What do you dream about when your imagination drifts to mountain biking on a sunny afternoon when you are supposed to be working? Do you picture yourself rubbing elbows with Evelyn Dong? Can you feel the schralp of your tires carving a caramel-colored berm? Do you lose yourself in the lush green valley below as you top a mega climb?
Allowing yourself to imagine what you want to accomplish is a super important piece to setting goals for an event like Pikes Peak APEX presented by RockShox. Visualizing the outcome keeps you stoked during the days when you’d rather sleep in or cheat your long hill climb intervals. Setting goals helps design your roadmap from where you are now to where you want to be. Build in mini-milestones to make the bigger goal more manageable and it won’t be so overwhelming.
Take some time today, right now as you read this, to write down these 3 goals for The APEX this September.
Goal 1: You’ve committed to The APEX. Congrats! Now do you want to be on the podium, in the money, or just enjoy the ride? No matter which you choose you will have to prepare for the event. You’ll be riding four days in a row, at altitude, with big gains in elevation, and lots of glorious miles. You don’t just hop off the couch to a finish or wish yourself on the podium. You’ve got to put in the work, but luckily riding bikes is super fun, so is it really work? Our partners at Carmichael Training Systems have provided a coaching plan, and you can access here. If you’d like a bit more personalized option, CTS has you covered there too. A good plan will give you a framework to make sure your body is prepared for the stresses of the event, but is still flexible to allow max fun.
Goal 2: Start practicing your nutrition plan to fuel you during The APEX. Food is the go-go juice for our mind and our muscles, and we each tolerate foods differently. You definitely don’t want to try anything new on race day. Start listening to your body and how it feels after eating certain foods. Are you more salmon, rice, and eggs for breakfast? Or oatmeal with fruit and nuts? You might love gummies during short rides, but can you tolerate them for four hours on the bike? Plan and practice your breakfast and timing: what you are going to eat during the race, how often you will consume it, your post-race recovery snack and dinner each night to set you up for optimal performance the next day. Chris Carmichael wrote an in depth nutrition guide just for The APEX. The important thing—start practicing this now, so by September it’s a habit you don’t even have to think about.
Goal 3: Identify your strengths and practice your weaknesses. Take a moment to reflect. Where do you excel on the bike? What do your riding buddies always compliment you on? Those are your strengths! You can leverage those in the event. Where do you feel a bit timid? Is it the longer climbs or the big Captain Jacks descent? Start practicing what might scare you about The APEX, and by the time September rolls around, you’ll be the hero of your story, smashing that uncertainty and leaving it with a smile.
Good luck and get to it!