Cape Epic 2008 Training
Absa Cape Epic 2008 sees us following our
trusty and proven training plan
that includes Polar heart rate based training programs, long
rides and multi-day training camps. This training regime has
proved so successful for us in the past that we have started
to document the entire process, you can find it in our
Cape Epic Guide.
We will share our training blog on a weekly basis. The two
of us live on opposite ends of the country, so it is important
to stay in touch and keep our training in sync. Every week we
swop training data and a brief training diary for the week.
It is less than 12 weeks to go now to Cape Epic 2008. This
second block of training is critical so we will try to stay as
focused as is possible with life going on around us.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Polar and the
software, here is a quick note on the report. We are using the
new Polar Pro Trainer software. One of the big benefits of
this new software is that you can plan your exercise. We first
did a Polar 16 week program which we
then followed up
with this more intense 12 week program.
What you are seeing in
the report is basically a budget versus actual scenario. We
have a certain amount of hours to do per week in certain
zones. This is shown in the stripy bars, then what we actually
ride shows in the solid bars.
The other points on the graph are distance, HR average and
this year, for the first time; weight. Since we would like to
achieve our best results ever, we have identified our weight
as a key factor in this success, so we are hoping that if we
have to report on it, it will help us to reach our target
Week 10: 16-03-08
I had a fairly easy week as I started to taper. I rested for
three days this week and really needed it. I could feel how
the rest made me feel good and rejuvenated. I rode three days
in a row and on a mini tour and felt good riding each day, I
recovered well and felt fresh each morning. With the next week
and a half of tapering I am sure I will start to feel strong
and ready for the Epic. Bike stuff and packing will be the
focus for the coming days.
This week I did one ride on Monday before I left for Taipei. I
pretty much had no choice but to treat it as a rest week. With
the public holidays coming up I am hoping for some good miles,
but I am not going to over do it. I need to be well rested for
the race, and you canít make up for lost time. I will just
have to trust my previous weeksí preparations.
Week 9: 9-03-08
This week turned out to be a great week. I got some quality
riding in and felt good. I recovered well after the training
camp and put in a big week. No real injuries or worries to
complain about. Saturday I did a biggish 5 hr ride with lots
of climbing and then rode the Argus with Candice on the Tandem
on Sunday. We finished quicker than the previous year and my
average heart rate was almost 10 beats down and I felt good. I
can feel that I have been doing a lot of riding over the last
few weeks. And looking back at my graph I can see why. From
now I will start to taper and start resting and getting
strong, most of the hard work is done now.
I was spot on with hours this week again. Next week is my big
rest week and I will not be even close on hours. I have had 3
really good weeks and the forced rest next week I think will
do me good. I am starting to feel better again. My knee is
definitely getting better and with a week off in Taipei I am
sure it will be 100%. I have reached that stage in the program
where I am really tired of the training. I canít wait to start
on 28 March.
Week 8: 2-03-08
This week was a bit of a rest week after our big training camp
week, I also had to nurse some sore legs and niggling
injuries. I also raced on Sunday at the MTB Argus so I swapped
a bit of quantity for intensity. Looking at my heart rate
zones I see that I am spending a little too much time in blue
no mans land of aerobic stamina. I am on target with lactate
workouts, but under on aerobic endurance. So I will
concentrate a bit more to ride easy, except for when I need to
ride hard then I will really ride hard and not somewhere in
between. The rest of this week I will put in some more big
easy miles and leave a bit of intensity work for the last few
I swopped this week with last week. Since last week was our
big week, it made more sense to ride the 14 hour week this
week. I managed to make the hours despite me knee still
feeling sore. It is getting better though and I am pretty
confident that after the full rest week that I am forced to
take because of an overseas trip it will be 100% for the race.
Other than the discomfort from the knee, I felt really good
and I am starting to feel confident for the race.
Week 7: 24-02-08
Well as I sit here Monday morning doing my weekly report my
legs are sore after a training camp this weekend. I donít
really know what to think of it all. Day 1 was one of the
hardest days on a bike for me, with 173km and 3200m ascent it
was never going to be easy but I felt really bad. I have to
just believe that the preparation I have done has been
adequate. A quick check reveals more hours than last year,
same avg ascent per week and similar distances and long rides.
Some last minute seat adjustments resulted in an injured
hamstring tendon, but that seems to be feeling better. Bottom
line is the Cape Epic always needs respect and is going to be
hard no matter how much you train and what you did before.
Iíll take a day or two to rest and then finish off the program
with another 2 good weeks.
The report looks pretty impressive, with a huge peak as we
completed our final training camp. I actually did over 20
hours on the bike, but 18 in zone. The reality is that this
was a big wake up call for Team BBB! A knee niggle that I had
has now turned into a full blown injury. And I have a huge
saddle area issue. This weekend I was reminded that the Epic
must never be taken for granted! Even at number 4, you need to
take care of yourself. The next 5 weeks will be spent;
managing the injury and ensuring that I reach the start line
in good physical shape.
