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20-06-2022 | Peter Koens

TOUR Transalp, the final push

In a previous article, I wrote that my fellow rider Andries ("the Trainert") had suggested to do a Reverse Periodisation training program. After I had done this in the months February and March, the first test followed during the Volta Limburg Classic sportive. The result did not disappoint me.

My peak power was not reached yet but the endurance was already there. I was satisfied after a period of 2 months of no cycling at all followed by a period of 2 months of cycling training.

What came next

The months of April and May were spent on some longer training sessions and the occasional solid interval training. However, due to personal circumstances the training schedule was followed less tightly. This became painfully visible during the next test in the 3rd week of May during the GF Vosges, a 176 km ride with 3500 meters of climbing. The first 135 km went very well but then the light went out. It was very hot and I felt that the body was clearly lacking. The sharpness was gone, I couldn't eat enough and the energy was gone. The result was only a 28th place in my age group. This was a clear wake-up call. Teammate Andries put down a perfect performance by finishing 4th in his age category.

What to do next?

There were still 5 weeks to go until the start of the TOUR Transalp. After a short consultation with the Andries, we decided to make the last weeks training more specific. Since the TOUR Transalp will be held in the Alps (with long climbs) the training had to be adjusted accordingly. To perform as well as possible over the 7 stages it is important to distribute your forces as well as possible. This means that you have to train a lot around your FTP (Functional Threshold Power). This is also called your threshold, in short the point at which you start to go into the red.

The zone just below that is called Sweet-Spot, the effort you should in theory be able to sustain for a very long time without going into the red.

The last weeks

So, sweet spot and threshold training it will be! To simulate the climbing as well as possible, these trainings were done on Alpe du Zwift in Zwift's virtual world. In combination with the Kickr Climb, where the angle of inclination of the bike is adjusted to the gradient. At a relatively low pedalling frequency, climbing training sessions of one and a half hours were done. Several of these climbing workouts during the week were alternated with quiet recovery workouts. The Sweet Spot workouts were done in long blocks of 16 to 20 minutes. The threshold workouts were done in shorter blocks of up to 8 minutes.

Now we have to be ready. I will keep you posted on the results during the TOUR Transalp. We have started now and tomorrow I will come back with a report of stage 1 and 2.

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