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BRAD BROWN: Rodolphe, let’s talk your bike now. When we spoke about your swim, you talked about making 10 minutes. It’s obviously something you love. As dangerous as the south of France is getting now, it’s a beautiful part of the world. There’s some tough riding.
You’re pretty close to the Ironman Nice course and we know what that course is like. There are some big hills to climb. You must love riding your bike there in the summer.
Training your Ironman bike as a cyclist
RODOLPHE VON BERG: Yes. Even in the winter. We don’t have much rain and I practically never miss bike training. I bike about 3 or 4 times a week, the whole year round and I think it’s the best place in the world for biking.
I’ve been in many, many countries. If I can give one hint to people about what’s important in biking, it’s also to not consider biking only as part of triathlon. But really to become a pure cyclist.
Race your Ironman bike all year round
I haven’t stopped bike racing with a pure bike, with the geometry of cycling, for the last 20 years. I participate in all the local and regional races and I think that’s a major boost. That’s really a thing that I think triathletes should do.
They should bike race and not only train with a time trial bike, all year round like many do. I think that’s a huge mistake because also you’re not working the buttocks and you’re not working the glutes. You’re not really working the foundation of biking which is the back muscles.
You really have to train during the winter on the bike with the old geometry for biking. And then you have to race in biking. At 60 years old I still do races.
BRAD BROWN: Rodolphe I agree 100%.
Improve your Ironman bike skills with racing
RODOLPHE VON BERG: Also, it will improve your biking. Some people have such poor bike skills. You can really hone that in bike racing. You have that at all ages, you don’t need to be 25 years old to do bike racing, and you can do it at 60.
BRAD BROWN: Yes, I agree 100%. And for me, I’m not the greatest of athletes, don’t get me wrong, but that’s one of the things that I’ve done. Yes, it’s great riding to power. But riding bikes in big groups where they’re pushing and they’re surging, you learn so much. Like you say, you learn skills; you push yourself harder than you would generally on your own. It’s a great way to pick up skills and to get stronger.
Train your cardiovascular threshold
RODOLPHE VON BERG: Cardiovascularly it’s fantastic. When I do one of these races, there are always people stronger than me in those bike races since I’m 60. So my goal at every hill, and I do all the hilly races, I always go across my red line. I’m high above my aerobic threshold and I always try to stay until I explode. And then I kind of recover.
Then the next hill I stay until I explode. But that’s in fact tremendous training. Because you do that on hills that are 10km long some times.
You’re 30, 35 minutes, 40 minutes above your anaerobic threshold. You’re going to do that sometimes 3 or 4 times during the race, during that bike race. And if you calculate the minutes there, it’s about 2 hours above your anaerobic threshold in a bike race. Believe me, the bike portion of the triathlon is easy after that. I really urge everybody to do these bike races and they will become much better triathletes. I’m convinced.
BRAD BROWN: Yes, I couldn’t agree more.
Brad Brown is a 40 something age grouper that dreams of one day qualifying for and racing on the big island (He may have to outlive everyone in his age group though).
Morbidly obese in 2009, Brad clocked in at 165kgs (363lbs) at his heaviest.
He's subsequently lost a third of his body weight on the way to a half Ironman pb of 5:06 and a full Ironman pb of 12:21.
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