This year, and for the first time, I have entered several cyclosportives. As a female cyclist I wondered if I should be following all the training/fitness/nutritional advice given in the magazine.
Is the advice given aimed at male and female cyclists or is there more specific advice you can give regarding nutrition and so on? For example, should I be eating lots of carbohydrates?
K Kirby, email
A: There should be little difference between your training and that of a man with similar ability. You still require carbohydrates, which research suggestsis optimised around 60g per hour. As long as your pacing is kept below around 83% on the climbs and you absorb water and carbohydrates, you can achieve your cyclosportives.
The only area where women are often at a disadvantage to men is that they tend to have higher fat levels and less power. If you can reduce body fat levels and improve power on climbs (see the interval plan on the homepage of www.JBST.com) you can get better at climbing. Also, do not ride a heavy bike. With less power to climb, you should be aiming to reduce your bike weight to as low as you can afford to, or borrow for the hilliest of your target events.
Be sure to use training rides or shorter audax events to test your equipment, feeding regime and pacing. In time, you will find the best balance between effort, eating and enjoyment. Good luck.