We are barely over two months from this year’s El Tour de Tucson. To help prepare you for this year’s event, GEC Coach Ken Montaney will be posting regular articles on the TEPC blog about preparing for Tucson’s biggest bike day of the year. Follow along with Ken on your way to your best El Tour ever.
This week we are going to talk about progression in your training. We are about 9 weeks out from El Tour. You know where your fitness is and you know where you want it to be. Today we are going to plan how to get from Point A to Point B.
First and foremost, if your goal is to complete, we need to get you distance ready. It is as simple as look at what distance/time you are capable of now and compare it to what distance/time you are going for. If you are preparing for the 60 mile event and can currently ride 20 miles, the progression is simple, add about 5 miles per week between now and El Tour.
If you are doing one of the longer events or are experienced at riding in groups, it may be better to judge your endurance progression off of time. I know I’ll be on course about 4:30 and spend most of my time drafting off other riders. My current long ride distance is about 2:30. Between now and the event day, I’ll want to work on lengthening my saddle time out to the 4:30-5:00 mark. Since I will have the energy savings of being in the group, and am only riding about 4:30 on race day, there is little need for me to spend 6+ hours in the saddle in order to ride 112 miles solo.
Today, take a look at your last few weekend long rides. In the past 4 weeks, what is the longest distance (or amount of time) you have ridden? What distance (or time goal) are you aiming for at El Tour? Now plot out how each weekend between now and El Tour will get you there, peaking in volume about 2 weekends before.
If you have time related goals or medal related goals (Platinum, Gold, etc.), it isn’t enough to just ride. You have to ride with intensity. Just like with endurance, we can approach intensity from a progressive point. Incorporate some of the following levels of intensity and progression in your training.
-Do long (10min-40min) tempo and threshold intervals (6-7.5/10 perceived exertion) in order to prepare you for faster sections of the course or false flats where you can’t coast in the group.
-Doing hill repeats, progressing in number and intensity, can prepare you for when the course turns upwards. Steeper hills will get you ready for Rattlesnake Pass and longer, shallower hills get you ready for the foothills and Oro Valley.
-Going out on various portions of the course to pre-ride and taking those at a high effort level can prepare you for some of the race day experience, especially sections such as Silverbell, Rancho Vistoso, and Escalante. (Plus don’t forget the washes)
-In the last article, I said find a group to ride with. Try to push yourself to ride with someone slightly stronger than you out on the group ride. When you are hurting and thinking about giving up, take a deep breath and keep going with them. You’ll be surprised how deep you can dig to hang on. Each week, hang on a little further, a little longer.
Sit down tonight and plan out the map from where you are to where you want to be on race day.
Retul Certified Bike Fitter
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