I was way out of my depth training in hot and flat Singapore for a cold 105km uphill bike race that ends at 3,275m elevation (the Taiwan KOM Challenge 2014). I knew that I would need some expert help and so I contacted Lee Rodgers who had coached some of my buddies to success, and better yet, Lee had raced this thing before and practically lived beside the course.
Luckily Lee took on the challenge of getting my heavy slow body up a big mountain in only four months time.
Jens Voigt’s motto may be ‘shut up legs’, but Lee’s is ‘listen to your legs’. I used to ride with my eyes glued to my garmin, taking in all the wonderful nerdy data on heart rate and watts. So when Lee said to not look at my garmin for a while and learn to ride by feel, I was lost, it was like trying to use ‘the force’ at first. I gradually calibrated my level of effort and got good at listening to my body, knowing my limits and sometimes pushing past them.
Lee tuned my time-limited weekly training to suit both my ever-changing travel schedule and my motivation to keep me on that fine edge of highly trained but not overcooked.
With Lee’s guidance I worked my butt off, literally. Over the months of consistent riding and a mix of hard and long efforts my watts went up and my weight dropped, a great combination for getting up a mountain faster.
When the Taiwan KOM Challenge race day finally arrived the weather was cold and rainy, the GPS didn’t synch up and I couldn’t rely as much on my garmin data, but I didn’t panic, I just used the force like Lee taught me, listened to my body and cranked out what I knew was the appropriate maximal effort that I could sustain to get to the finish line without blowing up.
The many repeats up Singapore’s little hills of faber and vigilante drive were great preparation both physically and mentally. Crossing that finish line was an amazing feeling and an achievement I wasn’t sure I was capable of when I signed up for the race.
Thanks Lee for all your support, encouragement and for helping me learn to tune my engine to get the most out of my very average abilities.