In 2017, Wiggle Nutrition have partnered with L’Etape Australia as the official nutrition partner for the event. L’Etape Australia is a challenging 160km or 120km ride through the Snowy Mountains of NSW, organised by Le Tour de France. Leading up to the event we touched base with Rochelle Gilmore (ex-pro cyclist and manager/owner of the Wiggle High 5 Cycling Pro Team) and her friend Melissa as they prepare for the event. Here, Rochelle shares her tips on how to get the best from the day, even if your hectic lifestyle got in the way of training.
A couple of months ago Wiggle invited me to ride L’Etape in Australia. In addition to agreeing to the event, I also committed to pacing a less experienced (but very fit) friend (Mel Campbell), through her L’Etape experience. My goal was to train for 6 weeks however it didn’t happen. We’re now two weeks out from the event and guess what – I’m not in condition and I’m crazy nervous about it!
It’s one thing to be busy. Even when I was a professional athlete I needed to have other commitments and projects going on, however back then, a big part of my training was recovery. I can’t really express how important my recovery was as a part of my ‘training’. When I walked in the door (after a ride) to any place where there were other people, they’d often ask ‘how did your training go?’ and my response would be ‘I’m not even half way through yet, but good so far’. I still had to make and consume my protein shake, have an ice bath, stretch for 30-40 minutes and take a nap…. Then my ‘training’ for the day was finished but I still had to record and analyse the session, talk to my coach, plan the next day, cook some healthy food etc….
So, during the past 6 weeks I did ride my bike, however I didn’t recover. The second I walked in the door – I was moving like crazy to make an appointment or respond to calls and emails etc… How does one benefit from a session if they don't recover? It’s just not possible. So, every time I got on the bike to go for a ride, I was exhausted and gradually I got slower and slower because I was just squeezing rides into my crazy schedule. I wasn't recovering or getting enough sleep, I was living on sweets and the most detrimental thing was – I was constantly stressed.
I thought I’d be writing you a blog about how to train for L’Etape…. But here I am writing you a blog about how NOT to train for an event!
Ok, so I’ve not prepared well. What can I do now? There’s still a few tricks to success even if you’re not in your best shape!
Firstly – don't stress! Funny I just said that because I stress a lot! You have to have some techniques to reduce stress during the most challenging times. Some people do yoga, some people catch up with friends, some people take a walk…. I watch a movie. If it all gets too much – at any time of the day, I lock myself in my room and watch a movie, hoping to switch off and let my mind escape the troubles and focus on a movie. You should try to breathe deep and stretch while watching a movie – I did that as an athlete, now – I don't. I do ‘think’ about it and ‘intend’ to do it, but that doesn't help! The pro athlete in me has gone.
Drink water in the days leading up to an event – this one I will do!
Long event, carbo load. This doesn't mean eat carbs in the week leading up to an event! You have to deplete yourself (not completely, and gradually) of carbs for about 5 days and then 1.5 days before your event – eat carbs, not excessively. You’ll need to experiment a little with the timings and severity of carbo-loading.
Stretch & get some big sleeps! I will try to do this in the days leading up to L’Etape.
Be confident, back yourself and take all the positives you can! I have been quite negative about my preparation for L’Etape but I have committed to doing it and want to do the best I can for Mel on the day, so in the last 48hrs before the event, I will be conscious of eliminating negative thoughts and excuses. I’ll need to believe that I’ve done enough and my experience will get me through. I’ll remind myself of what I have achieved in the past on minimal preparation and back myself for a good day on the bike.
Believe in your capabilities and have a ripper of a ride!