Canton Ave climb

Training for improved climbing is one thing.  Training for the Dirty Dozen is another.  Given the fact that probably less than 1% of the hills one normally climb are as steep as those of the Dirty Dozen, it doesn”™t make sense to train for this level of power requirement.  That is, unless you actually want to survive the 5 plus hours in November as you climb more steep ascents in one day than you normally do in an entire season.  Throw in the fact that I am prone to cramping if I don”™t really keep the legs fresh, and this is not something I can take lightly.

When I put a training plan together for myself or a student, I”™ve gotta”™ work backwards.  Where do we want to end up, and then back it up to where we are, and the rest will fill in by measured and deliberate progression.  As an endurance rider, and someone who helps people do their first epic ride or century, we have the luxury of focusing on a slow periodized program from start to finish with more and more time in the saddle.

However, this total event is only about 50 miles in length, with 3 food breaks.  Endurance is not what I need to train for.  My focus needs to be on producing the required power for each grade of hill I will encounter, sustaining heart rates above threshold for varying amounts of time, and keeping the legs from siezing up in the process.

Consequently, instead of a 6 day a week riding schedule with rides between 1 and 3 hours long, I”™ll be training 3 to 4 days per week where all but one of those days each week will be fairly intense; very little time in Zone 1 & 2, about 50% in Zone 4, and a progressive increase of time above threshold.  In most cases, I will want a day off or activer recovery after each day of training.

I will be focusing on improving lactate buffering, and increasing my threshold.  Starting my “pre-training” routine a couple weeks ago, I”™ve already begun to feel an increase in my threshold, but I will do a New Leaf metabolic test this week to establish a true baseline.

While at first blush this doesn”™t seem like a lot of training, the intensity creates a significant challenge.  In fact, I”™ve averaged over 1000 points per week just for the pre-training weeks.  So, I”™ll be using 1150 training load points as my starting baseline, and shoot for a 5% increase each week to keep the body honest.  This will get to about 1800 points at the week I will begin to taper.  I need to get fitter, stronger and more tolerant of the inevitable pain, and this seems to be the right approach.

So here”™s the outline of the training plan:

3 days intense training: 2 days outside, 1 day inside

1 day of active recovery riding inside

1150 starting points, and % splits:  Zones 1: 0%, 2:10%, 3:30%, 4:50%, 5:10%

Ending targets 1800 points, 20% in Zone 5, Threshold increase of 10 - 15 BPM


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