How to Train for a Multi-stage Cycling Tour: Phase VI

Tour de Tuli mountain bikers
 Courtesy Image

If you completed phase V of our 6-month multi-stage cycling training program—designed to prep cyclists for the Nedbank Tour de Tuli, a four-day, ~200-mile mountain bike excursion through Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa—get ready for phase VI. (In case you need it, here’s phase I, phase II and phase IIIphase IV, and phase V of the cycling tour training program.)

 

 

“In training phase VI, it’s important to maintain training quality and not take it too easy too soon,” says program designer Ryan Hodierne, a sports scientist and biomechanist with the Sports Science Centre at Singapore Sports Institute, and member of the High Performance Advisory Committee to the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee. “Your training load will drop considerably, but the training pattern will remain unchanged. Intervals become more of a focus to spark that eagerness to get going—though not enough to take away from built-up energy stores. This is also the time you’ll be most vulnerable and susceptible to sickness, so stay hydrated, rest whenever you can, and eat well. Through the final weeks, confirm event-day strategy, kits, and equipment, ensuring all is in good order and ready to go.”

Your additional choice sessions now take the form of a 30-minute stretch (rather than cross training).

Note: The final week of this training cycle only include 3 days. A familiarization ride the day before the event start is recommended with intensity remaining low.

*This program can also be used to train for a comparable multi-stage mountain biking event.

Goal: Maintain training quality and prepare for the event

4 weeks out
Week 1: 6 total training hours

Ride 1
Session: Moderate (7/10 intensity)
Sport: MTB/road bike on undulating terrain with sustained moderate effort from start to finish.
Duration: 1.5 hours

Ride 2
Session: Mild endurance (5/10 intensity)
Sport: MTB/road/trainer at talking pace along scenic route.
Duration: 2 hours

Ride 3
Session: Intervals (8/10 intensity)
Sport: MTB/road: Complete 15-minute warmup, then cycle for 1 minute at hard pace, 2 minutes at moderate pace, 3 minutes easy, 2 minutes moderate, and 1 minute hard. Repeat 3x. Cool down for 15 minutes.

Rest day

Session 4 *Optional*
Full-body stretch
Duration: 30 minutes

3 weeks out
Week 2: 6 total training hours

Ride 1
Session: Moderate/fun (6/10 intensity)
Sport: MTB on trail/single track on mildly challenging route
Duration: 2 hours

Ride 2
Session: Endurance (6/10 intensity)
Sport: MTB/road/trainer on flat profile. Ride at higher cadence than usual; keep the effort easy.
Duration: 2 hours

Ride 3
Session: Intervals (7/10 intensity(
Sport: MTB/road: Complete 15-minute warmup, then cycle for 4 minutes at a moderate pace, 2 minutes hard, 5 minutes easy, 3 minutes moderate, and 1 minute hard. Repeat 5x. Cool down for 30 minutes.
Duration: 2 hours

Rest Day

2 weeks out
Week 3: 7 total training hours

Ride 1
Session: Tour-day simulation (6/10 intensity)
Sport: MTB off-road on varied terrain with hydration pack, snacks, and spare gear
Duration: 2 hours

Ride 2
Session: Intervals (8/10 intensity)
Sport: MTB/road/trainer: Complete 30-minute warmup, then cycle for 2 minutes hard, 3 minutes easy. Repeat 6x. Cool down for 30 minutes.
Duration: 1.5 hours

Ride 3
Session: Moderate (7/10 intensity)
Sport: MTB/road on undulating profile. Ride descents hard, flats at moderate intensity, and climbs easy.
Duration: 2 hours

Ride 4
Session: Social ride (5/10 intensity)
Sport: MTB on easy terrain at talking pace. Confirm tour-day prep and strategy.
Duration: 1.5 hours

Session 4 *Optional*
Full-body stretch
Duration: 30 minutes

3 days til race
Week 4: 2.75 total training hours

Ride 1
Session: Easy (5/10 intensity)
Sport: MTB on easy off-road route. Ride at comfortable cadence.
Duration: 1 hour

Ride 2
Session: Intervals (9/10 intensity)
Sport: Road/trainer: Complete 15-minute warmup. Cycle for 30 seconds at a high cadence, then 2 minutes easy. Repeat 6x. Cool down for 15 minutes.
Duration: .75 hours

Ride 3
Session: Easy/day before race (5/10 intensity)
Sport: MTB to get familiarized with course and terrain. Ensure your bike is set up properly.
Duration: 1 hour