1. Prepare to go hard from the get-go
Unlike traditional road races, Berge en Dale is infamous for the monster incline you’ll be facing right at the starting line. So forget about the old adage of saving your energy for the last sprint, you’ll need it to mount the very first incline.
2. Know your route profile
That said, it’s important to know the race route so you can determine where you should be hitting it hard, where you can coast through and where you can recover. Going in blindly is the best way to secure a losing spot. Knowing the terrain is a major advantage.
3. Don’t skimp on nutrition
In general, the average cyclist doing a moderate intensity for over 90 minutes needs between 30g and 65g of carbohydrates per hour to replace what’s being lost and maintain performance. For the more elite athletes, research has shown that when glucose is consumed with fructose, carbohydrate consumption can significantly increase by up to 90g per hour, enhancing performance further – but this will require a certain level of training. For Berge en Dale’s main event, which spans a good 102km of inclines and descents, you will need a decent amount of energy, more so than traditional flat route profiles. Make sure you pack enough energy drinks and gels to keep you fueled and on top of your game throughout the race. Mid-race energy slumps are no one’s friend.
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4. If you’re going for a breakaway, make sure you commit
With so many climbs on the route, the first breakaway is likely to happen fairly soon. But there will be many opportunities. Attacking is one of the toughest things to get right, so you need to time it perfectly. Again, knowing your route profile will come in handy here. When you make your move, make sure you commit 100%. Know your pace and go for it, don’t waste time looking back.
5. Judge your finishing distance
The long-standing notion of starting your sprint to the finish at 200m is a good general rule of thumb, but may not be the best strategy for Berge en Dale. Since the finish is on quite a big climb, you don’t want to expend your last bit of energy too prematurely. Judge your finishing sprint based on the amount of time you know your body can do for a maximum effort. The last 50-70m are ideally where you should look to start your final push.