Surviving a Stage race - average Jo

So, over the next 18 months I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot about Nate’s, Chad’s and Jonathon’s build up to win Cape Epic :smiley:. As a balance to this, and having just completed one, I thought I would write some thoughts for an “average bloke” on “surviving” a stage race.

The race:
TransALP; 7 days, 300+miles, 60,000ft ascent

48yrs old, 70kg, 255FTP, 38min 10k pb, always been active, 2 kids, job with travelling needed, average training time 4-8hrs / week.

Build Up:
My specific build up was just over 6 months, Mid volume base 1, 2 and build. This was mainly completed early in the morning with no food beforehand.
For the last 6 weeks before the race most of my riding was outside (longest ride 2hr 40min)
I also completed 1 run per week and tried to do 2 x 30 mins lunchtime gym sessions.
My CTL peaked at 70 a few weeks before the race.

How did it go?:
Actually the race went well, I enjoyed it and finished :grinning:
I was worried about the lack of my long rides (some TransAlp days were 8hrs), however I rode the race trying the keep my HR before 140 - lower end of sweetspot for me. (my max is 180bpm)
At no point did I get any lactic build up (or even close to it)
Highest TSS day was 431 (based on HR TSS), CTL at end of the week was 102 (+32 in 7 days)


  • Despite my worries, 2hr sessions on the trainer can prepare your legs for long multi day stage races (as long as you are not racing…)
  • I should have completed some longer rides outside to build up more shoulder/neck/back strength (these parts did suffer during the race)
  • Organisation is key!! Finish-recovery drink-prepare kit for next day BEFORE doing anything else.
  • Keep everything simple and organised, using mental energy (just trying to find kit) just SAPS your physical energy.
  • I paid for “pro style” bike care. This was great and one less worry during the week, well worth it.
  • Eat, Eat, Eat. The plan was for every hour to eat something, however on one day I estimated I was 1hr from an aid station so delayed my next feed until then, my timing was out and it meant I didn’t eat for 2hrs, I badly paid for this later in the stage.
  • Test bottle cages over rough ground. I have 2 bounce out and didn’t realise until I reached down…

Overall an “average Joe” can survive and enjoy a hard stage race. It was probably the most amazing sporting experience I’ve ever done, the riding, the atmosphere, the effort :+1:


Awesome. It was finishing in Riva del Garda the day I left :smiley:

Were you solo, or with a partner?

Good question (I left this out in kindness to my partner)

Entered as a team but he’d massively over estimated his fitness and under estimated the race, hence he dropped out on day 2 and I continued as a solo. :grimacing:

Oh dear! Did he come along any further, or head home?

I was going to ask about the bikes, but then saw your post on PH and realised that there must be two versions of the race. The version I saw end in Riva was the road bike version which ran at the end of June :man_facepalming:

Yes, it was the MTB version.

He transferred to the end and I met him there.