CycleZone, for the second year running, has collaborated with the Cycle Challenge to host the #CCWomensRides, and help our ladies get road-ready for the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge. They have also provided training plans to assist riders in their preparations for Cycle Challenge Sunday.

CycleZone was built around the need for a safe and effective training environment. It’s a revolutionary, high-tech, virtual reality cycling studio and performance centre based in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Their focus is on quality training instead of quantity training and with our unique approach to training and expertise in cycling science, we will be able to assist cyclists in preparing for the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge.

If you are serious about completing your Cycle Challenge successfully, a structured training plan is essential. To help you decide which plan is appropriate you first need to determine the amount of training time you have available and then determine your current cycling fitness level. As a general guide, if you only have 2-3 days a week for training then the beginner plan is probably for you. Anything more than that and you should hop straight onto the intermediate plan.



The plans have a 6-week build up to gradually increase your fitness so that you will be able to handle the demands required by the Race Phase of the training plan. To determine your current fitness level we need to look at your FTP (functional threshold power).

The Fitness Test: This test is designed to determine your baseline fitness and establish your training zones which is the first step in following a structured training plan. This test should be done when you are well rested and mentally ready for a maximum effort. Please ensure that you have permission from your doctor to do a maximum effort test.

If you don’t have access to a power meter you could contact us at CycleZone and set up an appointment for your fitness assessment in Johannesburg ( Things start getting a little scientific and that’s where we are here to help you. The science is important for your training as it is based on proven research, just adapting and creating your own plan is not going to cut it if you want to make the most of your training time available.

Once you have completed your test, use the formula listed under the test protocol when you click on the session description of the session labelled FTP Test, on each of the training plans. Your FTP should then be used to establish your different training zones as per below:

Zone 1:Active Recovery | <55% FTP or < 68% LTHR
Zone 2: Endurance | 56-75% FTP | 69-83% LTHR
Zone 3: Tempo | 76-90% FTP |84-94% LTHR
Zone 4: Threshold | 91-105% FTP | 95-105% LTHR
Zone 5: VO2max | 106-120% FTP | >106% LTHR
Zone 6:Anaerobic Capacity | >121% FTP | HR n/a

The sessions:
Each session is constructed around a particular goal, which focuses on hitting a specific target zone. Having access to a power meter would be ideal since the quality training is not always possible by just monitoring effort through your heart rate, particularly when training in Zones 4-6. If you only have access to a heart rate monitor, then using your Lactate Threshold Heart rate (LTHR) which is the average HR achieved during your FTP test, is the next best thing. A 10-point Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale is an alternative way to measure your effort level. Descriptions of each session’s protocols are available when you click on the workout.

The Build Phase:
This will be the first 4 weeks of the training plan and this block establishes an underlying fitness base that you need to cultivate before you can specialise further. Most of these sessions are focused on increasing blood lactate to a level that is still manageable even though you might feel like you are right on the edge and about to blow. Essentially you are building up the amount of lactate that your body can process, thereby developing sustainable power. Since lactate is converted into energy, becoming more efficient at this metabolic process will increase your power and endurance. Then you'll be able to ride harder for longer and that will make you faster and stronger.

The Race Phase:
After the 4-week Build Phase it is time to turn up the heat. Now that you have increased the size of your cycling engine it is time to fine-tune it by focusing on short power with less emphasis on sustainable power. Here the focus is on VO2max or climbing ability and your anaerobic capacity. This training block is separated by two recovery weeks and consists of 5-weeks of intense training.

Recovery Weeks:
Recovery is an integral part of the overall training programme and it is essential for optimal performance and improvement. During these weeks, the training hours as well as training intensity is significantly reduced to allow the body to recover from the vigorous training but not permit detraining. Don’t under-estimate the power of recovery and easy rides for training adaptations. Most people don’t push hard enough in the ‘hard sessions’ and push too hard in the ‘easy sessions’. Sessions are categorised for a reason, so stick with the programme!

Monitoring Progress:
It would be a good idea to use software such as Training Peaks to monitor your progress and help you stay focused on your goal. You can join Training Peaks for free at If you get sick or drop off the plan during the next 12-weeks it is advisable to not jump right back to hard efforts but rather start with a recovery week so your body can adjust back into the training stress. For a Periodised Training Plan that is monitored regularly and based on your individual needs you can contact