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Katima to Cape Training – 3000km in 14 days - Rupert Nanni
This ride was going to be like no other for me. There were big distances to cover but I’d have a helping hand. I was about to mix electrically assisted bicycles with endurance sports. I normally ride a mountain bike, which involves endurance, mixed with continual short bursts of energy because of the broken terrain you ride over. In contrast, this was a ride that was going to be long hours in the saddle with continual, rhythmic riding, so I needed to change my training routine.

In the past I’ve used a heart rate based training programme, which you design based on the event you are training for, so I knew that for the Katima to Cape ride, I’d have to spend long hours at a moderate heart rate. In a nutshell, after working out your maximum heart rate, you can then train in a specific heart rate zone. For example, riding for 9 hours a day with your heart pounding away at over 80% of its’ maximum is just not sustainable. You’ll burn out after a day or two, and with a skinny person like me, that means your body is starting to consume your knee caps!

Long, slow training rides were the order of the day, and once my Ezee Torq arrived, I started recording data. I still used my mountain bike, but didn’t record training time on it. The graph shows my training time on the Torq. The idea was to peak in December, and wind down towards the event on the 26th January.

Training in and around Johannesburg was also not going to be a good example of the ride. Heavy traffic on narrow roads, stop streets, traffic lights, and people all add up to a slow ride. Heading north out of the city helped, and I was able to average 30km/hr. The key was to get out of town, so for 3 weeks over Christmas, I based myself in the mountainous region of the Eastern Free State. Open roads and magnificent scenery made the riding easy. I didn’t even have to get out of bed early because I wanted to acclimatise to the heat I was going to expect, and my average speed climbed to 35km/hr.

The next table shows the amount of time I spent in each zone. The zones are VLI (50-60% of max), LI (60-70), MOD (70-80), HARD (80-90) and MAX (90-100). You can see that the majority of the time, in fact 71% was spent training in the zones I am expecting to use on the ride. January’s riding was done mainly on my mountain bike as I was doing final setup, tweaking and cleaning on the Torq. I’ve no doubt the bike will hold up, let’s hope the old body does as well!