How much training is enough for the ABSA Cape Epic?

It certainly depends where you see yourself ending in the final standings about how much training you need to do.

For us as a couple, we need to balance training with the work/life aspects of running the Emergency Room at Louis Leipoldt and the everyday tasks associated with two little ones.

As this is a dream for Chantélle to FINISH the Epic, I think we are training with that goal in mind: Finish the Epic well. We are not looking for specific places; we want to finish well.

Chantélle has been training with a coach for quite some time now.  Jennie Stenerhag has been a rock for Chantélle post Sani2C to get her fit for the TransBaviaans, W2W and Origin of Trails. Chantélle has put in a lot of work and her odometer says the same. She had done almost 12,000km on her bike in 2019. That is a lot of km’s for anyone (except professionals).

We decided that I would also join Jennie’s coaching programme as Chantélle came so far with her help. To put this in perspective, Chantélle first started riding a mountain bike in May 2018. She borrowed a bike, then three months later we decided to buy her a bike. As per the previous post, she is now on her Silverback Stratos SBC.

Silverback Sunrise

I started under Jennie’s guidance, but there was a hiccup and I had to have the Cardiac Ablation before we could trust the heart rate values. With the Cardiac Ablation done, I could start training in earnest in December.

Most of our training was building a base. Building a base meant strict Zone 2 training. For a good summary about Zone 2 training –

In my personal opinion, this is probably what some of the South African athletes lack to do. Especially starting as a mountain biker, you try and ride as hard as you can and never really build a base.  Mitochondrial function needs Zone 2 training!

Zone 2 Holiday Rides

With Jennie’s help, we could put in long hours in December / January, riding between 300km and 400km per week in Zone 2 and then some intervals. Intervals for us was one of the following: 10mins/4 mins/2mins/30sec intervals with varying periods of rest.

Intervals….even on holiday!

Jennie would guide us week by week. We could stick to her program almost 100% of the time, with little hiccups here and there. It can be difficult for a coach, as you have to encourage but also be strict.

I set my alarm clock for 04:30 most mornings and I can tell you that I’m not always keen to get out of bed, but we just have to. Must say it is good to have your training partner in the same bed to tell you to get out of bed! It helps. 😊

We had a “slightly” more relaxed week before the Attakwas Extreme. As the event was more of a training ride, we did not perform that well.  Conditions were hectic. The Attakwas certainly makes one doubt oneself and although we had to dig deep, we finished this extremely tough event.

Hell of the South – Attakwas Extreme!

We also got a bit of “rest” with between 5 and 10 hours on the bike the week after Atta.

We are currently still training hard. Kids went back to school 2 weeks ago, and needless to say, the first virus is in our house. It wreaked havoc with our training this week. But we are determined to keep going.

Rain or shine……we keep going

Later this week (6-9 Feb) is the Tankwa Trek and this will be a significant test for us.

Thank you once again to all who have donated to our incredible cause – riding the Absa Cape Epic for CANSA Active.  We have reached 1/3 of our goal with R50k received in donations by our dearest friends, family and corporate colleagues.  Thank you to each and every one of you, it is incredible!  For those who have not yet donated, but wish to contribute, please do so by sharing our link below or simply by clicking on the link and donating as little or as much as you’d like.  Every single cent helps.

In the meantime, we keep pushing forward, training and getting our bodies & minds strong to conquer this mammoth challenge in March. 6 weeks and counting……. 

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