Finishing Strong

One of the key components of a fun ride is that you finish with energy to spare.   This means that you paced yourself correctly and also started fit enough to finish strong.All of cycling is about pacing.  We pace yourselves eating, drinking, going up the climb and also pushing it over the short hills towards the finish.   Let’s take a look at 5 tips to help you pace yourself in this years SOTR by Hunter Allen, who is the founder and CEO of Peaks Coaching Group and his house is even along the route!  Hunter and his team of Peaks Coaching Group Coaches have coached athletes all around the world, from beginners just striving to finish the 45miler to pros looking to set the record up Thunder Ridge!   Hunter is also the co-author of the seminal book on training with a power meter book,  “Training and Racing with a Power Meter”.

  1. In the beginning of the ride, you are fresh and strong, so you’ll want to take off and push it and it’s very hard to resist this desire.  If you are confident you can finish strong, then I say go for it!  However, if you are concerned about finishing or finishing completely exhausted, then hold back your energy in those first 10 miles, so that you can pace yourself well on the climb.   Make sure to drink in that first hour as well.  You might also want to snack on a bar at the first stop in order to be sure you are fueled for the climb.
  2. Pedal at a cadence between 85-100 rpm, so that is both comfortable and manageable. You want to strike an economical balance between putting the strain on your cardiovascular system and muscular strength.   If you pedal with a cadence that is too slow, you’ll too much force on the pedals, which will deplete your energy stores and could cause cramps in the late stages of the event. If you pedal over 100 rpm, then you could bounce in the saddle or your pace (speed) will decrease.
  3. Always eat before you are hungry.  One of the biggest mistakes I see riders making on the climb is forgetting to eat. It’s over an hour of steady climbing and it’s easy to forget to eat, as you are concentrating on pedaling, staying in your lane and pacing yourself.  Be certain you eat at least 300 calories on the climb. If you have a power meter, then you should ride at tempo pace (76-90% of your FTP) and if you are using a heart rate monitor, ride at 80-90% of your threshold HR. You’re burning lots of calories, so keep your engine fueled.
  4. Hydration is also super important and I would suggest you always have a bottle of water AND a bottle of sports drink with electrolytes.  Alternate between water and your sports drink.  This will help you better absorb the water and make sure you are keeping your energy levels up.  If it’s hot, aim to finish a bottle every 1 to 1.5 hours.
  5. Don’t spend a lot of time at the feed areas. Sure, the volunteers are friendly and it’s fun to socialize with other riders, but plan to spend no more than 10 minutes off your bike at a time. Why? Your legs will get tight and slow. Fill up your water bottles and eat a snack. Oh, and do some stretches. Then get back on your bike and finish strong!

In contrast to a race, Hunter reminds us that Storming of Thunder Ridge is a charity ride. Keep it fun. So, if you’re over-exerting to stay with a group, let them go and find another group that’s riding at a pace better-suited to you. Remember: This is for fun!

Hunter Allen

CEO/Founder

PeaksCoachingGroup.com

540-587-9025

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