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How to gain Froome-level stamina


Inspired by Le Tour? Howard Calvert reveals how to train for a 100-miler

One hundred miles: unless you’re currently riding in the Tour de France, there’s no doubt that’s a long way to cycle. But if you own a bike, and like wearing Lycra, then the next step is a sportive such as Ride London 100. If distances put you off, let Stefan Wyman, owner of Matrix Pro Cycling, and his wife Helen, rider for Kona Factory Racing, tell you how to train.

1. Build up slowly

“If you can do 40 miles, then try two rides of 40 miles back-to-back,” says Helen. “Next time, do a 50-mile then 40-mile ride. Then up to two 50 miles. You don’t have to have done 100 miles before the race, because in a sportive you ride in groups to help bring you along.”

2. Learn to ride in groups

“Get some friends together and practise riding in groups, because as soon as you start following a wheel you’re reducing the amount of energy you need to expend to go forward,” says Helen. “But you need to be right on the wheel, not a bike-length behind.” Stefan adds that joining a cycling club is a great way to practise this: “Riding in a group will help you learn what happens and what other people do around you.”


"Get him - he's got a different style of helmet!"

3. Practise drinking on the bike

“Beginners often only have a drink when they stop at a junction,” says Stefan. “When you enter a sportive, you might be doing 100 miles non-stop on closed roads, so you then forget because your instinct is only to drink when you stop.”

4. Curb the gels

“Don’t eat gels in the first 80 miles,” says Helen. “You’re giving yourself a sugar spike, then a low, meaning you’ll need another gel. Eat little bits of cake – I like Belgian frangipane – waffles with jam in the middle or energy bars. Break them into small pieces and wrap them in foil in your pocket then have one every half an hour. Keep eating a little bit at a time.”


Belgian frangipane - good for energy

5. Leverage your commute

“Sprint between sets of traffic lights, which is basically interval training,” says Helen. Stefan adds: “On alternate days, I used to ride a long route into work, then a long ride home, just to extend the hours in the saddle.”

6. Join Strava

“It’s easy to sprint out of the blocks on a big race,” says Stefan, “so a good idea is to upload training rides to Strava, where you can find out your average speeds. Then, for a minimal investment, you can buy a speedo, so on race day you can ensure your average speed matches the speed you’ve been training at.”

7. Get new tyres and good shorts

“Often, by the time you get to a sportive you’ve been training on your bike for six months, so it’s falling apart,” says Stefan. “A service and tyre check beforehand is important. And when you find a comfortable pair of cycling shorts, buy a couple so you always have a spare.”

Skoda is a sponsor of Ride London 100; skoda.co.uk, #SkodaUK

(Images: PA/Alamy/Rex)



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