Taking the Summer Cycling Season Seriously

I've been wanting to share what's planned for the summer and how I'm going to get there.  It all officially started two weeks ago and so far, so good. It's been challenging, but achievable and I'm excited to be heading toward a healthy and strong summer cycling season.

With a full schedule of riding planned, we met with Corey Hart for official training programs. Corey is a cycling coach and works with some of the best athletes, including a majority of the pro women. We are fortunate to have him here in Utah and working with Max Testa Training, so when cycling classes ended for the winter, we reached out to Corey. After talking about our goals, events, injuries, and work commitments, he lined us up with a training program. We are using Training Peaks to document it all and two weeks in, I'm tired but feeling good about the summer.
Most training rides are solo, but last Sunday, we joined Steven for his birthday ride.
All the guys were my height or taller, so I hung on to the back when I could and did a little recovery.

My first event is Tulsa Tough, which is only 4 weeks away! I'll be doing the Gran Fondo again and hoping to improve my time and ranking. I'll be on my own, since my friend Carol is racing this year and will be strutting her stuff in the crits! My training program is focused on time in the saddle, cadence transitions, and power. My biggest concern is the heat which I won't see much of until I set foot in Oklahoma, unless I set up the trainer in a sauna.
2013 Tulsa Tough Gran Fondo - Carol and I finished in the Top 10 Women & it was HOT!

Next up is Italy and I can't wait to get back to Europe. We had to cancel last year and miss the culture and mountains so much. We are staying and riding with our friend Amanda in the Dolomites! We are already signed up for the Marcialonga and hoping to get into the Maratona. In between these two Gran Fondo races, we'll be cycling up and down the beautiful Dolomites for over a week. My training program transition from Tulsa Tough to the Dolomites, will get me ready for non-stop climbing.
Our last time in the Italian Mountains was in 2009 with Andy Hampsten & Cinghiale Tours 

Hopefully it all comes together in August, for my Ride 4 Equality pilot during the Tour of Utah. There are 7 Stages this year and the start/finish cities are announced but not the routes. Stage 3 could be tricky, because I'll be helping with the inaugural Women's Edition Race held at Miller MotorSports Park! This was the whole reason I brought up Ride 4 Equality so having at least one race is a step in the right direction. Stage 6 will be just one of several huge climbing days, but I'll be supported as part of the Ultimate Challenge. I'm pumped that Carol might be in Utah and join me for this ride! It will be hillier than Tulsa, but hopefully cooler. In between Italy and the Ride 4 Equality, I'll have to do some recovery but keep my climbing legs.
I try not to stop for Mailbox Monday pics during intervals but otherwise it helps pass the time.

I'm trying to be prepared so I can have the best experience possible. I'm realistic and know I'll have to deal with injuries, work, and weather but I'm not focused on that but the positives this summer of cycling will provide.  I've got the vacation approved and the first events are finalized. I have some work to do on Ride 4 Equality like sag support and other logistics, but I'm positive I'll find a way to accomplish my goals.
This week's snow and rain, meant lots of time on the trainer after work.
This guy jumped on last weekend but I think he's bringing me good luck, so he stays.

Amanda and I are supporting each other across the Atlantic on our calorie intake. We are focusing on good calories and hope to shed a couple kilos in order to climb faster. Until Italy, I'm eliminating alcohol and potato/tortilla chips, and reducing my breads. She's knocking out alcohol and gelato. We are using an app to track calories so we are still getting enough for the amount burned on the road. We will celebrate with wine or delicious food in July, that's for sure.
Last Saturday was my first 4hr training session - powered by ProBar

In order to keep my muscles happy, I've increased my bodywork sessions with Nelson. I need to get my lower back and psoas muscles happy and supportive rather than how they've been the past few months. I've increased my active stretching/yoga but can't work magic like he can. It's not a pleasant massage but the pain is worth it. I also benefit from our conversations about positive energy and mental attitude.
On Thursday, I chose bodywork and a cycling movie rather than another ride on the trainer.
Q&A with Max Testa and Scott Nydam after Rising from Ashes (must see!)

So there you have it, I'm taking the summer cycling season seriously and am preparing for successful adventures from Oklahoma to Italy and across Utah. So if I turn down a beer, choose a nap over a party, or seem more obsessed about cycling than normal, that's why. I'm planning to give it my best in each of the events and want to be healthy and strong, not just get through them weekend-warrior style.
Today's 3hr ride was cold, but so much prettier and thought provoking than the trainer.