FEBRUARY TRAINING HINTS
This year’s Etape du Tour involves a lot of climbing! Although not one of the longest Etapes, at nearly 89 miles, because of the amount of climbing, it will require considerable endurance.
Is there a hill near you which you find difficult? That is a good place to start! If it is 100 metres or more high, so much the better! Climbing it at a high effort level will actually improve your hill climbing speed in the future.
Having improved your hill climbing speed, the next step is to improve your endurance. You may find that after a bit of high intensity hill training that you beat all your friends to the top of the hills, but tire more quickly than them! The next step is therefore to ride a longer hilly route. Distance needs to be built up to in stages. Maybe you have been doing 25 mile or 40 mile rides in January. You may like to build up to 45, or 50 miles or even longer rides this month when the weather permits.
Choose your Hills
It may be useful (other commitments permitting) to travel to a hilly area for a day, or a weekend. To train for mountains, it is good to build up your climb lengths as the weeks go by. This is obviously best done when the weather is reasonable.
If you are taking part in the Etape du Tour it is a wise plan to gradually increase the heigh of your climbs as the year goes on – 100m, 130m and so on, depending on available hills.
Areas such as the Chilterns have a number of 100m hills, and a few higher ones, so it is possible to plan rides which take in an increasing number of hills from week to week, then take in some tougher ones. Don’t forget the coffee stops though!
As the year progresses, it is good to seek out some longer climbs.
The book “100 Greatest Cycling Climbs” by Simon Warren is useful for locating suitable climbs.
Areas such as Wales and Exmoor have plenty!
February is a favourite time for booking holidays.
Places such as North Mallorca or Lake Garda in Italy are useful for combining holidays with family and friends with mountain practice. It is usually possible to hire a suitable bike locally.
Bad Weather Training
If the weather is foul, training on a turbo trainer or at the gym are good options. If possible use a machine with a wattage reading, and also measure your heart rate. If you record your heart rate at various power levels, and plot a graph of power vs heart rate you will probably see your power output at particular heart rates increases from week to week – giving you a good measure of your progress.
Prolonged riding at say 150W or maybe 200W, whatever you find sustainable, is a good way to simulate mountain climbs without getting cold and wet. You may get bored though! More advanced turbo trainers simulate actual climbs on a PC linked to turbo trainer, and the pedal resistance increases on the climbs. They are rather expensive!
As usual we are planning an excellent training session in the mountains of Snowdonia on the Early May Bank Holiday weekend – See the Events section of this web site, or email Ron@etape.org.uk for details.