Tuft Enough

Bi­cy­cle Tour­ing is the Life for Me

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - BY SVEIN TUFT

I've writ­ten a few ar­ti­cles now that stress the im­por­tance of changing your rou­tine, switch­ing things up – not only for your body to re­set and strengthen again, but also for the men­tal break it pro­vides.

It's funny be­cause now I find my­self com­ing full cir­cle. It's how I started out in this crazy game. In­no­cently enough, I just wanted to see the world. I welded BMX wheels to a steel trailer and bought a crappy used 10-speed bike from a Value Vil­lage. Loaded down with way too much stuff, I hit the high­way with my dog and fell in love with the free­dom of the road.

Now, some 20 years later, I shake my head at the path I've taken from that sim­ple life. Don't get me wrong, I don't re­gret a thing. It's been an amaz­ing jour­ney, but I find my­self crav­ing that sim­plic­ity once again. So this sum­mer, when faced with a month of hard train­ing be­fore the Vuelta, I saw two op­tions. One was to go the same path I've been beat­ing down for 15 years. Intervals, climb­ing ef­forts and time-trial work­outs on the same routes that I could ride blind­folded. Or op­tion two, which was to hit the road and ex­plore the Pyre­nees, tick­ing off all the boxes while see­ing one of the most beau­ti­ful parts of France and Spain. I chose op­tion two, and it rev­o­lu­tion­ized how I go about train­ing th­ese days.

Two-hun­dred-plus kilo­me­tres go by quite nicely when you're rid­ing point to point and the ter­rain is mostly new to you. It changes your en­tire out­look on train­ing. You no longer dread those 5x5-minute Vo2Max ef­forts; you just let the dis­tance and the par­cours do the work. The adap­ta­tion will oc­cur. Of course, you will still need to work on your in­ten­sity, but I think there's much to be gained by throw­ing some fun tour­ing into your pro­gram. Rid­ing an hour-long climb with an ex­tra 15 kilo strapped to your bike def­i­nitely builds the aer­o­bic sys­tem, and the dis­tance and hours rid­den tap into an en­ergy re­serve I can't say I've ex­pe­ri­enced when only do­ing five- and six-hour rides.

I'm still a big be­liever in un­der­tak­ing many dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties and find­ing that bal­ance in life, and I re­ally think if you're strug­gling with your same old train­ing pro­gram, it's great to throw in a mini-tour here and there. Be­gin with a few days and work your way up to a week. I rec­om­mend three-day blocks. Be sure to stop some­where in­ter­est­ing on your rest day and en­joy it!

I've just come back from a team camp in Switzer­land. I de­cided to ride from An­dorra to our team base in Varese. I gave my­self six days, with five days of rid­ing the 1,000 kilo­me­tres. By the time I was clos­ing in on Varese, I just wanted to con­tinue right on past and carry on down south ex­plor­ing the Mediter­ranean. I'm ad­dicted, and will con­tinue this as part of my train­ing in the com­ing years.

Travel is a beau­ti­ful part of life, and if you love bik­ing, then trav­el­ing this way will be some­thing you will grow to love. Happy trav­els.

Tuft hit­ting the road to throw some fun into his train­ing pro­gram.

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