3 KEY BIKE SESSIONS FOR THE HILLS OF THE HIGHLANDS

The Ben Nevis Triathlon bike route takes in some solid climbs on good roads. Here are three British Cycling training sessions which will give you the confidence to tackle the climbs and distance.

For all sets do a warm up of 15 to 20 minutes, working your way through the gears and increasing cadence. And cool down for 10 minutes in an easy gear and comfortably high cadence.

  1. HIGH GEAR/LOW CADENCE

Why do it: Develops aerobic endurance, strength and ability to produce power at low cadences.

Time: 70 minutes

Core set:

Select a gear that will put you at a maximum cadence of 60 to 65 rpm and find a hill that will take at least five minutes to climb at this 60 to 65 rpm cadence. Note you can also monitor the harder/power efforts using your heart rate monitor.

  • Ride for two minutes, seated 60 to 65 rpm;
  • One-minute standing, plus five rpm;
  • One-minute seated 60 to 65 rpm;
  • 30 seconds standing, plus five rpm;
  • 30 seconds seated maintain previous cadence;
  • Five minutes easy spinning.

Repeat four times

Training tips

  • Keep pedal strokes smooth through the whole revolution.
  • Engage your core and keep your back straight and don’t wrestle with the bike.
  • Select a gear which just allows you to maintain the target cadences.
  1. INTENSE HILL REPEATS

Why do it: Develops Vo2 max, anaerobic tolerance and lactate clearance. Challenges climbing technique, acceleration and pacing.

Time: One hour.

Core set:

Choose a hill that will take at least four minutes to climb at speed. Record the distance you travel in four minutes.

  • From a standing start, the goal of this set is to go as far as you can up the hill in four minutes, alternating between seated and standing as required.
  • At four minutes, sprint for five seconds.
  • Do four minutes easy spinning.

Repeat five times.

Training tip:

Work hard but try to keep your upper body relaxed and stable.

  1. ENDURANCE WITH CLIMBING, TEMPO AND SUB-THRESHOLD INTERVALS

Why do it: Maintains aerobic conditioning, develop tolerance to hard efforts when fatigued.

Time: Three hours.

Core set:

Find a rolling route with longer flat runs for tempo pace.

  • The goal is to try to maintain an average cadence of between 85 and 90 and aim to reach a higher heart rate on the hills.
  • On the hills, alternate between seated and standing and use a higher gear for intensity of nine out of 10.
  • On the flatter sections, go hard, with a high cadence aiming to reach threshold or ‘comfortably hard’ intensity, that feels like eight out of 10.

Training tips:

  • Smooth pedal strokes through the whole revolution.
  • Keep your leg speed and average cadences high.