FEBRUARY TRAINING HINTS
As I write this there is snow on the ground - maybe not ideal cycling weather. However we did manage a very pleasant 50 mile ride in finer weather last Saturday – including a new café stop! The views in the Chilterns along the way were inspiring!
Targets for February
I’ve spotted a few fast riders on the road – and plenty of slower ones! While the professionals are training in Spain or Australia, most of us are ‘enjoying’ the English winter. We will have a few Australians with us this year though!
It is very useful to build up your miles at this time of year – hitting 30, 50 or even 70 miles when conditions allow. These rides need not be too fast at this time of year, and a café stop to warm up is always welcome. So if you have a few hours to spare – do try to extend your distance – endurance training continues! Interval training may be beneficial during a long ride – attacking a hill or riding for a few minutes at a higher pace to follow or overtake another rider encountered along the way! It certainly adds extra interest.
If you only have half an hour of daylight to spare, and conditions are good – try a faster ride!
Riding for long periods in low temperatures with high breathing rates is not recommended, as it may lead to a low core body temperature, though shorter hills are fun!
A good target in February is therefore to increase your mileage as conditions allow. It is good to do a 50 mile ride – I know several riders are doing 70 mile rides already!
If possible, it is good plan to tackle increasingly difficult climbs as the year goes on, and to plan to do some real mountain riding later in the year.
If a holiday which allows you to tackle a few mountains in a warmer climate is a possibility, in say Mallorca, Spain or Italy, this will help! If not, a bit of mountain riding in Scotland or Wales is a good substitute.
With this in mind we are planning a series of training events again this year. We are starting this month in the Chilterns with a moderate social training ride with a tea stop in Henley, and some pleasant climbs.
In March we are tackling Cheddar Gorge in both the up and down direction, and in early May we are returning to Snowdonia. In June Mark is organising a trip to the Alps, which will include several classic climbs.
See the Events page on this website.
Group riding has several benefits. Apart from the companionship, it is a good way to learn pacing, slipstreaming and to increase your fitness level. It is possible to join in at a number of levels. If you are just beginning, CTC rides and 100km audaxes are a good place to start. Details of audax rides will be found at http://www.aukweb.net/index2.htm
When your average speed has increased, you may want to tackle a medium Cycling Club ride, perhaps moving to fast rides as fitness peaks.
Cyclosportives are excellent training for the Etape. Details of most Cyclosportives will be found on http://www.cyclosport.org/ , which is an excellent source of information.
I’ve included Stan Thomas’s North Wales Sportive on the events page of this site as it is suitable for etape du Tour training. Expect to meet a few Etappers there!
Enjoy your training!