La Ride training week 8: the finishing touch!

As La Ride is coming very close now, it is time for the finishing touch! That means that we put some serious training volume in this week’s schedule. It will only make riding 100k’s so much easier and more fun. So keep the discipline going!

Together with long training rides, saddle sores often come along. Maybe you’ve experience them already. But what are they exactly?

Saddle sores

Saddle sores are an annoying side-effect of cycling that most riders experience at some time or other. At best they mean uncomfortable riding, and at worst they can keep you off the bike altogether.

But what is a saddle sore? Put simply, it’s an irritation of the skin that occurs in the area where you are in contact with the saddle, caused by chafing and sweating, among other factors. People new to cycling are often more affected as their skin isn’t used to the pressure and rubbing associated with sitting on a saddle for hours.

More experienced riders are generally less susceptible, but that doesn’t mean that they never get them. Sean Kelly, the Irish cycling legend, was forced to pull out of the 1987 Vuelta a Espana while leading the race with just two days to go, because he had sores so bad he could no longer sit on the saddle.

Leaving saddle sores untreated can cause inflammations and serious skin infections. Ok, this starts sounding very scary. It shouldn’t! Because they can be prevented.

  1. Never ever ever ever wear panties underneath your cycling pants!!!!
  2. Always choose for a women’s saddle. Don’t just buy yourself the best looking, most fashionable one matching with your bike. Most of the time bike shops have test saddles you can use for a certain time. Grab that chance and find yourself the most comfortable seat.
  3. Check your positioning. Especially seat height, can make a real difference and minimise side-to-side movement on the saddle.
  4. Use a good chamois. Bib shorts with a good padded chamois will help reduce the risk of saddle sores, since this is your skin’s first point of contact. A chamois which is perfect for one rider might not suit another, but generally speaking, more expensive shorts use better quality material and have had more thought put into the design and shape. Look for a chamois with few or no seams, so that there is less friction against the skin.
  5. Try chamois cream. Plenty of the pros swear by chamois cream. It works in two ways. Firstly, it kills off the bacteria which can lead to inflammation of the skin, and secondly, it acts as a lubricant and reduces the friction and rubbing between the skin and the shorts.
  6. Keep it clean. Never use shorts two days in a row, even if you only did an easy ride in dry weather. Change out of your cycling shorts as soon as you get inside and shower straight away, making sure that you dry yourself well before getting dressed into your normal clothes. Make sure your shorts get a good rinse in the washing machine at the end of the cycle, and that they are completely dry before you use them again.

If you have already developed some sores, disinfect and reduce your training volume on the bike, or just take some rest until symptoms disappear.

Training schedule week 8

  • Progressive sprints: 2h01’30”
    -30min at HR (heart rate) ED-2 [(extensive endurance – high) = (stay beneath) 70% of the maximum heart rate (220 – age). It should always feel comfortable, you should be able to chat. But don’t forget to keep pedaling with a high cadence (=pedal frequency).]
    -6 x [15sec HR VO2 (VO2max – anaerobe capacity):Brake harder than normal before a corner and pull up after to a progressive sprint where you stay seated. Pedal with a high cadence.
    10′ HR ED-2 (recovery)]
    -30min ED-2
  • ‘Freeze’ and intensive endurance, 1h57’20” in total:
    -15min ED-2 (warming-up)
    -4 x [50sec HR ID (intensive endurance) at 60rpm (low cadence)=FREEZE (standing on the pedals with a heavy gear to come to 60 rotations/min, focus on power, HR is not important, you must feel a constant pressure in the muscles, try to keep the upper body stabile),
    3min HR ED-1 (extensive endurance -low) = recuperation]
    -40min HR ED-2
    -4 x [4min HR ID (intensive endurance) at 60rpm (low cadence)=stay seated with a heavy gear to come to 60 rotations/min, focus on power, HR is not important, you must feel a constant pressure in the muscles, try to keep your body as still as possible),
    4min HR ED-1 (extensive endurance -low) = recuperation]
    -15min ED-2 (cooling down)
  • Extensive endurance: 3h ED-2
    High cadence!
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Also read: How to translate cycling language?

 

 

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