We chat cycling once again on this edition of The Kona Edge. The bike is the discipline where you spend the most time on race day, but how the best ironman age groupers get better on the bike? We asked one. Annchen Clarke shares a few of her Ironman bike secrets with Brad Brown.
BRAD BROWN: Welcome back to The Kona Edge, time to chat some cycling and we’ve got a previous guest back on, Annchen Clarke. Annchen welcome back onto The Kona Edge, nice to catch up once again. When we first spoke you said to me, you said when you first got into triathlon your cycling was absolutely shocking, particularly your bike handling skills, but it has gotten better over time. What’s the one thing you’ve done that’s really improved what you do on the bike?
ANNCHEN CLARKE: Biking, for me, it was bum on seat, you just have to get out there and ride your bike and spend hours on the bike. I’m naturally strong going uphill, I love uphill sessions, but I’m naturally good at it, so for me it was just get on your bike and go cycle.
BRAD BROWN: It’s interesting because bike is slightly different to the run in that sense, particularly when you’re building up a base, it’s not necessarily doing hard work on the bike, it’s like you say, just sitting on that saddle and grinding it out, just spending hours and hours and as frustrating as that seems, that’s probably where you’re going to get the most benefit.
ANNCHEN CLARKE: Definitely and then the other thing I did was I got a power meter because for instance, training in Amsterdam, you don’t have such things as hills, so the only thing you have is the wind, what we call the ‘invisible mountain’ here. I mean with power meter, you really know the effort you’re putting into it, especially riding into the wind.
BRAD BROWN: As far as workouts go, it’s not just time in the saddle, you obviously do a lot of quality stuff as well, what’s your favourite workout on the bike?
Your favourite Ironman Bike workout
ANNCHEN CLARKE: My favourite workout on a bike, I have to go over and ride in Amsterdam because the only thing that shows elevation here are speed bumps, but yeah, I love hill sets, I love hill training.
BRAD BROWN: What stuff do you do, is it just up and down, talk us through one of your favourite sets on the bike up and down hills.
ANNCHEN CLARKE: Yeah, so in South Africa we don’t have such long hills, but it would be pick an 8 minute hill, low cadence, big gear and just grind it out til the top and then spin down.
BRAD BROWN: How many of those would you do in a typical set Annchen?
ANNCHEN CLARKE: Obviously you’ll build up into it, so start off with say 4 of those and then build into 8 times 8.
BRAD BROWN: We’re going to get you on another time, I know you’re a pretty strong runner and I know Raynard Tissink who coaches you is a pretty decent runner too. I’ve heard some horrific stories about his 1 000 sessions and I want to find out a little bit about those. I’m sure you’ve done many in your time with Raynard, but we’ll get you on another edition of The Kona Edge, thanks for your time today.
ANNCHEN CLARKE: Thank you.