I have settled on my next major ride and that will be a border-to-border (b2b) either down the Rockies or on the Appalachian Trail north from Atlanta, Georgia to Portland ME. At the earliest that will be in 2010 and could even be in 2011. A lot depends upon timing of the Pacific Atlantic Cycling (PAC) supported rides and my success at getting ready.
Of the two, the Eastern Mountain ride on the Appalachian Trail is the harder. It is 1760 miles long, 112,000 feet of climbs, 110 miles a day with 7000 feet of climbs a day. And it doesn't actually get to either border. But then I have never ridden in the East so it would all be new.
The Ridge of the Rockies ride has some big climbs and goes longer (1940 miles) but only 88000 feet of climbs. It does have the advantage of passing through Colorado and hits both borders (with a little bit of extra riding on the north end). But I have done a lot of riding in the Rockies and many states along the way.
To put these rides in perspective, the C2C ride was 85,000 feet of climbs in 26 days. So these are climbing rides pure and simple.
Why would it take until 2010 to get ready. Surely I am in good enough shape proven by the C2C ride. Well, no, I'm not. Not for two plus weeks of pure climbing and long miles. I have two major things I must improve and they are going to be difficult.
The first, and the less impossible, is improving my strength/weight ratio. If you remember, the basic equation for climbing on a bike is watts/kg of body weight. For the kind of rides I like to do I use the average watts generated for an hour. So if you could average 200 watts/hr and you weighed 150 pounds your ratio would be 2.9. I am targeting a ratio of 3.5. That means I need to increase my power 10% and reduce my weight 13%. Very hard but achievable. To put this in perspective, to get to this ratio I have to hit my high school weight. This is what Mike refers to as changing my body composition which I interpret as far less of me and far, far less fat.
But if that is very hard, the other thing I must improve is flexibility and very closely related, posture. These are lifelong issues for me. I have already learned more about flexibility and posture than I ever knew and the challenge is daunting. But if I don't fix this I can't get the body mechanics right to get the power needed. And, more worrisome, I am heading for injury.
So that is the new challenge. Get ready for a border-to-border mountain ride by improving weight/power and flexibility in the next 18 to 30 months. That changes this blog back to being a training record and away from the travel log. And probably makes it a lot less interesting.