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Training for the Transontinental

DanGreg01DanGreg01 Posts: 6
edited September 2018 in Training, fitness and health
Hello guys,

I haven’t posted on here before but I have found these forums really helpful when looking at equipment/ working out why my bike is being weird (normally its just me being daft).

Having been unsuccessful with previous attempts I submitted an application for the transcontinental again this year, however this time I was really happily surprised to see that I had qualified. When the reality that I would be cycling 4,000km in under 15 days on little sleep dawned on me I instantly started researching ways to take my training up a notch, however most blogs seemed to focus on weekend rides and ignored the mid-week training. Does anyone who has done the transcontinental or something similar have any advice or book recommendations on the topic?

Since December I have been trying to do 3 or 4 sufferfest turbos a week, at least one long weekend ride (ice and snow permitting), five 6km runs (to or from work), five short yoga sessions (before leaving for work) and thirty minutes of core work and weights (again before leaving for work).

I also try to ensure that I have at least one rest day and have a lighter week every four weeks to allow for full recovery and then retest my FTP.

If there’s any tweaks people could recommend, I’d appreciate the insight.

Additionally in a bid to see that I am as self reliant as possible I was hoping to complete a bike maintenance course. Does anyone have any that they would recommend in London?

Cheers,

Dan

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,258
    I would start by dropping the running, the yoga, the core work and the weights and replacing them with time on the bike. Providing you have the time available, get plenty of long rides in, and get used to knocking out big miles on consecutive days..
  • As Imposter says just get on your bike as much as possible.

    I've not done anything as long as the transcontinental but I've done London Edinburgh London twice, other 1000km Audaxes and plenty of 600km Audaxes. The main thing is lots of long back to back days. Enter some 600km Audaxes to give you something to aim at and get as many full weekends in as you can with 150 miles both days.

    As well as getting you fit you'll also learn exactly what works for you in terms of equipment, the saddle or shoes that are good for 100 miles might be terrible after several days. It'll also show you if your lights are good enough and your recharging systems etc are going to cope.

    As well as long distances I also try to do a Spoco TT series each year to mix it up and they definately add fitness in a different way, 2 Hours flat out on a 50 mile TT can't help but add to a good base.

    In terms of bike maintenance you really just need to have covered what can be fixed quickly on the road, cables, brake pads and simple indexing and punctures etc. All these can be learnt at home with the help of You Tube.

    I've done plenty of Big distances but Transcontinental is another level especially if you're racing it rather than riding it. To be honest if you're messing about with 6km runs as training then you're going to be in for a serious wake up a few days into it.

    Just ride - lots.
  • Perhaps get in contact with my coaching colleague Ric Stern for some assistance - he coaches James Hayden who was last year's winner.
    www.cyclecoach.com
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,025
    That's as a professional, expensive event as it gets for an amateur... as above , get some professional coaching, you minimise the likelihood of a fail due to a pi55 poor training regime.
    Good luck, but it's not my idea of ''fun".
  • Thanks guys, but just to clarify Brakeless, the aim is definitely just to finish and not to compete.

    Good points all and I am definitely going to look to drop the runs and look at getting a coach. I've got a series of 400km/600km weekend rides planned and will aim to do a series of multi-day/ overnight long weekend rides too.

    Sounds like the trick is just more and more hours in the saddle.
  • I'm certainly no expert (and maybe you should consult one for this) but I recon you're gonna want to ride a lot and then get up the next day and ride more!

    Like you say, time in the saddle.
  • VamPVamP Posts: 674
    I was out riding with an ultra cyclist a couple of weeks ago, and his routine is quite severe. His weekly saddle time ranges from 20 to 30 hours, he follows a polarised approach, with circa 80% of his saddle time at z2, but very gruelling vo2max sessions for the top end. When I say gruelling, I mean roughly twice the workload I'd normally have in VO2max session.

    Also spends a lot of time on the mental aspect, fatigue tolerance, micro sleeps (30 minutes), fuelling etc. Also had some funny tales (well I say funny but really quite horrifying) about being attacked by feral dog packs in Romania, another competitor chased by bears etc.

    He's been taken out by cars twice in the last year, and now has the fear of being hit from behind to add to his other mental toughness challenges.

    Like someone above said, it's not everyone's idea of ''fun''. Type 3 fun maybe.

    Good luck with it, it's a major undertaking.
  • cgfw201cgfw201 Posts: 669
    Wake up an hour or two earlier than normal and ride. Ride, ride and ride. You can't ever replicate the full event, but you just have to get your body ready for as much time in the saddle as possible.

    A lot of competitors do their longest ever ride on day 1 of the TCR. On 600km audax a week will help, but I would say you're better off doing 100km six times and getting used to the repetition than not backing up efforts day in day out. And get to love Zone 2.
  • orraloonorraloon Posts: 8,268
    Just checking, you are on the TCR facebook group?
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Jeez good luck fella - that's some challenge. Have you done anything similar before ?
  • I’m no expert but don’t drop the core stuff and the yoga. I agree that your focus should be on miles/time in the saddle but I find I always end up with niggles if I neglect stretching/core work. Even if your tired after a tough long ride it’s worth getting up off the couch and doing your core/stretching routine. It will help you keep strong for the big event.

    Good luck looks like a fantastic event.
  • Fenix wrote:
    Jeez good luck fella - that's some challenge. Have you done anything similar before ?
    Thanks, I appreciate it. A few ironmans and a few 600km Audax rides. But nothing longer than 620km in a single stint.

