Endurance Test – South Downs – South Downs MTB

Wonderful Image of Richard Sterry on South Downs from Anne Dickins – http://annedickins24.blogspot.co.uk/

So the South Downs mountain bike endurance race is just a round the corner, and to give those crazy enough to take on this 17 hour challenge, you may want some insider tips to get one up on fellow enthusiasts.
Many cyclists taking part in this challenge are already in training, if you’re not then it probably best you get training now and make friends with your mountain bike saddle.
It’s common for novices to partake in these events without thorough preparation, but even experienced endurance athletes get injuries. Hopefully, this will give you some training advice and preparation to avoid injury. The basis of any good training should consist of the following approach: –
1. Functional
2. Tapered & Endurance Based
3. Restful
4. Race Prepared
1. Functional training is a key component in many prehab and rehab programmes. The therapy behind this approach to training is quite simple, train the muscles and respiratory systems to do what you want them to do. It’s important to put the time in on the bike to feel the benefit when it comes to race day. It’s not good enough to just poodle around to your local shop, you need to put in the hours on your bike including things like repeated hill climbs. Other than wearing out the tires on your bike, you can do some function training at the gym too. Kettlebell training is a good example of function training that trains all over the body as well focusing on the large muscles group that extends the hips known as glutes. During cycling, the glutes play a massive role in producing the power phase, this is demonstrated perfectly below with the red muscle group (A).

cycling muscles

2. Tapered training – The importance of training is obvious if you want to succeed at endurance events, muscles don’t adopt by sitting in front of the TV, however, training needs to be tapered and graduated. Realistically, this 17 hour mountain bike event is the equivalent of running a marathon, so gradually incremental training is key. The best way to monitor your training increments, is by totalling the mileage ridden each week, but training is not just about miles. As well as distance and endurance, training for these events need o include speed sessions on hills. Not all mountain biking is down hill, so get on those hills and push your self to the limits and you will notice easier ascent during the 17 hour marathon.

Josh Ibbett smashes South Downs Double record: 17h 47m 30s

3. Restful training does not mean sitting in front of the TV watching mountain bike videos and wistfully thinking that’s going to make you a better rider. It’s equally important to get rest days catered into your training routine as it is intense training days. During these rest days, even consider daily activities as a work out i.e climbing stairs, going to work, walking to the shops. Rest is important for recovering muscles as well as a balanced diet and high nutritional intake.4. Being race prepared is vital, do not underestimate the power of the mind. Have a strategy in mind that will help you complete the race, pace your self to save some energy for the final push. An other key element in race preparation is ensuring your bike is biomechanical set-up to give you that extra advantage, its worth spending money to get a professional bike fitting, it may just help you pip your mate to the post. And finally, dont be afraid to attempt an event before the main event, this will enable to put all these race preparations into practice and iron out any gremlins.

Down and Dirty
Down and Dirty

Happy biking and enjoy the race.
Thanks for reading
TA Physio