CAPE EPIC 2023 | Training and data log 4 - when less is more

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The 2023 Cape Epic route has been revealed, with Lourensford featuring prominently. A trail network I am unfamiliar with and only ride for Wines2Whales. (Photo: Sam Clark)
The 2023 Cape Epic route has been revealed, with Lourensford featuring prominently. A trail network I am unfamiliar with and only ride for Wines2Whales. (Photo: Sam Clark)
  • A month of riding less has seen some interesting spikes in intensity.
  • As my Cape Epic training programme matures, I am noticing changes in power.
  • Analyzing the data again proves that having a power meter and patience are crucial elements in any Cape Epic training campaign.

Much as we love riding mountain bikes, too much of a good thing is never great. And when you are training for the Cape Epic, doing too much – is always a risk.

Recovery and steady progress are anchors of any well-structured training programme. And last month, I trimmed the riding hours from 46- to 35-hours. But the hours I rode, were more intense.

Volume reductions happen. Reconciling Cape Epic training with work travel and social commitments, can often steal more than a few hours of riding. But that’s why I spent more riding in zone 4 and 5 levels of intensity, making time on the bike work harder for me.

Cape Epic training
The stats for month four of my Cape Epic training. (Photo: VTC Online)

You can't beat good data 

I can’t reiterate how valuable a proper power meter is for Cape Epic training. My Power2Max power meter has been an excellent investment, allowing my coaching consultants from VTC Online, all the information they require.

We all dream of those ultra-lightweight carbon rims, or ridiculously expensive hubs with ceramic bearings, but a power meter keeps you honest. And is the best digital coaching device to reveal whether your training is tracking where it should be – or not.

During my fourth month of Cape Epic training, I only rode 864km, totalling 8761m of climbing, compared to month three’s 1178km on the bike, with 9583m of vertical ascent.

Cape Epic jersey winners
Cresting the 200-watt normalized power output threshold shows that my training, is working. (Photo: VTC Online)

Going beyond the magic '200' mark

A telling feature that revealed itself in my month four Cape Epic training data, was on the longest ride. Linking some of my favourite mountain biking trails on the weekend, I managed to ride for 75km, climbing 1484m along the way.

The total ride time was four hours, but more important was a normalized power output of 203-watts. Getting over the 200-watt threshold has been a big deal for me.

My weakness is power and structuring a Cape Epic training regime to address this has been my goal. Seeing the normalized power output trending stronger is heartening, especially on trails relevant to an actual Cape Epic stage.

With the Cape Epic route finally revealed, my training journey has become much more real. With all the route profiles and distance data available, I’m more motivated for those training hours to come in summer – when high Cape temperatures and wind become a test.

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