By Reggie Miller, NBA Hall of Fame, Olympian, MTB Racer, CTS Contributing Editor

I don’t mind doing things outside my comfort zone. I think that’s how you grow as a person. And that’s how I found my way to Steamboat Springs for the SBT GRVL event on August 14.

I certainly didn’t mind doing things outside my comfort zone during my basketball days. For instance, when I was in 8th grade, going to open gym runs to play against Juniors and Seniors. Sometimes I held my own, sometimes I got the snot kicked out of me.

These days, my main cycling discipline is mountain biking. That’s what I race 95% of the time, across multiple genres, but mostly cross country and endurance races. Gravel riding and racing have always piqued my curiosity, though. You still get to be on dirt (primarily), but you’re using the curly bars. In some gravel rides you’re even on pavement for a portion of time. I follow all the big races, Belgian Waffle Ride, Unbound, Mid South Gravel, and others.

One race everyone marvels about is Steamboat Gravel in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. They say the atmosphere and energy is so inviting and the fans/riders really pull for one another, whether you’re racing or just riding for personal gain/growth. One of my good friends and riding buddies in SoCal, Ryan Steers, talked me into signing up this year.

There are 3 main distances most people choose to ride: the Black course (142 miles 9,200 elevation), Blue course (100 miles 6,000 elevation) or Red course (60 miles 3,600 elevation). Well… I knew there was NO WAY I was going ride 140 miles, and I knew if I was going to make the trip to Steamboat it wasn’t going to be for just 60 miles, so it was time to get out of my comfort zone and tackle 100 gravel miles. I thought it would be interesting to give you a glimpse into my training leading up to the race, as well as my race week journal from when I arrived in Steamboat up to race day on August 14th. This is just MY personal journey on how I tackled SBTGRVL.

SBT GRVL Training

In late February, early March I decided to do SBTGRVL and chose the 100-mile (actually 105-mile) route, so I knew I had plenty of time to train. But my schedule unusual because of my commitments to Turner Sports (TNT), broadcasting NBA games, as well as March Madness (calling the NCAA tournament). That meant long stretches where I wouldn’t see my bike and had to find alternative workouts, like outdoor running, treadmill running, indoor rock climbing. I tried to do as much as I could to get my heart racing, so I wouldn’t lose the base I had built up from the bike.

Coach Jason Siegle from CTS was in charge of finding ways just to help me stay competitively fit during the months of March to May. There were times I was able to train consistently and get intervals done. Heck, I even raced a few times in March (I suffered mightily), but it was all about not wanting to lose that aerobic base.

When the basketball season ended for me in late May, I transitioned into bike season. That’s when significant training blocks are added to the schedule. However, for those of you NOT from Southern California, we’ve been in a massive summer long heatwave, so doing 5×12-minute, 5×15-minute, or 3×25-minute intervals in the heat was challenging. As a result, Coach Jason decided we would only do short intervals leading up to Steamboat. Although they were shorter efforts, they were at much higher intensity than those 12- to 25-minute intervals.

A typical workout might have been 5 sets of 5x30seconds at max intensity, separated by 30 seconds of recovery, with 5 minutes rest in between each set. We’d do those twice a week, along with my other longer rides on the weekend. I did these for a month and a half leading up to SBTGRVL.

For the record, I HATE THESE. I would text/call Jason, cursing the almighty God to him. He talked me off the ledge a few times, but slowly and surely I came around to appreciate the efforts and results we were seeing. Of course, I didn’t know how that was going to translate to riding 100 miles, but we were going to find out.

Click here to read Reggie’s race-week journal from Steamboat Springs – Reggie Miller – Journal

Article courtesy of Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) –

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