Tag Archives: training

CrankPunk | Winter base training approaches

The winter slowdown is finally upon us & it’s looking pretty quiet on the racing front for the next 3 months 😦

Through our Coaching Plan tie-up with CrankPunk Coaching Systems, we’re aiming to launch a base training plan just after xmas for those looking for a steady build up to the year. As before, access to plans is free to do reach out to Don if interested in signing up.

In the meantime, here’s a relevant CrankPunk article on Omega Pharma’s base training approach.

http://crankpunk.com/2012/12/11/training-base-training-with-omega-pharma-quickstep/omega winter

Crankpunk | Bintan Race Smarts

bintan foodIt’s coming. The World Championships, Paris-Roubaix and le Tour de France all rolled into one. Yes, it’s the Tour of Bintan…

Time is running out as the race starts very soon indeed, so you better not get training harder.

Yes, I did say not.

One thing I have learnt about the week and a half before a bike race is that you really cannot improve that much in strength, stamina or power in those 7 to 10 days beforehand. However, you can do a lot of damage by overtraining, by riding to fatigue, and by simply going over things too much in your head, thus putting at risk all your previous gains by using up too much nervous energy.

The key to the final week of pre-race prep is to be as calm and composed as possible and to make decisions about your training, rest, hydration and nutrition that will allow you to maximize the work you have already done, ensuring that when you get on that start line your condition is optimal.

‘Consolidate your previous gains’ is a phrase I use a lot. It simply means that instead of jumping ahead of yourself and leaving holes in your preparation, it is far more beneficial to take care of what you have gained.

This way, your base will be solid and established, and all further gains will be real and not fleeting. So often, in that week before the big race, you see riders going out on death marches of 170km or battering themselves up that hill in the hope of somehow making the Great Leap Forward from Cat 2 quality to Cat 1.

It doesn’t work that way, and we know it too. Better to shore up what you have, to use short, sharp intervals (in their three and fours, not in the dozens) and to taper your lead into the sharpest point possible.

My final week prep before Bintan would look something like this:

Day 1: Off

Day 2: Relatively moderate spin, anywhere from 1 up to 3 hours, depending on time. This would be a tempo ride (say a 6 on a Perceived Rate of Exertion (PRE) Scale). Fairly flat, if hilly I would spin as much as possible.

Day 3: A hard 3-4 hour ride. Either with a group, such as The Crazies, or alone. Personally I prefer riding alone most of the time as it gives me control over my efforts. I’d try as best I could to ride a route that emulated the race route, do some 10-15 minute TT-like efforts, some shorter, harder sprints every 15-20 minutes or so, and also throw in 3-4 hard hill efforts.

Day 4: A spin or off completely. I prefer to be off the bike at least twice the week before a big race, knowing that when I am doing the hard efforts, I am nailing them and thus getting the benefit from them at 100%.

Day 5: If it is a one day race, I’d go for a 2 hour ride, a hard day where I’m going to glycogen depletion. Studies have shown that depleting the glycogen stores starts of a cycle whereby the glycogen is replaced rapidly, being at its absolute peak between 60-72 hours later. So, three days before the race I like to do about an hour to an hour and a half of hard, dedicated, shorter intervals.

For a stage race, the duration is shorter as you need more energy later in the week. Intervals again in this case but less – you needn’t do too many , you just want to isolate the muscles, get the cardio blasting and tap in to those glycogen stores so that the system starts working.

Day 6: Typically off or a light spin.

Day 7: Pre-Race prep day. Usually an hour and a half at a light spin with 3-4 short sprints in succession early on, 2-3 three 3-minute seated intervals at a TT pace, and finish with another 3-4 sprints. Some people prefer to just ride lightly, I find that I need the tension in the legs, and to remind them that they belong to a bike racer!

On the Day: Studies have found that 3-4 short, 20 second sprints in succession about 20 minutes before a race can stimulate production of the body’s natural EPO. It works, and it’s all legal!

In the race, there are two great ‘rules’ I was told as a spotty-faced 15 year-old by a grizzled veteran of the road. These have served me well ever since and they are:

  1. If you’re not alone and the wind is on your chest, you’re in the wrong place.
    Meaning, position yourself intelligently and do not waste energy. Cycling is a numbers game, and energy levels are crucial.
  2. If you don’t feel good, take a chance. However, if you do feel good – do nothing until that moment.
    Knowing when that moment is exactly comes with time, but basically, do not give up your natural advantage with speculative attacks. If you feel great, wait, and give it all. All you have to do in a race to win, is to go faster than everyone else for one tenth of a second. Simple!

