Continued winter training

Now that I’ve got the “base miles” out of the way (thanks to the Rapha Festive 500 for most of that) I’ve been spending more time in the Wattage Cottage; my endearing term for the garage where my turbo trainer lives!

This month has seen me slowly build up the volume and intensity of my turbo sessions. Bolted to the turbo is my TT bike with PowerTap training wheel. Power has brought a new element of accuracy and consistency to my training. I can keep track of exactly how hard I am hitting each interval and cut out some of the guess work.

Thanks to Golden Cheetah I’ve also been keeping tabs on the amount of short-term and long-term stress I am inflicting on my body. All my turbo and road rides this year have been recorded using the power meter. The amount of data provided is immense. I’m still working out some of the details, but I love how it shows precisely how hard I’ve been training (and if I need to train more).

I’m already feeling the benefits and seeing the right numbers rise. Hopefully I can keep this up as we head out the other side of winter!

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TdU and the Hour Record

Great to see three Aussies on the podium at the 2015 Tour Down Under! A big GC win for Rohan Dennis, taking first by 2 seconds from Team Sky’s Richie Porte, Rohan’s BMC teammate and all round good guy Cadel Evans finishing third.

This all bodes well for Rohan’s attack on the hour record at the Velodrome Suisse in Grenchen next month. He’ll be looking to better the current record of 51.852km held by Matthias Brandle (who took the record from the legendary Jens Voigt).

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In all probability he will have to contend with a higher record, as fellow Aussie Jack Bobridge will be having a crack at it before him on January 31st. Bobridge will be attempting his record at the Darebin International Sports Centre in Melbourne.

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Both Dennis and Bobridge are in absolutely flying form, winning a stage each at the Tour Down Under. They also finished 2nd and 3rd respectively at the Australian National Time Trial Champs earlier this month. Richie Porte claimed the top spot, clawing back time on the course’s hillier sections.

Luckily for them both there’s no hills in the velodrome!

Bike cameras in pro cycling

In my opinion, on-board bike cameras are one of the best things to happen to pro cycling coverage in recent years. It’ll only get better as the technology moves forward and funding increases. Think real time footage from sprints with data overlays of rider speed, power or hill gradient.

Here’s some footage from Stage 4 of the Tour Down Under. A huge pile up from the chasing peloton after the main sprint finish. According to reports they were doing 60-70kph down the finishing strait when this happened!

Check out the forks on the red Canyon as it somersaults on impact!

Tour Down Under 2015

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been counting down the days until the start of the new pro cycling road season. It’s been a long and boring off-season, especially if you have no interest in that muddy cyclocross malarkey. Well the racing has finally kicked off with the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide!

German sprint machine Marcel Kittel won the People’s Choice Prologue and earlier today Jack Bobridge took Stage 1 honours after being part of a four man break that stayed away for almost the entire 133km stage.

This edition of the Tour Down Under is a little special, as it is going to be BMC rider Cadel Evans’ last stage race. The former World Champ and 2011 TdF winner is set to retire after the aptly named Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race at the end of the month. I wonder if he’s eyeing up one last stage win?

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What are you training for?

What are you training for? Or more to the point, what is your current training program setting out to achieve? Are you training to be race ready?

Are you training to be RACE READY?

DigDeepCoaching

I thought I’d share this article from Dig Deep Coaching about the importance of ensuring your training is in line with your race or event objectives. When it comes to training for a particular event, it all boils down to specifics.

Specific training for specific goals!

Simply put, your training should reflect your objective. If your main goal for the year is a solo 100-mile sportive with five big climbs, then just sitting in the draft for a relaxed paced three hour club ride every weekend may not be ideal preparation. Likewise if you’re aiming to smash your 25-mile time trial PB, riding a century wouldn’t be the best option. Set out your goals, then tailor your training to match them.

Some people even go as far as to train at the same time of day that their chosen event will take place! You don’t have to go that far, but making sure your training is matched to your objective will pay dividends come the day of your race or event.

Money can’t buy fast legs

Sometimes I find myself thinking…

“…a set of full carbon wheels would make me so much faster!”
“…this old alloy frame is holding me back!”
“…on a light carbon bike I’d totally smash this climb!”

mavic-cos-car-80-11-zoom__88334_zoom-LargeIn the world of road cycling and with the ease on an internet search it’s all too easy to get drawn into the belief that throwing money at your ride will result in speed gains. Sure a stiff, lightweight bike will climb better and a set of deep section aero wheels will save you some watts, but the differences here are marginal – and by marginal I’m talking seconds in an actual race situation.

Remember … It’s the monkey not the machine!

One Sunday morning when being slowly shelled out the back of the paceline I found myself thinking that maybe on a lighter or more aero bike I’d be able to stick with these guys. Then I looked to the rider in front slowly pulling away; on a heavy alloy frame, low end Tiagra, stock wheels and full length mudguards! Splashing cash on upgrades wouldn’t save me now. You need to work on those legs, boy!

Rules 72: Legs speak louder than words.

I don’t throw out a lot of watts, I just have the dubious honour of being an aerodynamic featherweight. Yes there would be some benefit from a lightweight carbon frame or some expensive aero goodies, but there’d be a much greater benefit from an extra 30 watts in the legs! My bank balance would benefit from saving the cash too.

Work on those legs and lungs. That’s where the real gains are made.

 

Footnote: Of course money can buy a dubious doctor and a supply of EPO (or tainted steaks if you’re cynical) which will give you fast legs, but lets not go there…