training for LeTape and need some help

Bennoz
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training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Bennoz » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:58 am

Hi All

A story you might be familiar with - newbie signs up for LeTape and now thinks he's bitten off more than he can chew :D

Had some mates do LeTape last year, love it, and convinced me to sign up for it this year.
Im 36, and purchased my first road bike in Feb. Ive had been following the awesome advice already posted up on this forum
here (found this really interesting): viewtopic.php?f=12&t=91287
and here: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=97530

training was going really well. Joined the local riding club (SSCC). was managing to fit in 200+km a week.
my 1st long group ride (80km) i bonked. the next week i did it i was more prepared and manged to get through okay. hardest thing id ever done but i was hooked. How did i not get into cycling before ???

when i say training "WAS" going well... i had a bit of an accident. Got clipped by a truck one morning, came off hard but managed to walk away without breaking anything. can read the story here in your interested: viewtopic.php?f=53&t=98419

Whilst recovering and getting my head right, the LeTape jersey turned up in the mail. I decided that would be my motivation to get back into riding.

Got a new bike, and have had a few sessions to ease back into it. Looked at my calendar this week and worked out between family, holidays etc i have 14 weeks to train, with only 12 weekends free. It hit home that i really need to ramp up or im going to struggle.

my plan is to do the following, whilst following the advice in the other threads
mon-fri - 3 rides. 1hr. about 30km (i can only get out in the mornings and need to be home by 645am so im not late for work / take kids to child care)
sat - bit longer ride 30-50km
sun - attempt the sunday club ride (its about 70km but they go at a fair pace)

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g-boaf
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby g-boaf » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:23 pm

Follow the topic from the previous years:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=91287&hilit=letape


Plenty of good advice there.

Bennoz
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Bennoz » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:52 pm

1st week down and everything seems to be going well. have done 150km in 5x1hr sessions. Havent been able to do a long ride yet due to family commitments but am planning on heading out sunday morning

i had a question on Pacing im hoping someone can give me some tips on, as ive always been horrible when it comes to this.
i read somewhere make sure your easy days are easy and your hard days are hard... i had my 1st hard day this morning and was surprised at the results

for my easy days ive been spinning around 90-100 cadence in the granny gear. Feels like around 70% effort. Still get puffed on hills but its a fairly comfortable ride, no need to get out of the saddle and plenty left in the tank at the end

this morning was the hard ride and did the same route with the mindset of getting from point A to point B in the fastest time possible. Pushing the whole way with the legs giving out on the hills. i was spent by the end but i was only marginally faster overall.

There was a headwind this morning, and ive been off the bike for a while so im not concerned or anything like that. Im just wanting to know that im approaching the pacing in the right way

any tips would be much appreciated :D

BugsBunny
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby BugsBunny » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:13 pm

Good work mate.

There are whole host of variables and I don't know much about the Le Tape route/difficulty - so hard to be entirely specific. And moreover, I'm just someone who has a few years of cycling/training so be warned :-).

But my general thoughts are:

Hill reps are the best bang for the buck training. Riding flats is good, and riding long distances is good. But if you want cardio conditioning, hill reps is almost a sure bet. The reason is there is no let up, no free wheeling, no drafting. It covers most bases in the training repertoire.

Find a hill or two that's say a 5-20 min climb entirely uphill. And just go up and down and vary the intensity and the amount of reps. Mix things up with shorter climbs (5 min) with higher intensity and fewer reps (say 3), to longer climbs (up to 12-20min) with lower intensity and more reps (say 5).

Slap on one long endurance ride a week to this and you have a pretty good program.

Riding flats (can) give you a false sense of fitness because the speeds are much faster and you can move along fairly quickly but not really be exerting much effort - ie not inducing much training stimulus.

I followed TrainerRoad training program and its more or less similar to the above but done indoors on an ergo.