And if you are going to attack early, follow wheels for the first 20-30 minutes and let the attackers tire themselves out. Wait for ‘The Lull’, the moment when the speed drops and everyone looks at each other, desperate for respite – that is when you have the best chance of getting away.

A word on cramping. It happens to us all – well, most of us. One key to limiting the cramps is to train harder. Simple but true. The other is to hydrate well the week before the race. On the morning of the event you should be peeing water, clean and clear as from a mountain spring.

Things like Nunns and drink mixes help, but in my opinion the best thing out there for cramps is Extreme Endurance, which you can find here: http://www.xendurance.com. I make no money from this at all though they do sponsor me, but I take this because it really does help a great deal with my cramping. It’s the only product I recommend.

In the race, if you have friends in the pack, communicate. How quickly cyclists forget they are actually part of a team. Plans don’t often work out but by staying clam and thinking about a situation and how to handle it, rather than going of individual instinct, you can make better decisions.

Finally, stick to what you know and ride to your strengths, and take care of those weaknesses. If you don’t train to do 100km solo attacks – don’t try it in the race!

If you never usually get up three hours before a hard ride and eat 6kg of wholewheat pasta and drink beetroot juice by the gallon – don’t do that before the race either.

Similarly, if you are racing for the first time and don’t usually guzzle four gels and a 1kg peanut butter power bar per hour, again, probably not too smart to do that on race day either.

Train for these things. Work out what works in an environment where there isn’t a finish line and you can actually ride home to throw up!

Confidence is a hugely underrated element of bike racing. If you prepare badly or do things in the race you never normally do and have a bad day as a result, that can stick in your head for months and affect all future performances.

This is supposed to be fun. For most of us, we get precious little chance to take risks and to wear ridiculous clothing and just enjoy ourselves like kids every day – so take it. The result should not define you, but the effort and the sense of achievement should enhance all other aspects of your life – something the pros forget all too often, sadly.

So yes! Go forth! Go crank! And GO ANZA!

Crankpunk – Lee Rodgers – is a professional cyclist based in Taiwan. He also runs the ANZA Crankpunk training program. See here for more info on how to get access.

Bintan Training Ride

Kari Nore

With Tour de Bintan only four weeks away, I was starting to become rather concerned that I might not get a chance to ride the course before race day. So I was very happy indeed when the Cat 2 guys opened up their training trip to the other groups. I struggle with bad cramps on long, hot, hilly rides and so this time I wanted to test a new strategy; My plan was to remain seated on the all hills and spin up in an easy gear, and to pop salt tablets like smarties.


After an uneventful ferry ride we all assembled with our bikes at the statue of the giant eagle outside of the Bintan Ferry Terminal. There was a sense of anticipation in the air as the boys primped, pimped, polished, fussed and generally fluffed about for an hour as they got their bikes ‘race ready’. Nico had booked two cars, and sensibly insisted the two groups be defined before we started. Finally after a couple of last minute toilet trips we were away! Our group consisted of myself, Lizzie, Mick, Robert, Mike and Jesus.

We set off at reasonable and steady pace, all of us no doubt acutely aware of the very long ride ahead of us. As we rolled past a school in the early stages the usual gaggle of kids ran up to the fence shouting and grinning at us. ‘How cute’ I thought as I turned to shout ‘hello’ and to return the wave. Belatedly I realised that this cheeky group of eight year old boys were not waving but were in fact flipping us the finger!


Before we knew it we were on the dreaded ‘Red Road of Hell’ and our nicely co-ordinated group soon split up and stretched out as we tackled the hills at different paces. It seemed much longer than I remembered and I was very relieved to get to the end of it and join the Cat 2 boys who had camped out under the shade of probably the only trees to be found along that section.

After the drinks break the groups merged into one and the Cat 2 guys did the heavy lifting and pulled us all along with them. The little stretch along the ocean is always lovely however the section that follows soon after where the road narrows and the surface becomes all rough and gravelly was something we all had to bear with gritted teeth.

