This training article was written by Cycling-Inform for L’Étape Australia by Tour de France.
One of the biggest things you can do when training for L’Étape Australia by Tour de France is to work on building your training volume. While hour long indoor training sessions can help build your fitness, nothing can replace actual time on the bike for building the endurance you require to comfortably ride the distance and vertical meters of L’Étape Australia.
If you’re new to cycling events the length of L’Étape then endurance, not speed is what you should be focusing on first. Once you have built enough endurance to comfortably ride L’Étape Australia then, and only then can you start working on building your speed.
As most cyclists I coach work during the week, it’s the weekend that we focus on building volume as it’s when they have the most time available to build out the length of their training rides.
One way to build volume is to progressively do back-to-back big days on the weekends. Build up the length of time you spend on the bike and your vertical meters of climbing over three weeks then on the fourth week have a recovery week by lowering the volume of your rides while riding on flatter courses. Ideally, you’ll want to build enough training volume so that you become more comfortable riding progressively longer hillier rides.
As you’re building your volume it’s important to look after your health. As you progressively stretch yourself in your three-week build you’ll be putting additional strain on your body and immune system. So, it’s important that you keep your stress levels low, get plenty of sleep and eat well.
In your recovery week, make sure that you do an easier week. Remember that it’s the training load that creates the stimulus in your body to adapt but it’s in the recovery that that adaptation happens. So, you’ll need to give your body the chance to recover to help you build your fitness. By doing so you can also come back stronger and fresher to train for your next three-week build.
As you increase your ride distance, you’ll be able to work on your nutrition plan and timing while out riding. Initially start out consuming 30-60 grams of carbohydrate every hour to keep your energy levels up so that you maximise your training intensity by not fading out on your longer rides.
Also, keep up your hydration on the Saturday so that you are able to back up your riding on the Sunday. Especially if you’re are riding in hot weather.
As you are building your volume there may be a tendency to do it all indoors, especially if the weather isn’t that good. I recommend that you do as many of your weekend rides out on the road so that you can work on your cornering and descending skills. Also, by riding outdoors you can experience different weather conditions so that you get use to them. It could be wet and cold or very hot on the day of L’Étape Australia. So, by riding in various weather conditions you’ll be better prepared with clothing choices and have acclimatise to riding on hotter and cooler days.
Finally, joining a regular bunch ride can help you work on your bunch riding skills.
You can check out the comprehensive training programs we have created for L’Étape Australia. They include a detailed training build that I mention in this article as well as several hours of training videos that cover pedalling technique and off the bike training to help you build good climbing power for the event. They are available here.