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g-boaf
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby g-boaf » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:10 pm

Bennoz wrote:1st week down and everything seems to be going well. have done 150km in 5x1hr sessions. Havent been able to do a long ride yet due to family commitments but am planning on heading out sunday morning

i had a question on Pacing im hoping someone can give me some tips on, as ive always been horrible when it comes to this.
i read somewhere make sure your easy days are easy and your hard days are hard... i had my 1st hard day this morning and was surprised at the results

for my easy days ive been spinning around 90-100 cadence in the granny gear. Feels like around 70% effort. Still get puffed on hills but its a fairly comfortable ride, no need to get out of the saddle and plenty left in the tank at the end

this morning was the hard ride and did the same route with the mindset of getting from point A to point B in the fastest time possible. Pushing the whole way with the legs giving out on the hills. i was spent by the end but i was only marginally faster overall.

There was a headwind this morning, and ive been off the bike for a while so im not concerned or anything like that. Im just wanting to know that im approaching the pacing in the right way

any tips would be much appreciated :D



That easy spinning at 90-100rpm on your easy days is a good idea. What you read about easy days being very easy is exactly right. That's how the recovery happens. Otherwise you just ride around feeling fatigued all the time.

Pacing is something you learn. The trick on those big hills is to be in an easy gear to start with so that you won't be suffering half way up the climb. If that means fitting your bike out with a dinner plate cassette, so be it. If that lets you spin comfortably up the big climbs, that's better than being stuck having to grind your way up a mountain at 60rpm, and let's face it, that's pretty awful.

Times from point A to point B are never really a reliable way of judging your effort, because they are influenced by so many outside factors. One day you'll get every red traffic light and a monster headwind. Another day it'll be smooth sailing the whole way, or you get a blasting big gale pushing you along.

Being faster overall is also about being clever, like not smashing yourself completely before you get to a hill, otherwise you are just going to lose a stack of time going up the hill.

Riding hills as much as possible helps a lot. You can do them on a smart trainer simulated if you wish. If it is 40 minute climbs you are aiming at, then 4x10min is 40min. As you get better at them you can increase the power or reduce the recovery time between them. There are many different ways and there are loads of fancy names for many exotic sounding intervals, but keeping it simple, repeatable and accountable (by tracking everything) is all you need to do. By keeping to the plan you can compare how you are going versus the previous week or fortnight.

Another common thing is not just the easier rides or days, but easier weeks. You'll have a few weeks with gradually higher training loads or hours, then you'll back off to have an easier week. That easier week is there for a reason, that's where you get the recovery and the benefits.
Last edited by g-boaf on Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

macca33
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby macca33 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 8:57 pm

You need to start with some 3-4 hour rides now - at least one a week. If not, you won't get there on the day. The ride is at elevation, the weather is unpredictable and it is a long way, with plenty of climbing. 30-40km rides a few days a week won't cut it.

If you bonked on a local 80km ride, it is telling you that more miles and longer rides are required, as well as a decent fuel / re-fuel strategy.

Cheers
CAAD10 Berzerker & Focus Mares CX & Ridley Noah SL

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BugsBunny
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby BugsBunny » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:56 am

Regarding pacing - that's very important to both your training rides as well as preparation before the race day, and then during the race.

I would start by looking at the Letape course route - particularly the elevation gains - ie. the big climbs. Write these down and at what km they start in the race. For example, at 26km mark, there will be a 300m elevation gain climb over 5km. Later on, prior the race, stick this on your top tube. The course terrain forms part of your pre race pacing strategy. If it finishes on a big climb for example, you will need to pace yourself by saving your energy for that last climb for example. How long do you estimate each of the climbs take? Marry up your hill reps training to the race terrain as best you can.

I would set your Garmin head unit to have lap time, lap distance and elevation showing. This way at the start of each climb you hit the lap button you can gauge how long you have to climb/go before reaching the top. This marries up with your cheat sheet mentioned above. The time elapsed and elevation to go and how hard if feels as you ride is your pacing barometer.

Lastly, during the race, you have to learn to note your physical condition. I break up each climb into 3 logical chunks. For example, that 300m I would break it up into 100m elevation gains (again using your Garmin head unit). Ride at a level that by the time you hit the first 100m (first third) you are feeling tired by no where near overly exhausted/struggling. This mental note is how you know you are not pushing too hard. Do the same for the second third. Make sure you are still feeling ok and not anywhere exhausted. If you are, you are going too hard. If you are feeling really really good, go a bit harder on the last third. And then recover on the downhill. Repeat this on each climb and again noting your cheat sheet and how many km/climbs to go.

