I really didn’t have the time to do this, but the other day I found myself looking around the Haute Route site and came across a series of ‘subjects’ on training, written by a couple of different French experts of some sort. I thought, since writing blog articles about sweat puddles under my turbo trainer can only be so interesting, I’d reproduce the subjects and see what can be taken away.
“ Everything depends in the objective”
In coaching, “everything depends in the objective”.
The characteristics of the goal will affect the substance of your training.
How to prepare yourself?
As the Haute Route is an alpine cyclosportive, you have to follow a specific training regime physiologically, technically and psychologically to reach the cols and stages in the best possible condition.
You are under unusual stress in mountain. The intensity of effort is sustained and the phases of recovery are minimal when cycling uphill. The way you are pedaling is different. The body cools when cycling downhill, thus contributing to elevated energy expenditure and reduced muscle efficiency.
The sequence of stages does not enable you to recover completely, especially since every finish is at altitude!
What seems important to us:
– Optimize your body weight. This point is fondamental. The steeper the slope is, the more significative the gain from weight loss is.
– Improve your endurance climb. The effort is sustained and intensive during a climb, especially in the mythical cols used by the Haute Route. It is therefore essential to be able to ride well with sustained power without getting in the red.
– Know how to recover effectively when cycling downhill between ascents.
– Train your body to recover quickly to your effort is maintained from one stage to another without problems. This will require mastering the techniques of recovery and avoiding mistakes!
– Adjust yourself to the altitude to avoid being troubled at the summits of cols which are at an altitude higher than 2000m and to recover efficiently from one stage to another.
Nice and concise. Here are a few notes/questions. Comments/answers much appreciated:
1. Why do you expend more energy as the body cools down on descents? I don’t quite understand that one, although I think I should.
2. It goes without saying, but the ‘weight optimizing’ point is well taken! This, I’ve noticed, is absolutely crucial when doing long, steep climbs, and every 100 grams counts.
3. The comment about ‘sustained power’ is also a great one and, from the little experience I have with these things, something many don’t realize till they do a 15 km climb that has no respite at all. There’s really nothing like it.
4. How can we ‘recover effectively when cycling downhill’? Eat? Pedal? I usually can’t do either!
5. He has more on this later, but the ‘recovery between stages’ thing is going to be huge. Coach Rob is already putting lots of brain power into this one, but truthfully, I can’t imagine myself not having one or two bad days with so much constant climbing.
6. Altitude is never a problem with me, at least in the Alps, but I’ve seen people affected at not much over 2000 meters before. It’s a valid point.