Training for Long Climbing Race

Hi, All. New TR member here.

First off, thanks for the forum/podcast and an excellent training platform. Took my first Ramp test today and already love it.

I’ve been cycling with a new level of intensity for about the past 18 months. I am riding with a group of guys that are stronger than I am. That’s been a great way to get stronger.

I have set a 2019 Goal to complete the Climb to Kaiser. For those that arent familiar, it’s a race in the Fresno area that is 150mi with 15k ft of climbing. I have a few questions regarding how to train:

  1. I have two young kids, so most of my miles each week come in the form of 1 hour rides in the early morning. I can sneak in a longer ride once, maybe twice a month. Is there a combination of TR plans that can help me get used to sustained climbing? The distance doesnt worry me so much, i’ve done a few centuries…it’s just the sustained climbing, I dont do a lot of that.

  2. I ride 5 days a week and have a weekly TSS around 250 - 350. Will i have to drop some of my daily rides if I add in the low volume plans? They look to add about another 200TSS to a week. Is that too large of a jump?

Thank you for your help!


@Josh_Willis, Are your 5 days a week ride all outside and you want to keep them outside and add training?
I typically only have time for hour rides during the week and this past summer, I made an effort to make sure those were on the trainer (to eliminate ride delays like flats, traffic, long lights, etc) and to maximize the benefit. It worked great for me. My FTP didn’t drop like it has over the course of the past summers.
For long sustained climbs, SS Base, followed by Sustained Power Build then either the Century or the Climbing Road Race specialty plans would probably work really well for you.

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I would only add that long rides outside are great, but if you are new to this level of endurance ride then I would emphasize trainer workouts. While being able to have the skills and tolerance to workout outside on your bike are necessary having the physiologic and metabolic endurance are the priority.

I completely agree with all that Chris says above, on what regimen would work best. Though I would lean toward the climbing road race. Having done the century plan for a 150 mi flat race it was great, but I know it would not have prepped me for a climbing endurance activity. Recently I climbed ranier after doing just SSB, so I know that is great prep work for you.

Good luck!


Thanks for the response. Yes, I would like to keep the majority of those five days outside. I could scale down to 4 but, honestly, riding with that group is one of the things that makes cycling so fun.

I’ll have to look at my calendar but, I believe I configured my plans exactly as you describe.

One additional question, if I start today and proceed as you describe…that concludes several weeks before the event in late June. would you tack on another Climbing Road Race to peak near the date of the event?

Thanks, @ktmccusk. I appreciate the comment. I will proceed along this route. If there is one saving grace about this event, it’s that all the climbing is in the first 82 miles and the rest is downhill or flat. But, Fresno is known to get to upwards of 100 degrees around that time of year.

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If it’s a few weeks, you might want to push the start of the BBS cycle a few weeks and just put some workouts in the calendar in the intervening weeks. One option would be to sprinkle in some of the Sprint Interval Training workouts leading into the BBS cycle. Something different for you, increase muscle fiber recruitment (according to Coach Chad) and give you some variety. The Sustained Power Build and the specialty plans are a lot of long, steady state intervals.
Another recommendation, if you have a smart trainer, is to do some of the workouts in lower gears, like you would when climbing. Shane Miller has a great video showing that the gearing does make a difference in where your peak power in the pedal stroke happens. It helped me to do workouts in the little ring and a big cog in the back (plus your chain stays straighter).
The other thing to consider is to keep the extra weeks as “padding”, in case you have to miss a plan week for something (business travel, illness, etc).

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@chris89e, thanks for the feedback and recommendations. I appreciate it.

What are best intervals for getting faster on long ultra rides of 500km +. Just set up TR yesterday but not what intervals, plans or workouts to go at??

Following what Coach @chad has covered on the podcast, probably SS Base, Sustained Power build and Century plan. For something that long, you’re going to want to build a big aerobic base, as you’ll be riding in the Endurance zone for most of it.