The next big drinks stop was at the T-junction where the race route takes the guys left for a loop through the town and the girl’s route takes to the right. After much discussion and some voting we decided to split into our two groups again. The Cat 2 guys were feeling strong and were up for the extra miles whilst the more sensible amongst us were focused on finding legitimate ways to trim as many KMs as possibly off the distance remaining.

So off we set again and our group picked up the pace in the next section. And with the road winding through forests and shallow valleys it’s a rather nice section to ride faster on. We took it single file as a long-ish line of trucks and cars soon jammed up behind us. It was soon after this that weather suddenly turned from baking hot to heavy rain and it coincided with me beginning to wish it was all over. My legs were starting to cramp and so I was nervously awaiting the ‘big one’, that crippling wave of cramps that brings you to a complete standstill and means that your day is over. My stomach was also unhappy, protesting the combination of clif bars, gels and salt tablets. But it was a matter of head down, bum up and to keep on pedalling away. We continued to hold as a group although all pretence of two abreast was long gone as we tucked in behind each other single file. And so we continued, grinding away at the remaining kilometres in the pouring rain. There were some moments of confusion as we rode over several bridges that no one recognised or remembered, however after a quick conference with the driver of our support car we were assured that we were indeed on the right track. Much to my delight we hit the Check Point about ten kilometres before I was expecting it (and from a different direction that I expected), and then much like section at the end of a Kranji ride from the top of SBV to the CBTL, it was every man for himself to Nirwana.

I must confess I envied those checking into the hotel. They had hot showers, clean clothes and proper food awaiting them whereas myself, Lizzie and Mick had to soldier on a bit longer and return to Singapore that night.


Moments of misery and pain and self-pity aside it was a great day out. I was delighted that I managed to stave off serious cramps and I shall attempt to pursue the same strategy on race day. We were all very lucky with our bikes, with Mike getting a flat just a few kilometres from Nirwana and Lizzie’s chain snapping after the ride whilst we were still on the Nirwana grounds. Thanks so much to Nico Las for taking the initiative and organising the trip, and thanks to ANZA for supporting us with cars.

ANZA Crankpunk Training Plans

ANZA Crankpunk training v1
We teased you with hints of this last week, but now it’s reality.

In what we believe is a first-of-its-kind in the region, ANZA Cycling have teamed up with professional coach Lee Rodgers (CrankPunk Coaching Systems) to provide structured coaching services to ANZA Cycling members. This collaboration will provide access to specific training programs to enable members to better develop their general cycling and racing fitness.

Open to current financial members only, monthly training plans will be made available via the TrainingPeaks.com platform. Interested members will be able to access plans for General Cycling Fitness and/or Racing Preparation. To cater for members with differing amounts of training time available, the plans will also have options which can be tailored around your available hours.

In addition to Training Plans, the ANZA CrankPunk Coaching Systems  collaboration will also include an “ask a punk” feature where members can submit questions directly to CrankPunk via Skype / online chat. This will enable topics such as nutrition, tactics and race preparation to also be covered.

Finally, look out for regular training articles from CrankPunk in the ANZA Cycling Facebook and RTI pages.

Access to the training will be free with costs covered by the club. The trial of the coaching program will commence in early October and will continue till year end. At that point, we will review the program’s success against a number of factors before deciding whether to continue in 2015.

We believe this is a unique benefit within the region & something that’s only available to paying ANZA Cycling members. The use of a coach is often cited as one of the most important steps to becoming a better cyclist. We encourage all members to give the coaching program a try!

A detailed FAQ on how to access the training & what it might entail has been loaded on the Files section of ANZA Facebook Page. Click here to get more info: https://www.facebook.com/groups/ANZACyclingemail/10153468005911988/

To find out more about Lee’s life as a professional rider, I’d also recommend the attached Cycle Sport article. It’s a fine read. lee-rodgers-cycle-sport


Cat 3 Training – Truth or Fantasy

Masked AssassinThis week’s Cat 3 Training Ride

So here is the plan for this Saturday’s Cat 3 training ride.

We will call it as a separate Cat 3 ride, then roll out of Food Canopy and down to Bukit Timah.  At Adam road somebody will volunteer to ride to the front and proceed to try to rip the legs off the group all the way up Adam and Lornie, shelling the weakest riders out the back, who shouldn’t be there anyway!

