Brodie’s Blog: Wrapping up the Summer of Cycling!

The Australian Summer of Cycling (Four weeks of racing across January every year) was back, and better than ever! 

Well, I might be biased, as winning the national title is about as good as it gets for January, as well as my Trek-Segafredo teammate Amanda Spratt being the Queen of consistency with a 3rd at Nationals, 2nd at Tour Down Under and 2nd at Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (by a whisker). She now wears the Santini Women’s WorldTour leaders jersey  – and we haven’t even arrived in Europe!

It was a whirlwind January, but not without months of preparation and careful management of of my training load, recovery and family time throughout the month. 

Striking a balance between these three important facets is something even professional athletes must navigate; and not without mistakes. (If you find this hard to manage, read my article on Why you should consider a coach. On top of that, it was my first month racing with a new team, new people, new equipment and different levels of fitness for so early in the season. 

Having been back in Australia since the Wollongong World Champs it’s been a steady build towards my January of racing, while also shifting from state to state to visit family and friends, so a textbook training program wasn’t always an option. 

Luckily, for lack of 20-minute climbs close to Sydney for example, I had FulGaz at my disposal for any longer threshold efforts I pushed myself on Alpe d’Heuz. Thankfully I did however have the rolling West Head Road just outside the city which was perfect for my tempo sessions. 

My approach with my coach was to build with some endurance and strength work, then into metabolic or ‘high tempo’ sessions before some intensity at the very last minute before nationals – so that there is still room to improve as the season progresses. I made good use of the [Royal National Park], Akuna Bay and then later Mount Nebo Road and Mount Cootha for more specific climbing efforts. 

I practiced my time trial multiple times up Mount Mee and then did the final touches on Mount Buninyong before the national road race. I specifically did 40/20s (40 seconds v02/all out) followed immediately by 20 seconds at very low intensity. I did them for 8 minutes at a time, twice. I also did some reconnaissance of the nationals time trial course before setting off to Adelaide for Tour Down Under

We had a few short days to recover and then get to know the lay of the land, especially the Corkscrew Climb as this is where we planned for Amanda to attack on Stage 3. I did 2 x 12-minute over/under efforts on the climb all the way to the top. 

After the races, I had some easy days and our team rode along Henley Beach for some flat roads to spin out the legs. I had to do three 15-minute threshold (85% HR) efforts up Greenhill Road one of the days, which is a perfect steady gradient for such efforts. 

After a few days of rest, recovery, and enjoying Adelaide’s cuisine and we were off to Geelong for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. We did a few easy rides and then a full course recon (with stops for views) and then some more 40/20s and 30/30s before tackling the Challambra Crescent Climb. In the end, it was the Challambra climb that really made the difference in the race so these repeated high-intensity efforts paid off when it came to crunch time. 

I took two very, very easy days after the race, it is vital to take at least one or more days totally off the bike after such an intense block. In fact, there’s even more to it than simply taking a day off, my coach even asks that I seek specific recovery strategies, like putting my legs up to watch a movie, a dip in the ocean, a massage or simply napping. Now I am back home at Mount Glorious doing a few last of my favorite training roads before I head to the UAE to race. I am looking forward to tackling the infamous Jebel Hafeet climb – hopefully, these hills have paid off!

Brodie Chapman is a professional rider with WorldTour team, Trek-Segafredo. She’s been a FulGaz ambassador for the last four years having represented Australia at Road Worlds, Commonwealth Games and was crowned the Road National Champion this year.

You can check out some of her favourite FulGaz rides below.