June 17, 2019

Stage Racing – Beating the Last Minute Training Blues

Wines to Whales Training

Training for a stage race, whether it’s your first or not can be confusing. Life has a funny way of throwing your training off the rails, and sometimes we end up trying to cram in some last minute training for an event.

4 Weeks before Wines to Whales I got a call from my good friend, which went something like this: “My W2W partner is injured, would you like to ride it with me?” Without giving it much thought, my answer was obviously a yes. The problem was that I was in no racing shape, and I had no clue how fit I really was! With only a few weeks left to train, I put together a quick plan which included the following types of rides to get me into the best shape possible:

Quality over quantity – Wines to Whales is a long event for most of us working class heroes. The knee jerk reaction is to spend a lot of hours in the saddle. With limited time however, the best way to make quick progression is through high intensity training. I mixed this up with tempo rides ranging from 1-3 hours, shorter more intense 10 minute interval sessions, and finally shorter 2-4 minute maximum intensity intervals with short recovery times in between. It’s these intense sessions that really help you build muscle strength most effectively and ride faster for longer. It will also helps with those fast starts typical of Wines to Whales.

Fasted Rides – Apart from creating muscular adaption, it is also important to stimulate metabolic adaption. A fasted ride means waking up and riding without eating beforehand and drinking only water during the session. This is especially effective the day after intense exercise and is a great way to teach your body to be efficient at using fuel sources other than muscle glucose or energy which you ingest. It teaches your body to use fat as a fuel source which reduces the impact of the dreaded “bonk” and keeps your energy levels much more consistent throughout the event. My fasted rides usually lasted between 1.5- 3 hours, and yes, that post ride breakfast was always well received!

Wines to Whales training

Long Rides – Long rides are important, but I didn’t include them as frequently as the high intensity sessions. I did on average one of these per week, and usually on the weekend. If you are going to be spending long hours on your bike in a race, it is important to be able to go the distance, but also importantly that you are used to being in the saddle for a long time. After all, if you are uncomfortable while you are already suffering, it’s going to be pretty unpleasant. Long rides are a big part of your physical and mental preparation.

The 4th thing that I made sure I did was REST. Having done a 4 week block of intense training, it was just as important to bring it all together by letting my body recover. Your recovery is where your body makes all the adaptions stimulated though the hard sessions. The last week of riding leading up to Wines to Whales was spent getting lots of sleep, eating plenty, with a couple light spins to keep the body ticking over nicely.


In the end, Wines to Whales was a hit. We rode well together as a team, I felt strong, and was able to keep up with the fast accelerations and most importantly, we enjoyed ourselves! Last minute training doesn’t have to be a stress. There is a fair bit you can do to ensure you get to the start line, fit, happy and healthy!

With less than 10 weeks to go until Wines to Whales, it’s time to make the training count. I am offering a 10 week personalized training program at a special discount for any Wines to Whales  rider who wants to get the most out of their 3 days. Use the contact form to get in touch.


Keep it rubber side down!


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