Thoughts from a multi-day ride across the Alps


#1

Hi

I recently completed the Route des Grandes Alpes - Lake Geneva to the Med across the Alps.

I used TR to get ready from it and listened to the podcast to pass the time on the trainer. These are some random observations from the trip overall:

Stress
This is a real enemy of training. Divorce, family stuff, mad busy work, and a house move all impacted my ability to train. Conversely, cycling (indoors and out) is a great way to reduce stress.

Collarbone / broken bones don’t stop training
In the last ten months, I managed to fall off my commuter bike twice. Had to have my face rebuilt the first time and broke my collarbone and rib the second. Chad’s comments on the podcast are quite right that indoor training makes recovering much easier. Turns out that the rib is the most impactful as TR makes you breathe quite hard!

Fueling
Throughout my trip and any long ride, I now constantly remind myself that good cyclists are great eaters. Little and often plus good quality core calories are the right plan. I am also a fan of protein recovery shakes.

Sleep
Makes all the difference in the world to both energy and recovery.

Salty cyclists
Like Chad, I am a salty sweater. It got so bad in the heat of the south of France that I couldn’t see. I recommend every salty cyclist carry water in their second bidon - perfect for both cooling and flushing out your eyes.

Cadence, cadence, cadence
I am by no means the strongest, but the TR endurance plans taught me the value of lower power, higher cadence cycling. This made the long Alpine hills and 70,000ft of climbing doable.

More teeth
Linked to the above, forget macho, purist claptrap, more teeth is better. I climbed in my seat 99% of the time, spinning on a 32. My friend did it standing up on a 28. I genuinely don’t know how he survived.

Must stretch more
Wish I did this more consistently.

Chamois cream
Baste up like a turkey at Thanksgiving. Over multi-day rides, even tiny things can become major problems. Same applies to bike fits. Knock off as many rough edges as possible.

Good bib shorts
Invest in the best quality shorts that you can afford. I love the comfort that Rapha, Pactimo and Stolen Goat provide. My sit bones were pretty sore by the end, but would have been so much worse without a good chamois.

Over and under up the hills
Once I got my power meter working, I noticed that many climbs - up to 30km at 7% with a 15% kicker for the last km - naturally became very long over and under sessions. Periods well above 100% and short recoveries at 85-90% of FTP when the gradient reduced slightly.

Get organised
My final tip is that a supported trip makes life so much simpler. We did a load of research and found this independent guy to be the best mix of value, support and ease: http://www.yellowjerseycyclingholidays.co.uk/

HAve fun

Adam