The next group will then take up the mantle as we hit Old Upper Thompson and drive the pace until we lose another 2-3.

We’ll head off on a standard Kranji and by the time we get to NTU to do a couple of loops, we should be down to the 50% who are hardcore, the rest can limp home alone.

2 NTU loops to punish those who stayed with the group and back for coffee.

AngelAlternatively, and my preferred option:

We will try to divide into groups based on the waves we are in, but I’ll make the group sizes even.  I’ll try to get some ribbon or something so we can identify our ‘teams’.  Then we will make a brisk but ‘steady’ ride round to Rifle Range Road, the same as last week.  Each team is responsible for making sure that nobody in their team is dropped on the way.  I don’t care if you let them draft all the way or if you take turns pushing them up the hills, each team, and preferably the group as a whole should arrive at RRR together.

At RRR we’re going to try to have some fun.  Each team will choose a couple of attackers, and the teams will take it in turns to attack.  The other 2 teams must chase down the attack but AS A TEAM.  I don’t want to see a long line of individual gap crossers.  Work as a paceline to bring back the attack, it will be 6 or 12 (2 teams) against 1 attacker.  The attackers team should not do anything to help the chase down, nor should they join their attacker and support him.  Once caught, the next team has a go.

We’ll do this on the way down RRR, then ride back steady as a group. Repeat 2 or 3 times depending on how well it works and if you are having fun!

Tour de Bintan Training

For those that didn’t make it to last night’s training planning night in Picotin, we did disseminate a hardcopy PDF plan on how best to train for the race.

If you’d like a copy (and are racing for ANZA in the event!) then drop  a note to cyclingroad@anza.org.sg  and we’ll send one out to you.

0509 1

Between now & Bintan, we’ll also be organising a few Killer Kranji sessions on Saturday’s specifically for those training for the race. These will cover all race categories & have some specific drills to help get you in top top shape for the annual pilgrimage to Nirwana.

Tour de Kapri and Cycosport Desaru Changes

A word from our Sponsor, Kent of BikePlus fame on the Cycosport Desaru Cup and a slightly different training ride option across Batam and Bintan.

1) Cycosports Desaru is changing to Nongsa and is most likely going to be the 4th October now. It’s a long story but lets say Malaysia truely…[I’m sure we’ll get the lowdown from Kent sometime, Ed.]

2) We have a great training weekend as follows, which we launched yesterday [see ANZA Facebook page, Ed.]:

25/26 October 2014
Cycosports is pleased to announce the first Tour de Kapri, covering 250km of the Batam and Bintan islands. In 2014 the tour is billed as a training camp aimed at international cyclists who would like to build their race miles as well as gain valuable training /race day tips.

Training at Your pace
The weekend is aimed at road warriors who may or may not have participated in races, but are keen to do so in the future. You must be up for 130km of riding per day at a pace of 28-30km / hr.

You will be put into a training peloton to suit your ability and speed. Each Peloton will be assisted by Training Mentors who will help guide the peloton and impart advice on riding techniques and skills.

The weekend will also include a couple of informal workshop sessions covering topics that will include riding skills, training programmes and nutrition.

But rest assured it’s not all hard work. There is plenty of time for hearty meals and a welcome dinner on Saturday night. On the Sunday ferry to Bintan will also aim to have free massages for those with tired legs. We want to make this fun!

Who Should Attend?

  • Category 3 riders looking to improve before their next big race
  • First time Category 2 riders who need the extra miles
  • Experienced Gran Fondo riders looking to step up to race next year

Event Pricing
The weekend package of $295* includes all ferries, 4-star accommodation (twin share), meals, and training / road support. We’ll even throw in a souvenir cycling jersey. But hurry there are only 150 slots available.

Please note that the accommodation is twin share so we recommend you sign up with a buddy so you know the guy / girl snoring in your room.

Early Bird Pricing
The first 50 slots will be priced at $220 (all inclusive)*

* Except Visa on Arrival

Visa on Arrival
Unless you have an ASEAN passport or an APEC card, you will need an Indonesian Visa. The Visa on Arrival is SG$20 and available for purchase as part of the registration process.

