How did you train for Cycle Greater Yellowstone?

When Bugman and I signed up for our first Cycle Greater Yellowstone, I was really freaked out about the distance and hills. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it.

I asked for training advice, and I heard, “Ride as much as possible. Get in long rides. Ride on consecutive days. Just ride.”

To me, that wasn’t specific enough advice, but it seemed to work. We survived year 1. (Granted, we missed the two biggest climbs of the ride because of a bike breakdown and a forest fire, but we DID do the century ride that year.) We also managed to squeak by on year 2, but we did not have fun on that Teton Pass climb.

I’ve had someone else ask me recently, “How did you train for this?”

In the interest of providing some numerical means of comparison for others wanting to know, I went back and looked up all the tandem rides (and some running) that we did in preparation for both year 1 and year 2 of CGY. I was surprised. It *felt* like we rode more than we actually did.

I present below, the “Wyobraska Tandem 19-or-20-week ‘non-program’ of CGY training,” with some important caveats:

  • I am not a trainer. I don’t recommend that you follow this program. It’s just a record of what I did, by way of comparison.
  • I would definitely have gotten in more mileage and climbing if possible. It would have made those high/long days on CGY more bearable. But, Bugman and I are busy people. And weather happens. And illness. And excuses, excuses.
  • The totals below do not include my cycling to work, which could range from 0 to 30-40 miles per week. Only on-the-tandem bike training is included below.
  • Numbers were based on my perhaps-not-so-reliable phone app. Miles is miles traveled. Feet is the total climb.
  • Sometimes where it looks like I did no training one week and a lot of training the following week, it’s just because I was riding on weekends, and if one weekend I rode Saturday and the next weekend rode Sunday, it could throw off the weekly totals.
  • I was also training for a marathon during my year 1 CGY training. I got significant cardio work from that, so I included my running totals for that year. No running in year 2 due to my stupid ankle.
  • In each training season, I aimed for at least one century or near-century ride, and one weekend with two back-to-back long ride days before CGY.
  • I’ll probably come up with some more caveats. Just give me time.

So, for the number-needy among you, here are my CGY training totals, with breakdowns by week:

Year 1 Total training: 758 miles, 24,151 feet, plus 378 miles of running

Year 2 Total training:  831 miles, 33,246 feet

Year 1

Running in March:  47 miles

Running in April:  69 miles

Running in May:  66 miles

Running in June:  64 miles

Running in July:  77 miles

Running in August:  55 miles

Week 1:  47 miles, 1530 feet

Week 2:  30 miles, 1259 feet

Week 3:  0

Week 4:  0

Week 5:  54 miles, 1496 feet

Week 6:  0

Week 7:  0

Week 8:  39 miles, 1168 feet

Week 9:  53 miles, 1231 feet

Week 10:  30 miles, 1259 feet

Week 11:  120 miles, 3545 feet

Week 12:  0

Week 13:  69 miles, 2146 feet

Week 14:  68 miles, 3116 feet

Week 15:  30 miles, 1192 feet

Week 16:  0

Week 17:  50 miles, 1142 feet

Week 18:  94 miles, 2799 feet

Week 19:  74 miles, 2268 feet

Week 20:  0

Week 21: CGY

Year 2

Week 1: 38 miles, 1127 feet

Week 2:  0

Week 3:  41 miles, 1250 feet

Week 3:  82 miles, 2691 feet

Week 4:  55 miles, 1488 feet

Week 5:  30 miles, 1227 feet

Week 6:  0

Week 7:  0

Week 8:  39 miles, 1794 feet

Week 9:  120 miles, 5543 feet

Week 10:  0

Week 11:  73 miles, 1995 feet

Week 12:  35 miles, 2162 feet

Week 13:  0

Week 14:  0

Week 15:  0

Week 15: 100 miles, 5500 feet

Week 16:  0

Week 17:  62 miles, 3085 feet

Week 18:  156 miles, 5384 feet

Week 19:  0

Week 20:  CGY

And, for the record, Beartooth on the 2015 CGY route scares me.

Good motivation to train harder!

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw


One thought on “How did you train for Cycle Greater Yellowstone?

  1. I really want to ride this year. Sadly, classes will have started up for fall by then. Silly grad school, always getting in the way of fun things. 2016 though. 2016 has great potential for CGY. And it’d be a pretty stellar way to celebrate getting through graduate school.

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