by Ted Willard – G2 Altitude Training and Coaching
Week 1: What’s your Hump? Let’s get over it!
You’ve signed up, committed to showing up and now you are probably thinking “What can I do to prepare for that first Tuesday night?” Or perhaps you are thinking “how can I get closer to the front of that Expert field this season. Here are a few concepts that have helped my athletes improve:
Make a goal, any goal. Earn a leaders jersey? Earn a OTH pint glass? Complete 2 laps without stopping?
Any goal or milestone you set for yourself will help to motivate you not only during your riding or training, but certainly during the races. Make that goal real in your personal life. Write it down, put it on the calendar, stare at it a few seconds a day. Personal improvement is one of my favorite aspects of mountain bike racing. The sport is almost devoid of the racing tactics so the equation for improvement is simple: You get out what you put in.“What’s the number one way I can improve for OTH?”
I’ve had a few people ask me this question this year. Basically, OTH poses the same challenge for every athlete that ties on a number plate. Whether you are scrapping with Pro/Expert field or if you are racing a beginner age category, mountain bike racing at OTH is about a sustained effort for 45 mins to 1 hour. Maximizing your effort for a period of time that long is 100% dependent on your aerobic fitness. The most beneficial thing you can do to improve your performance at OTH is improve your aerobic fitness.
Trainers and coaches often refer to the limit of your Aerobic Fitness as your “Threshold”. The higher your threshold, the better the athlete. In this case we just want improvement, we aren’t focused on measuring your threshold or quantifying it with scientific means.
Basically, your threshold is the point at which you would ideally ride a race like a time trial or any timed mountain bike race. So how do we improve your ability to ride at your threshold in just 6 weeks? In my experience the most valuable work out type that gives you the most benefit for you time spent in the saddle is Climbing Repeats. If you can complete this workout twice a week for the next 6 weeks you will be firing on all cylinders come race day.
Climbing Repeat Workout Test
(Perform this first at the beginning of a ride)
-Step 1: Find a hill in your hood about ¾ -1 mile long (dirt or asphalt, guess what your mtb works on both!)
-Step 2: Ride up your hill as fast as you can twice. Record your times for each hill climb. If you have a Heart Rate monitor record you average Heart Rate for each hill climb. The average of your 2 hill climbs will be your goal time or HR.
Climbing Repeat Workout
(Work this routine into your riding schedule 2 times a week)
-Step 1: Ride for 15-30 minutes moderately as a warm up.
-Step 2: Ride up your hill. Use your Heart Rate Average from the Test as a guide for your effort.
-Step 3: Repeat your hill effort 4-6 times. Try to rest by riding easy or coasting for 3-5 mins. between the repeats. The goal is to be climbing for roughly 45-50 mins. total.
(if your hill climb takes 10 mins. on average then you need to do 5 repeats, if it takes 8 mins. you need to do 6!)
Step 4: Cool down after the repeats with 15-30 mins. of moderate intensity riding.
This is a great workout to throw into your weekly routine. It will gradually increase you ability to ride at your “threshold” and it WILL make you faster for OTH!
About the author:
Ted is a USA Cycling Certified Coach and avid mountain biker. He cut his teeth on the US Cup MTB Series in 2011 taking the Series overall and landing on the top podium step at 3 US Cup XC events last year in Cat 1 30-34. He is owner of G2 Bike in Aliso Viejo. G2 Bike is a full service bike shop and also offers all types of athlete coaching programs and compliments many of its athletes training with G2 Altitude Training.
More info at www.g2bike.com
Coming up over the next 4 weeks – A Success Plan for Over the Hump Series (Continued) :
Chapter 2: Bridge to engine room, WE NEED MORE POWER!
Chapter 3: Fuel for your Fire
Chapter 4: Lightening the load, Equipment choices and tips!
Chapter 5: Ready, Set, Go!