Training with the Christenson Family

Rachel GillettePeak Pedalers 2018, Prep, RTR News, Training

Justin Christenson

March, April, and May so far have allowed for some great riding days. In my previous Ride The Rockies experience, my training in May was wiped out by snow and rain. This year has been so pleasant. I have really struggled to get into biking shape again. I have not rode my road bike since the 2016 Ride the Rockies. My exercise regimen for the past two year has largely been long walks and lots of weightlifting. My cardio work has been non-existent until last February. I fear that I am too bulky and heavy to do Ride the Rockies. To my surprise, my recent Strava times have shown that I am doing just fine, and on par with my 2016 year.

I have been super busy with work, a basement remodel, and my son’s graduation in mid-May. Finding time to do long rides has been real difficult. My goal is to do 2-3 super long century rides in late May and early June. For now—a part of my preparation consists of spin classes at the Tru-Fit gym in Lone Tree(near Park Meadows Mall). Don is my spin instructor, and he is a fanatic. I highly recommend his 60 minute classes on Monday and Wednesday. I have him to thank for my great rides on Independence Pass and Trail Ridge Road in 2016. I currently alternate days in spin classes/stair step workouts and 20 to 30 mile outdoor rides. My favorite training routes are the south west metro Denver bike trail along C-470. I also enjoy Saturday morning climbs in Deer Creek Canyon doing “High Grade”, “City View”, and Foxton Road. If you can do “High Grade” without getting crushed and frustrated, I assure that you can tackle any pass on Ride the Rockies. I Mountain Bike on the East West Trail to change things up periodically and keep it fun.

In my training and helping my grown children with cycling, I focus first on time in the saddle. You have to be able to sit on a bike for 6-9 hours. Second, I insist that you have to train your body to take in liquids and food while on your ride. I spent years on a Mountain Bike and not carrying any water. Dehydration will sneak up on you and can mess up your RTR experience. I learned this in the 2013 RTR when I struggled with nausea and cramping from dehydration. My body could not handle water intake while under stress. It made for a long miserable day from Cortez to Durango. Third and last, ride your bike as much as you can, and get your mileage. If it is not a perfect training year, be patient and enjoy the scenery. Taking off the 2nd day in SteamBoat and skipping the Berthoud climb may be a good idea if you are struggling. Remember to enjoy the scenery and the experience.

I have a lot of built in anxiety about the easier looking days on the map. I love the big climb days with an early morning ascent and banzai charge downhill for miles. The shorter days with rolling killer hills are the hardest. In 2016, I thought Carbondale to Aspen would be a cake walk. I got crushed by some of the nasty little hills on that day. By the end of the Tour, I had to hike-a-bike up the last of the short steep climbs around Horse-Tooth reservoir. The rolling hill days are the hardest days.

I am also concerned about leg cramps. They have been worse this time around. I know a few remedies, but I love recommendations from other experienced cyclists. Thoughts?

Grant Christenson

My first ride the Rockies is coming up in a few weeks and I couldn’t be more excited. With things like my high school graduation coming up and family in town and such, training rides have been difficult to fit in but I’m trying my best. I’ve done a few rides by myself and a few with my dad and sister mostly just on the C-470 Trail and got my first taste of a face wind which made me slightly frustrated. I’ve definitely experienced the full power of the sun, and learned my lesson the hard way.
With all the stress of graduation and growing up, going on rides has definitely helped me out a ton. Just being outside looking outside and just moving around helps settle my mind and forget about everything else. It’s just me, the trail and my bike nothing else, nothing to worry about except moving my legs.
I couldn’t be more excited to go and experience Ride the Rockies this year and I’m looking forward to it. It may be a challenge but it’s one I’m going to face head on.

Makenzie Christenson

Well….. We have less than 30 days until Ride the Rockies. Crazy how the time flies by right? My training has been little crazy this year, I was in the Dominican Republic until the end of March, and was not able to ride during my time there. So over the last five months a lot of my training has been cross training, mostly running and stretching in the mornings until I got back to Denver.

When I got home in March, our training took place mostly in spin classes and stationary bikes due to all the crazy weather we’ve been having (you gotta love Colorado spring, right?). I have been able to start riding more and more outdoors, and have loved seeing everything blooming and starting to turn green. Most of my training rides have been around the Highlands Ranch area, such as the C470 path, the Greenway path in Littleton and mountain biking trails around Lone Tree and Highlands Ranch.

In all this training, I would say that I’m not as prepared as I was for Ride the Rockies 2016. The elevation is still a setback- but hey that means I have lots of room for improvement. I’m excited to continue training and preparing for this amazing ride. Especially because we get a shot at Tennessee Pass! I’ve always thought that Tennessee Pass is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado, but have never ridden through the pass- when I heard it was on the Ride this year- I was stoked.

Less than 30 days until the big ride… It definitely will be harder this year due to different rides, circumstances, training regimes.. But hey I’m not on the ride to beat everyone else, I’m here to enjoy the ride and see beautiful Colorado from my favorite point of view- on a bike. That’s what’s drawn me to do Ride the Rockies for a second time (and hopefully more after!)

Can’t wait to see you all on the ride.. Keep training, drink your water, and enjoy the views that come with the rides.

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