Back in March, Kevin Williams was training for two 100-mile mountain bike races that he knew could get canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 30-year-old Small Business Administration lender lives in Evergreen, Colo., and logging miles used to be as simple as hopping in his car to access trail networks. Over the past five months, he’s had to get creative with his workouts to stay flexible and safe due to both the virus and recent wildfires.
When the governor issued stay-at-home orders in late March, Mr. Williams committed to only riding straight from his door. Often this involves riding on less-trafficked dirt roads around his neighborhood, and even trails he finds less appealing.
Mr. Williams was registered in the open pro division of both races and was hoping to place in the top 20. He would normally see other riders on the trails and would use them to push his pace. He now had to find motivation from Strava, an app that uses GPS to track performance and shows how your times stack up with other cyclists.
“When you’re limited to only roads and trails out the front door, you find yourself competing with your neighbors,” he says. Mr. Williams owns a handful of KOMs, or King of the Mountain titles, in his area. In Strava-speak, that means he’s posted the top time on a segment of a ride.
He’s never ridden in person with his neighbor, Campbell Levy, but the two have become virtual competitors. “The first time I met him, he was wearing his Leadville 100 belt buckle,” Mr. Williams says, referring to the award given to those who complete the grueling 100-mile, high-altitude mountain-bike race in Leadville, Colo. “He has a swagger about him. We follow each other on Strava. If he logs a faster climb, I’m going out the next day to beat him.”