If you put a link the route here, I can take a guesstimate of the climb times for you.

Bugs

Bennoz
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Bennoz » Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:20 pm

Thanks for the tips all. will see how i go with them over the next week or so

BugsBunny wrote:If you put a link the route here, I can take a guesstimate of the climb times for you.
Bugs


cheers: this years course https://letapeaustralia.com/the-routes/

BugsBunny
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby BugsBunny » Wed Aug 15, 2018 4:21 pm

I assume you are doing the full 170km (with 3000m elevation gain) and I'm assuming time cut is 9 hours.

I'm a bit out of my depth here (lack race experience) but I can say with some certainty that's a reasonably tough route with emphasis on climbing ability. I would say it would be classified as very hard for someone relatively new to cycling.

You will be fine on the flattish/descending parts and I'm sure you will be able to hold a decent speed. It will be the climbs that will be of most challenge to you. You could make up some time on the descents but that's a whole 'nother thread!

First off the bat, the Col de Beloka at is about 300m net elevation and at 9.9% will be very hard. A rough estimate (depends on your weight and physical fitness) but I would budget it might take you roughly 35 min to do that climb. It will sap a *lot* out of you if you ain't a climber. I would get to the bike shop and consider changing your chain ring and/or cassette for some climbing ratios. Ask your mechanic.

Most of the climbs are 200-300m. So you will be budgeting 20-30 min. Hard to say, but budget 10min for each 100m - thereabouts.

There is one extended climb at the 113km mark that goes for about 700m. There is a brief respite at 120km. This big climb will take a fair bit out of you.

In summary, I would get some climbing gears upgraded onto the bike. I would strongly recommend you do hill reps as you will need to condition your body (muscles) to be stressed in a climbing state and you will be working you heart rate quite high during the race. Best you get some cardio conditioning done through climbing training/adaptations.

Be brave... and enjoy the journey!

Would love to do this one day too!

Bugs

Bennoz
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Bennoz » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:14 am

BugsBunny wrote:There is one extended climb at the 113km mark that goes for about 700m. There is a brief respite at 120km. This big climb will take a fair bit out of you.


Thats mount kosciuszko Ha ;)

Cheers for the rundown.
Honestly the only things that phase me for the course are:
1. Beloka climb
2. kosciuszko climb
3. finishing the 170km course - its way longer than any ride ive done before

I know if i put the work in now, ill be right on the day. With the advise already available on the forum here and a bit of discipline i should be okay (it'l be tough )

took your advice and broke the course up into stages (excuse the formatting from excel)- putting some conservative numbers against them to see how i may fair time wise

Code: Select all

LeTape    4-9 hrs                     
stage         distance(km)   elevation   notes         est avg speed (km/hr)   est time(min)   
1   0-20km      20            300m                     20                     60.0   
2   20-50km   30            -400m                     30                     60.0   
3   50-60      10            100m   food station      20                     30.0   
4   60-72      12            -300m                     35                     20.6   
5   72-86      14            150m   food station      20                     42.0   
6   86-90      4               400m   beloka            8                     30.0   
7   90-108      18            -200m   end of the ride   35                     30.9   
8   108-114   5               100m                     20                     15.0   
9   114-137   23               850m   kozi- food @top   8                        172.5   
10   137-160   23            -850m   kozi descent      35                        39.4   
11   160-170   10            100m   end                20                     30.0   
                        
                                             22.82                  530.4   
                                                                  8.84hrs

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MichaelB
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby MichaelB » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:32 pm

All I can say is 170km and 3,000m elevation is a TOUGH ride.

You will have wanted to do at least one or two imperial centuries with 2,000m + climbing to at least have an idea.

If you can’t do those, I suspect the “bit off more .... “ will apply

Good luck !

BugsBunny
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby BugsBunny » Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:16 pm

MichaelB
Yeah - come to think of it, 3000m elevation is a crap ton of climbing. I've done 3300m in a day and I'm toast at the end of the ride. I weigh 62kg btw!

Bennoz
As part of your training, make a note of how much elevation gain you are doing. You really need to be able to do during your training rides at least 2000m (IMHO) elevation gain in a day. This will give you some idea as to what it will be like in the race with 3000m.

