Stage racing is a great way to get away for an adventure but they do require preparation to get the most out of them.
Words: Mark Fenner
One of the biggest barriers to signing up to compete in a stage race is the fear of not being fit enough to complete each day. Here's a start on making the structure to prepare for your first stage race.
Get the fundamentals right
Completing multi day/stage events require a very good level of aerobic condition with the ability to recover from each stage ready for the next day. So you need to be able to complete back to back days of training. Correct periodisation is required to bring you into the event frothing in peak condition and ready to go. This is an outline of the structure you need to put it all together with a guide to the sorts of workouts needed in each period.
Very often the excitement of entering the event means a flying start to training when the motivation is high, but, if this happens 6 or 7 months from the event it becomes a very long time to keep that focus and motivation on track. I have found that the block of training leading into a target event should be no longer than 5 months. Any longer than this and motivation can dwindle and the best laid plans crumble. Each block of training needs a purpose a specific goal or outcome to achieve. With a little change to the basic methodology of periodisation your 5 months of training might look a little like this;
Foundation Period: 2 weeks
This period consists of lower intensity aerobic conditioning with 3-6 days of riding each week. Try to just get out and ride and have some fun. The emphasis here is to make sure your body is ready to jump into structured training and that connective tissue, muscles and general body fitness is good to go. This is the time to make sure your bike fit and position is set up correctly and to check out all the potential areas to train that best replicate the sorts of terrain you will be competing over.