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First run in 2016 this fantastic recreational event is one of only a few run in New South Wales. There are three events: the 45km Social Classic, the 120km Challenge Classic, and 160 Maxi Classic. The event is based in the scenic Southern Highlands which is about one and a half hours drive from Sydney. The longer events feature several fantastic and challenging climbs.

One of the unique things about this event is that they have the following ride categories to compete in:

  • U19 Women
  • U19 Men
  • Men 19 > 29 Years
  • Women 19 > 29 Years
  • Men Masters 30 – 49 years
  • Women Masters 30 – 49 years
  • Men Masters 50 years +
  • Women Masters 50 years +
  • Men’s Team (minimum 4 riders)
  • Women’s Team (minimum 4 riders)
  • Mixed Team (minimum 4 riders)
  • Charity Team (minimum 4 riders)

As the event has some quite steep and longer climbs I recommend that the strength phase of your training be focused on riding repeated circuits over these types of climbs while ensuring that you build up your ability to comfortably ride for 4+ hours and including enough vertical meters in your training.

So here some initial pointers to help you get started:

(1) Stakeholder buy-in

Getting enough time to train is something many of my clients find challenging. Before you start your training, it’s important to put together a training plan to work out the amount of training you need to do in your build up to the event.

Once you have done this, work out who is going to be impacted by your training schedule then go to each of these “stakeholders” and get their buy-in well ahead of time.

By going through this stakeholder buy-in process, you’ll have a very clear idea how achievable you’ll be at committing to the training. You’ll quickly identify commitments at work and at home that you need to address.

2) Proper bike fit

You’re going to be spending a lot of time on your bike once you embark on your 12 weeks of training. To reduce the chance of injury and to ensure that you are as comfortable on the bike as possible, it’s important to get your bike fit sorted before you commence your training block. Now, bike fitting is a bit of a black art. Everyone has their opinion of how to set you up on a bike including myself. If you go to ten different bike fitters, there is a good chance that you’ll get ten different bike fits.

Many bike shops offer a bike fitting service. Many of these bike shops do a good job, there are also professional specialist bike fitting services dotted around the country. The most important objective of a bike fit is to make you as comfortable on the bike as possible. So, this is the result you are looking for.

Once you get your bike fit sorted, and you are happy with it then stick with it. Try not to continue to tweak it to make it better. You’ll want to have it sorted and locked in so that it doesn’t change during your training.

Same goes for changing your bike during your training leading up to the event. If you do change your bike then try to get the position transferred as accurately as possible to your new bike so that you keep it consistent.

3) Sound mechanical bike

Get your bike serviced before you start your training. You want to get stuck into your training rather than having to deal with interruptions from mechanical failures.

The main items to check are your chain and cassette are in good condition and that your tyres are relatively new. I prefer to train of robust tyres. If you do get a major cut in your tyre then replace it as soon as you can. I usually have a few spares in the garage, for this reason. Nothing worse than being out on the road and getting a puncture in the rain.

So there, you have it.

This article has covered the three major areas to address before you start your training.

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