One of my clients has recently signed up for the Transtramuntana TT4500.
It takes place in Mallorca in October so the Maximum temperature will be approximately 27 degree C, over the highest mountains in the Balearic Island. Mallorca has fantastic road conditions and some of the highest peaks imaginable.
AND......it is 235km (146 miles) long!
Luckily for him and me he already rides to a high standard and has taken part in many Time Trials so I won't be training him from scratch but what is interesting during his training period is the distance and altitude as he lives in a relatively flat location.
The good thing about this client is I know that he has determination in spades so that isn't a hurdle that he and I have to get over. He wants to achieve this because he has promised himself an ice cream if he completes it!
I will be blogging about his progress regularly, his up's and down's- literally and let you know how he gets on. Bearing in mind that in 2013 only 35 riders actually finished.
So how do you prepare for a distance like that? Being specific is the only way it can be done. Exactly as the old saying goes 'Train as you race.' It is no good focusing on all over body conditioning or your run pace when the main area of focus is going to be the legs on a bike. Power and stamina are the two components that will give my client the edge.
He has started getting longer rides done as getting used to the physicality of being in the saddle for approximately 11 hours is something that will need some getting used to. He isn't intentionally trying to lose weight but this is something automatically happening as he is upping his base level and will certainly help with not carrying any excess weight for the ride.
Nutritionally he is doing great and is very dedicated. Lots of protein, whole grains and eating clean is the focus for him. Correct fuelling will make a huge difference to any training plan and could mean the difference between finishing or not so there is no point whole heartedly training to precision and then eating energy sapping processed food.
Due to the length of time of the ride getting his fuelling right on the day is also crucial. It's never a good idea to start using a new product on the day as you never know how you may react to it. Many have high sugar contents which, if your body is not used to, can expel pretty quickly and trying a caffeine shot gel during the race for the 1st time could end in disaster. The best thing to do is buy a selection of different makes, flavours and delivery methods (gel, blocks, bars etc) and trial them. Do take into account other factors whilst trying them so you get an accurate comparative. How tired are you? What time of day is it? How much and what have you eaten? But with all the bought products out there a bit of what you fancy whilst doing an event like this won't go a miss! Ham sandwich, Ginger nut or flapjack. Certainly he will need to watch his Electrolyte intake so salt sticks are a must, again something to be tried before a race.
Hydration is another component that needs to be taken very serious. Especially whilst eventing in a hotter climate than you are used to. Luckily my client is training through the summer, Ok the British summer won't be anything like Mallorca but...Getting to know your own body is a key issue because no two people are the same. Starting hydrated is a must and maintaining that is important so small amounts frequently is a good idea. Not being worried to stop for comfort break will stop any serious de-hydration problems.
Being prepared will give the mental edge of belief.
Life is an event, train for it!