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Long days

The evenings are light, and the days are long. The weather is fine (sometimes!) Ideal for cycle training! On weekends, or days off, other commitments permitting, it is possible to get in that really long ride, or to drive to a hilly or mountainous area, and try out some real hills! In the evenings is possible to fit in a ride of a reasonable length in.

Etape is near

As I write this, there is just over a month before the first Etape. We need to use the time wisely!

Weekly routine?

Depending on what else is going on in your life, you may train as the opportunity arises, or you may like a weekly routine. Events such as Audaxes or Cyclosportives make excellent training opportunities, but equally useful is a routine which incorporates the various elements of the Etape. Your routine will depend on your lifestyle and commitments, and where you live, so won’t be the same for everybody. Here are some useful elements to incorporate:

(1)  Distance

(2)  Speed

(3)  Hill climbing

(4)  Group riding


A typical weekly program might be:


Sunday – 80 to 100 mile ride. This might be a club ride, and so incorporate group riding.

One/two evenings a week – Shorter faster rides – 20 miles or 35 miles as time allows.

One evening a week – Hill climbing



Research has shown that training once a week will maintain your fitness, two or more sessions will improve it and that three or four times is the optimum. This will also allow you to fit the rest of life in, hopefully!


However, this depends on the intensity of your training. Ideally you should fully recover between training sessions. Two intense training sessions in one day may work well if you have nothing else to do but recover for a few hours! On the other if you are working the day after a long hard ride, and your resting heart rate is still elevated, you may need to wait a couple of days before the next session!


Common sense rules!



Are there any hills near you? Hill repeats are useful hill training. However they are not the same as climbing a mountain! Hill repeats are more like riding up Alpe d’Huez and resting for a few minutes at each bend!


In terms of training, riding your turbo trainer or exercise bike in a gym supplies that continuous application of power for extended periods. But at what level is it best to ride?


Training plans vary, but if you ride an exercise bike at 200w for an hour, you have done the equivalent of climbing around 1000m in an hour. (The exact equivalent height climbed depends on your weight etc.)




During the Etape, getting your pace right is important. Sprinting up a short hill is fun, but sprinting up Col de la Madeleine would be another matter!

The bike at the gym or your turbo trainer also allow you to experiment with pace. If you rode at low power levels, you would find that your heart rate is far less than your maximum heart rate, and that you feel you could go on for ever.

 As you increase your wattage, your breathing rate and heart rate will increase, and until eventually reach a level which is impossible to sustain for more than a few seconds!

In between those extremes, there will be levels at which although you are working hard, is sustainable for an hour or more.

As climbs such as Madeleine will take even the fastest riders over an hour, so long sessions are very useful.

To compare road sessions and gym sessions, your heart rate provides a useful reference. Heart rate does vary a bit with cadence and the temperature, but the comparison is still useful.

Training in the gym

One strategy would be to ride at for example 175W. Initially this might be difficult to sustain, but you could increase your ride duration from session to session. Having reached an hour’s ride in one session, you could increase the power to say 200W in the next session.

Your chosen initial power level will depend on your initial fitness.


Training Events

Riding for long periods on an exercise bike is not the most exciting thing to do! We have just topped up the list of training events !


You might like to join us!

Here they are:


Training in the Pyrenees

4 day trip is led by Steve who has finished in the top 1% of finishers in two previous Etape de Tours. He is also a cycling.
Dates arranged to suit you!

See http://www.allant.fr/etape%202012.htm


Training in the Alps
Accommodation in Courcheval. Dates arranged to suit you!

Email: KenPelton@aol.com  to reserve a place.


North Wales Training Camps

Friday 15th - Sunday 17th June  and

Wednesday 20th - Saturday 23rd



Enjoy your training!