Travel is back, and it’s suddenly viable again to box up the bicycle and sign up for a cycling challenge in a far-off land. Topping the bucket list for most cyclists is Haute Route – a series of challenging climbs across the French Alps, including the Iconic Alpe’d Huez and Mont Ventoux.
These climbs are serious ascents and require beyond a basic level of strength and fitness to summit with energy to spare for the next day. With a European summer beckoning, now is the time to lay the foundations if you want to tackle Haute Route and unlock a new level of fitness.
Haute Route is like any big event. It takes some preparation and planning to show up ready to take on the challenge. Additionally, it is going to take some discipline FulGaz has taken some of the guesswork out for you by providing virtual experiences of the Haute Route climbs to help you get a feel for what you will come up against. On top of that, there are other steps you can take to ensure you show up with your best pedal forward.
Even if you have another challenge on your list, these tips will apply to you too!
Here are my five BEST tips on how to best prepare for your event
- What is the goal – is it to attend, complete the challenge, vie for a top 10, win overall, win your category, or set a PB? It doesn’t have to be grandiose, but a nice clear goal is easier to bring forward in your mind when you are suffering through a hard set in training. Check out this previous FulGaz blog post for an extensive guide to goal setting by a pro cyclist. This will help set the parameters to get from where you are to where you want to be on game day.
- Employ a coach – Even short-term arrangements will take the planning stress out of the equation and give you the energy to focus on doing the training well and taking care of everyday affairs. See my previous blog about why you should get a coach to see if it might suit you.
- Specificity – if you can’t ride out your door and onto the slopes of Mont Ventoux, then finding a way to simulate the effort is key. By using FulGaz, you can get a feel for the demands and familiarize yourself with the lay of the land. It can help your goal setting and training plan to set points in the course that you know will challenge you. Recognising landmarks and gradients will remove some uncertainty ahead of the event. There is an entire library of the Haute Route Climbs on FulGaz for you to explore.
- Practice event day nutrition in training. – It’s important to train your gut to take on the right amount of carbohydrates for such demanding undertakings. Try a few different sports nutrition products to see what works best for your palate and keeps your gut happy.
- Enlist a friend! Everyone knows that a friend who shares your passion will not only keep you accountable but also keep it enjoyable! It’s easy to show your mates what they will be up for by giving them a virtual tour of the Haute Route Climbs on FulGaz. How could they say no to such picturesque switchbacks?
Remember that stress + rest = growth. So even though you are motivated towards your day, it doesn’t mean you have to train the house down day in and day out.
Driving yourself into burnout is a sure-fire way to ruin your day. Overtraining (or, more likely, under recovering) leads to injury and illness, which is sure to stifle your progression.
If you have set yourself a heavy training program, take into account other life stresses and running around, and try to schedule a complete day off the bike and engage in things like relaxing on the couch with your family or some stretching and massage.