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 . 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.
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.
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
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