Training for a Granfondo? Perhaps the Maratona dles Dolomites
Post courtesy of Bruce Hendler at AthletiCamps: High Quality Coaching and Performance Cycling Camps, based in Northern California. Bruce is an old cycling friend of mine with whom I spent many hours pedaling and racing alongside. He has become a legend of cycling wisdom thanks to his vast experience and passion for the sport of road racing. I know as fact that he can help prepare the aspiring road racer who dreams of personal results at a Granfondo. With AthletiCamps training program or cycling camp education, you will be well prepared for endless uphill kilometers in granfondos such as the Maratona dles Dolomites.
Its time to bring back a Pro-shop edition with two new guest professionals; Rubens Bertogliati (Androni-Diquigiovanni) and Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R.) I had the pleasure of working and riding with them this past couple months and was able to have some good discussions about their training and racing. Rubens is the current national Swiss time trial champion and has worn the yellow jersey in the 2002 Tour de France. Vlad has finished 11th in the Tour and won stage 9 in 2008. He won the Tour of Portugal in 2005, and has numerous professional accomplishments. Both are looking forward to having good seasons and are super friendly and outgoing.
Q: As we go into the new 2010 season, what types of things are you doing to prepare for the long and very difficult season? Are you changing any of your preparation?
RB: Normally the season in Europe or Italy starts at the beginning of February. As usual I start training on the bike about two months before. In the first month I do free body exercises, swimming, and a little bit of running as well. Then I will
increase the number of hours on the bike. I arrive in January prepared to do 6-hour training rides. Normally on the bike I concentrate on 3 important factors: force, rhythm, and endurance. Force is to develop power; rhythm is to have a good spinning frequency and endurance is to have a good capacity for long distances. Of course, balancing everything with specific structure is the trick that we focus on.
VE: For me, from a training standpoint, I am pretty much doing the same things I have done in the past, as they have been successful for me. The season is long and hard and I must separate myself by not “getting too serious” too early. It’s funny, you see me on our rides only eating simple food like bananas and small sandwiches. The reason I do that is I will be eating “race food” for about 8 straight months! We also talked about massage. Pretty much all race season, I am on a table getting massages, before a race, after a race. With a schedule that includes 80+ races, I need a break right now, so the timing of getting serious is important and that point usually happens at the team presentation and training camp. During this part of the year, I still train, but more as a prep for the more difficult training.
Q: How do you define success for yourself this upcoming season? Do you have individual goals, team goals? How do you as an experienced athlete measure your success?
RB: First of all it is important to arrive at the races well in form. Then my goals are absolutely the Swiss championships and the Giro d’ Italia. The team goals are important (maybe you have to help one of your team mates in the general classification of a stage race.) I can say that the team goals are focused around all the races in Italy. Surely my individual goals are to win as many races as possible, concentrating on the time trials and on the breakaway stages. I think that first of all you have to be happy about what you have done in the race and before the race, then the results are secondary.
VE: I think for me, it’s about improving on results from the past, as knowing my previous accomplishments allows me to set realistic and attainable goals for improvement. Of course, team goals are very important, but as individual riders, we must look for our opportunities and a good director will help guide an individual’s effort that blends with team goals. But first and foremost, we are professionals and we must respect the team. Being a professional on the same team for a couple years, we already know the big goals for the year, mainly the Tour, which I am very excited about after having bad luck in 2009.
Again, thanks to Rubens and Vlad for their help in this article. I think the major take-home messages here are pretty obvious. First, make sure you are prepared to race before you race. A good solid training program with specific goals is key to any successful season. Two, there are no special workouts. You have to define your goals and track your progress throughout your training and racing.