We wanted to change up the scenery a bit for this MTB trainer challenge, adding some snow and sharp rocks to focus on. The two videos below were shot by elite EWS racer Ines Thoma, and Commencal gravity athlete Kilian Bron, during their winning Megavalanche runs in 2019 and 2018 respectively. Like last week’s video with Wyn Masters in Chile, there are several long straight stretches that will require a great deal of mental focus on your part.
Before we dig into the workout details, here are a few tips from on racing the Megavalanche from pro athletes Ines Thoma and Rae Morrison.
The Mega is such an awesome event! Winning both of them last year in Alpe d‘Huez and Reuion was a huge honor and goal of mine. My tip is to use as strong tires as possible and a proper enduro bike instead of an all-mountain version. More travel helps for sure. And don’t give up! The races are so long and starting on either a glacier or volcanic rocks is crazy and dangerous. No matter how many crashes you have (I had six on the glacier last year), there is still more than 30 minutes of race to make up time. If you have the chance go for it. It’s definitely a lifetime experience.
My main tip would be to prepare your bike. Megavalanche is racing down a mountain at high speeds from snow to rocks and rough bike park trails. The amount of punctures and mechanicals is extremely high and can ruin your weekend. So make sure your bike is serviced and ready to go beforehand, put good tires on and consider an insert. I raced DH casing tires with Cushcore in to prevent punctures and to help dampen the trail chatter. Last tip is to have fun with it. Ride with your mates during practice day have a few laughs, a couple of beers and enjoy the atmosphere.
The trainer/roller challenge, in two exciting videos
- Start off with a 5-10 minute high cadence warmup, watching the video if you like.
- Next, click back to the beginning and complete your warmup as Thoma torpedoes across the glacier.
- Once Thoma’s tires stop sliding in the snow, at minute 1:05, shift up until it becomes uncomfortable to pedal at the same high cadence as before. You’re aiming for a heart rate similar to what you would have in an intense gravity race. Look up the track as far as you can.
- Thoma has made the sprint-points easy for us. Stand up and sprint for 5 seconds for every rider or bystander she passes.
- Once you hit the finish arch you can start back at the beginning, or jump to the next Megavalanche run with Kilian Bron.
- By now your legs and lungs should be feeling like you just finished one tough stage of an enduro, or two if you chose to repeat with Thoma.
- Maintain the uncomfortable pedal force you had through the previous video, trying to push a little harder or faster throughout this second run.
- Remember to look up track and stay hydrated during the workout.
- Bron pulls ahead with another rider at about 14 minutes, and there are a few passes through the second half of the video. Every time one of them passes the other, or Bron cuts a corner, shift into a harder gear and try to maintain the same cadence you had in the lower cog until there is another pass or chopped turn. Alternate off and on all the way to the finish line.
- Cool down with ten minutes of easy spinning, followed by stretching and some delicious protein.
Remember to fatigue the rest of your muscles
Getting back on the bike and out to the trail this season is going to be a joyous occasion, and likely somewhat painful. After only riding the trainer for a while our backs, forearms, abs, and hands will need to readjust to the good ol’ trail pounding. We can help that process along a bit with a few simple strength training exercises. Here are some examples worth checking out.