February Maratona Preparation – Spin, Spin, and Spin

The first serious bike I purchased was one of the early Giant Carbon bikes – 1991!! I brought it from none other than Sid Patterson – one of Australia’s greatest cyclists who had a modest bike shop in the Melbourne CBD.  Before exiting his shop with my spanking new bike I asked Sid for some training advice. The former World Professional and Amateur Champion simply said “put a couple of bananas in your back pocket, drop the chain onto the small-chain rings, and get out there and spin!!” This advice seems to be as relevant today as it was some 25 years ago.  The excellent Cycling Tips website had an article back in 2010 that offered considered observations as to what the professional cyclists do in their training that makes them different (and better).  At the top of the list was that they spin, and spin, and SPIN. Consider the fact that over the entire duration of the Tour de France the average cadence is approaching 95rpm, it is a fair assumption that during training professional riders are hovering somewhere around this ‘KPI’ marker.

So for this month’s training for the Maratona the advice is to focus on increasing the total weekly time of riding (via increasing the duration of some sessions/ and or increasing frequency of weekly rides) – but in doing so sustaining a moderate to high average cadence (+90). Why? More riding at sustained higher cadences will increase your riding economy – in other words give you more for less (a concept I am quite fond of!!).  For those of you intent of riding the 138km full distance Maratona, arriving at the Giau (see article) with a few candles to spare with be very, very important.

It is also advised to still include strength-endurance riding in the program. This is riding in bigger gears, best on undulating terrain, and consequently with lower cadences.  When climbing, particularly with steeper climbs, there is a greater force requirement.  Generally speaking climbing cadences will be lower than cadences on flat terrains (although Lance Armstrong in his prime climbed Hautacam in the Pyrenees averaging 100rpm!!). For this reason strength endurance training is necessary preparation for climbing events.  However, as Armstrong clearly understood, force is not only derived from leg tension driving down onto the pedals, but also from the rate of leg turn-over.

Below is a sample training program for February. Next month the training program will be on Climbing.

  DAY 1 DAY 2 DAY 3 DAY 4 DAY 5 DAY 6 DAY 7
WEEK 1 

 

 

 

Rest day or Easy Ride (60min) High Cadence Ride: 70min with 5 x 6min solid efforts @100+rpm Rest day or Easy Ride (60min) Strength Endurance Ride: 70min in hilly terrain in big chain ring Rest day or Easy Ride (60min) Long Endurance Ride: 3hours @90+ rpm Rest day or Easy Ride (60min)
WEEK 2 

 

 

 

Rest day or Easy Ride (60min) High Cadence Ride: 80min with 4 x 8min solid efforts @100+rpm Rest day or Easy Ride (60min) Strength Endurance Ride: 80min in hilly terrain in big chain ring   Rest day or Easy Ride (60min) Long Endurance Ride: 3.5 hours @90+ rpm Rest day or Easy Ride (60min)
WEEK 3 

 

 

 

Rest day or Easy Ride (60min) High Cadence Ride: 90min with 4 x 10min @100+rpm    Rest day or Easy Ride (60min) Strength Endurance Ride: 90min in hilly terrain in big chain ring   Rest day or Easy Ride (60min) Long Endurance Ride: 4 hours@90 + rpm Rest day or Easy Ride (60min)
WEEK 4 

 

 

 

 

Rest day or Easy Ride in Big Chain Ring High Cadence Ride: 70min with 5 x 6min solid efforts @100+rpm   Rest day or Easy Ride in Big Chain Ring Strength Endurance Ride: 70min in hilly terrain in big chain ring   Rest day Long Endurance Ride: 3 hours @90+ rpm Rest day