3 Endurance Mistakes We Must Stop Making
The queen of endurance road events, the Old Mutual Wealth Double Century, is around the corner. Here are three dirty habits we can break – must break – to make sure we have the best day on the roads of the Western Cape.
Trying to hang
Teaming up with a friendly random at the start line of a 200km event can be a recipe for disaster; yet many teams at the Old Mutual Wealth Double Century do meet each other for the first time at sparrows on the day fo the race! “Sometimes the new rider will say, ‘Just sit on my wheel, you can stay out of the wind, and I’ll pace,’” says long-time bike coach Paul Page-Hanson of Wenzel Coaching. “Generally that doesn’t work out. Trying to match somebody else’s effort can be chaotic.”
Ride together, train together, discuss pace and fuel-stop strategies long before the event itself. On the day – if your team is riding too fast for your comfort, communicate this early so there’s time for everyone to adapt. Chances are, they are riding too fast, too.
Forgetting your puncture gear
This simple preparation – along with practising changing tubes at home – ensures speedy repair and may even appease the bike gods to magically pre-empt punctures altogether. Ideally carry your own bike fix stuff, so you don’t have to rely on others and so you can fix theirs when they fall short, but on organised teams sharing out the essentials can make for lighter loads across the squad on team endurance events like the Double Century.
Not doing your homework
Research the route and simulate it during training, so you’re not caught off guard. The Old Mutual Wealth Double Century route has three major climbs: the early challenges of Tradouw Pass, Op de Tradouw Pass and the endurance sapping Three Stooges in the final 30km. The former require a relaxed outlook – matches burnt here are gone for the day – while the final triple whammy might need you to train your ability to ride a few unnecessary hills at the end of your long training rides.
And peek at the weather before you go, so you’re ready for whatever chaos the forecast holds. It can change around the route, as you criss-cross the mountains, so be ready for it all: let all the endurance you need be in the legs.