Bugs

march83
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby march83 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:19 pm

Bennoz, where are you located? Have you got any categorised climbs nearby? Jindy to Rennix is a cat 1 I think, then there's a few decent lumps beyond that before you get to Perisher. I would suggest you find a hill nearby where you can climb consistently for the better part of an hour and try to incorporate that into your regular long rides. Longer duration climbs are a shock the system that you don't get from doing hill repeats of smaller climbs.

As what others have said, ride long as often as you can. If you have a powermeter try to do long rides that burn a significant percentage of the calories you expect to burn on race day so you can get used to the workload and so you can get your food strategy sorted.
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robbo mcs
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby robbo mcs » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:21 pm

I spend a large part of the year in the snowy mountains and ride these areas extensively.

The one thing that nobody has mentioned is the wind. The winds are frequently very strong around this area. In addition the loop from jindabyne, berridale, dalgety, jindabyne is very exposed. Generally travelling through open fields and plains with little or no trees, buildings or fences. The prevailling wind direction that time of year is such that you will tend to be going head first into the wind from dalgety to jindabyne. This is the stage where you will be starting to get tired, the bunches are likely to have split up, and you have to go up beloka (which is very tough).

If it is windy, then it will be extremely tough. I rate dealing with the winds as just as hard as the climbs. Fortunately the last two years there have been light winds, but this is unusual. However, it also means that most people who have done the ride the last 2 years don't really understand what a factor the wind can be.

Bennoz
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Bennoz » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:44 pm

yeah the wind / weather isnt something ive factored into the above. not much i can do about it but train my arse off

march83 wrote:Bennoz, where are you located? Have you got any categorised climbs nearby?

im in the shire - sydney
have done the nat park ride once (yes that was tough).
The waterfall hill is prob the most accessible to me
planning to ride to sublime point this weekend.

theres a few others i know of - around the back of engadine to woronora bridge
havent ventured to woronora dam yet but its on the cards

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g-boaf
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby g-boaf » Thu Aug 16, 2018 8:10 pm

Bennoz wrote:yeah the wind / weather isnt something ive factored into the above. not much i can do about it but train my arse off

march83 wrote:Bennoz, where are you located? Have you got any categorised climbs nearby?

im in the shire - sydney
have done the nat park ride once (yes that was tough).
The waterfall hill is prob the most accessible to me
planning to ride to sublime point this weekend.

theres a few others i know of - around the back of engadine to woronora bridge
havent ventured to woronora dam yet but its on the cards


For road rides, I'd be suggesting to try and go down to Berry if you can get there for a day - go from Berry out to Fitzroy Falls and back, that will get you about 80km and 2200m elevation:

https://www.strava.com/routes/9905446

You can also do a loop of Berry Mountain, Bellawongarah, Wattamolla and Woodhill and then back into Berry, you'll get some decent climbs there on some really rubbish quality road surfaces. It can also be very windy there on the wrong day with the winds roaring up the valleys. Berry Inn is a decent place to base yourself at down that way if you want to stay the weekend.

Around Sydney there are the climbs to the north around Bobbin Head, West Head, Berowra, Akuna Bay but those aren't that huge - you'd have to do multiple repeats of them.

Along with trainer rides, I did rides in those places and it prepared me okay for doing HC climbs.

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Derny Driver
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Derny Driver » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:12 pm

Its not the climbs per se that you need to worry about. You need distance in your legs. If you are fit and strong youll be fine, up hill, down or flat. That said, nasho loops are good ... albeit a bit dangerous. Ride to waterfall on the highway and drop into the park. Head back towards audley but drop down to garie and climb back up. Then home via audley.
Another great ride is to get the train to kiama. Head north thru jamberoo, up past the Rec park and into albion park . Up Macquarie pass to robertson. Then pearsons lane snd myra vale road to fitzroy falls .. turn left and drop down barrengarry into kangaroo valley. Up over berry mountain and down to berry. Take toolijoah road and then the highway back to kiama. 120km. 3000m of climbing.

