With a longer bike course that climbs up the beautiful foothills of Northern Colorado, the Lake to Lake Triathlon is not your typical olympic distance race. Over 1000 feet of elevation are gained & lost on this course and the climbs get up to an 8% grade. With long climbs like this, staying steady doesn’t always work if you want to avoid drafting penalties, and the steep sections mean you’ll be out of the aerobars.
Check out the hilly part of the course from Glade Road around Horsetooth to Shields, with power, cadence, heart rate, elevation and speed data:
While the heart rate was steady for this racer, the watts spike more, partly from the terrain and partly from passing other athletes on the climbs. What’s really telling is the cadence, which is steady for most of the climb until the steeper grades, like the highest point of the course, where it drops. With the fast descents on this course, having a low gear ratio just for those parts of the course could cost you speed over the rest of the ride. Instead, you’re going to want the muscular strength to tackle the steeps in a little bit larger gear so you can hit the high speeds on the back side! Greater leg strength is also beneficial for when you need to pass another rider on the climbs to avoid a drafting!
So how do you train for those extra bursts of power? With low cadence efforts mixed into your steady state aerobic intervals! That’s why I’ve included workouts Sweet Spot Smash intervals along with steady state Sweet Spot and Threshold efforts in this plan.
And if you aren’t able to pre-ride the course, I’d recommend you brush up on your cornering skills too as descending speeds can get really fast on this course and there’s always a turn or two that you’ll have to navigate! Make sure your brakes are working!
The good news is the swim is in a small lake which means flat water and the run course is also flat (and shaded!) so the training for those sports is more typical of other olympic events. But the run from the lake shore to the transition area is unusually long so there’s transition work to mimic it. This workout’s a great one to get your kids involved too! There’s also Brick Repeat workouts with varied bike and run efforts to ensure that your legs are ready to run after all that climbing on the bike. And if you can’t get much time in the open water before the race, there’s drills you can do in the pool to get you race ready. Just make sure you bring your dark goggles for the race since you’ll be squinting into the sunrise!
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Nadia is a multisport coach at FasCat Coaching in Boulder, CO. Nadia and the FasCat Coaches have been designing training programs for coached athletes for 15 years and have introduced the very same training programs for only $54 in 2017. You can buy Coach Nadia’s six week interval Lake to Lake Triathlon training plans here.