Preparing for the Giro Delle Dolomiti
As part of my training for the Giro Delle Dolomiti, a 6 day stage race in the Italian Dolomites at the end of July, I have been training hard by getting out there and putting in the miles. These miles have been in the form of long, hard endurance rides of around 100 miles or so at a constant pace and in varying weather conditions (averaging 17-19mph depending on terrain). These rides have been tough at times, due to the weather, but your training has to incorporate these conditions because you never know what the conditions will be like on race day. Also, over a period of time my ride times become quicker and my power outputs better. Now, I am pretty confident in riding 100 plus miles a day, but the next big test will be riding this distance consecutively (back-to-back) and coping with the stresses that this brings. This though will be address once on holiday in France in the Ardechoise region (central France) during mid-end of July.
Many of my training rides have been based in Hampshire but occasionally I have cycled into Wiltshire (Portsmouth to Trowbridge). This is because I love riding point-to-point and also because it’s a new area I can go exploring in. Plus it’s to see family members so that good. Also, as part of my preparation for the Giro Delle Dolomiti, I have competed in specific events both up and down the UK as well as in France and Belgium. These are listed below.
New Forest Sportive – Saturday 11th April
A nice, yet chilly day for a 100 mile bike ride. Rode the event with Nikki, my partner, and just cruised around the course enjoying the sights testing the Primal Helix Exion range of clothing. Didn’t push too hard, just wanted a good ride today at a steady pace.
- Race duration: 87 miles
- Time taken: 5:09:20
- Average speed: 17mph
- Climbing: 3130ft
First ride this year out of the country. The Liege Bastogne Liege is a classic event and held the day before the Pro race & an event I have wanted to do for a long time. We arrived two days prior staying in Liege. Event was wet, but fairly mild. Decided to do the medium course which was 100 miles and taking in the famous climb of La Redoute.
- Race duration: 100 miles
- Time taken: 6:37:20
- Average speed: 15mph
- Climbing: 7815ft
Great atmosphere with great climbs and valley roads & the following day we watched the Pros race spending the day with Ridley Bikes. Many thanks to them for their hospitality.
Tour de Yorkshire – Sunday 3rd May
Travelled up on the Saturday even though the weather forecasted was going to be rubbish. Woke up to be greeted by a very wet, windy and bitterly cold Sunday morning. Was not in the right frame of mind for this at all. Drove to Leeds from hotel, parked the car, got changed then cycled 1 mile down to the start. By this time I was freezing cold, wet through and not happy.
- Race duration: 51 miles
- Time taken: 3:38:30
- Average speed: 14mph
- Climbing: 3494ft
Still, started the event taking in the first few climbs on the course, but after 51 miles decided to call it a day as my hands/feet were freezing and my head was not in the right place now. Not enjoyable at all so rode back to the car, got changed and drove to Trowbridge. Following day rode 110 miles back to Portsmouth in sunnier conditions.
Wiggle Bournemouth Sportive – Saturday 30th May
Time to ride in lanes I haven’t seen for a long time. Roads here in the Cranborne Chase area are a delight to ride on. Quiet and peaceful villages, not much traffic, and undulating roads all make for a great, yet tough time cycling. This sportive also takes in a few tough climbs that slow you down and get your heart rate pumping, which is good thing. Riding on my own and wearing my Ale PRR Bermuda kit, I wanted to ride this fairly hard and at a constant pace.
- Race duration: 100 miles
- Time taken: 5:30:56
- Average speed: 18mph
- Climbing: 5659ft
The weather was good. Dry and sunny with a slight chill in the air, the sportive attracted many riders of varying ability. I decided to ride this event alone and if people wanted to jump on my wheel that was fine with me, but I wouldn’t wait for them. I had a plan and I stuck to it riding steady regardless. Cycling can be a selfish sport at times, but sometimes training calls for this type of attitude. Once at the finish, I was pleased with the way the ride went and my overall performance. A great ride.
La Fleche Normande – Sunday 7th June
Well, what can I say apart from I saved the best and hardest to last. An incredibly fast, tough and pretty lumpy ride. Heard about this event last year but couldn’t ride it – this year I did. My next blog will explain far more about this challenging and exciting event. Basically it’s a French sportive but with a difference. It’s fast, then faster then just flat out all the way. A non-stop, 95 mile tough course in the lanes of Normandy with a bunch of guys and girls who know how to ride a bike. These riders were fit. Basically I got the overnight ferry to Caen, then rode to a town called Cabourg, found the start, signed on and then went to the start area. Then from the outset it was manic and I never saw the front of the very large peloton.
- Race duration: 95 miles
- Time taken: 4:26:07
- Average speed: 21mph
- Climbing: 4846ft
Throughout the ride the; pace was high, junctions were covered as we had right of way with the Gendarmerie stopping traffic, climbs were long and tough, descents were fast and twisting, riders knew the cycling etiquette and respected each other, and the weather was warm and sunny.
Best cycling I have done in years in groups I was totally at ease with even though none spoken English hahaha. Fantastic day and great ride stats.
Finally as well as these long endurance rides I have now started racing (June). This involves racing at my local Time Trial events and at Goodwood Motor Circuit & Dunsfold Park. Have the endurance, just want to work on my speed now.
So, my training and racing is coming along nicely. Have 2 weeks in France to look forward to then once back another month of racing and sportive riding then the Giro Delle Dolomiti. Happy cycling all and stay safe.