The beginning of May is generally viewed as the official start of spring training, and everyone has their own preferred activity for getting back in the swing of things. Alaska’s resident Crystal Globe-winner Kikkan Randall (APU/USST) decided to kick her off-season into gear with a hard effort on the bike; over the weekend she entered her second-ever time trial, the 12th annual Bike For Women in Anchorage. A grand total of 526 women aged eight to 70 completed the nine-mile race; Randall was fourth to local triathlete Shannon Donley. We asked her about the race and how she incorporates biking into her spring and summer training.
FasterSkier: Have you entered many bike races before? What were you expecting out of this one?
Kikkan Randall: This was my second bike race ever. I did one time trial a few years ago but it was on my regular road bike with a regular helmet. I’ve also done the women’s triathlon the last few years and ridden hard in that race. But this was my first time doing a pure time trial on the bike with a time trial bike and the fancy helmet.
My friend talked me into doing the Bike for Women this year. I figured it would be a fun new challenge and a good way to get in a hard effort as we’re back into training this first week.
It was a great experience. I warmed up on a stationary trainer. The warm-up was pretty hard and I was actually a little anxious about how hard the race was going to hurt. Once I got into the race however, I actually felt pretty good. The course is deceiving because it’s mostly downhill on the way back. The second half was really tough. I can tell I have a lot to learn about corners and shifting, but it was fun to try something new.
FS: This looks like it was a big race. How big a deal was the event? How serious was the field?
KR: The women’s-only events in Anchorage are big events! Many of the events sell-out within a matter of hours. There is a Bike for Women, Triathlon for Women, Run for Women and Ski for Women. If you finish three of the events in a year, you get a triple finisher patch.
The fields in each event are usually pretty competitive. One of the top triathletes up here has won age-group nationals before and there is a group of women that train together pretty seriously. Yesterday, there were quite a few women out there with pretty fancy bikes!
It was a fun event. I definitely credit growing up in a community where these women only events are quite common and prosperous (and competitive) for helping make sport and competition such a natural part of my life.
FS: How much does biking factor into your spring and summer training, usually?
KR: I like to bike 1-2 times per week during my spring/summer training. I usually just ride for recovery mid-week, or sometimes for an afternoon distance session. I really enjoy biking.
FS: How has your spring training been going, overall?
KR: The spring has been good. Overall I’ve trained a little less this spring than in previous years, just to make sure I recover from the high load of racing from the winter. The last two weeks I’ve been building back into training. I started off with a bunch of road biking in Maui while on vacation with my husband. Then this past week, APU kicked off the new training year with our annual Start-Up Camp. We did a ton of crust skiing and got back in the weight room. It’s been a bit of a shock but I’m actually excited to be back in the training rhythm again.
Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.