Planning for the Alps next year

How should plan for a ten-day bike ride in the Alps next summer (Geneva to Nice - Grandes Alpes).Apologies for a long post!

My background

61 year old female, cycling 4000-5000km a year, living in southern Sweden.

I’m used to longer cycling trips (cycled Gibraltar to Denmark 2020) and have cycled ten or more HC Alps over the years, doing a different Col for three days, so I have a good idea of the requirements for the trip - mental, physical and practical.

But I’m no mountain goat - and I’m past riding up hills against the clock.

After SUFF spring this year and a couple of cycle touring trips here in Sweden I feel in good shape, perhaps the best ever, so…

How should I plan to best use the months ahead in order to

  1. keep what fitness I have now (late August) ,

  2. possibly improve on my climbing speed (laughingly slow with the right gears!) and

  3. build some serious fitness through a Swedish spring which can be too cold/icy to cycle out of doors until mid April.

I don’t want to “burn out” /tire of turbo training by Christmas. I have used a coach some years ago - big disappointment as I felt I “detrained”, lost any speed I might have had and consequently the Quebrantahuesos gran Fondo was a tearful nightmare for me - although I did get round - with 45 mins to spare on 12 hour time limit.
Is it reasonable to hope I could get EVEN fitter given my age or should I focus on the endurance side of things - and if so - how?

All thoughts welcome! I may also ring a SUFF coach but it would be great to hear what others think!
Thanks - Liz

Wow, I’m inspired by you, just reading about this big ride trip- it sounds exciting and challenging and awesome!
I do think you can improve your fitness- overall endurance, speed, strength, everything! I don’t think age alone would hold you back. But I would recommend a customized plan so that you can have a coach optimize a training plan for YOU based on age, goals, etc. You should still be able to do and can benefit from high intensity sessions, but based on age, you may need a little more recovery time in between them than the standard plans in the SUF app provide and talking to a SUF coach at the beginning would be really valuable in accounting for that and planning your training program accordingly.
If you want to look into it more, here’s a link -
https://thesufferfest.com/pages/customised-suf-training-plans

Best of luck and please post an update sharing your experience from such a cool bike trip!

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Also, there are rides by Mike Cotty that are included as part of the Sufferfest Subscription that can give you an IDEA of what you are getting into. I agree that a Custom Plan is definitely the way to go with this effort as well.