Prepared by, Sarah Kaufmann, of K Cycling Coaching. Some fantastic insights to preparing for the Park City Point 2 Point.
We are eight weeks out from the P2P and into final prep for the race. The snow is melting out almost the entire course, and, if you are local, now is a great time to be using your long rides to get familiar with the trails. There are lots of things to be nervous about on race day, lots of questions and uncertainties. But you can give yourself some calm by being familiar with the trails. Being oriented on race day, knowing where the tops of climbs are, where the turns are, where there are especially tricky technical sections, and where you can eat and drink, will help maintain the feeling of control when things get challenging.
If the P2P is your primary goal this summer, the last few months should have given you the opportunity to develop a foundation of fitness and endurance for the summer. Once you have a solid foundation, you can use the next couple of months to add some intensity and structure to your training. You can add organic intensity with XC racing or target long STRAVA climbing segments. Or use interval rides to add dedicated structure to your workouts.
To add intervals to your training, start with longer intervals at an intensity a little below ‘threshold’ or your highest steady-state intensity, about 7-8/10 Rate of Perceived Effort. Start with 3x 10 minutes, 1-2x per week, and increase the duration and reps over several weeks. If you start with 30 minutes time at intensity, try to increase that to 40-45 minutes over several weeks or an hour at intensity for more experienced riders. Use shorter, more maximal efforts to raise the ceiling of your aerobic system by targeting your VO2 max. Start with 6x 2 minutes with plenty of recovery between. You should be at a 10/10 RPE through every two minutes. Same progressive loading with this type of work – gradually increase the duration and reps. Be aware of your fatigue level and keep a lid on the duration – these need to be short enough that you are relying on maximal oxygen uptake. (Though not shorter than two minutes to ensure you are relying on your aerobic, not anaerobic system).
Use these interval sessions to practice eating and drinking and start to develop your fueling strategy by noting what works for high-intensity efforts and what works for longer rides. You will probably use a combination of these fuels for P2P. In general, you will need to rely on simpler, more processed carbohydrates like gels, blocks, and mixes to fuel interval workouts or short races, and you can use more ‘real’ foods to fuel longer, lower-intensity rides. Listen to your body, and take notes on what works and what doesn’t. Be aware that hotter rides will likely require you to fuel with simpler fuels and to take in more hydration per hour. Blood is diverted from the gut when you are riding hard and more so when it’s hot. That makes digestion, absorption, and gut motility more difficult so you will need to rely on simpler fuels.
Start training with a hydration pack if you don’t normally wear one so you can get used to how it feels and make sure you have one that fits well and is comfortable. Commit to washing the bladder with every use, because you will need to hydrate with a drink mix and not water alone. Even if you aren’t relying on a drink mix for carbohydrates and calories, you will need a mix with some electrolytes to ensure proper electrolyte and fluid balance. As you test different fuels, so too, test hydration products.
The P2P is a big challenging day, and success relies on fitness, skill, and execution. Each of these components takes time and practice to refine. Be strategic with your preparation. Think of contingencies and contingencies for contingencies. For additional information about your prep for P2P, see my website for coaching and consulting opportunities kcyclingcoaching.com .