The foundations for successful riding
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Ok I need to fess up here, I think (as usual) I have bitten off more than I can chew.
I am heading over to France from July 2nd to July 31st 2014.
I thought whilst I'm there on my first French cycling holiday I would enter L'Etape.
I couldn't resist the chance to ride a closed stage of the tour
I need training help.
A brief bit about my cycling.
Past six years I have averaged about 6000km per year but its mostly flat stuff (Perth local)
We have some hills which I can get to once a week and they top out at about 350m.
The plan is to ride around 10hrs per week for the 5 months leading to departure.
I have one event planned in April which is the 5 dams and will do a twelve week block starting in the New Year
in preparation for this. Then I have approx another 8 weeks to top me up for Pau to Hautacam.
I will already have been cycling in the Alps for two weeks prior to L'Etape doing lots of climbing.
Since I should be tapering by then I will keep most rides below 100km.
I have planned to ride a dozen or so of the big Cols in the Alps then
we will have 3 days rest before L'Etape to freshen the legs up.
What I need is advice on the best use of my training time between the New Year and departure, June 2nd, considering the above.
I think I have a good base and have only climbed two real mountains which were last year.
Mt William and Mt Buller. I also did King Lake and the climbs in the Dandenongs.
The rest are just our short 2 -6km Perth climbs.
BTW I am 50 and 191cm currently 81kg down from 86kg two months ago. Hoping to loose another 5kg
before we leave. This is a bit on the very light side for me but I can live with it for a month or so if it helps get me up the Tourmalet.
Enjoy your trip!
I'd recommend hill repeats. But as the climbs where you train are short and can only be ridden once a week I'd suggest long into the wind efforts at a cadence and power similar to what you climb.
Sorry to say but Mt William and Mt Buller pale into comparison with the Hors Categorie climbs in Europe (these are categorie one climbs at best regardless of what Strava tries to make you believe). At least you have a couple of weeks to acclimatise and get some fitness before l'Etape.
Prior to my OS climbing holidays - my regular sessions were threepeats of Mt Donna Buang (16.8km @6.4% - totalling 50.4km climbing 3207 elevation gain). I ended with 23 ascents over 8 sessions on weekends plus numerous other climbs including Wednesday evening repeats in the Dandenongs before landing in France 2011...
Might be also partially due to the heat and jet lag, but I hit the Marmotte loop (without finishing up Alpe d'Huez) my second day on landing and suffered badly! Having said that by the end of the second week I was firing on all cylinders, so having a couple of weeks in France before l'Etape stacks the odds back in your favour.
Well i found the last section of Mt William past the carpark tough, as well as the last section of Buller up to the Blue Bullet.
I was 85kgs then (last April) but if as you say the Cols of France are much tougher I will need to do some work between now and June.
We have plenty of wind so finding a good headwind over summer is no problem.
For this year I will only finish up with about 60,000m vertical of climbing.
Going by your stats it looks like I will need to do that again between now and when I leave.
I guess hill repeats and long sessions on the rollers will have to make up my weekly schedule from now.
I am only hoping to beat the bus of broken souls to the top of Hautacam, if I do that mission complete.
Sounds like you're doing plenty already. I did Marmotte in 2012 off less work than you've done and had no problems (185cm, 86kg)
Also had v. little climbing before I left Sydney.
1. Leave your ego at home and pack the easiest gear possible. I fitted a mid-cage rear der and had 34x32 at my disposal. Total overkill for one climb, but great when Alpe d'Huez is your 4th climb of the day w/ 160km and 3900m in your legs.
2. I used a power metre and it was v. useful. E.g: I figured I would climb at 230W and, given my gearing, wouldn't need to ride below 70rpm, so I'd do long efforts at 230W & 70rpm sitting upright w/ hands on the bars to simulate climbing whilst riding on the flats.
3. Any flat bits leading into the first climb will be relatively easy as you'll get whisked along in a large bunch.
4. Note that the descents are effectively rest periods! This means you can approach the event as a series of intervals (X minutes climbing, Y minutes rest descending)
5. If you have 10 days climbing in the Alps before l'Etape you'll find that by the end of the first week you'll think that any gradient less than 6% is almost flat
Thanks for the info donncha,
I will be running a compact 34 with a 11-28 on the back. I did Mt Buller and Mt William with standard 53-39 and the 28, going down to the compact hopefully will have me with a gear in reserve up the big climbs.
I will simulate long climbs on the rollers, I hate long roller sessions but will throw a climbing vid on the laptop and watch whilst trying not to go too stir crazy.
Hopefully I can build up to plus one hour sessions at a gear around 70 cadence. 35 minutes is the most I have spent on them at once so I will add this once a week and build it up slowly.
Time to stuff myself over Christmas then the training starts boxing day.
Enjoy the holidays
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