Help me finish in less than 5 hours

I am a full on indoor “cyclist”. I’m a VERY casual rider and only train to keep a bit fit.
My FTP is 153. I am 49 years old and weigh 79kg.
I take my bike out once a year to ride the Cape Town Cycle Tour. I would love to finish it in less than 5 hours :slight_smile: I know that’s too slow for most of you but I really struggle with hills. The race is one month away.
I train 3 times a week indoors for 1 hour at a time. I am not prepared to do outdoor rides.
Can anyone suggest rides that will specifically improve my hill climbing in this short space of time.
Any comments and chirps are welcome! :slight_smile: :smile:


Low volume century plan, add your event in plan builder to be ready for it

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Its all about power to weight ratio on hills - you’re FTP is fairly low so you need to ideally increase that and lose weight, if thats appropriate?

1 month isn’t much time so I think the advice above is probably good - Century LV for a few weeks and a few easy days beforehand, or perhaps Gen Build. If you can add a 4th very easy endurance ride in any weeks that would also help. Then just make sure you are rested for the day itself and have all your nutrition sorted out - thats often the issue with no outdoor rides as you don’t get to find out what you need to eat and drink for optimum performance over 5 hrs of riding.

Besides training,
do you have appropriate gearing for the hills and your power?
Drink and eat enough on the ride.

As said, use plan builder and let Trainerroad do its thing


Thanks everyone.
Loaded it:)

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I’m pretty useless at gearing. Have no clue how it works, Usually just use the gear I’m comfortable in or walk up the hill :see_no_evil:


Small at the front, big at the back is your most spinny gear for climbing. The longer the climb it helps if you can go towards that ratio.

so start with small in the front and back at the bottom of the climb ( I rarely,if ever, use the big gear in front) and gradually move to easier gear in the back as the climb progresses?

Also, what is the lightest gearing on your bike?
If you are struggling up the hills, you need to check that you have maxed out the possibilities of your setup.
If the rear derailleur can handle it, the easiest adjustment is to put a larger cassette in the back.
Depending on what crank you have, it might also be possible to just replace the small ring for a smaller one.

I would start a reasonable climb with the small at the front and towards the big ring at the back but two or three sprockets down from the big sprocket at the back, so you have room to move down to it as the climb progresses/ it gets harder. If its a long climb I tend to move the back towards the middle of the cassette during the climb when I stand up or find it a bit easier as that gives me room to fall back to that big socket when it gets hard.

For a short sharp climbs I tend to be in the big ring at the front and power into it but for longer hills and depending on your climbing ability its usually better to use small ring as you are doing.

I hope that makes sense and good luck :+1:

I’ve been told I have the smallest crank (50) and the easiest set up- sorry not too clued up about this,
I never thought of standing on a climb- but this seems like a good option to then give me more eaiser gears to move to later in the climb as well as giving different muscles a chance to work
rally appreciate all the help guys

Smallest crank is not correct, because there are smaller available, but i guess you have a 50 big ring / 34 small ring, that 34 is a good one for climbing.
But if you have a 11-25 cassette, then the 34x25 gear is still too big.
Maybe make a photo of your rear derrailleur and cassette, we can figure out what you have and give better advice.

With a long ride of 5 hours, DO NOT push yourself on the climbs, you will regret it later. Just settle in at a sustainable effort, but leave some in reserve. Use the correct gear, dont grind too big a gear.

Here you go

The one with the pedals is the crank, the one on the back wheel is the cassette. The easiest pedaling is small ring on the front/crank and biggest cog in the cassette/back.

If its rolling terrain with climbs coming right after descents, the faster you go down, the more momentum you’ll carry into the next climb. So, in the right situations it can really make things easier to not coast down hill but keep your speed up. So, big ring/small cog on the descents!

Can you count how many spikes are on the biggest cog at the back? It’s probably 23 or 25

Looks like 25, probably it could handle a 27 or 28, which would allow a 10% lower speed on the steepest parts.

Is this the course you’re doing? Route Description and Map | Cape Town Cycle Tour

That’s a pretty hilly course! You will definitely have more fun if you head down to your local bike shop and have them put on the biggest cassette that will work on your bike. The cassette you have is more suited for flat routes. A new cassette installed is not that expensive and an easy job of a mechanic. (about $100 US I’d estimate). And while your bike’s there getting a pre event bike tune up is a good idea too. You’ll want to make sure your brakes are in decent shape as some of those down hills will be fast.

Thanks everyone for the advice. Yes, that’s the route. I’ll check if my shop can get me a 27 or 28 cassette. If not I guess I’ll have to just push myself as much as I can. Really appreciate the advice. It’s pretty daunting undertaking a ride like this once a year!

Maybe take another foto from the rear derailleur from the side so we can see what type it is. It is a 10 speed system, it looks to be a medium length cage, so you should be able to use an 11-32 cassette. If you go with a wolftooth roadlink, you can even get a Shimano HG500 10 Speed Deore / Tiagra Cassette 11-34 to work. Probably a 11-36 cassette too.


Awesome-thanks. Will ask my mechanic. Anything to make climbing easier