Earlier this year we posted that we were on a “DC training ride” and one of South Africa’s top coaches asked exactly what this involved. Thought this was a very good question as it gets thrown around a fair amount in the months leading up to the Coronation Double Century. For Savage, DC training has evolved over the years from 10 years ago it being just going out on the weekend and riding more than 100km to now a little more refined and useful session.
For some of the Savages, every ride before the second last weekend in November is a DC training ride, this may include an event in Hawaii or a week of the most Epic Mountain biking in March. But in all honesty a DC training ride is not a place to improve your fitness, this should be done midweek before the sun rises and one can follow a more structured program, if that’s your thing.
A DC training ride is one where you get used to riding with the 11 other Savage’s without ending up in hospital, this proved trickier than expected for the men’s racing team this year. There are no seasoned world tour riders in our squad and most of our riders have done less than ten Double Centuries, so we don’t have the luxury of rocking up on the day and forming a Quick-Step Floors like Team Time Trial pace line, ours would resemble more of a AG2R La Mondiale like pace line.
Therefore the Savage’s work on their pace line and group riding technique while DC training as some savages either spend too much time mountain biking or Zwifting. Although it may seem straight forward but there is a fair amount of techniques that many seasoned riders take fore granted which one realises when you bring new riders into the team.
This is every pace lines worst nightmare, while hammering along having just done a pull on the front the next rider decides to “set Landa free” and opens up a gap on the rest of the team. This forces everyone to close an unnecessary gap and leaves the rider pulling off the front emptying the tank to get on the back of speeding up pace line. This may sounds simple enough not to do, but when the adrenaline is pumping and you are tackling those constant rolling hills it tends to happen. The best advice is to match the effort level when coming to the front, either my watching your power meter or heart rate doesn’t jump 10% when you are on the front.
A badly timed dead wheel can lead to the breaking of a pace lines rhythm and burn your team mates matches unnecessarily. Unlike surging, the serving up of dead wheels normally happens when riders are on the limit and have the Vignette filter applied to their eye site. The dead wheel will cause other team mates to either sit in the wind or accelerate unnecessarily to close the gap. The best suggestion for this is that regardless of how deep in the hurt box you are, make sure you roll through the pace line or sit out for a few rotations. Communication is key here as you do not want team mates second guessing if you are going to pull through or not.
What could possibly go wrong while climbing in a group, apparently a lot? The key on the climbs in the DC is not so much to smash a PB or KOM (Only Will-I-Am is thinking that) but to get to the top with as many riders as possible to hammer down the descent. Go to hard and the above mentioned coach asks you where the other 6 riders of your team are at Barrydale, go to slow and you lose valuable time. A key to remember with the Double Century is that momentum is key, if your team arrives at the top of a climb in bits and pieces it takes time to make sure enough people have arrived before hammering the descent. Not everyone climbs at the same speed or same style, try and keep the team within a 50 meter spread with the captain at the back keeping an eye on the troops.
This is everyone’s favourite, but dive bombing down passes is trickier in a team especially when passing other teams at the same time. The key is stability and predictability, there is no time for Chris Froome top tube antics, rather make sure in single file and not letting any large gaps open up. Once the decent is over the goal is to get back into the paceline rhythm and continue the hammer!
Think we have these waxed with our 20 minute Bootlegger coffee and banana bread stops sliced into DC training rides. In all seriousness this is a great time to regroup, chat about what was working and what could be done better. Excellent time to discuss the next leg and the wind direction, this is much easier while all sitting round the support car than in a strung out echelon heading to Robertson.
These are some of the things that the Savage’s have tried to work into their “DC training rides” besides the copious hours of banter on the bikes. The best part of the DC training rides is just getting out there and riding with like minded Savage’s! Does your team do anything different on your DC training rides or anything we have missed out, let us know in the comments below or on the socials!