Set it as your goal and your Vitfor training program will ensure you’re hill climb ready for even the toughest sportives.
Take ‘The Struggle Moors’, one of Yorkshire’s toughest rides organised by bike-obsessed couple Matt Manakee and Victoria Tremlin. 95 miles and 8,256ft of ascent will challenge even the toughest of sportive rides. But just how does Vitfor FTW shape your training to take on something this challenging?
Craig Stevenson, Vitfor Performance Director & CEO, explains “what makes the climbs in The Struggle so challenging is the gradient. You have to pedal hard just to keep moving and as you’re moving so slowly you tend to be at a very low cadence. This can make the climbs really energy sapping and sometimes harder than their European counterparts.”
“Your training program will prepare you in several ways”
“Firstly, getting some focus on intensive interval work. These are harder efforts above what you normally sustain for say, 20 minutes. They hurt but really help condition you to having to push hard on those big climbs. By increasing your maximal pace, the relative percentage of how you will need to ride the hills to get over them on race day will be less, making your life much easier.”
“It’s one thing being able to smash your pace through 2-3 miles of riding but to still have the legs after 100 miles is something else. As well as having the power and pace to get over the hills, you need to have the resilience to fatigue for such a big day. A longer ride (3h+) every week will help to get your body used to time in the saddle.”
“Another piece in the puzzle will be the bit you need to do for yourself. To prepare for a ride like The Struggle you need to do training over similar terrain. Ticking off your training rides on an easy route may give you a false sense of security, so make sure you’re challenging your riding ahead of the big day.”
Top Tip to smash your sportive #FTW
Want to go all the way on a big sportive? Then remember to pace your ride. In isolation, most riders could easily get over a single climb. But, it doesn’t matter how fit you are, if you get to the base of one of those climbs a broken man / woman, it’s going to be hard. Remember, when you hit that first hill, you’re going to be in the saddle for several hours and the pace you set should reflect that.
Built for speed on the flats? As a heavier-built rider, it’s natural for you to be slower on the climbs. Pacing is all the more important for you. Don’t try to keep up with the guys that are naturally faster when climbing. Keep your powder dry and reel them back in on the flats with that extra power.
Pacing yourself right is just as important in your training too. For most people with a family and working a full-time job, getting in the training you need can be tough. It’s best to spend your training time in the saddle, but there will be times when it isn’t practical to ride your bike or your legs are just too sore. We recommend swimming as a training alternative for many of our elite athletes – it’s a great form of low impact aerobic exercise that won’t tire your legs for the next bike session.
Want to test your mettle on Yorkshire’s toughest hills? Visit www.ridethestruggle.com to find out more.