Cycling is a sport where athletes battle the elements, just as much as each other.
The Tour of Southland is no ordinary bike race.
The weather has a huge impact over the 8-stage, 900km Tour of the Southland.
Riders go through snow, hail, rain, sunshine, and wind; often all in one day.
This blog begins as I (that's me in the photo) enter the final phase of my preparation for the Tour of Southland, on October 28.
Earlier this year I competed in the Club Road National Championships, and took three weeks off the bike after that.
Starting training again in earnest in early July, with new coach Silas
Cullen, I changed the way I was training and virtually doubled my training hours.
I progressively worked through base kilometres, doing 5, 6, 7- hour rides in the weekends and 2-4 hour rides weekdays, with Monday as a rest day.
After base kilometres, I started doing varying times, from 20 minutes to 30 seconds.
Racing is the best training, and with some hard sessions under my belt I took to the racing scene.
I did the Feilding Festival of Cycling 90km race and came second in A-grade.
We also broke the course record for fastest time.
In the weekend, I raced from Taupo to Napier, a distance of 140km, and came 15th.
The next day I raced the Whanganui Grand Prix 89km race and came fifth.
Double racing days are one of the best ways I've found to train for a tour.
It's helpful being a fan of travelling because that weekend we had breakfast in Wellington, dinner in Manawatu, breakfast in the Waikato the next day, Lunch in the Hawke's Bay then crossed over to Taranaki.
Racing preparation is so different from training at home so here's a checklist of things to go through before a race.
- Making sure brakes aren't rubbing
- Make sure tyre doesn't touch the inside of the rim when it rotates.
- Have enough food and water, with a little extra, for the race.
- Add some product to water to replace electrolytes and minerals - a little less if it is really hot weather.
- Know the course - sharp turns, climbs, gravel sections
Next blog I'll tell you about the team for Southland, and about preparing for a bike race.
Are you planning to take part in the Tour of Southland or another big cycling challenge? What great tips do you have? Or what you like to know about when it comes to trainging for such a big adventure? Leave your comments and suggstions below.
- Upper Hutt Leader