How to Conquer Vertical K

October 20, 2015

Have you got a running mate who's always telling you that relatively speaking, they run faster than you ride? Well - here's your chance to get them to put their money where their mouth is.

The team at Rapid Ascent has put together a very unique challenge pitting cyclists against runners on one of Australia's toughest climbs. The Vertical K is a race between cyclists and trail runners up Mt. Donna Buang covering 0.6 vertical miles.

Riders will cover 12 miles and gain 3000ft of elevation while the runners face an equally tough challenge, starting out on the steepest street in Australia and gaining 3100 ft of elevation over their 5 mile course.

So let's get cracking and into some serious hill training, just to keep those runners quiet.


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Owner of Beretta's Bike Studio, Paul Beretta, will be heading up a special training weekend for climbers preparing to tackle the Vertical K. Paul has offered up some valuable preparation tips to help you conquer the mountain and the runners.

1/ Never underestimate a quality warm-up

Paul kicks things off with the warm-up on the day. He suggests at least a 10-minute warm-up which could consist of time on the rollers, wind trainer or a simple spin up the road. Make sure you don't miss this first crucial step as it will get the blood flowing and prepare the legs for what is to come.

2/ Train for hills in the hills

It seems obvious, but the best way to improve as a climber is to get more climbing into the legs. If the best you've got is a 1km ascent, that's fine - just get out and do repeats and start getting the body used to sustained effort over longer periods.

3/ Keep your cadence fairly high

The climb up Mt. Donna Buang is a long one. 12 mile with a steady gradient of over 6%, which is solid to say the least. As a result, you need to be prepared to apply pressure to the pedals for a long period of time. The climb will easily take over an hour, so Paul suggests adopting a slightly higher cadence than normal and keeping your pedaling fluid and comfortable. Avoid the trap of pushing a big gear right out of the gate otherwise you will run out of gas.

4/ Ride within your means - it's not a sprint

There are some steep pinches along the way so jumping out of the saddle and using a little bit of extra power will help you negotiate these tougher sections without blowing up your legs. Just ensure you are riding within your means. Getting out of the saddle in this case is used to take the pressure off your legs, not to launch an attack.

5/ Ignore white line fever

With the buzz on the day, not to mention the added pressure of really showing it to the runners, it's easy to get caught up and go full-gas. At least at the beginning before you hit the wall. The best piece of advice is to work out what level of effort you can sustain for a long period of time and stick to that. Put the ego aside and don't get white line fever take over.

Paul's last words of wisdom are, 'pain is your friend, enjoy what you are doing and ride on!'.

Good luck to everyone on the day!.

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