How To Improve Your Cape Town Cycle Tour Time

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Amy Hopkins |

The Cape Town Cycle Tour is around the corner — 8th of March to be exact — and we’re gearing up for race day! There are a number of ways to improve your performance on the day and we’ve got the best advice for you below.

Cape Town Cycle Tour Entries

If you don’t already have your entry, enter here now to make sure you’ve got your spot and that you’ve committed to this goal! Any updates on news and other events related to Cape Town Cycle Tour will be posted on their Facebook Page. There are plenty of cool prizes up for grabs, so make sure you’re following what’s happening!

Virgin Active have also designed a comprehensive training programme which you can download here. It’s not too late to jump on the wagon! So go for it!

READ MORE: “How I Set The Record For The Fastest Cape Town Cycle Tour” — Renée Scott

Training Tips For Cape Town Cycle Tour

CTCT offers cyclists something of everything: from tough climbs, to beautiful descents, long flat stretches and some twists and turns. The total distance is 109km starting in Cape Town CBD and finishing in Green Point. See the route map below.

Because this is not just a race about endurance, but also strength, make sure you include the following in your training programme:

Hill repeats

“Include a session with four to six hills between one kilometre and three kilometres long once a week into your training regime,” says cycling Coach Barry Austin. “Ride at the maximum effort you can maintain up the hill without seeing the sun disappear under the mushroom cloud caused by your exploding legs,” he says. You know that effort level just before the wheezy breathing. Take a complete rest between each hill interval. A great place to practise this in Cape Town is up and down Suikerbossie or the first section of Chappies.

TITS rides

Time In The Saddle — aka TITS — rides are essential to build the endurance for your legs (and get your butt and seat well acquainted). “Choose undulating terrain and ride at a pace that you can hold a conversation,” says Austin, explaining that you should only have to compose yourself every few mins by taking a deeper breath. Slowly build up the hours over the next 12 weeks towards race day.” Check out this list here for great routes to ride around the country.

READ MORE: Cycling Safety Tips You Shouldn’t Leave Your House Without Knowing

Pyramid Intervals

Austin says these are also known as ‘I hate you, but love what you do for me’ intervals. Here’s how:

  • Warm up for 30 minutes at a moderate pace.
  • Ride flat-out for 1 minute. 
  • Recover at an easy pace for 1 minute
  • Ride flat-out for 2 minutes. 
  • Recover at an easy pace for 2 minutes
  • Ride flat-out for 3 minutes. 
  • Recover at an easy pace for 3 minutes
  • Ride flat-out for 4 minutes. 
  • Recover at an easy pace for 4 minutes
  • Ride flat-out for 5 minutes. 
  • Recover at an easy pace for 5 minutes
  • Repeat back down from 4 to 1 and then recover at an easy pace for 15-30 minutes.

Cross-training

To prevent injury I recommend practicing some yoga in between all the cycling and adding a weekly strength training session. Swimming is also excellent for active recovery, keeping cardio fitness high and improving lung capacity.

Some yoga poses that are great for cyclists include: runner’s lunge and straddle lunge; bridge pose; cobra pose (and other torso lift variations); camel pose, downward-facing dog; seated cow-face pose; and supine spinal twist.

Nutrition Tips For Cape Town Cycle Tour

In the build-up to the race, eat enough two to three days before the race and make sure you up your electrolytes and water intake. This will help you avoid cramping on the day.

On the morning, make sure you have a solid breakfast. A big bowl of oats is always a good option because it’s low-GI and will give you the fuel you need for the next few hours.

Make sure you stay adequately hydrated with the addition of electrolytes, especially if it’s a warm day and you’re sweating a lot. Personally, I use Biogen Cytogen in my water bottles and snack on a banana about half way if I need to. If you are happy to stop, make use of the ample water points. Just remember that stopping will take minutes off your race time, so make sure that if you stop, it’s well calculated.

Whatever you do, make sure you’ve practised it at other races or for your TITS rides. Don’t try anything new on race day.

It’s not too late to work on an improved start time — there are still a couple PPA events that you can enter to help prep you for race day. The race experience is also good for improving fitness and building confidence riding in a pack.

Paarl Cycle Tour

When: 2 February — Paarl

Starting and finishing at Fairview Wines Estate, the Paarl Cycle Tour has a long route of 97.8km, a medium route of 71.9km and a short route of 46.6km. The long route is an official seeding event for CTCT and you can register on the morning of the race at 5am if needs be.

READ MORE: Exactly What To Do If You Start Cramping During A Race

99er Cycle Tour

When: 8 February — Durbanville

The Gryphon 99er Cycle Tour starts in Durbanville at the racecourse and if you enter before 27 Jan, you stand the chance to win some cool prizes! It is an Official Premier Seeding event for CTCT and the legendary climbs will prove a great fitness challenge. The long route is 102km (there is a short route of 57km), starting at 6am.

READ MORE ON: Cycling Cycling Tips Fitness Advice Fitness News Health

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