As this is being written, Tour de Scottsdale is only just over 47 days away (Sunday, October 12th). Though TDS* is rapidly approaching, there is still ample time to do some proper training and adequately prepare for the event, whether you’re doing 30 miles or 70. That being said, we would like to offer up a three part series of articles spanning the topics of training (specific to the event), what to bring with you on the day, and how to tackle the day of the event itself (in regards to making it from the start to the finish in the best possible manner).
This first portion will aim to cover how to train in the next ~month and a half that we’ve got before the day of the event. With the stated goal of providing a general six week training plan is associated the obvious caveat of each individual starting at a different level of fitness and fatigue among other various factors. Any coach can provide a myriad of intervals with varying sets, repetitions, and intensities. In order to simultaneously avoid contradicting what perhaps your own personal coach is currently working with you on and provide some training advice that is somewhat unique, I’ll go over some other training methods that one can incorporate into what they are already doing.
Chief among these is becoming familiar with the route (either the 30 or 70 mile route depending on whichever one you are registered or plan on registering for). Finding yourself on a completely unknown course is one of the most detrimental decisions you can make and will only serve to multiply the stress you may be feeling simply because it is the day of the event. Taking the time to pre ride the course at least once before October 12th will do more than provide you with route knowledge. Feeling comfortable and confident in where you’re going from start to finish will also aid in calming the nerves that are so commonly experienced in events such as the Tour de Scottsdale.
Knowing your limits, zones, and how to properly utilize and pace yourself within them are also invaluable tools for any bicycle rider. Whether you’re a weekend warrior, aspiring amateur, or Vincenzo Nibali, training properly in your personal zones of intensity will teach your body, the single-most important piece of equipment to ever upgrade, how to cope with the demands of a large event, or, as I like to say, become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Pushing yourself is by definition a difficult demand to place on your body, but it can be made less of a challenge by increasing your fitness and practicing maintaining steady efforts so that when all else fails and you potentially find yourself unable to keep pace with the group in front of you, you are still able to ride at the highest effort you yourself are capable of.
While speed and course knowledge are both facets of cycling that you can increase while riding solo, one skill that simply cannot be honed alone is that of riding comfortably within a pack. The Tour de Scottsdale is a mass start event, and while you are completely allowed to do the event without the draft of anyone else, there is much to be gained from riding it in a group that pushes you. Finding a group ride that is both safe and appropriate for your own skill level is an excellent way to develop bike handling skills and confidence on the bike.
Combining the three of these abilities and training ideologies cannot steer a rider wrong. Any experienced cyclist would gladly admit that fitness, handling, and parcour (Euro for course) recon are some of, if not the most crucial aspects of participating in group events. If you make it a goal in training to improve them, they will surely enhance your experience participating in the Tour de Scottsdale.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our three part Tour de Scottsdale preparation blog.
*Registration information for TDS can be found at http://www.tourdescottsdale.net/