The New Year has arrived. 

With it are the good vibes, thoughts, and intentions. If you’ve resolved to bike (e-bikes and traditional bikes) more in the coming months - make it happen! If you make time to bike more - you’ll gain a lot of great fitness and have fun seeing your beautiful community.

Let’s say you’ve downloaded the Strava app and are picking segments to attack.

How can you train and get your name in the top 10 for your local hill climb?

I always like to beg, borrow, and steal from the pros to get some tips and lessons. But unraveling the mysteries of professional athletes - especially in sports like cycling can be hard to do. How do these men and women race on their bikes so freaking fast?

We have some “secret sauce” to help improve your fitness and bring out your best. 

What Can We Learn from Pro Cyclists? 

The people at Strava had a great conversation with esteemed cycling coach, Jim van den Berg. Jim has a bunch of experience - over a decade dedicated to training professional cyclists from the World Tour (Tour de France, Giro D’Italia) including Taco van der Hoorn, Pascal Eenkhoorn, Dylan Groenewegen, and Thomas Dekker. 

Here’s what Jim says you can take from the pros

Embrace the Fundamentals: Prioritize Time to Get in Some Mileage

Contrary to the perception that a World Tour cyclist's training is complex -  the reality, according to Jim, leans towards simplicity. 

Just get out and grab some time on the bike.

There are some key workouts, that get sprinkled into the training plan, like the tempo repeats and VO2 Max hill intervals - but,  the main bulk of your training rests on your base training volume (ie mileage) —There’s nothing complex about getting lots of time on your bike. 

Editors note: If the weather or wildfire smoke prohibits you from getting out - consider buying an indoor trainer AND a training app to help you excel in your garage or spare bedroom. Look into, and consider getting: Zwift, Rouvy, (or what a lot of local “top 10ers” use - TrainerRoad)

Emphasize Consistency over Intensity

Despite the assumption that professionals engage in marathon training sessions, a World Tour cyclist typically limits their longest training session to only four or five hours, just like the many riders you see in the top 10 local Strava segments.  

The key difference lies in consistency. 

The pros ride their bike six days a week. In contrast, amateurs often exhaust themselves with lengthy rides, hindering subsequent workouts' intensity and recovery.

Local Leavenworth rider Larry Peterson CREDIT: Larry Peterson (via Facebook)
Local Leavenworth rider Larry Peterson CREDIT: Larry Peterson (via Facebook)

Prioritize Sustainable Training Approaches

Coach Jim encourages you to evaluate whether or not a particular pro’s training schedule aligns with your routine, schedule, and motivation.

Honest talk here: Your daily motivation will change and fluctuate. Jim knows this - so he emphasizes the importance of finding a sustainable routine that will give you long-term benefits. If a workout interval becomes unbearable, Jim suggests exploring alternative cycling disciplines or focusing on more enjoyable strength training.

Fuel Your Workout: This is Important - Don't Neglect Nutrition!

A noteworthy insight from Jim centers around nutrition - particularly during workouts and especially in the last hour of your ride.

Editors note: I've cooked & baked some great food for my longer bike rides - order the book: "The Feed Zone" and you'll eat great stuff and never bonk again!

Contrary to common practice, he advocates for consuming more calories during your ride, enhancing both the quality of your workout and post-exercise recovery. 

Editors note: Try different kinds of food, gels, or “Clif Shots.” What works for your stomach during the easy, intermediate, and harder workouts? 

Many amateur cyclists neglect this crucial aspect, often not eating in the final hour, only to indulge in suboptimal post-ride food upon reaching home or the pub.  Jim stresses the significance of fueling your body during the entire ride for effective recovery.

INFO: Strava


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