Before you sign up for the Bowral Classic, you should find out everything you need to know about putting together a Bowral Classic Training Program and how to train for it. In this article, we’ll give you training tips to help you train for this event and what a suitable program looks like. Finally, we’re going to share with you a sample training program that will help you get ready for the event day.

About the Bowral Classic Event

The Bowral Classic is one of Australia’s most iconic cycling events. Each year, the event attracts over 2,000 cyclists. This challenging cycling event occurs in the beautiful Southern Highlands town of Bowral, NSW. Now, with five rides to choose from showcasing the most beautiful scenery you can experience on two wheels, there is a course to suit everyone’s ability and will test your physical and mental limits like never before. With just a few months to go until the Bowral Classic, you might feel like there’s not enough time to prepare for this event. If you’re thinking about riding this year’s event (or are simply interested in training), we have everything you need to know right here. So, before you start figuring out what training you need to be doing, read on to ensure you’re as prepared as possible for the Bowral Classic cycling event.

What’s the terrain like?

The Southern Highlands is a beautiful part of the country that is famous for its rolling hills, beautiful landscapes and picturesque views. This part of Australia is renowned for its warm, sunny weather, so you can expect the event to be held at the perfect time of the year. But you should also be prepared for a little rain. The Southern Highlands is notorious for wild weather swings and unpredictable conditions, so you may have to be prepared to tackle everything from sunny days to thunderstorms.

What sort of training should you be doing?

The best way to prepare for the Bowral Classic is to use consistent and varied cycle training. Your Bowral Classic training program should include elements of aerobic base training,  strength and conditioning, hill climbing, speed training and bunch riding skills training.

Aerobic base training to build endurance:
Aerobic Base training is important as it helps train your body to ride for hours at your maximum sustainable pace. You’ll need to have enough endurance to finish the event; aerobic base training helps you do this. In your Bowral Classic training program, you should be doing a minimum of 3 rides per week that are between 60 minutes and 2 hours in duration. This will include at least one longer ride (2-3 hours) where you are riding easy. You can do these rides on a home trainer or out on the road either by yourself or with friends. During the longer rides, practice your nutrition strategy to figure out what to eat and how often, and they help you build your mental toughness.

Strength and conditioning to build strength:
Strength and conditioning will help you prepare your body for the rigours of the Bowral Classic. You’ll be spending a few hours in the saddle, pedalling up and down hills, so your legs will need to be able to produce sustained power for the duration of this cycling event. Through strength and conditioning training, you can reduce the likelihood of injury, increase your endurance, and core strength, as well as improve your overall strength.

Hill climbing training to manage the climbs:
You should also include training that focuses on your hill climbing in your Bowral Classic training program. These sessions can be on the home trainer, on the road or a combination of both. The long and steep hill workout should include a warm-up and cool-down with 2 x 10 minute intervals at 85% of your maximum heart rate (HRmax). The short and steep hill workout should be done with similar intensity, but at shorter intervals of 5 minutes, with a recovery period equal to the interval time. In addition to these sessions, you can also do a steady climb workout that includes 4-6 x 2 minute intervals at 85% HRmax with 2 minutes of recovery between intervals. This is an excellent session for developing your threshold power output level. Additionally, you should work on your endurance by performing 2-3 x 15 minute steady climbs at 70% HRmax. Remember that you are developing your power and endurance while doing this session, so don’t go too hard!

Speed training to manage bunch surges and short punch climbs:
Having the ability to keep up with fast-moving bunches on the flat or up hills is crucial. You should do at least two speed cycle training workouts each week in your Bowral Classic training program, one on the road and one on the home trainer. Speed endurance is developed by speed training, which allows you to maintain your pace when the bunch surges or you are climbing a short, punchy hill. A home trainer workout should consist of intervals of 3-5 minutes at a sustainable pace with equal recovery periods. A road workout can be done with a group or individually and should include intervals of 5-10 minutes at a sustainable pace (same recovery time as above).

Bike and bunch riding technique and skills training to keep you safe:
Riding in bunches will help you improve your bike skills, allowing you to confidently ride. It would be best to ride in a bunch at least once a week on the road. During this time, you can focus on improving your skills and practising your bunch riding techniques. Cornering, sprinting, climbing, and descending are all skills that you should practise. In addition, you should ride in various weather conditions, such as hot and rainy days, to get comfortable with both.

Other things to consider

Stakeholder buy-in:
Many of my clients have a hard time organising enough time to train. Before you begin training, you must create a Bowral Classic training program that details the amount of training you will need to do before this event. After you’ve calculated how much time you’ll need to train, identify all the people who will be affected and get their buy-in well in advance. When you’ve finished this buy-in process, you’ll know how much you can commit to your training. You’ll also be able to quickly determine what commitments you’ll need to deal with at work and home. Use our high-level Bowral Classic training program to help you with this process.

Proper Bike fit:
You’ll be spending a lot of time on your bike once you embark on your training. To reduce the chance of injury and to ensure that you are as comfortable on the bike as possible, it’s essential to get your bike fit sorted before you commence your training block. Many bike shops do a good job, as well as specialist bike fitting services all over the country. The most important objective of a bike fit is to make you as comfortable on the bike as possible. Once your bike is set up and you are satisfied with it, please don’t change it.  The same goes for changing your bike during your training leading up to the event.  If you do change bikes, try to replicate the position as accurately as possible so that you don’t lose consistency with your bike fit.

Sound mechanical bike:
Before you begin training for the Bowral Classic, have your bike serviced. You want to get stuck into your training rather than dealing with interruptions from mechanical failures. Make sure your chain and cassette are working properly and that your tyres are relatively new. I like to train on heavy tyres because they are more durable. If you do get a significant cut in your tyre then replace it as soon as you can. I usually have a few spares in the garage for this reason. There is nothing worse than being out on the road and getting a puncture in the rain because you’re riding on worn-out tyres.

What to do next

Click here to book a free coaching call with us to talk about your training leading up to this event. We can help you remove any inefficient training from your riding so that you make the most of your limited training time. Our training can be done with power or heart rate and can accommodate whether you prefer training on the road or using a home trainer. It’s also compatible with many of the training platforms like Zwift, TrainerRoad, TrainingPeaks, and FulGaz.