Ride

When I started riding and racing in Jax Florida all the faster dudes told me that the standing Sunday ride out to Penney Farms really built the base that was essential to their speed.  I must confess, I was scared of that ride and I never did it.  80 miles with the fast guys just seemed so out of reach.  I must also confess, that I’m jealous that Birmingham and Atlanta have standing rides.  Their rides over the winter break are tailored just like the Penney Farms ride to prepare the racers for the hard training to come.  Penney Farms still happens on weekends over the winter break.  How fantastic that a ride like that has been going on for at least 25 years.  I’d like to take a crack at giving Huntsville something similar.  Now that racing season is largely in the books for 2015 and the ambitious racers out there are looking at what they can do to improve so that 2016 is better than ever, repeat after me this adaptation of the Rifleman’s creed:

This is my Saturday Winter Training Ride. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My Saturday Winter Training Ride is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My Saturday Winter Training Ride, without me, is useless. Without my Saturday Winter Training Ride, I am useless…

My Saturday Winter Training Ride and I are the defenders of my speed. We are the masters of our enemy (Fat Pants)…

So be it, until victory is America’s and there are no Fat Pants!

Hahahaha!  Here is the plan.  Standard start time (0630) and place (Bruegger’s parking lot 2000 Cecil Ashburn Drive) .  I’m going to plan one “nominal” route per month.  That route will aim to be on the order of 4 hours with options for shortcuts back to start, shortcuts around climbs when possible (keel is great for this) and also opportunities to add extra mileage/climbs at the end.  The rides will tend to get progressively longer and harder as winter progresses and finally, starting in December will incorporate some kind of attack/regroup or interval zone for specific hammering.  Generally speaking the pacing should be a little more moderate this time of year.  The point is to rack up the miles without accumulating massive fatigue.  What does that mean?

Keep it simple.  Here is the deal, if it’s too slow, go to the front and pull.  If someone attacks, it’s up to you to decide to follow or continue to ride “tranquillo”.  If it’s too fast, when it’s your turn to pull just pull through and off, then hang on for as long as you can.  You are under no obligations to pull and nobody will think less of you.  If you get dropped, nobody will think less of you.  Come back next week and keep hanging on because that is how you get faster.  There will be some regrouping, but we are not going to make it complicated.  If the group is big I would expect it to split into an A and B group.  I would recommend bringing your own wingman.  If you have some specific training prescription to carry out like 30 minutes at threshold, you are welcome to come out and pull for 30 minutes.  It’s your responsibility to know the route incase you get dropped, including any shortcuts you might need to get back to the car.  It’s your responsibility to have appropriate lights.  It’s going to be dark in the winter at 0630.  It’s your responsibility to bring everything you need to fix a flat.

Here is the nominal route for September:

Like I mentioned above, if this is intimidating you can divert around Keel and meet us on the exit of the descent.  You can come straight home via Cherry Tree and Cecil Ashburn.  If you want more, you can choose your own adventure.  The most obvious is to add either side of Cecil or Green.  You could go North to A&M via Chase Rd and Meridian.

I’m thinking in October we’ll add Simpson’s Point and Butler Mill before Keel.  I reserve the right to decide later.

Come join me!






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Brian Sumners

Brian began cycling and racing while serving in the U.S. Navy in Jacksonville FL. He learned to ride rollers while underway onboard the USS John F. Kennedy somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea. Brian is not a conventional “pure sprinter” but with a keen eye for strategy and an ability to sprint he has achieved many podium placings.

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Comments (2)

  1. Philip A says:

    Is this still going? I’m moving from Nashville to Huntsville and would like to avoid fat pants.

    • Brian Sumners says:

      Philip, I apologize for the tardy response. YES this is still going on. We missed a couple of weeks due to the AYCE local century and for 6-gap, but I was there at 0630 last weekend. I’m going to send you an email so we can stay in touch better.

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