Hi All, I'm hoping someone can give me some advice on training. I've signed up for the 3 Peaks Challenge and have been doing my own training up and down every hill I can find in Adelaide for the past few months. I've been working hard but decided to try the training guides from "Cycling-Inform" advertised on the 3 Peaks website. Most of the training plan is completed on an indoor trainer and gets you to do interval training while keeping in the correct heart rate zones etc. The workouts are tough, but only an hour long and I feel like I've got more in the tank (although not when doing the VO2 Max workout..). Am I wasting my time? Are my morning rides up Monatcute to Mnt Lofty a better way to go as I work harder, but obviously dont have any structure apart from attacking the ride as hard as I can. Thanks.

Tags: 3 Peaks, climbing, heart rate, indoor, intervals, trainers, training, zones

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Last year I did the etape du tour which while it had about 4000m of climbs (Telegraphe, Galibier and Alpe d'Huez) was mercifully short at 110km.  Not like the epic 235km you are undertaking.

As it was a late decision to go (I went over for work) I only had about 10 weeks to prepare so I just did lots of 100km rides on the weekend going up every hill I could find.  I was lucky that I had spent a week in Bright in April so had some hill prep having climbed Toowonga, Hotham and Buffalo (x2).  I didn't do any interval or VO2 work other than pushing up hills like Checkers and Torrens Hill Rd.

Having said all that I really suffered at the end of the 2011 etape.

This year I have just started a 20 week plan for the 2012 etape which is about 4750m of climbing over 140km.  It is an extended version of a generic plan from ftptraining.com which I got from an online book I bought called "Tackling L'etape" by Tim Marsh (velonomad.com) so I can't go into too much detail.

It also has intervals on the road or trainer during the week although they are longer than yours and I can incorporate it into my ride home from work which has about 550m of climbing in it.

It also has long endurance rides on the weekend with a few efforts mixed in to get the heart rate up.

Good luck and make sure you have a good taper week before the ride.

Any suggestions for a good Adelaide hills loop with the max amount of climbing that can be fit into 5 hours? 


Hi Alex, thanks for the info/advice. Its reassuring to hear that I'm on the right track. I'm jealous. Sure the 3 Peaks is longer, but you are riding the most famous of climbs on a stage of the most famous tour in the world! That is my ultimate goal but is some time off for me due to the logistics of just getting there, and the fact that I'd be planning another holiday around the bike (Rule #4 comes to mind but my wife just doesn't understand!).

As for climbs, I pretty much end up doing the same ones over and over but my favourite shorter one for the moment is up Montacute, over to Mnt Lofty, down to the Tollgate and back. Too add distance/climb I've been riding back up to Crafers, onto Lobethal, back via Gorge Rd, up Corkscrew, back up Montacute and finally down Norton Summit. You'll be able to fit that into 5 hours and its a nice scenic ride.

Someone told me about the "Adelaide 5 peaks challenge" the other day which I'll try soon. Its only 100km but I'm not sure about the vertical climb. It goes.. Up Corkscrew, down Montacute, Up Montacute, down Norton, down Norton, up Greenhill, down Greenhill up the old freeway and coffee at Crafers.

I added the road Dulan suggested to the end of my loop a few months ago (Coach house/Woodlands drive). It was the closest I've ever been to getting off the bike. After a good amount of km's in the legs I was already tired and it was probably best that I didn't know what to expect. Its the kind of road that you could probably just turn sideways and put your hand against the road to rest it felt so steep. Its a good test of leg strength, but also a good test of your brakes if you had to turn around and ride back down.

Well I really hope you are on the right track otherwise I'm stuffed too :-)

Yes, I was very lucky to get there last year, it was my wife who realised that the timing was right and suggested it.

The 5 peaks ride sounds good.  I was also wondering how much climbing there is through Forest and Basket range, it's been a while since I went through there.  I suppose I should just ride it and let Gamin tell me.

I will definitely give Coach house/Woodlands drive a try but I think I will do it fresh, not at the end of a ride.

I would think ride hills and try and get good at descending while I don't know the course a crash would not be a highlight.

There's some good climbing through Forest and Basket Range, nothing too long though. 

