Welcome to the Bike Breaks pro rider corner. Here we will be bringing to you tips, advice and fun from our favourite Girona based pro’s…
MICHAEL HEPBURN of Orica Scott professional men´s cycling team is our first feature of the pro rider corner.
Michael is a very established cyclist and certainly a prospect for the future. At the young age of 25, Michael has an impressive run of results. Double Olympic silver medallist in the team’s pursuit, multiple world champion across several disciplines, former multiple national champion and Giro d´Italia stage winner, just to name a few! Michael has been a Girona based rider since 2012 when he first stepped into the professional ranks. Each year, concluding the road season and following a much needed off season wind down, Michael heads back down under to his other home town Brisbane, Queensland to begin his preparation for the following season.
We asked Michael to share his experience and knowledge of his build up and return to ´race fitness´ after an extended break, without doing too much too soon. This phase is often used to build a base, consisting of long but slow rides and perhaps some cross training involved like gym, strength work, running or hiking.
We understand that the weather for Michael´s build up phase (our winter) is a lot more pleasant than us over this side of the world, however he reassures us that the same concept is used by his full time European based team mates!
- Start slow! There is no need to rush things at this point. Relax and enjoy the ride. After an extended break it is crucial to give your body time to adapt. Plan out your first week sensibly with 1.5 – 2 hours rides and at a nice leisurely pace. Avoid bunch rides so you can go at your own pace. Try a 2.5 – 3 hour ride at the same pace If you have time on the weekend.
- As you start to get more comfortable on the bike, start steadily increasing the km´s. It´s all about building a base. So slow, efficient k´s are the way to go. Head out with some mates and aim to get in some long days in the saddle. 4 hours is a good target when riding Gran Fondo distance. If you´re not up to that level, aim for 3.
- Don´t stress about riding every day of the week. Include some rest days in your program and try other things to maintain your fitness and break up the week to keep things interesting. Hit the gym to work on your core stability. Working on the basics, like core strength, glute strength and simple leg strength exercises (squats, leg press) are going to pay off in the months ahead. Other activities I like to include in my program include, hiking and running. Swimming is also a favourite for cross training and recovery.
- Depending on your level, strength efforts may be beneficial on the bike. Try these on a long climb and start out at no longer than 5 minutes at a time, around 70rpm, working down to 50rpm if your body allows. The purpose of this is to really build and strengthen your legs – just ensure technique is correct and the pressure is in the legs, not your back!
- Use this time to work on your weaknesses. If it´s hills, ride more of them or cadence, focus on spinning more. In the following months, training should get more specific with intervals and harder workouts, so it´s better to work on these now while training is flexible.
- Most importantly, enjoy riding your bike!
Next in line for him is the first grand tour of the season, the Giro d’Italia and we are sure that off season work will pay off – good luck!
Thanks Michael (Heppy) – we appreciate your time.
* Stay tuned for more and our next feature of the Bike Breaks pro rider corner!