Equipe Flamme Rouge  

Nove Collie ~ Nine Dogs!

jean cyril robin

Torque and leg strength being put to good use in the real world
attacking the group and the final climb ~ Jean Cyril Robin Sportive

When & Why?
A strength building session that defies normal convention.  Turns a strength ride on it's head and brings leg strength and core development like you wouldn't believe. 

Can be done at any time of the year.  Just be careful in the winter, you do not want to risk tweaking a back muscle or knee joint riding over-geared in the cold.  Between early spring and mid-summer is always good.

This can be simulated on a turbo, but out on the road is really the best place for it.  There's a certain smugness to be gained from cracking this one out on the road.  

We have our very own "special hill" here in Jersey; the German Road.  It's straight, lined with trees, and is littered with German WWII war tunnels and bunkers. (The Channel Isles were the only part of the UK occupied during the war.)

You don't need to find one with as much history and atmosphere as ours, just find a steady (consistent), four to five percent climb that is three to five minutes long. 

Ideally, with a "round the back loop" on which you can recover, for five minutes or so (as below). 

But if you have to turn around and ride back down, so be it.  Just be careful and always remain aware of your surroundings.


nove collie

A nice looped circuit is perfect and safer
click on the image to be take to the Strava page

Before we start.  There is absolutely no speed element to this strength session whatsoever!  If you rush it, you've wasted an opportunity to improve your performance. 

Form over function every time here; technique is vital to success and the longer you are on the climb the more successful you will be.

Stay seated for all the climbs.  Keep a loose grip on the bars (no pulling with the arms), back upright, core locked, shoulders relaxed.  Try riding it one handed to add extra hardness (just don't twist your body).

gearsWhatever gearing you have, you start in your big ring and the second smallest cog (the second biggest gear) at the back. 

If you are unsure if you can do it in that gear, start three in for the first attempt.

Grind up the climb, ensuring you have perfect form, pedalling in circles and are not "wrestling" the bike. 

It WILL be tough.  Once you clear the crest, head back to the start (in your loop if possible) and drop it down a gear (to the next largest cog) at the back.

When you get to the start, same again. 

Same technique, same effort, slightly lower gear, slightly easier on the legs.  But it will still be tough.  Keep a focus on your stability, pedalling in circles (no stamping) and straight back.  Again, once you clear the crest, change down and get to the start.

Repeat this process until you've completed nine climbs, or have run out of gears.  If you are unsure of how many you are doing, put nine small stones in your back pocket, and "lose" one at each crest.  When you've run out of stones, you've finished!

Obviously, it gets easier, from a gearing perspective, with every repetition.  But stay seated, fight the lactate and the cumulative fatigue, and drive through the full pedal revolution for the entirety of each climb. 

Once you've completed the lot, drop it in the small chainring at the front and find a nice steady, flat, leg loosener route home!

gran fondo eddy merkx

you can even try it one handed if you wish
Gran Fondo Eddy Merckx ~ deep in the Ardennes...

The Warm Up Warning
All interval sessions require a thorough and proper warm up...

This is a strenuous session.  You need to be fully warmed up and have no niggling neck, back or knee pains.

Obviously, you need to ensure you can get up the first climb in the gear you start in.  If you are unsure, do a few test runs in lower gears first.

Why it Works
Most riders try to build strength by doing similar sessions.  But they start in the small gears (big cog) then change up a gear, making it harder each successive climb.

But doing it that way means they get more and more tired as they head towards the bigger gears.  They just set themselves up to fail, so they can never get stronger.  They just get more tired!

Doing it this way, you get all your strength work done early on and it becomes a lactate tolerance session the more it continues.  A double whammy that allows you to ride away from the bunch in the finale of hilly races.  What's not to like?

Here's a picture of just one Collie for your amusement...


Team Mascot ~ Bess the Collie!
As mad and as happy as she looks...

The Self Coach Manual...

Contains over 60 pages of drills, sessions, information and everything you need to get you race ready and higher up the finishing order than you now are.  For the price of a training tub you can transform your season, winter or just bike riding pleasure, by taking your fitness to new levels.

The pages here, contain quite a few of our world famous drills, but only a "vanilla" version of them.  Your own, personalised Self Coach Manual contains much more than all the drills, all their variants.  All you have to do is decide which ones you want to use, and in what order.  It's that simple.

Shortly after recieving your programme request, we will send you a return email requesting your physiological details. To manage expecxtations, this is not an automated process, so could take an hour or two.

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