Stentiford Road, Knotts Hill Road, and Burdetts+Range road all make good climbs.  

Ive riden all the big climbs in France and nothing is as hard as Woodlands! lol! At least with long climbs they are easy gradient and you can just sit and spin if you get dropped or bonk but Woodlands you have to fight every inch lol!

i worked out a loop whilst training for alpine 200km, greenhill rd, over lofty, down the old freeway get off at mt osmond turn off and down deveruex rd and back up greenhill and repeat - about 650-700 vertical and 30km... boring though but has to be done, hide some food along the way and fill up water at the top of mt osmond - good way to sort out your food/water strategy too...

I did the 3 Peaks last year and it certainly is a good test of character....

I did several months of training.... was in reasonable shape and did the ride at 88kgs using 39x28.

My advice on top of what has been mentioned already would be....

Be prepared to be riding in woeful conditions... last years start was very ordinary, heavy rain and poor visibilty while descending from falls, then from hotham to omeo i got sunburnt!

Eat & Drink as others have emphasised

Go a compact if your not 1000000% sur eyour going to nail the ride easily.... the final 30kms are a killer if u dont have good legs to push a 39 up the back of falls....

At the 200km mark u hang a sharp left hand turn and climb like a dog up the back of falls creek.... be mentally prepared for this, and physically prepared for this, so keep a lot in reserve for here. Last year probably 50% of the field were walking their bikes for sections of this...

Be as light as u can for the ride. As i said i was 88kgs when i did the ride, and although i was pretty fit, i wouldnt go back again and do it unles i was under 80kgs... just my personal idea (Im still recovering from injury sustained on the climb up the back of falls creek!)

All in all, train hard, be prepared, and when u complete the ride, it is a great achievement worth celebrating....

Good luck to all those having a go....

PS: I trained last year by doing Lofty repeats, mainly up Greenhil Road over the top, and down the freeway, turn around and go back.... I personally find Greenhill Rd safer than the path up the old freeway... pick your times and its a great road to train on...


There is a group ride that leaves the Bike Station, Brighton Rd Hove, most weekends (I am pretty sure Sunday) that does 140kms through the hills and they pitch it as good Three Peaks training.

Very interested in this as someone who has just completed the Alpine Classic (200km and 4000m climb), the 3 peaks was being slated in for next year.  I am 182cm, 78 kg and fifty years old, so fairly lean but no spring chicken!  I cycle regularly commuting 40 km daily.  The intention for the AC was to finish in around 10 hours which we achieved pretty much. I wouldn't advocate chasing a time because so much depends on the conditions on the day.

There has been a lot of very good advice suggested here so all I will add is what we did. Our training consisted of working up to the point where we could comfortably do 4 repeats of Mt Lofty from Tollgate to the summit cafe each circuit would take around an hour and five minutes and you can refill your bottles at the top.  I used my HRM to gauge when I was working at a good sustainable rate which for me is around 130-140 BPM, with experience I found I could regulate my effort and resist the urge to chase someone coming past especially when they are on fresh legs and encouraging you by saying 'well done mate nearly there' when you are on your third time up that morning!

On the ride itself I found I still got sucked into going too hard at the start but soon woke up and reigned things back. In the end whatever prep you do around Adelaide cannot fully replicate the 30km of constant grade you will find on these Alpine climbs, so do as much as you can, make sure you have a granny gear in reserve even though you might think you wont need it, you probably will be grateful for it on the day.  Remember so much of the battle on these rides is mental rather than physical, that is why they are a challenge to all of us whether you are a gun racer or a weekend warrior / tourer.  I saw plenty of riders in their 60's who finished within the time limit (13 hours) and I think the oldest guy to finish was 69.  Tho other thing is that you will be carried along to some extent by the crowd and the fact you will see others doing what you are doing, suffering the same pain. That really helps.  Good luck and tell us all about it. 

In 2010 I was racing A grade on the Gold Coast and Danny Clark was like 61 and still being up there for the sprint. I asked him what keeps him going mentally all these years and he said 'I want to give you young punks a run for your money!'.

Age is an attitude and our attitude reflects our altitude..


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