4 week plan to get ready for Alps in September

Hi guys, I’ve been training on TR for about 12 weeks now the original plan was base then Cyclocross speciality aiming for end of September. This has been going well and the power has went up while the weight has went down which has been super pleasing.

Unfortunately the cross season here has ben cancelled and I reckon it won’t be back until Sep 2021 so I’m now off to the Alps for 2 weeks (covid permitting) first two weeks in September to ride some of the classic Cols.

So my question is can you recommend a 4 week plan which I can switch to. I usually do 3 indoor TR rides then 2 weekend rides which don’t specifically match the planned TR outside rides but are usually lumpy roads so I get the full range of training

I look forward to your responses

Thanks,
Bryan

Welcome Bryan.

Whats the last 12 weeks training look like?

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FTP has went from 220 to 265
Weight went from 87kg down to 74kg
Actually now on week 16
Sweet Spot Base II Mid Volume · 6 Weeks
Short Power Build Mid Volume · 8 Weeks
Cyclocross Mid Volume · 8 Weeks - Current
Should have done a ramp test tonight but opted for a sweet spot Mount Hayes -4

Most coaches will tell you to train more like your goal event the closer you get to it. Given you’ll be riding some epic climbs in 4 weeks time I would add long high tempo/low sweetspot intervals into the mix as a lot of the climbs you’ll be doing will take over an hour. I would therefore add workouts like Phoenix+1, Echo+2, Cumberland+2 etc into the mix.

I must add, I’m not a coach so I could be completely wrong! I have however had two long trips in the Alps cycling and I think these type of workouts helped.

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Are you able to switch it up so all your rides are outdoors with hills? And do you have any 10-15mn climbs nearby? If so I’d recommend doing as many repeats and getting in as much elevation gain as possible in the next few weeks.

Would also take it relatively easy in the few days before you arrive, don’t want to turn up already burned out…

The weight loss will be a huge help also.

I would switch to sustained power build. You only have 4 weeks, so I wouldn’t play around with specialty or base.

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This!. Although the last week should be a taper week.

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Most definitely.

BTW, where in the Alps? I hiked the Haute Route a few years ago. The landscapes are amazing. It think its my favorite place on Earth. You should have an amazing trip.

Just enjoy yourself!

You’re not going to substantially change your fitness in 4 weeks and it seems like you are on a good road anyways. My preference would lean toward sweet spot base part 2 (maybe poach some longer intervals from HV), but it probably doesn’t matter too much.

Thanks everyone for all the help, really appreciated… the advice echoes thoughts I was having in regards to what to do… I’m carrying a good bit of fitness so it’s more just to top that up

Probably heading for Bourg D’Osoins area. However we have a car so might move around a bit over the 2 weeks and explore a few places. Ive did the Galibier, Alpe D’Huez, Croix de for etc before so might mix it up with a few different places… really fancy isaren

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Yeah I’ve been doing increasingly hilly routes and repeating the larger climbs where I can

You gained over 1W/kg in 16 weeks? That’s insane!

As above I think sweetspot workouts are best at this point. Either by going back to SSB, or else the Century plan has a lot of SS in it. Or you could do your own progression. In which case would look at working up to something like Wright Peak or even the +2 version as those have the longest SS intervals (30 mins) in the workout library. Or Kashagnak which has 90 minutes of continuous 75-90%.

Depending which bits of the Alps you’re going to I’d also maybe look at gearing. They’re super long climbing days, depending where you normally ride it’s quite a shock just finding yourself continually climbing for an hour or more, and you don’t want to be grinding your way up because you run out of gears. The big French climbs (e.g Alpe d’Huez, Telegraph, Galibier) are generally just long and not overly steep, but if you’re heading down to Italy some of the climbs there like the Mortirolo have some pretty steep sections. Coming from an area where the climbs are pretty short and punchy and all done in under 10 minutes, I always find my main weakness in the Alps is my lower back which can get pretty sore from spending so much time in the climbing position. So if you can’t do long climbs where you are it’s maybe worth stepping up whatever core stability work you do, some planks, etc.

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Yeah we did the Dolomites a few years back and some of those gradients were brutal though insanely beautiful… hired a compact for that. Debating whether to fit a longer mech on my semi compact allowing a larger gearing on cassette and keep 52/36 on front. Right now I’m riding 36/28 as my lowest gear which is excellent for here in the west of Scotland… longest climbs are perhaps 15-20 mins a lot of short punchy Belgian berg-esq climbs too but enough steady hills to repeat averaging around 4-12%

I resisted bigger gears for years. Recently I tried an 11-32 and I set my fastest time on the biggest climb in our town (30 minutes long). The top section is a little steeper and with a 36x32 I was able to spin a bit better.

I’ve done all of those climbs and Iseran is by far the most beautiful. Get it in if you can. Enjoy!

I would just do hill repeats on Crow Road and ditch the trainer if you can make that work. Then rest/taper for a week beforehand.

Gearing advice is a good shout.

Are you flying to Basel or Geneva from Scotland? If Basel I can give you some decent tips on the way. Assume it’s Geneva though - then might be worth doing Grand Colombier from all four sides. It’s on the way to BdO, it’s on the TdF route in September (maybe when you’re there) and if you do all four sides on same ride you gain entry to some mystical cycling Hall of Fame
https://www.felesducolombier.fr/english/reglement-of-the-feles

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Amazing climbing in the Alps.
Check out the climbing on both sides of lac Annecy (this year’s Dauphiné route); and on the Vercors plateau a short drive the other side (west) of Grenoble.
Whatever you choose will be amazing, have a fantastic time.

I do better with spinning, because of TR workouts. I used to grind, but with all the high cadence at high power TR workouts, I find myself using a compact with a 11-30 cassette.

@bryandonnelly, it sounds like you’re aiming for the French Alps, but as there was a suggestion about Switzerland, if travel into CH is in your plans, be sure to monitor this site to see if the UK goes on the list requiring quarantine. It is prone to quick updates with only a 3-day notice, as happened last week.

Have fun! You’re in for some great riding!