I did not get into Hardrock in the lottery this morning, which was quite the relief. While I couldn’t ignore the numbers and would have almost had to enter Hardrock if I had got in, I’d much rather do the Classic the first year on a brand new course in 2012 and perhaps Hardrock in 2013.
That being said, my whole year from now until the end of July is built around the Classic. Based on my experience last year it’s like the Tour, to do it and yourself justice you need to dedicate full energy and not count on doing too much after. So that’s what I’m going to do.
I was very happy with my performance this year, but there are a number of improvements that could be made. Base endurance was good, but my top end power and speed weren’t quite where I wanted them. This was a problem that existed early on this year, and lasted all the way into July. Going into the training trips in May and June my power wasn’t so good, and you can’t build power and endurance well at the same time. The key in 2012 will be going into the spring endurance building cycle with better top end, which will mean working harder and having better fitness going into April. I’m firmly in the rebuilding stage at the moment, but sooner rather than later I’ll need to get structured and disciplined again, and eat a few fewer brownies. There were also some micro-navigational mistakes which could have perhaps cumulatively saved a few hours, my nutrition strategy could have been a bit faster and more refined, and my pack didn’t fit ideally and was too heavy (I’d like to start at sub 20 pounds). I also could have used more insulation, which might have enabled us to get moving after the storm below Buchanan Pass. Most importantly, I did the race, and hope to go into 2012 with less fear.
I find it helpful to work backwards when planning a training program, figuring out where you want to be and then plotting a strategy to get there. With that being said, here’s my first draft plan for 2012:
Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic, July 8-10.
-The main event. The water options seem pretty terrifying, and the winner will thus be either the very skilled and bold paddler taking risks or the fastest walker. I’m a chicken with moving water, so I will aim for option two.
-Overall my prep for last year was good. If I build up my threshold better, and start in on the endurance trips a bit earlier, and focus a bit more on rougher terrain, I should go into the Classic quite a bit faster than last year. Experience and a light pack should help with efficiency and focus towards the end. I intend to get a bit more big water experience prior, as well.
The Bob Marshall Wilderness Open, May 26.
-The date of this is not a coincidence. It’s both a great time of year for challenging conditions and a perfect lead-in to the Classic. My goal is to finish in less than 48 hours. Tougher snow conditions could make that pretty hard. The biggest task of the year is to train well enough to go all in on this one and rebound fast enough to tune a bit before the Classic, though for all intents and purposes the form I take into this will be the one I’ll have in July. One hard overnight trip between this and the Classic will be all recovery and taper are likely to allow. The almost two week taper for the Classic was good last year, I went in fully recharged which was absolutely key.
Grizzly Man Adventure Race, April 21.
-Bill and I will presumably be returning to defend our title. Unfortunately it looks like the long course will only be 12 hours again, which blunts the effectiveness as a training tool considerably. Should still be a tough day, and Bill and I should be able to use our experience and go quite a bit faster.
-I’ll need to start doing big foot trips around the beginning of April this year, a good month earlier than last year. Snow conditions make that rather tricky, as pure skiing tends to be all there is here, and avalanche conditions can shut down the safety of big routes. I’ll need to get out of town, to places where the both presence and absence of snow combined to create the right conditions. A rim to rim to rim trip in Hells Canyon has been on my mind, a potentially 70 mile trip that would involve fat biking, skis, hiking, and a packraft crossing. Getting down to Utah canyon country would also be very opportune if it proves feasible. Early May should be could for several big, mixed condition traverses locally.
Togwotee Winter Classic, March 3.
-Snow biking should prove better base work than skiing, at least that is my hope. Have to finish the snow bike first. I’m on the list to go down for this race, but am counting on Mr. Byers to institute a longer course. 100 miles not be possible depending on conditions, but for training purposes I’d like an 18-24+ hour affair.
-Taking three months to train for this should put me right on the correct foot.
So in summary:
-Dec, Jan, Feb: snow bike and ski a lot, 2-3x weekly hill intervals, daily core work
-March: big snow bike race and recovery, more big ski and bike weekend trips, harder intervals (max 2x week)
-April: two big 2-3 day multisport trips, mid-week maintenance, big water packrafting, GrizzPerson race
-May: two big 2-3 day multisport trips, mid-week intervals, taper for Bob Open.
-June: recover fully from Bob Open, one more 2 day trip, taper for Classic.
Simple, right? Now to just be disciplined and not get hurt. I have at least one major fun trip for later in the year, but those ideas are decidedly not in this vein.