Thursday 13 March 2014

Does last minute training work? Chat with a former pro-cyclist

Can you still train at the last minute and get away with it? 

With under two weeks to go until Boileau VeloAdelaide, Bike SA gets the latest from former Pro Cyclist Stephen Cunningham. 

With less than 2 weeks to go until the big ride on the 23rd, for those of you that are a little behind the eight ball with your fitness, you'll be wrapped to know that it's not too late!

I have just returned from the Scody 3 Peaks event in Victoria, an epic 235km ride taking in Towonga Gap, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek and with some 4600 of elevated climbing, this was no mean feat for the 1800 starters. I managed to receive line honours for the second year in a row, sharing the special moment with a new found friend from Victoria, we had ridden all that way together, it was the only way to finish it off the ride. 

Stephen at the Finish line of Scody 3 peaks

Knowing I had prepared well (including over the final  2 weeks) the day was incredibly enjoyable and rewarding. If you are thinking of ever testing yourself on such a course, like the Grand Slam series here in Adelaide, I'd highly recommend it!

So with less than 2 weeks to go to Boileau VeloAdelaide, your final preparations will dictate whether you are going to really enjoy the ride OR have your head down, looking at the tarmac in front of you wishing you were already at the finish. So this weekend, the aim is to replicate the effort / distance that you will be doing at Boileau VeloAdelaide. That is, if you are out to conquer the 110km ride, do a 110km this weekend with the same amount of climbing involved. If you are planning the 80km, again test yourself out on a hilly 80km loop. Try to also end your ride with a climb and keep pedalling all day, no free-wheeling!

As I prepared through the final 2 weeks leading up to 3 Peaks, my goal was to take in some high quality rides with ample recovery between each session. That way I was training with 'good legs' enabling me to ride just that little bit deeper into the muscles than I would if I tried to ride every day. So for those tackling the long course, think about doing up to 3-4 really quality rides over this week and at least 1 day of no riding between each session. That way you will be in great shape for each training ride and where you can dig that little but deeper so to work on lifting your intensity. 

With 1 week to go for the big day, again try for a ride that replicates your Velo-Adelaide effort, perhaps just turn the burners off a little and increase your leg speed. More heart rate work over leg strength is fairly important at this point. Then during the week, it's all about getting in some great recovery time, including a few coffee shop rides! combined with one last high intensity 20min burn mid week! This will keep the lungs and heart purring along so by the time you line-up for Velo-Adelaide you will be jumping out of your skin ready to conquer Mt Lofty and beyond!

Have a fantastic ride, whichever distance you have chosen and enjoy the final 2 weeks preparation - And why not cross the finish line with a mate, loved one, colleague or new found friend, look out for each other and make it a truly rewarding and memorable day out. 

You can still register to ride Boileau VeloAdelaide on Sunday 23 March. There are 8 different ride options from 5-115 kilometres, and a free family river ride for those that aren't yet ready to tackle the hills. 

Stephen Cunningham is a former pro cyclist and founder of Pro Cycling Tours. If you want a cycling holiday in the French or Italian Alps or just need tips to improve your cycling in the Adelaide Hills, then check out his website

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