Bennoz
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Bennoz » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:30 am

bit of an update:

training going well. Been getting out 5 days a week. Am doing 75-80km (1200m climbing) on a Sunday, fairly comfortably now. will look to up it this weekend

took two weeks off for a wedding overseas and got back last week.
will ramp up the training now leading to the event

did my usual 30km loop in the morning ... a nice easy pace in the small gear and was surprised to see i'd smashed out a PB without really trying. Previous time was 56min and this recent PB was just under 51min. aiming to go sub 50 ;)

One thing i think has helped was i got an indoor trainer. am doing 2-3 sessions a week on it and its really helped with my technique and pacing. I got a few tips for peddling technique (rounding out the top, scraping gum off the sole at the bottom) and practicing on the trainer has been great. Plus im starting to know my own limits when im pushing too hard and when to back off a bit.

All in all so far so good - u feel im past where i was pre-accident and getting more confidence back on the road.

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Derny Driver
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Derny Driver » Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:35 pm

Bennoz wrote:bit of an update:

did my usual 30km loop in the morning ... a nice easy pace in the small gear and was surprised to see i'd smashed out a PB without really trying. Previous time was 56min and this recent PB was just under 51min. aiming to go sub 50 ;)
.

Shite :shock: Dont do that. Training at 35kph. Worst thing you can do. The dead zone.
You should be riding at 28kph. 30 absolute max.
And you shouldnt be aiming for PBs in training either.
Just ride your bike. Slowly !

Bennoz
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Bennoz » Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:27 pm

Thx Derny - im def NOT training at 35kph. Maybe that day i had a tailwind...cant remember. Either way i feel like the training is working.

My training rides consist of granny gear, easy spinning trying to maintain at 90-100 cadence, conversation pace. I set up my trip computer to only show cadence - not concerned with speed etc. Thats why i was surprised at the PB time as i felt i wasnt pushing at all.

The sub 50min time for that loop i do, i guess, is a personal goal id like to achieve one day. something i didnt think i could do when i started out.

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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby BugsBunny » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:17 pm

Hi Bennoz

If you've got an indoor trainer of the smart variant, you can download the route GPX data and do a virtual ride of the Le Tape. Or at least you can test out your gearing on say one or two of the harder climbs - what gear to use, what cadence works for you, how long it takes, and how hard it feels etc...

Bennoz
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Bennoz » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:12 pm

Hi All

another update - training is going okay. still doing 5 rides a week with one being a long ride on weekends. Am up over 100km on the weekend long ride (with 1200-1500 climbing included). Im not pushing it too hard (intensity wise) and have noticed my avg HR has come down to about 150 whilst still maintaining the same time overall time. was previously 165+ so i guess im getting fitter

with the training i feel like im plateauing abit. Also felt really sluggish last week. legs just felt heavy. After my long ride on sat i felt worn out so ive decided to take a few days break and just rest and focus on stretches. Not sure if im over-training but i think a few days off wont hurt

Indoor trainer has been great with all the rain sydney has been having, although i had to go out twice in light rain because i was over the indoor rides. only so much indoors i can manage ;)

Had a really scary moment on the bike recently. On a descent ive done a few times i got the speed wobbles coming into a tight corner. Never had it before and i managed to get it under control only by veering into the oncoming lane. Luckily it was early morning in the national park with no traffic, but to say that i puckered up would be an understatement ! Have been reading up on tips to get it under control if it happens again

one month to go !
Im actually starting to look forward to it ;)

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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby singlespeedscott » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:20 pm

With this training and your low body weight I think you’ll do fine.

With the wobbles on your descent try descending out of the saddle with your hands in the drops. Far more control and improved stability. Keep your legs and arms slightly bent to absorb any shock. Try to complete your braking before entering corners.
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Bennoz
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Bennoz » Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:47 pm

singlespeedscott wrote:With this training and your low body weight I think you’ll do fine.

With the wobbles on your descent try descending out of the saddle with your hands in the drops. Far more control and improved stability. Keep your legs and arms slightly bent to absorb any shock. Try to complete your braking before entering corners.


Far from low body weight. I've dropped almost 10kgs but still 6ft1 and 90kgs but thx :D

And cheers for the tips, will keep that in mind for the next time

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Derny Driver
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Re: training for LeTape and need some help

Postby Derny Driver » Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:46 pm

Hands in the drops ALWAYS when descending and cornering.
Squeeze the knees on the top tube if you get the death wobbles, and relax your hands and arms slightly.

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