So life happened and you forgot all about that entry you filled out for the biggest road race in Joburg… Luckily we have a plan for you… – By Dr Carol Austin
So you’ve been waking up in cold sweats since realising that you’ve entered the 947 Cycle Challenge, and haven’t done any training for it. Never fear, if you’re untrained or under trained, Dr. Carol Austin, Head of Performance Support and Medical at Team Dimension Data, has a plan to help you wing it… just don’t let this happen again.
Get Medical Clearance
Medically, participating in such an event without prior training is not advisable. So request a thorough assessment, and clearance to proceed.
Know Your Capabilities
If you’re a first-time average Joe, count on a 5-hour journey. If you’re a seasoned cyclist with a PB of 2:30, a sub-3 may be possible with the right seeding and drafting buddies.
Tune Up Your Body
Take your bike out for some easy 45-minute endurance spins. Focus on eating healthily and avoiding alcohol.
In-depth knowledge of the course will help you moderate your efforts in accordance with your fitness level. So pre-drive the route.
Every survival plan should include a pathway for retreat, so identify ‘bail-out’ points en route in case the going gets too tough.
Choose The Easy Option
Coast the descents, save your energy for the climbs, and draft whenever possible.
Keep your cadence high (80 to 100rpm) to reduce muscular fatigue and prevent cramping.
Keep An Easy Pace
Go out easy – use the first 30 minutes of the race as a ‘warm-up’ period. Thereafter, pace your race carefully.
Use Your Internal ‘Pace-Ometer’
Your inbuilt ‘pace-ometer’ (rating of perceived exertion) is the most reliable. Don’t go beyond a 70% effort level – you don’t have a lot of matches to burn.
Don’t Kid Yourself
If you’re in that pack and suffering, don’t cling on. There’ll be plenty of ‘passing traffic’ to choose from – drop off, and join a slower-bunch.