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Success Stories - The Hardest Fondo

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

Terrence is a long-term client. Interestingly after switching to the Performance program from In-Person PT, his Results really took off. That's another story, though.

Terrence has been steadily improving his Power Lifting numbers and building a great endurance engine for Hiking with a heavy pack, using the performance Program for over 3 years. But when some banter at a Summer Barbecue resulted in him signing up for the Whistler Grand Fondo, with less than 12 weeks to prepare, we knew he'd bitten off a heck of a challenge. He owned a great bike, he just hadn't ever used it for more than a 30 minute commute.

All of a sudden, his 400lbs deadlift wasn't much use to him. In a few short months, he was going to have to ride 130km into the Coast Mountains of BC steadily climbing his way to Whistler village. Terrence is a bit of a mentality monster, he loves putting his mind to challenging tasks and suffering through process. So effort was not going to be lacking here. The challenge was how to get him best adapted to endurance cycling, in a short 12 week window. .

The plan was simple -

1. build aerobic endurance at all costs.

2.develop the best pedal stroke possible for efficiency.

3. do the bare minimum to maintain his leg strength for pedalling power.

4. Improve his Bike specific mobility so he could tolerate long hours in the saddle.

We generated a 12-week fondo program that he was able to complete on his trainer at home, and outside whenever the schedule allowed.

Strength training needed to pivot at this stage - from 3 to 2 sessions per week. Mobility session were built in around each ride as a warm up or Coll down. And the 3rd gym session was exclusively mobility and joint health work to help him adjust to his bike position and minimize the negative postural effects of time on the bike.

The instep stretch is one of my go-to Mobility drills for Cyclists.

In month 2, as his on-bike training intensified. We backed off further on his strength training. Sessions focused on small amounts of intense lifts such as cleans, or squats in order to maintain his contractile strength and therefore his ability to produce force. Hip extension and spinal extension, leg abduction and shoulder mobility became more and more important so he could keep his off-bike posture healthy and his joints happy.

Month 3 was all about judging his taper. Terrence has a high training age (he's been lifting alot of weights for 15 + years). This means he can tolerate more volume than a beginner could without getting over fatigued. But as I mentioned before, he likes to suffer. So my job at this stage was to keep him busy and feeling challenged in the gym, without actually stressing his CNS and muscle tissue too much. Exercises became more complex and necessarily lighter in order for him to recover in between rides.

Cyclists, I love the Sandbag TGU- get good at this. You won't regret it.

Come race day, to keep an epic story short. Life was tough. Terrence hadn't been able to practice riding in a pace line, which could have saved him up to 30% of his effort. For this Fondo, of all Fondo's, that spelt disaster. The headwind this year was legendary, from West van to Whistler. Throw in a couple Missed fuel stops, compound that with some under-catering from the organizers, this all added up to a particularly long day of suffering for poor Terrence. His favourite kind of experience!

We're already planning next year's Fondo. A little more event know-how, more time to prepare and some kinder conditions, and I think we're going to see a huge improvement

Way to go, Terrence, you've inspired me again!

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