Committing to take on the Absa Cape Epic 2018 is half the battle won. Now it’s time to prepare.
Virgin Active ambassador Songo Fipaza has completed the Absa Cape Epic six times. He is a founder of Songo.info, a non-profit MTB and BMX programme to introduce cycling to the youth in Kayamandi, and has also done three Comrades, completed multiple Ironman challenges as well as the New York and Soweto marathons, so he knows a thing or two about endurance events!
Songo says “finishing an Absa Cape Epic builds up your confidence and prepares you for all of life’s challenges” and has some key advice for anyone preparing to take on the world’s premier mountain bike stage race:
START EARLY. “I always try to stay fit throughout the year and start training specifically for the Absa Cape Epic at least three months in advance – this is when I focus on the technical aspects and do some long rides to get used to the saddle. I do HIIT (high intensity interval training) to push my heart rate and plenty of Ride classes at Virgin Active when I cannot get out on the road.”
GET TO KNOW YOUR PARTNER. “It’s very important to follow a training program that suits both you and your partner. And to do as much of that programme as possible with your partner. Get to know each other really well – understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses – and learn to communicate constantly, especially on long training rides. The weaker partner at any particular moment should be allowed to set the pace.”
TRAIN LIKE YOU RACE. “Plan a strategy and try to stick to that race pace during your long rides as it will help you to know where you need to improve. Go ahead with the planned ride whatever the conditions because you won’t be able to pick and choose during the Absa Cape Epic – you must be able to cope with anything – and especially make sure you have ridden some hard climbs in hot conditions. Eat what you plan to eat during the race.”
PRACTICE MECHANICS. “The chances are pretty high that either you or your partner will suffer a mechanical issue during the race. Take the time to get to know your bike really well as you should be clued up on how to fix it – both you and your partner as this will hurry things up.”
MIX IT UP BY COMBINING OUTDOORS WITH INDOORS. “Just grinding out the hours on the road can get dull and is very time-consuming. The Virgin Active Absa Cape Epic Training Programme includes a good blend of pilates, yoga, stretch and core classes as well specific work, outdoors and indoors, to build your power and pedal efficiency.”
Find the Virgin Active Absa Cape Epic Training Programme here: http://bit.ly/2yPfBvr