Quads and Squad Goals: Planning My 2019 MTB Season

The good news is that a winter full of face shots and bottomless pow turns decided to return to Colorado for 2019. The other good news is that with my local mountain bike trails regularly bogged down by snow, I’ve gotten to focus on structured mountain bike goal setting and training plan making. (See what I did there? Only good news here!)

Last May, to take our minds off my husband’s fresh injuries from riding off a skinny, moss-covered log onto a pile of rocks, we hobbled back to the trailhead and brainstormed some mountain biking goals for the year. One at a time, we thought out loud about what we wanted to accomplish while the other person wrote the ideas down. Here is my list from the sesh.

If you were able to decipher his handwriting, then first, congratulations as that is a most impressive feat. Secondly, you’ll see that my goals stretched across skills, destinations, fitness, and community-building. They reflect how, in my second full season doing the sport, I was still exploring all the fun mountain biking had to offer. This list was a good start for expressing my excitement to grow as a mountain biker, but looking at it now, it’s doesn’t provide much guidance towards the growth I sought or unite the goals into something more meaningful. It also lacks a training plan and pursuing goals without a plan can end up feeling like shopping for bike components without an idea of how to turn them into a bike.

So anyway, with all the recent snow, I’ve had a lot of time off my bike to think about why I mountain bike, where I am currently as a mountain biker and where I want to go. I’ve also had a lot of time sitting in I-70 weekend powder day traffic to listen to podcasts, one of which was Episode 172 – “How to Plan a Year of Training and Racing” of TrainerRoad. In addition to the show’s usual informative cyclist banter and training/racing tips, this episode focuses on some principles for effectively setting season goals (starts around 15:36), which are also explored in this article by Sessions:6 Endurance.

I recommend you give both a listen and read yourself, but the gist is that there are different types of goals and they can be categorized as such. There are (1) long-term/outcome goals that are comprised of several (2) more accessible short-term or intermediary goals. Both can be achieved by consistency in one’s (3) habit or routine goals. Together, they provide the foundation for a targeted training plan.

I decided to try this goal-setting, plan-making framework for the upcoming 2019 season. As suggested by both resources listed above, I started by reflecting on 2018. I identified two major areas I want to improve on: big long days riding in ridiculously good-looking terrain, and giving back more to the mountain bike community. The main limiters in the way of me doing these activities are my physical and mental fitness, and the baseless fear of having nothing valuable to contribute as a mountain biker. With this in mind, I got out a scratch pad fresh Google Sheet document, and started designing goals to tackle these limiters and build up my quads and squad. Ultimately, my main goal is the same one I have every year- have more fun on my bike!

The spreadsheet contains an organized mess of ideas and verbose descriptions of my motivations and concerns. For this post, I’ll share my more developed goals and plan in their current state, knowing that they’ll likely evolve as I learn more about what’s a viable routine for me and new opportunities in the mountain bike community pop up.

Goals as of March 2019:

Long-Term/Outcome Goals Limiters Short-Term Goals Habit/Routine Goals
Carson City Off-Road
June 29, 2019
40 miles, 5627ft. or 52 miles, 6039ft.
Duration in saddle
Long ride nutrition
A couple longer days on local trails:
– Buffalo Creek Big Loop (24.2mi, 2590ft)
– Front Range 30 (32.9mi, 3925ft)

180+ FTP, 3 watts/kg
– Starting from 147 Jan 22, 2019
– weight: 133lbs, 60.3kg

Compete in B and C races
– learn racing etiquette, strategies, etc.
– Ridgeline Rampage/6-12 hours in Canon City
– Winter Park XC series
– Local short track events
26 Weeks of TrainerRoad:
– Trainer Road Base Phase Plan (12 wks)
– Trainer Road Build Phase Plan (8 wks)
– Trainer Road Specialty Phase Plan (6 wks)

2 strength workouts a week during the base phase

1 fasted morning workout a week

Weekly weekday rides in April/May/June

6+ hours weekend endurance activity bi-monthly, preferably in saddle

Listen to 1+ podcast a week about race/long-ride nutrition
Vapor Trail
3-5 days in August-October 2019
108 miles, 13386ft
Duration in saddle
Overnight bikepacking experience
Bike maintenance skills
Weekend Bikepack
– Rollins Pass
– Sections of the CT trail

Carson City Off-Road should be considered an intermediary goal here.
Create bikepacking logistics document and add to it bi-weekly with research findings

Ride when the weather is unideal (as long as there won’t be trail damage)

Research and practice emergency bike maintenance skills
Attend bike shop nights and tech talks monthly
PMBIA Level 2
First-hand teaching experience
Assessed skills competency
Attend a Level 2 Module course (Air or Trail)
– Air: Clear small to medium tabletops, 5ft. drop using a variety of techniques
– Trail: manuals, wheelies, bunnyhops, short nose wheelies

Coach at 2+ events in 2019
After Carson City Off Road, hit jumps in a lift-accessed bike park bi-monthly.

30+ min/wk focused skills practice

Check PMBIA website for new Module course dates
Meaningfully build the MTB community Not thinking I have much to contribute
Shy around strangers
Lack of awareness of local trail and outdoor recreation issues
Write 2+ MTB related blog posts in 2019
Continue as VIDA ambassador, 4+ events
Join a local cycling team to train and build community with
Check FB, Insta, local orgs for group ride and volunteer opportunities

Volunteer at least 1 hour for every 10 on the trail

Attend 1+ group ride or MTB-related event a month

Making goals is easy. Following through with them is what’s tough. Great goals supported by a solid plan, however, inspire and motivate so that the tough part comes a little more easily. Since making this spreadsheet, I’ve gained newfound excitement and confidence towards growing as a mountain biker. The big daunting goals I have in my head are a little less intimidating now that I have a plan of what I can do on a daily, weekly, and yearly basis towards achieving them. I hope when I look back in a year’s time, I don’t just see a list of tangential passes and failures, but a more nuanced and enlightening story of where I’ve been and where I’ve yet to go on my mountain bike.

Okay, enough about me. What are your mountain biking goals and progression plan for the upcoming season? Share them loud and proud! Let’s seek opportunities to help each other be our best selves both on and off our bikes, cheer each other on for trying and achieving, and have the best, funnest season yet!

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