Training for the HTR550

Training: After my pride took a dent on the HTR430, I decided to get a decent ride done in 2013 to prove to myself I could ride a good distance offroad. That opportunity came around with an ITT of the Cairngorms Loop in July. From around November 2013 onwards, I rode only my mountain bike, ignoring the road bike almost completely after putting far too much focus on road bike in the lead up to HTR430. I got in a weekly ride of at least 60-70 miles, plus commutes, and a target of 150km/week ensured that I had to ride at the weekend as well as the commute to hit that target (thanks Strava!!) I made sure that at much of my riding as possible was off road, and also focused on the pushing elements, deliberately taking a fully loaded bike up hills too steep to ride.

In 2014, I raced the Cairngorms Loop and also the West Highland Way, did a couple of bivi trips to hone the setup and generally got used to having either a heavier bike, or just pedalling the bike I had up a lot of hills. I also took the opportunity to go single speed for extra masochistic pleasure, but I think that did help by building my leg strength.

I don’t do gyms, far preferring to do all my bike training on the bike. I did however realise that I needed to work on my core strength, so I took a fully laden bike out for a walk a few times, picking steep local hills and just pushing up them and riding down the other side. Not particularly fun, but a necessary evil, and with hindsight a really good way to train, as the ride involved a hell of a lot of pushing and walking…

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