Q+A with bike challenge champion Todd Vicker

Todd Vicker was recently featured in Marquette Matters for finishing No. 1 in the state for this summer’s Wisconsin Bike Challenge, sponsored by the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation. You can read the article here and an extended Q +A below.

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Congrats on having the highest bike mileage in the state! Was this your motivating goal all summer? 

No, not until the very end. My goals were simple at first, ride to work, ride more for errands, and ultimately reach a better level of fitness.

How did you get all those miles in?

My weekly pattern was very consistent. I rode to work every day except a few days in May where I drove to work to move my kids back from school. I never rode directly to work or home. I joined some early morning group rides, some as early at 5:15 in the morning, so my mileage before work ranged from 20-42 depending on the day. I did a group ride every Wednesday pm, Friday am, Saturday and Sunday am, but usually logged 20-30 extra miles before each weekend ride even started.

About how many did you average in a typical day? 

More than 400/week – Monday and Tuesday 40-50 easy, Wednesday 75-95 fast tempo, Thursday 50+ hard, Friday 50-65 steady, Saturday and Sundays 75-100 steady tempo rides.

Out of all your miles this summer, what’s your proudest accomplishment?  

The Annual Bone Ride – Tosa to Madison. I finished with the lead group and ended up with 162 miles from 8:30am to 5:30pm with an hour lunch on State Street that day!

Was it a single ride or a goal you met? 

No, I really enjoyed riding this summer – my family, the weather, and my body all cooperated.

Did you bike to work every day?

Yes.

What were the logistical challenges of that and how did you handle it? 

The biggest part is stocking up the clothes. I have a couple lockers at work for most of my stuff. I run my suits and sport coats back and forth to the drycleaners, so regular drop offs must be planned when I’m driving near campus. I keep a lot of essentials right here in my office – a shoe shine kit, belts, shoes, toiletries, etc.

Did you ever take any rest days?

I didn’t take any days off.

How did you recover?

I rode much easier on Monday & Tuesday and I really focused on consuming a well-balanced diet – eating a very healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, low fat, little dairy, and gallons water. I also tracked everything I ate through the Livestrong.com program. I went to bed early! Did you find your energy decreased or increased by putting in all those miles? I can’t believe how great I felt all summer. I am actually more tired now that I’ve cut back a bit, but workdays are longer and more intense since all the academic year has begun.

Now that the summer challenge is over, what’s your next goal? 

I have a few goals set to maintain my fitness. Frankly I’m motivated to stay in the same notch on my belt.

What’s your advice to others thinking about getting started biking to work or biking in general? 

Biking to work is so rewarding compared to driving. My route along the lakefront captivates me every day. It’s the “discernment time” the Jesuits talk about. Commuting by bike is all about the logistics that you can work out if you plan it out. In my opinion biking in general has so many benefits:

  • It’s a lifelong sport
  • It’s easy on the body – knees, feet, back, etc.
  • It’s good for the mind
  • It’s a sustainable
  • It’s a great way to see and enjoy the outdoors
  • It’s an efficient mode of transportation
  • It’s convenient – avoiding traffic, easy parking, etc.
  • It’s economical
  • It’s fun!

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