Century Ride: How One Life Fitness Employee Reached Her Goal

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The office culture at Life Fitness encourages activity and taking on physical challenges. Brittney, one of our skilled product managers, set her sights on an endurance bike ride. Training at home, on the road and on group exercise bikes at work helped her reach her lofty goal. She tells her story below.

Brittney on a bike with Chicago skyline in the background
This summer, I completed the hardest physical task I've ever accomplished. My original goal was to ride 100 miles in the annual Bike MS Tour de Farms, but the night before I found out the max was 125 miles so I kicked it up a notch. I had already trained hard for three months, I had my gear and decided to go big or go home. It’s crazy to see what we're capable of and the barriers we can break down when we're in the right mindset.

How it Began

The century ride idea originated when my friend Kathleen started a 30 for 30 challenge last year that inspired me. It’s a bucket list of 30 things you want to do before you turn 30. The purpose is to push yourself out of your comfort zone. I wanted to find a challenge that I could do individually. I decided on the Tour de Farms, and it landed before my 30th birthday. 

The Training Regimen

Once I decided on a ride (and bought a new bike) I needed some clue on how to train, so I downloaded the TrainingPeaks app and found a three-month program with daily workouts based on intensity and time or mileage. The work week consisted of 6 a.m. workouts riding on a trainer in my basement or at the Life Fitness showroom where I work. The ICG group exercise bikes in the showroom utilize Coach by Color, an app and training program that guided me to the designated intensity I needed for each workout. 


Example Workout

Indoor 90-minute Rolling Hills Coach by Color Workout (color-coded intensity level in parenthesis):

  • 15-minute warm up @ Level 15 (White)
  • 2 minutes hard @ Level 60 (Red)
  • 3-minute recovery @ Level 25 (Blue)
  • 10 minutes flat @ Level 35 (Green)
  • Repeat five times

Weekend training was 20 to 80 miles outdoors on paved trails or two hours indoors, depending on the weather. I began going to Well-Fit Triathlon & Training, a training facility in Chicago. I was a little timid to jump into that crowd so I decided to train on my own for a month first to get comfortable. After I got into the swing of things I started doing my three- to four-hour weekend rides at Well-Fit and was addicted. It was a great group with great instructors.

Eventually, the day of the ride came.

7:00 a.m.: I lined up with over 1,000 riders at the start/finish at Northern Illinois University. Not only was this my first organized ride but I was doing it on my own, which was out of my comfort zone. But I knew I trained hard and I was ready for the (literally) long road ahead.

11:00 a.m.: My favorite part of the ride happened when I was riding with a group of eight—my first drafting experience. Other than then, I rode solo. The heat kept rising and got up to about 90 degrees. I still felt great for most of the ride except for an aggravated hip injury about three hours in. The pain slowed me down a bit, but I wasn't about to let it get in the way.

2:00 p.m.: At this point I had only stopped twice to fill up on water and was determined to stay on my bike to the end, even through strong winds. I had surpassed my original 100-mile goal and the 25 miles left didn't sound so bad, so I just kept on pedaling.

4:30 p.m.: I finally crossed the finish line.

Man, it felt good to know that I just rode for 125 miles in 8-1/2 hours, more than doubling my longest outdoor ride. It was an amazing feeling and now I'm thinking about what's next.

Brittney finishing her 125 mile bike ride
training
indoor cycling
endurance rides
 

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