Sunday, 23 March 2014

3 and 5 Dams Challenge - Training Week #12

Welcome to Training Week #12.

This is it, the final week of hard training before we taper into the event on the 6th of April. This week we will lift our intensity and climbing efforts for the last time and test ourselves in an effort to see how our training has worked for us to date. We will re-introduce strength training on Thursday to help put some final conditioning into the legs. This could be our hardest day given the previous day's endurance training so expect it to hurt just a little bit due to the fatigue already in the legs. On Sunday, we will lift our hills climbing efforts for each level (3 or 5 dams) to see how we are going with the hills climbing.

As this is week #12, we should be well conditioned to tackling harder efforts in respect to intervals, strength, endurance and hill climbing and this week will likely take you close to your limits. The rides during this week's program will all be hard and backing them onto each other will truly test your grit and determination which you are going to need when it comes to long rides in the hills. Often, people will tell you that to train for a specific event, you should try to ride distances that are longer than the event your are training for. I don't necessarily subscribe to this reasoning as I believe completing somewhat shorter rides or intervals at more intense levels are for more effective than just getting out there and riding greater distances.

If you have taken on the challenge to get through this twelve week training program then I congratulate you. By no means has the program been an easy one, especially if you did not have a previous base on which to build. But being hard is the purpose of this program. The Dams Challenge is not going to be an easy one with long hours in the saddle, lots of hill climbing and a pure mental and physical test riding up the freeway to the finish on incredibly fatigued legs, it will be one of the toughest tests you will take on a bicycle.

Once again, for some of the longer and harder rides during this training block, I'd advise you to pack some gels and/or a banana or two to help you get through and definitely two bidons of water or hydration mix to keep you well hydrated and to help stay off any cramping - not just for when you venture out into the hills for longer rides, but also for some of the mid-week sessions. Another good one to pack in your jersey pocket are Fruit Crash-ups or Power Pulps from SPC (you can find these pouches of energy at any IGA). These come with a twist-top cap so you don't have to consume the entire thing in one hit. Simply have half, re-cap it and put it back in your jersey pocket until feel you need it again. If you like them, Fry's Turkish Delights are a good source of sustained fuel that you can have before a ride and top up as you go.

If you feel you are struggling at any point through these efforts, then please back off your intensity and complete as much as you feel you are capable. No one will think any less of you if you do not complete all the intervals or ride the duration of the longer efforts or the endurance efforts. It is better to ensure you return home without injury or strain than it is to try and push yourself beyond your limits and put yourself out of the main event. Only ride as you feel you are capable.

As usual, for the 3 Dams riders, I have combined both experience levels into the same training program as whether you are a novice or you have ridden the 3 Dams event before, you should be working to the same level to be ready in time to complete the challenge on the day. For the 5 Dams riders, there are separate programs that largely incorporate the same efforts but with slightly longer and harder rides for experienced riders.

Week #12 - 3 Dams (Novice & Experienced)
MonRE riding, no hills (1-2 hrs, easy riding)
TueIntervals. Complete 6x45s sprints up Forrest Drive in Kings Park (a bit further up the climb). Start just out of the corner leading into the climb. Go as hard as you can for the 45 seconds which should take you up around the first bend. 4 mins recovery between efforts.
WedEndurance. This session requires you to keep a significant power level for the duration of an hour. A good place to do this is between the roundabouts of Bruce St/Melvista Ave in Dalkeith and the one at the end of Victoria Ave in Claremont. Complete as many of these repeats (out and back) as you can in 1 hour of hard riding. This should help you complete the last ride up the freeway of the Dams Challenge when it's hard to maintain focus. 
ThuStrength. Complete 5 efforts up Lovekin Drive starting at Zamia Cafe but this week go through to the second roundabout behind Frasers and return via May Drive. Do these efforts in a low cadence gear (~60-65rpm) near 53/14 and stay in the saddle for the climbs. 5-6mins recovery between efforts. This will be hard after yesterday's endurance effort.
FriTake the day off. Do not ride. If you want to get out, try a brisk walk instead.
SatHills. This week, try to ride 100kms with as much time in the hills as your can. You should not be able to hold a conversation whilst on the bike as your breathing should be high enough to prevent it.
SunThe Three Amigos! This is really going to test your climbing legs and will give you an idea of how your training has progressed. The Three Amigos involves climbing Welshpool Rd (full), Kalamunda Rd and Gooseberry Hill Rd consecutively. These should give you a good number of vertical metres and may not be too dissimilar to the climbing of the 3 Dams. Distance is not important here.

