Cycle Oregon March 2014 Training Tips

431px-Sandow1Paul Collins, the owner of Strada and Peak Condition, will once again be offering month-by-month tips to help you prepare your body for this year’s rather challenging Week Ride. It’s no coincidence that many of these exercises are intended to help you be all you can be when the road turns skyward.  

Each year Cycle Oregon offers you different experiences, which is part of the allure. With roughly 30,000 to 35,000 feet of climbing, this year’s Week Ride is sure to make you a better climber! During Strada’s training rides, climbing is always a concern for many riders, and most of the time it’s from cyclists who don’t have experience with hills.

We see this year as a great opportunity to become your own personal king of the mountain. Fortunately, the only person you really need to worry about keeping pace with is yourself. Keep in mind, however, that becoming a better climber does not mean you should start off looking for steep terrain. In fact, if you’re beginning at the beginning, you’ll be better off starting out on the flats.

We recommend four distinct points of focus this month:

  • Cross train 2 to 3 times per week
  • Spin classes (or short, easier outdoor rides) 1 to 2 times per week
  • Mobility work
  • Healthy eating


Even though the off-season for cyclists is coming to an end, you still have time to gain strength this month. If you’re not sure what to do, here is a Four-week Strength Training Program. The goal of an off-season is to increase the work capacity of other aspects of fitness that will eventually help with your cycling ability.

Spin Classes

This year it makes sense to start out on the bike just a little earlier than normal. You don’t need to go all-out this time of year. In fact it’s much better to start off riding at an easier level to help build your aerobic system, which will provide the vast majority of your energy while riding.

Mobility Work

In order to train hard you need to move well and stay healthy. Tissue quality and mobility are important parts of that. Here is a great example of mobility work for your hips and thoracic spine.

Walking Spiderman with 1arm Overhead Reach from Paul Collins on Vimeo.


I’ve talked about the importance of nutrition in the past, and this time of the year is a perfect time to get started with “clean” eating. At our training facility we consistently talk about eating REAL WHOLE FOOD. Avoid processed food and fuel your body with nutritionally dense food. While training for the event isn’t the ideal time to put yourself on a restrictive diet in order to lose weight, you may find that eating cleaner does cause you to shed some pounds, which is fine.

Due to the physical demand you’ll be putting on your body, fueling is extremely important; however that doesn’t mean you should eat anything you want. You will recover fast and feel better if you stick to a nutritional plan of real, unprocessed food. Take care of your body and it will take care of you.

Set yourself up for a great year, and start or continue being active this month. It will only help you during the amazing CO route you have to look forward to this year.

To get more information about training for CO, register for Three Free Lectures at STRADA.

If you have questions, please contact me:

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  1. I am on a sailboat in Mexico until June, when I will be back in the NW and able to train on my bikes. I do an hour of yoga six days a week, hike and will be swimming a lot when we go up into the Sea of Cortez for two months at the end of March as well as hiking in the mountains of Baja California. Other than climbing the mast while sailing, do you have any recommendations for strength training/endurance while sailing?

  2. Hi Jan,
    Having never sailed before my experience with life on a boat is limited. However you can always work on body weight drills (lunges, squats, supine bridges, etc.). When you don’t have access to adding weight to these exercises a change in programming to incorporating isometic holds works. Instead of normal reps (up and down) complete an ISO hold at the bottom position of your lunge/squat for 15-45s per leg depending on your fitness level. Let us know how that works for you.