Week 6: 17-02-08
Week 6 and half way through the program and that means 6 weeks
to the epic! This week was a bit of a rest week before our
second training camp coming up this week. I also did a race
this weekend, it was short and fast and good for some
intensity and climbing. I was happy with how I started off
managing to start fast and maintain a good pace. I am looking
forward to some long hard days in the training camp to test
our preparation for this years event and to finalise some bike
I was very slightly off this week again, because I had to
travel. Most of the time was made up with 2 monster rides on
the weekend, which were at a high intensity. At this stage I
am going to have to trust me previous training to carry me
through. With time being more and more of a problem, I am
opting for higher intensity when I do ride. I didnít really
feel great on the weekend rides, but I think this is because
of a lack of riding. This next week we have our final training
camp together, so we will log stacks of good quality hours.
Week 5: 10-02-08
I had a really good week and achieved my hours comfortably.
They were also quality hours because I did some good rides
including one interval session and a good 6 hour ride. I felt
good most of the week but my legs are a bit tired now so I am
taking a rest day again. I have started to feel the program
working, so with the next few weeks I am confident that I will
be able to get to a good peak.
While I am worried about the serious lack of hours this week I
am still pretty satisfied with the week of training. I did 2
races back to back on the weekend at a very high intensity.
And I am sure that this will be good preparation for our Epic
goals. I was, however, very surprised at just how hard it is
to ride at such high intensities for 2 days in a row!
Week 4: 3-01-08
This week worked out little more sedate than I had hoped for.
I spent 16hrs on the bike but only managed about 12:30 in zone
so I was about 30 min short of target. I did however do one
hard session Ė a 10 minute hill climb with 5 min back down
again, repeated 3 times - it was hard but good. I really need
to concentrate on long rides with lots of climbing in the next
weeks. I missed out on one this weekend and canít afford to
let it happen again.
What a week! The program now demands some intensity training
and I got my fair share of that at the MTN training camp. I
had to ride really hard and outside of my comfort zone, but
this was really good for me. This is a very good simulation of
the feeling on the mornings in the Cape Epic when you have to
try to stay with the group. My weight is also finally starting
to come down. I have lost 4kgs since I bought the evil digital
scale at Christmas time. I felt good this week despite some
really hard riding. Next week I have a big racing weekend, so
that will be a good tester.
Week 3: 27-01-08
I made up a bit of time this week, but still had a relatively
small week. My ride on Saturday was interesting, it was a
standard 108km route. I rode quite hard and finished faster
than before, but I was very exhausted, more so than I should
be. I think a combination of lack of sleep and dehydration
took its toll. It has reminded me of how important good sleep
is during training, as well as good hydration before a big
ride. If I was at the epic I would have been in real trouble.
So from now on it is earlier to bed and a better hydration
I wanted to have a big week, and I managed to get some good
riding in. I felt really awesome on my long weekend rides. I
hope that the feeling continues. I should have a good week
next week as I am on a training camp with the MTN pro team. I
am really looking forward to it even though it will all be
Week 2: 20-01-2008
Well what a dismal week, it was always going to be a tall
order. My big weekend ride ended up shorter and a lot wetter
than I had hoped for. It was good rain riding training, going
out in the rain and then plugging away in the mud and mist, it
was shocking, gave me flashbacks to Epic 2006. But these
things can happen on race day and then you just have to suck
it up, so I did. I am going to speed up things a bit now, we
really need to get on with it, time is running out!
I pulled up really short this week. Bad weather, work, and
finally mechanical problems all conspired to give me a
terrible week of riding. I will consider this a rest week and
try to make up some hours next week. I really donít like to
start the program like this, but sometimes there is nothing
you can do about it. You just have to look forward and keep
Week 1: 13-01-2008
I got off to a good start for the second program. I felt good
from the start and really enjoyed the weeks riding. I feel
like I have a good base to work from and plan to make my
training a bit more interesting in the next few weeks by doing
the following, a longer ride in the week probably 3h, a hill
training interval session once a week, practice going hard and
fast for the first 30 min of my long rides and some monster
climbing rides on the weekends. Cape Epic urgency is starting
to take hold and the pressure is on with an unexpected
business trip this week. So some creative training planning is
It was an interesting week of riding for me. The yellow bits
you see where 2 Criterium races I did in the week on my road
bike. Very interesting and good for some interval type work.
Not exactly the right time in the program for that, but I felt
good. Generally I felt good this week. I seem to have heavy
legs at the start of my rides, but then at the end I feel
awesome. This was a problem for me in the Epic last year with
the fast starts. So it is some thing I will need to work on.