Tour Of Bright Tips – How To Taper
Photo of Pat Fitzpatrick ascending Mt Hotham
The Tour of Bright is one of Australia’s biggest weekend stage races. Riders will be making the trip all the way from Brisbane to Adelaide to make this their roadtrip of the year! What makes this race so special is that it involves some of Australia’s biggest climbs including the dreaded Mt Hotham – 30.35km of pure masochistic torture. It makes my stomach go queasy just thinking about it.
It’s 10 days before the ToB begins and I thought I’d give a few tips while there’s still time to prepare. Most of your training homework should be done by now but there’s still some fine tuning work that can be accomplished over the next week and a half.
There’s lots to go cover here so I’ll do it over a few posts. The most important and timely advice I can give at this moment pertains to tapering.
Up until now you should have been doing a fair amount of work in the hills. When I say “hill work” this should have included sessions with two or three climbs that last 15-20 minutes each, ideally twice a week. This will give you the necessary strength endurance base you’ll need for the massive cols of the ToB.
That hill-work in conjunction with your other training should have been causing fatigue on the body. If you are fatigued from training then you have stressed the body enough to create the potential for fitness.
In the 7 days preceding the ToB you should begin to taper. This involves reducing fatigue and training load. The temptation is to keep the training load high just to cram a bit more fitness in, but in actual fact you have to reduce fitness in order to shed fatigue. The trick is to control how much fitness is lost during the tapering phase.
What you want to do when tapering is emphasize rest and do just enough intensity to keep the fitness sharp. The tapering phase is not the time to be doing long sessions. Do 3-4 workouts in the final week before the ToB with short intervals at expected race intensity (only 90 seconds each with 3 min recoveries).
Five days before the race do 5 x 90sec intervals. Four days before, do 4 x 90 second intervals, three days before do 3 x 90 second intervals.
Your easiest day should be two days before the race (next Thursday). Either take the day off or go for an easy cafe ride. The day before the race (next Friday) should include some very brief race-pace intensity. If you’re up in Bright early on Friday do this ride on the TT course. Here is my favorite race tune-up the day before an event. Many people think that the best thing to do is rest the day before a race. I strongly disagree.
Hopefully up until this point you’ve been training your weaknesses. In the taper phase you should be emphasizing your strengths and putting them into action. This is what you’ve been waiting for!
References: years of following Joe Friel’s “The Cyclists Training Bible”