Switching disciplines and benefitting from cross-training has been mastered by the Dutch triple world road race champ
This month we have advice on how to master multitasking like Marianne Vos, go for a ride with former Canyon Eisberg pro Chris Opie, explain the benefits of specific cycling shorts, why you should get more eggs in your diet and discover how cycling saved Michael Gane’s life.
If you want to be a rider who can excel across a range of disciplines, you’d be wise to look at Marianne Vos. Vos has won over 300 races across four disciplines – road, track, mountain and cyclo-cross. She’s a three-time world champion on the women’s road race circuit and seven-time world title winner in cyclo-cross. She’s just had one of her more successful road seasons in 2018 – winning the BeNe Ladies Tour and Ladies Tour of Norway, as well leading the UCI Women’s World Tour, at the time of writing.
The 31-year-old Team WoawDeals rider started out as a junior mountain bike champion, before taking up cyclo-cross in 2004 and road racing a year later. In 2008 she became the first woman to have held world championship titles on the road, track and cyclo-cross circuits. Widely regarded as the finest cyclist of her generation, Vos has returned to cyclo-cross this autumn with a view to competing in the European Championships in November 2018. Here’s how she manages the switch so smoothly… VARIETY IS THE SPICE Follow Vos’s example and ride as many different disciplines as you can to become a better road racer. Vos has won more than 300 races across four disciplines. Track brings explosive power, cyclo-cross is all about threshold and VO max (for an hour), mountain biking gives you handling skills and keeps your legs turning over. Bring all of this to the road and you’ll be leading the way. BUILD BASE MILES Vos is known for doing hour on hour of base miles; even skipping recovery days to go and ride her bike. She describes herself as a full-time hobby cyclist and just loves going for a ride. Build the base and the rest will follow. The bigger the base, the bigger foundation you have to pull the fitness from when you start training for races. DO YOUR HOMEWORK One of the reasons Vos can switch from one discipline to another – and the podium – is that she adapts her training to be event specific. Just before a big race or competition, she knows she has the endurance to pull from all of her base miles. So she focuses her training on sprints and attacks. Look at your next race: when might people attack? When can you attack? Is there a hill you can attack on, how long is it? How long will you have to attack for? Then build these strategies into your training.
Don’t do it for anyone else. Vos is on record acknowledging the fact that her success is down to her work ethic, she skips rest days in favour of more time on the bike, and she clocks up hour upon hour of base miles throughout the off-season REPLICATE RACE CONDITIONS Don’t forget the sprint finish. If it’s a 60km road race you’re competing in, do your sprint training on tired legs. When asked what she thinks about when racing gets hard, Vos said, “make it worth it, you are going to suffer anyway, so suffer well and get a good result from it”. MAKE TIME TO REFINE Don’t just go for one-rep PBs at the gym. To be a good all-rounder you don’t need big muscles, but a good strength and conditioning session at least once a week will make you stronger and more powerful. When others around you are falling apart you can power on. Learn to squat, as this uses more than just legs.
VOS KNOWS SHE HAS THE ENDURANCE TO PULL FROM ALL OF HER BASE MILES
RACE FOR YOURSELF