Event Schedule
*schedule may be updated. Updates will be communicated via the briefing / facebook.
Day 1 Route / Event : 25 October
Singapore time
5.00am       – Ferry check in opens at Harbour Front Ferry Terminal
6.30am       – Ferry boarding
7.30am       – Ferry departure

Batam Time
7:30am        – Ferry Arrives at Sekupang
8:30am        – Ride: Sekupung to Sembulang  (60km)
10:30am      – Ride: Sembulang to Utama Restrurant (30km)
11:00am      – Early Lunch at Utama Restuarant
1:00pm         – Ride: Utama to Hotel (30km)
2:00pm         – Hotel Check In
3:00pm         – All cyclist arrived at Hotel
4:00pm         – Training Workshop A
5:00pm         – Coffee Break
5:15pm         – Training Workshop B
6:15pm         – Workshops Complete
7:00pm         – Welcome Drinks & Dinner

Day 2 Route / Event : 25 October
Batam Time
4:00am         – Breakfast Open
5:00am         – Ride: Hotel – Telega Punggur (30km)
6:30am         – Ferry Boarding
7:00am         – Ferry Departs (Snacks and Massages)
9:00am         – Ride: Uban – Pinang Ride (100+ km)
1:00pm         – Lunch
3:00pm         – Ferry Boarding
3:30pm         – Ferry Departs for Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal

Singapore Time
5:30pm         – Arrival at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal
Cancelation / Ticket Transfer
Cyclist who cancel by the 14th October can get a 50% refund. No refunds will be given after the 14th October.

Cyclists who wish to transfer their ticket to a friend can do so with an admin fee of $30 before 14th October. Transfer after the 14th October will incur an $80 transfer fee.


Tour de Bintan Training Groups

Sticking with the racing theme, a few have asked about the clubs plans for Tour De Bintan training this year.

tdb cat2 training grp

For those planning on racing Category 2 this year, a private Facebook group has been created to plan some training for the team. The feeling being that the more the Cat 2 guys train together, the stronger the team spirit and a more agreement from all on who the protected riders should be. Access to the group is open to all ANZA members racing TdB (whether in Cat 1,2,3 or Ladies) – however we do request for only those that are interested in riding as a team and will be riding under ANZA colours in the race.

If interested then please approach Nico Las or any of the other Cat 2 regulars and they’ll get you added to the group.

For Ladies and Cat 3, we are currently earmarking a couple of potential leaders to assist with the training. Likely Mr Cherriman will take his usual charge for Cat 3 & we have a suitably talented person in mind for Ladies. Where possible, we’ll try to leverage some of the material and plans being developed in the Cat 2 group.

Bintan is 10 weeks away. Let the panic commence!

Training for Taiwan KoM

I’ve had a few people ask questions in Coffee Bean recently about my Taiwan KOM experience and the best ways to train for it.

First up, I’d like to congratulate all those that have signed up for what truly is a unique bucket list ride. For my full report from last years event see: here.


On the training front, here’s what I’d suggest as a means of getting ready for a 105km mountain climb in pancake flat Singapore.

  1. Forget Faber. Whilst it’s definitely possible to replicate the Taiwan vertical ascent via endless Faber Loops (or even go further and Everest it!) – it’s probably not the best option due to the difference in profile. Taiwan is a steady solid grind with long sections sitting at 10%+ whereas Faber is more of a varied gradient. The best option in Singapore is Bukit Gombak which at 1km has a similar consistent gradient. Lorong Sesuai is also good – albeit much shorter – and a good candidate when the army boys randomly close the Gombak gates.
  2. Leg Strength. My coach focused a lot of my effort on leg strength using low cadence, big gear rides as this was a good way to mimic the mountain. I did a lot of 1 hour sessions in very high gear pushing a 70 cadence. Good strength builder but be careful on not hurting the knees.
  3. Lower Back. This is one I learned the hard way in the race. Leg Strength is all well and good but 5 hours of climbing will put a lot of pressure on the lower back. I was in agony by 90km in the race and I’d really recommend doing some core and gym work to strengthen this. You’ll need it for both seated and standing climbs so well worth doing something.

My 2 final recommendations are also lessons from last year.  Get a compact crank and bring arm warmers. The weather might look great at sea level at 7am but is likely to be very different at 3,200m when you finish 5 hours later.

Enjoy the Blood Stained Beast. A truly Amazing climb.image