Week #12 - 5 Dams (Novice)
MonRE riding, no hills (1-2 hrs, easy riding)
TueIntervals. Complete 8x45s sprints up Forrest Drive in Kings Park (a bit further up the climb). Start just out of the corner leading into the climb. Go as hard as you can for the 45 seconds which should take you up around the first bend. 4 mins recovery between efforts.
WedEndurance. This session requires you to keep a significant power level for the duration of an hour. A good place to do this is between the roundabouts of Bruce St/Melvista Ave in Dalkeith and the one at the end of Victoria Ave in Claremont. Complete as many of these repeats (out and back) as you can in 1 hour of hard riding. This should help you complete the last ride up the freeway of the Dams Challenge when it's hard to maintain focus. 
ThuStrength. Complete 6 efforts up Lovekin Drive starting at Zamia Cafe but this week go through to the second roundabout behind Frasers and return via May Drive. Do these efforts in a low cadence gear (~60-65rpm) near 53/14 and stay in the saddle for the climbs. 5mins recovery between efforts. This will be hard after yesterday's endurance effort.
FriTake the day off. Do not ride. If you want to get out, try a brisk walk instead.
SatHills. This week, try to ride 120kms with as much time in the hills as your can. You should not be able to hold a conversation whilst on the bike as your breathing should be high enough to prevent it.
Sun3 Dams training. Take in Churchman Brook Dam, Wungong Dam and Canning Dam. You are free to ride a route of your choosing but be sure to take in the three dams and include as many of the climbs available through the different routes as you can. You should be able to climb around 1300 vertical metres with this ride. Distance is not important here.

Week #12 - 5 Dams (Experienced)
MonRE riding, no hills (1-2 hrs, easy riding)
TueIntervals. Ride the full length of May Drive in Kings Park from intersection to intersection as hard as you can for the duration. Repeat this effort 6 times remembering to recover each time as you ride down Lovekin Drive. Try to keep each effort up May Drive to within 10 seconds of the first effort.
WedEndurance. This session requires you to keep a significant power level for the duration of an hour. A good place to do this is between the roundabouts of Bruce St/Melvista Ave in Dalkeith and the one at the end of Victoria Ave in Claremont. Complete as many of these repeats (out and back) as you can in 1 hour of hard riding. This should help you complete the last ride up the freeway of the Dams Challenge when it's hard to maintain focus. 
ThuStrength. Complete 7 efforts up Lovekin Drive starting at Zamia Cafe but this week go through to the second roundabout behind Frasers and return via May Drive. Do these efforts in a low cadence gear (~60-65rpm) near 53/14 and stay in the saddle for the climbs. 5mins recovery between efforts. This will be hard after yesterday's endurance effort.
FriTake the day off. Do not ride. If you want to get out, try a brisk walk instead.
SatHills. This week, try to ride 150kms with as much time in the hills as you can. You should not be able to hold a conversation whilst on the bike as your breathing should be high enough to prevent it.
Sun3 Dams training. Take in Churchman Brook Dam, Wungong Dam and Canning Dam. You are free to ride a route of your choosing but be sure to take in the three dams and include as many of the climbs available through the different routes as you can. If you take in Mundaring Weir Rd up to Kalamunda, you should be able to climb around 1500 vertical metres with this ride. Distance is not important here.

This is a hard week to get through before our taper. Be sure to take the recovery time between efforts seriously and you will SERIOUSLY need to take it easy on Monday and Friday. Make sure you are packing enough energy and hydration to help you through the efforts.

Be sure to perform some stretching before and after your rides to ensure muscles are appropriately warmed up prior to riding and relaxed afterwards. Take sufficient fluid with you on the bike for the expected duration of your rides. For example, longer rides may require two bidons while just one might suffice for shorter, less difficult rides.

Regards, Charlie.
Ride Ambassador

IMPORTANT: The above advice and guide ("the advice") is provided to you, the reader, free of restriction and encumbrances, in the hope that it will be useful but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. You are free to do with the advice as you so please, but understand that by reading and/or using the advice, you acknowledge that you RELEASE THE AUTHOR and any of his related parties, including, but not limited to, Bicycling Western Australia, the Unicorn-Specialized Cycing Team, and any of their previous and/or currently engaged sponsors and related third-parties, including, but not limited to, Hall Cycle Training, of ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, whether in an action of contract, tort or otherwise, arising from, out of or in connection with the advice or the use, inability to use, or other dealings in the advice.

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