Forget anything that you’ll see that offers you super fitness by exercising for 20 minutes a day. That only exists in TV infomercials. None of that is going to work for a seriously big ride like Peaks Challenge Cradle Mountain. That being said, this article discusses some fundamentals about cycle training and where the efficiencies can be gained.

There is no Holy Grail

First thing to understand is that there is no one magic training secret, no one interval session or set of expensive wheels or new bike that is going to make a huge difference to your riding. When your lungs are burning, your legs are cramping, and your heart is beating so fast that it’s almost jumping out of your chest while you are struggling through the last few hours of the ride…

You’ll be saying to yourself “I wished I did more training”… Even if you are riding the lightest custom bike in the world with all the bling and your name written on it.

It’s not your bike that’s going to be helping you out or those killer super high intensity intervals that you did with a bucket close by in case you had an accident. It’s going to be the quality of your training build that you have done prior to the event. You’ll want to focus your time on specific and consistent training that’s designed to help you build sustained power at low cadences and the aerobic endurance.

Training that will turn your Peaks Challenge Cradle Mountain ride into something that’s as achievable and easy as your regular rides in the weekends. I call it “turning the extraordinary into the ordinary”. I’m not saying that the Peaks Challenge Cradle Mountain ride isn’t epic, because it is.

What I am saying is that I want you to make the decision as to whether you want the ride to be something that’s so tormentingly hard that you’ll need to call upon every ounce of willpower to get to the finish ride. Or, be on the start line of the event knowing with confidence that you are going to have the best ride of your life. I’ve experienced both with my riding and my preference is the latter.

To ensure that you are in the best possible physical and mental condition for the event, it’s now time to start your structured training. If you have been following my articles you’ll already have these key things sorted to ensure that you start your focused training campaign unhindered:

If you have missed my first article about the event, here it is again:

Peaks Challenge Cradle Mountain – Getting Started With Your Training

It’s my job to ensure that you get to the start line in the best form of your life and that when you finish, you do so feeling that your preparation was spot on.

So, lets’ talk about training for the Peaks Challenge Series.

Getting fitness and form doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t do it without investing some actual time riding a bike. You need to progress through a structured program that allows your body to adapt and get stronger.

BUT… You can take a huge shortcut by focusing on doing the right type of training at the right time. That is what this article is all about.

If you have downloaded our training program for the events, you’ll know how much time you’ll need to commit, and you’ll be working through your stakeholder buy-in.

So, here’s where a lot of people go wrong with their training…

Many cyclists do a heap of training but never do the right type of training to ride fast and to build their hill climbing speed.  But if they aren’t training in the right way then no amount of training will help them get faster.

Many cyclists come to me and say that they have plateaued with their fitness.  They train harder and harder but don’t get any improvement. They go around and around in circles and finally end up frustrated.

It’s really important to understand that if you do the wrong type of workout at the right time or the right workout at the wrong time, and you’ll limit your training success.

So this means that right now you should be building your aerobic fitness and your strength. By getting out on the bike regularly and doing around nine to twelve hours of training a week for a sub thirteen-hour ride and thirteen to fifteen hours a week for a sub ten-hour ride.

During this time, you’ll want to focus on the balance of these three things:

  • Low-intensity endurance training during the weekends that includes spending much of the time climbing hills
  • Specific long interval low cadence indoor training sessions where the focus in on good pedaling technique and low-intensity recovery rides during the week
  • Off the bike specific functional strength training

It’s not the time to be sitting in fast-moving bunches along flat roads or doing short high-intensity efforts on a home trainer. Also, it’s not the time for High-Intensity Training (HIIT). There are plenty of HIIT programs available since they became popular in the 2010’s. This training method has been enthusiastically adopted by a culture of trainers that prescribes the whole “no pain no gain” training.

However, there has been much research done in recent years that determines that building a strong base doing low-intensity aerobic training and long interval training is more efficient at improving overall fitness. This was a popular method of training in the 1980’s and is having a bit of a resurgence today.

I’ve got an article that goes into a little detail about it here:

Get Started With Your Training – Part 10 – The Truth About Building Speed

Don’t get me wrong. There is no doubt that HIIT training makes you fast, and there is a time and a place for it, but it doesn’t build aerobic endurance. That’s why right now your time is better focused on building a solid foundation of aerobic base, while working on good hill climbing technique because that’s what you’ll be drawing upon in the latter half of the ride for riding the Peaks Challenge Series.

So here are three most important things to address in this first four four-week training block of training for the Peaks Challenge Series.

The basic building blocks of the training are built around an indoor training sessions on a Tuesday and a Thursday with recovery rides on a Wednesday and Friday and a rest day on a Monday. As most of us have the weekend available for longer rides that’s where we get out and build the bulk of our aerobic base.

The recovery rides are done at a low intensity (able to hold a conversation) and a higher cadence rpm.

The specific long interval low cadence indoor training is done preferably on a home trainer with longer intervals done at a medium intensity (breathing hard but not breathless) at lower cadences with the biggest focus on developing a good efficient hill climbing pedaling technique and developing a stable core.

The weekend rides consist of getting out and riding the hills while putting together the hill climbing technique you have developed during the week.

Finally, it’s important to do body maintenance and off the bike functional strength training. Yoga is a great way of doing this or download a free sample of our cycling specific functional strength and mobilizer exercises here.