    Should be a pretty brutal step up but I’ve done quite a few 150-200km rides this winter so hopefully have a reasonable base. Just need to get the miles in and start doing a lot longer distances every weekend. Unfortunately I’m snowed in this weekend lol
  • orraloon wrote:
    Just checking, you are on the TCR facebook group?
    I am, thanks for checking though. I don’t really use Facebook much but will check it more thoroughly now. Thanks for the reminder.
  • DanGreg01 wrote:
    Hello guys,

    I haven’t posted on here before but I have found these forums really helpful when looking at equipment/ working out why my bike is being weird (normally its just me being daft).

    Having been unsuccessful with previous attempts I submitted an application for the transcontinental again this year, however this time I was really happily surprised to see that I had qualified. When the reality that I would be cycling 4,000km in under 15 days on little sleep dawned on me I instantly started researching ways to take my training up a notch, however most blogs seemed to focus on weekend rides and ignored the mid-week training. Does anyone who has done the transcontinental or something similar have any advice or book recommendations on the topic?

    Since December I have been trying to do 3 or 4 sufferfest turbos a week, at least one long weekend ride (ice and snow permitting), five 6km runs (to or from work), five short yoga sessions (before leaving for work) and thirty minutes of core work and weights (again before leaving for work).

    I also try to ensure that I have at least one rest day and have a lighter week every four weeks to allow for full recovery and then retest my FTP.

    If there’s any tweaks people could recommend, I’d appreciate the insight.

    Additionally in a bid to see that I am as self reliant as possible I was hoping to complete a bike maintenance course. Does anyone have any that they would recommend in London?

    Cheers,

    Dan

    Dan,

    Feel free to reach out to me on [email protected] -- i'm happy to discuss a few ideas with you, or alternatively, i offer coaching for the event as well. In the meantime, i've a stack load of blog posts about the TCR and James Hayden

    https://www.cyclecoach.com/blog/2017/12 ... hayden-way
    https://www.cyclecoach.com/blog/2017/12 ... way-part-2
    https://www.cyclecoach.com/blog/2017/10 ... ing-sniffy
    https://www.cyclecoach.com/blog/2017/10 ... ontinental
    https://www.cyclecoach.com/blog/2017/10 ... ental-race
    https://www.cyclecoach.com/blog/2017/10 ... ugust-2017

    And, James is again being coached by me this year for another assault on the TCR.

    Ric
    Coach to Michael Freiberg - Track World Champion (Omnium) 2011
    Coach to James Hayden - Transcontinental Race winner 2017, and 2018
    Coach to Jeff Jones - 2011 BBAR winner and 12-hour record
    Check out our new website https://www.cyclecoach.com
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Surely riding alot is great training for TCR. TCR is more than fitness. It is about mental fitness and TOB in all conditions is a good way of developing that.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • orraloonorraloon Posts: 8,268
    DanGreg01 wrote:
    orraloon wrote:
    Just checking, you are on the TCR facebook group?
    I am, thanks for checking though. I don’t really use Facebook much but will check it more thoroughly now. Thanks for the reminder.
    There are good posts on there. Example, one some time back end of last year by Shusannah Pillinger, RAAM finisher but TCR non-finisher, on her experiences including the different challenges posed by riding unsupported.

    As a TCR dot watcher, respect to anyone who is brave enough to take this on.
  • Having finished the TCR just in time for the finishers party a month ago and having finally gotten the feeling back in my fingers, I thought that I would quickly post to surmise how I trained for it in case anyone has the same questions in the future.

    I took the advice from a few of the people on this site who reccomended that I hire a coach. This was the best decision I made and completely changed my understanding of how to train and massively boosted the efficiency of my training. Previously I had been putting in a lot of hours on the watt bike in z3/z4/z5 coupled with really long distance rides at the weekend and simply succeeded in burning out. But by switching my sessions to be longer during the week with more rest days and shorter weekend training sessions I was able to still have a bit of a life and to train as hard as I could. Active recovery sessions were a new experience but were incredibly effective.

    My coach basically made me attempt to boost my power through long watt bike sessions and short 2 hour economy rides until three months out from the race. My longest ride at the weekend would be 6-8 hours, but more frequently I would do a three or four hour watt bike session or hill climbing session on both Saturday and Sunday (boring, yes I know) instead of a long ride. During the week the sessions would be 1-2.5 hours per day.

    Whilst I was worried about the lack of endurance training, each watt bike session would have a large amount of z2 training and I found that my endurance was strong from all the training so I had surprisingly good endurance already and it didn't take much to fine tune it.

    Overall in the training, my FTP jumped by 80 and I lost 8kg. If anyone is considering doing a race like the TCR I would thoroughly recommend hiring a coach who can adapt a plan to your personal life situation and also to how your own body adapts and recovers.
  • I have no plans for such insanity, albeit I woud love to be able to say I had completed such an event. Pipe dreams for me at the moment, I'm afraid. BIG kudos to you for finishing, and thanks for coming back to return your hard-earned knowledge. Congratulations again!
  • Massive congratulations!!

    What an acheivement.
  • Congrats on your ride.

    better training is the way forward. off the top of my head James Hayden's longest ride pre TCR was 'just' 6 hours long. you don't need to do uber long rides for such an event.

    If anyone would like some advice on the TCR, feel free to give me a shout. Hopefully i know what i'm talking about having coached James to the win for the last two years!

    Ric
    Coach to Michael Freiberg - Track World Champion (Omnium) 2011
    Coach to James Hayden - Transcontinental Race winner 2017, and 2018
    Coach to Jeff Jones - 2011 BBAR winner and 12-hour record
    Check out our new website https://www.cyclecoach.com
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