The “Beast of Whistler”



Beast of Whistler


Ok….. I know you are thinking, ‘WTF does this have to do with getting quicker on my mountain bike?’

Well, it is actually the name I gave to the final training session before my athlete, Joe Finney jets off to race the EWS in Whistler on 10th August.  When I first started training Joe (riding for Bad Ass Bikes / Intense) he told me that as well as achieving podium results in the UKGE series, he also wanted to get a good result in his first EWS race at Whistler this summer.  Now, in case you didn’t watch the coverage from last year’s race, or don’t know much about Whistler, it was a super tough race with the longest stage of the whole season taking the fastest Elite rider 22:28 minutes, the fastest Masters racer 26:03 minutes and the 52nd placed rider in Masters (1/2 way down the field) a whopping 40 minutes!

Simply put – This stage was going to be a “Beast!”

As a general rule when training for an event in any discipline (bike or not) the closer to the event you get the more the training should resemble the actual event.  For that reason, when I sat down with Joe to draw up his training plan for the 3 months leading up to Whistler, I wanted something to work towards, and something to finish his training with a bang, sending him off to Canada fully prepared, both mentally and physically.  That is why I came up with The Beast of Whistler – a 25 minute challenge to roughly simulate the gruelling nature of this huge stage, pushing his body and mind to its limits.

The format was simple:  2 minutes work, 30 seconds recovery for 10 rounds.  The only rule was no sitting down in between work intervals.

The training session.I wanted this to be really tough for Joe, and it was as much about his mental strength and will to push on as much as his physical abilities.  In order to do well on a stage like the one in Whistler, he will need to push through the pain barrier, pedal when his lungs are gasping for oxygen and his hands are struggling to even hold the bars, all on technical terrain and at altitude.  Here is the programme:

  Exercise Notes
1      Burpee – Jumping Jack
2 Press Up / Pull Up Ladder, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4…… If you fail on pull ups, then jump up and lower under control.
3 KB Swing @ 16kg
4 Walkouts
5 KB Lunges @ 16kg Hold as per goblet squat.
6 Mountain Climbers 1 min, Plank 1 min.
7 KB Goblet Squat @ 20kg
8 Press Up / TRX Row Ladder, 1/1, 2/2, 3/3……..
9 KB Thruster @ 8kg Change arms every 5. Single Arm
10 Burpees

This week, the time came to go head to head with The Beast, and just to make it more fun, it was about 28 C meaning Joe was going to end up a sweating wreck by the end.  Happy Days!  It was tough and Joe worked really well to get through the intervals without stopping once.  It certainly pushed his limits and I think it achieved what we wanted it to.  Having done this session, the culmination of his pre-EWS training and with a new PB on vertical jump the week before we both know that he is so much stronger now than at the start of the season.  A challenge like this can really fill an athlete with confidence and will help to build the character needed to win races and improve themselves.  It is not something I would do every week as it will take a lot out of a rider and he will be sore for days, however as a way to finish a period of training, I don’t think you can beat it.

You can easily put something like this together yourself, and you don’t even need any kit.  Just make sure it is specific to the event for which you are training.  For instance an XC rider may use a workout to simulate the brutal high speeds and intensity of the first 1/2 lap of a race where they are fighting for track position and battling their lactate levels and aerobic capacity.  A DH racer may want to do a 4 minute workout, based more around power and explosive movements with a barbell, like cleans, front squats and presses.  Head over to the Facebook page, give us a Like and let me know your thoughts, especially if you devise your own BEAST!

Good luck Joe!

Stay Strong