Allez Belgie (April 2021) is a month dedicated to Belgian cycling. Throughout the month, you can challenge yourself on the TT format Challenge Roads, take part in Segment Races, and push yourself on the weekends with the Ronde 3-Day Tour.
Belgium is notoriously hilly, a punchy climb-descent-repeat type of roads that will kill non warmed-up legs. Enter RIAK Fitness.
We have teamed up with RIAK to provide proper warm-up and prep sessions to get you ready for all Allez Belgie will throw at you. In this article, Richard Akers takes us through the activities they have provided.
RIAK Race Preparation Workouts & Workshops
At RIAK Fitness we are delighted to be supporting RGT’s Allez België festival with a range of live coached group workouts. We are all about, giving athletes the knowledge and skills to look after themselves better and avoid over-training and injury. That is why all our sessions are completely interactive with a live Zoom coaching feed, so riders can benefit from the wisdom of our expert coaches and take advantage of the chance to ask them their training questions. Below is a bit of explanation as to what sessions we are putting on and why they are of benefit to RGT’s riders.
This might seem like a patronising one to explain, but do you know how to prepare effectively for a big event? It is of course about getting warm and raising your heart rate, but why is it so important to warm up? How long should you warm up for and what makes an effective warm up?
Well go too hard in the warm-up and you will burn matches you would have wanted to use in the race. Don’t warm up enough and you will risk being dropped before things really kick off. When it comes to how long, the general rule is that the shorter the race, the longer you need to warm-up for as there is likely to be less lead in time before the race gets truly hard. For E-racing in particular, the races tend to be pretty short and start VERY hard. The warm-ups we are putting on for the Allez België festival are 20-minutes long and finish 10-minutes before the start of the race so riders have time to switch on to the race server and continue a steady state warm-up for the final 10-minutes before race start. Ideally, this warm-up would be an extra 10-minutes long, but we do also have to be realistic as to how long riders have to warm-up before a race considering working hours etc.
Our structured warm-ups always include two key elements: 1) fast pedalling efforts; and 2) higher intensity but rarely supra-threshold efforts. The fast-pedalling efforts challenge riders to spin up above 100rpm and the purpose is to switch on their fast twitch muscle fibres that will be of paramount importance in the race. The higher intensity efforts are designed to lift the heart rate without taking you into the ‘red’ and burning through your anaerobic ‘fuel tank’, which you will need for the race. It’s okay to do a few supra-threshold efforts as we sometimes do in conjunction with the fast-pedalling efforts but keep them very short and towards the beginning of the warm-up so you can recover properly before the race start.
Primer sessions are essentially lighter workouts to keep you ticking over the day before a major event. The purpose is to keep the glycogen in your muscles recycling. Glycogen is the storage form of glucose, your body’s main source of energy for higher intensity exercise. If you have a pure recovery day the day before an event, it can leave you feeling sluggish and lethargic on race day as to put it simply, your body slips into ‘recovery mode’ rather than ‘race mode’. This is the reason why the guys in the Tour de France will still go out for a ride on a rest day, to keep the glycogen in their muscles recycling and for active recovery, which is essentially what a Primer Session is, but with a few efforts in there too, to ensure all your muscle fiber types are activated and kept alert.
Hill Climbing Workshops
It is no secret, the events planned during the Allez België festival are pretty brutal! Among the climbs featured we have the Muur van Geraardsbergen, Oude Kwaermont, Paterberg and the list goes on! Our Hill Climbing Workshops are there to help riders get over these climbs as efficiently as possible, and should they wish to, learn how to adapt their training to get better in the hills.
In the workshops we cover all things hill climbing and strongly encourage riders to bring their questions. As a default though, we will be covering topics such as optimal riding position, how to train to improve your hill climbing position, the physics involved in hill climbing and anything else we can think of that might help you!
Time Trialing Workshop
Towards the end of the Allez België festival, RGT are putting on a Time Trial Weekend with three days of time trials. Time Trialing can arguably be considered a sport within a sport and these days, is so incredibly technical. Our Time Trialing Workshop in the lead up to the Time Trial Weekend is crafted to boost riders’ knowledge and confidence with the TT discipline.
In the workshop we will covering, amongst other things, component choice, riding position, TT specific training and race strategy. But of course, as with all our sessions, we strongly encourage riders to come to the workshop with their questions and we will endeavor to help.
At the end of April, RIAK and RGT will be hosting what we call a ‘Cycle Seminar’. In short, there will be a group endurance/recovery workout for riders to join and then a live Zoom seminar feed in which our coaches and relevant experts will do a ‘deep dive’ into a particular training subject.
The seminar topic is still to be confirmed, so keep your eye out on ours (@riak.fitness) and RGT’s (@rgtcycling) social media for the announcement. If there is a particular topic you would like us to cover, please do let us know. We hope the Cycle Seminar is popular and will potentially use suggestions for future seminars.