Preparing for the 2022 3 Peaks Challenge

Hello Sufferlandria! I was wondering if I can ask for some guidance on a goal I would like to complete. The 3 Peaks Challenge (Peaks Challenge Falls Creek | Sunday 13 March 2022 | Bicycle Network) is a 235km loop ride starting at Falls Creek and riding up Tawonga Gap, Mount Hotham and through Omeo before heading up the back of Falls Creek. I have climb hills but am always the slowest in the bunch (Donkey). I’ve been with SUF for 14 months now and I can say that it really improved my fitness specially during lockdown.

Hills are my weakness and every time I ride, I’m trying to improve bits and pieces of whatever I can improve. I’ve incorporated Yoga and Strength training in my plans. My strength is perseverance and with this, is the Volcano Climbing Plan (repeated) enough?.

I would really appreciate any help and guidance for me to reach this summit and I would like to thank you all in advance.

Keep Spinning!

Rob

I don’t have any specific advice for training plans/sessions to do, one thing I would suggest however is for any of the climbing sessions you do, raise up your front wheel, get used to that position. Because you use your core and muscles slightly differently in the raised position like you would be in actually going up hill.

This is something I am yet to start doing myself as hill climbing is my weakness as well and I really want to improve that ability.

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I haven’t done the Volcano plan yet, but it doesn’t look like the sort of plan I would want to be repeating endlessly. It looks more like a final high intensity build plan to me.

With 14 months to go I would try to plan out the whole year with appropriate base and build phases rather than specifically trying to work on your climbing. The Hilly GF and Gravel Grinder plans look good, but you need to consider the big picture with 14 months to fill. I would also look at other shorter interim events to help prepare and test your fitness and endurance.

Climbing is ultimately a fairly straightforward test of your W/kg and endurance. As Marty suggests, raising your front wheel on the trainer is a good idea to simulate the bike position. I would add training at a relatively low cadence (especially if the climbs are steep) is useful for climbing. I actually use Zwift and Rouvy for simulated alpine climbs, so both the cadence and resistance are realistic for those climbs. Spinning at 90 rpm isn’t really an option on a long 10% gradient even on compact gearing. I usually end up with a cadence in the 60-70 rpm range on big climbs unless they are very shallow gradient.

Anyway just some ideas to think about.

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I have done Volcano Climbing and you are exactly right - it is an intense plan especially on fresh numbers. It definitely works and can take a rider to the next level but probably is too intense to repeat for most riders.

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Hi Rob, the training required would really depend on if you want to do a your best possible effort or just finish.

For the event this year I did the 16 week plan from the event website. Those plans have a lot of tempo efforts and riding in the hills which is pretty much what you will be doing all day. I found 16 weeks to be a good amount of time for specific focus on a single event and was enough time to go from average fitness to a good level for me.

I think the gravel grinder or hilly gran fondo plan would be much better than the volcano plan for this event.

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I agree, but with 14 months to prepare then you could do all those plans. It’s just a matter of timing. For example you could use the Volcano plan as a build before taking a short break and then completing the Hilly GF plan leading up to the event. 14 months is a pretty long haul.

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I’ve completed the Volcano Climbing program, and it is from my experience something to use closer to your end goal/ event before tapering off a good 7-10days before your event date to be fully refreshed, it is an intense plan but it works. I used it to whip myself into shape for a 200km mountainous event, but that was after having a medium volume approx. 3-4 rides totalling 200-250km per week through the Aust summer of cycling before starting this plan.

The only downside I found was while there is a lot of slower grinding climbing simulations, in & out of the saddle and I had my front wheel riser on my sessions, what I still found I needed to do off bike upper body strength exercises, climbing out of the saddle on the trainer doesn’t replicate the steeper climbing you’ll need to do up Hotham & back of Falls, can’t replicate the same effect of gravity & road rolling resistance and when you’re arms pulling up & pushing down as you climb.

Make sure your 4DP is up to date as well to get the most out of the sessions :grin:

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@fatroadcyclist,
I’ve gotta say, your SUF compatriots have some great advice. I would agree that the Volcano Climbing plan should only be done once, not repeatedly. I would potentially sandwich it in between the Hilly Gran Fondo Plan and the Gravel grinder plan, and use the GG plan to lead into your big event. It has the volume necessary to prepare you for the distance and time in the saddle, with enough climbing to maintain the strength you gain on the Volcano plan. Those 3 plans give you 30 weeks of training. You can also take a week between each plan if you want. So to fill the remaining time, there are an endless combination of plans you could use. Just try and make your build/progression over the year a gradual one, rather than keeping volume and intensity high all year. You don’t want to burn out before the big event!
And as @MacDaddy said, off-bike strength training is also important. The upper body and core contribute a lot when you’re climbing, especially steep grades, so be sure to add the SUF strength training sessions to your plans! If you apply the strength program, you can switch out one of the standard sessions for the Upper Body workout once a week or every other week to ensure you get more Upper body stimulus.
And of course, if you need more help, you can never go wrong with a customized training plan!
Happy Training!

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Wow! I am in awe with your responses. Our community is such a blessing for mere mortals like me. I have taken in all your advice and will plan accordingly. I am about to complete the HGF Plan this Sunday. From April last year, I have completed 3 training plans and I really experienced good results. I will be incorporating Strength and Yoga and Coach Suzie’s (I feel like a serious cyclist saying Coach LOL) reco resonates with me and will complement it with the other reco.

I appreciate and grateful to you all.

Thank you very much!

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