Preparing Hannes Bergström Frisk for tour of Qinghai Lake and elite national championships
Updated: Oct 5, 2019
It takes special preparation to get ready for a race at high altitude, particularly when you don’t have the option of an altitude training camp beforehand. This is the situation we faced with Hannes Bergström Frisk of Memil Pro Cycling and his preparation for the Tour of Qinghai Lake (2.HC), which is to our knowledge the highest average altitude stage race in the world (13 stages, with ‘low’ stages being run around 1500-2000m altitude, and ‘high’ stages peaking close to 4000m with some brutal climbs).
Qinghai Lake is a big goal for Hannes, being that it is a 2.HC race, the highest classification his Memil Pro Cycling Team can compete in, and a chance to impress on a large stage. However, on the way we had the National road race championships of Sweden, and the time trial championships after in August, which were also big objectives for Hannes having been 10th in the 2018 road race nationals, 3rd in the 2018 time trial nationals, and 11th at the 2018 tour of Qinghai Lake. The aim for 2019 was to better these positions, hopefully significantly.
With the main goal being the tour of Qinghai lake, we made a plan to prepare for this, that would also facilitate the qualities needed to perform in the road national championships, and in particular the time trial championships approximately a month after the tour ends.
Our first step was to look at the demands on the 3 events Hannes was targeting.
Hannes competing at the 2019 Sweden national road race championships
The road national championships
180km with an approximately 5 minute climb 9 times. While it tempting to look at this and think training for 5 minute power would yield great benefits for this scenario, what we really want is repeatable power, and fatigue resistance. The race will be won and lost on the last few times up this climb when there is already many hours of racing in the legs. The winner won’t be who has the best 5 minute power, but who can maintain their power over the course of the race.
The tour of Qinghai Lake
Long sustained climbs with low O2 availability and reduced ability to recover from short hard efforts. Power at the anaerobic threshold would be key here, as would be minimizing the build-up of lactate when above threshold efforts are made, explosiveness can be sacrificed here in return for greater steady power. Being at altitude also increases carbohydrate utilization. Training would have to be designed to factor these in. This is a long tour so the ability to recover and perform back to back would also be vital.
Time trial nationals
Threshold power is all important here. No need to explosiveness to ability to change pace. High sustained power at the anaerobic threshold is key.
Despite being a climber/time trial specialist, Hannes has previously won the national criterium championship