The Coach

Ride your best Cy­cle Tour with these key 'sharpen up' ses­sions.

Bicycling (South Africa) - - INSIDE - BY MARK CAR­ROLL, CA­DENCE CYCLING PER­FOR­MANCE CEN­TRE

With the CTCT just around the cor­ner, here are the se­cret skills and a train­ing plan to take you to the next level… and beat your best time.

With the Cape Town Cy­cle Tour just over a month away, it’s im­por­tant to sharpen up for those re­peated ac­cel­er­a­tions; the fast, rolling ter­rain; and the test­ing climbs that can make or break your race. Do­ing that now will leave you in great shape – not just fit enough to sur­vive, but strong enough to go for a best time. Here are some skills rou­tines and race sim­u­la­tion in­ter­vals to help you pre­pare.

Sprint Skills

Sprints re­quire skill. They de­mand enor­mous amounts of en­ergy, and poor form com­pro­mises en­ergy de­liv­ery. Start weekly rides with hotspots on the route – up to 10 on a ride, but build to this vol­ume over a few weeks. Fo­cus on body po­si­tion, feel­ing the bike and your weight trans­fer out the sad­dle. Feel the ped­als, and how you’re de­liv­er­ing power – don’t just thrash away..

Stand­ing Skills

At­tacks hap­pen out of the sad­dle, both on flats and up­hill. You need to be ef­fi­cient out of the sad­dle – and that’s a skill lack­ing in many cy­clists, be­cause it’s rarely prac­tised. You’ll have to de­velop the skill first, with lower in­ten­sity up­hill – for ex­am­ple, dur­ing Long Steady Dis­tance (LSD) rides – and then build to race- pace ef­forts and at­tacks over the weeks. Stand for one to three min­utes at a time; and as with sprint­ing, fo­cus on feel­ing the bike.

Pac­ing Skill

Once these skills are de­vel­oped, it’s time

to com­bine them into an at­tack and hold. Go too hard, and you blow; so you need to know just how hard and long you can af­ford to at­tack, and still have the legs to hold a fast pace – whether that’s on a flat road or up a climb. Heart rate is no good for this: your per­ceived ef­fort needs to be well honed. Al­ter­na­tively, hav­ing a power me­ter will help with pac­ing.

Re­mem­ber, it’s no good go­ing flatout on the at­tack; you need to get the speed up out of the sad­dle to drive the at­tack, and then sit and main­tain the power.

Long Steady Dis­tance (LSD)

The key is ‘steady’ – not ‘slow’! Heart rate around 75% of max, and you should be able to chat with rid­ing part­ners. Free­wheel­ing and bunch coast­ing won’t make you fit; your mus­cles and aer­o­bic sys­tem need to be un­der load to stim­u­late change. This type of train­ing should make up 80 per cent of your train­ing vol­ume, and one of these rides can be set aside to de­velop your sprint and at­tack skills.

Set aside two days a week for the aer­o­bic power ses­sions (see ‘ Max­imise Aer­o­bic Power’, right), one day a week for com­bined LSD with hot- spot sprints, and ev­ery­thing else can be dis­ci­plined LSD – with stand­ing in­cor­po­rated, so there’s al­ways some skill de­vel­op­ment.

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