Mountain Bike


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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 3m

Stress points: 58

Zone distribution

Z1: 20m

Z2: 17m

Z3: 21m

Z4: 6m

Z5: -

Z6: -

31%
26%
33%
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Welcome to the Absa Cape Epic Workout Series. This series of workouts have been curated by 4-time champion Annika Langvad. These workouts are tailored specifically for mountain bikers and will tackle areas of fitness that will dramatically aid you out on the trails.

These workouts are designed to be done over a 6-8 week period (2-3 workouts per week) and supplemented with technical mountain biking outdoors if possible.

In Denmark Annika often uses an indoor trainer and Zwift to give her an extra edge and get the most out of the time available to train. Her knowledge and expertise will be invaluable in your training during this series.

This first workout of sixteen is a relatively easy start to break you in, with a focus on building endurance. Three blocks of increasing intensity until you have just reached Z4. This is the intensity you'll be riding much of Absa Cape Epic at... but for a whole week.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 4m 20s

Stress points: 76

Zone distribution

Z1: 24m

Z2: 6m

Z3: 10m

Z4: 20m

Z5: 4m

Z6: -

37%
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Workout two is a mix. Starting out with a longer work period in Z3 and introducing Z5 intensity in two following sets of increasing intensity.

The purpose is to maintain the endurance you've built and start working on improving lactate tolerance and VO2max. This also replicates a tough uphill stint, in and out of the saddle.

For me it's often also a mental thing getting used to working at higher intensity. The dips into Z5 in today's session is also a mental preparation of things to come.

Despite being an endurance event more than anything you will find yourself in Z5 at the Absa Cape Epic. So it's important not to neglect this type of training.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h

Stress points: 65

Zone distribution

Z1: 13m

Z2: 17m

Z3: 15m

Z4: 15m

Z5: -

Z6: -

21%
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This third workout is a continuation of the endurance build. Structured much like the first workout this session increases the intensity and also omits the breaks between the three sets. It should still feel "do-able" but put you under a bit of pressure towards the end of the workout. During the Absa Cape Epic you may not have time to rest your legs, you have to just power through to reach today's peak.

This workout also has a focus on higher RPM's in the first 5 minutes of each block. This will prep you for the situations where you will have to spin faster in the stages and in this workout also serves the purpose of trying to loosen the legs from Z4 much as you would try to do out on the trails.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 3m

Stress points: 83

Zone distribution

Z1: 25m

Z2: 3m

Z3: -

Z4: 30m

Z5: 1m

Z6: 4m

39%
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48%
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Today's session is all about lactate tolerance. During the Absa Cape Epic you will find many obstacles requiring you to go above threshold. Teaching your body to be able to deal with lactate after such efforts and continue at a steady state is vital to getting through stages as fast a possible.

The workout is focused on Z4 interspersed with 30 sec sprints. This type of workout is where it starts to get uncomfortable for me but it helps to keep the eye on the prize. We will start by doing two shorter accelerations in the warm up to get you used to the effort before we move into the main body of the session.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 13m

Stress points: 82

Zone distribution

Z1: 33m

Z2: 3m

Z3: -

Z4: 36m

Z5: 1m

Z6: -

45%
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49%
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Today's session continues to focus on developing your endurance and aerobic conditioning which are fundamental attributes for anyone looking to perform the Absa Cape Epic, which has 100km + days with 2800m of climbing!

We are going to push ourselves right up to our threshold, by completing 6 efforts, split in to two blocks of 3 efforts (90%, 95% and 100% of our FTP). As the intensity goes up, the volume goes down so this session is definitely manageable and is a nice building block rather than leaving you totally exhausted for tomorrow.

The Absa Cape Epic is 8 days of back to back riding, so we need to be replicating this to a degree in training so try and ride your bike for a few days in a row after this session.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 3m

Stress points: 106

Zone distribution

Z1: 47m

Z2: 3m

Z3: -

Z4: -

Z5: 1m

Z6: 12m

74%
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This workout is a key workout that Annika uses as preparation for key events. In mountain biking, to get up a short steep climb, or to get through some mud or over roots, the best way is to do it quickly - lots of power for a short period of time.

This session gets our anaerobic energy systems firing, as we make repeated 30 second efforts at 170% of FTP, simulating those short spikes in effort to get up a steep bank or through a technical part of the course.

Don't be discouraged if your power drops throughout the blocks. You'll burn a lot of matches as you progress through the session, so just try and hold on as long as you can as you will still benefit from the effort.

In the same fashion - don't go out too hard! This is a fairly long session, so in the first block, just do what you need to do. 170% of FTP - no more.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 13m 30s

Stress points: 100

Zone distribution

Z1: 32m

Z2: 3m

Z3: -

Z4: 36m

Z5: 1m

Z6: 2m

43%
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49%
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Today's session is another variant of a threshold workout. Added with a 15 sec burst of power at the beginning and end of each block of threshold.

Often referred to as EPD's or Explosive Power Development effort, we make an explosive effort at the start of each effort to produce some lactate, before settling in to 100% of FTP.

Imagine accelerating round a hairpin, and then settling in to 12 minutes of threshold through a field during Absa Cape Epic! We then finish each effort with a 15 second sprint for position heading in to a technical section.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 17m

Stress points: 93

Zone distribution

Z1: 40m

Z2: 3m

Z3: 15m

Z4: -

Z5: 19m

Z6: -

51%
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This workout can be likened to a race with a hard start - a steady middle and a hard finish as we complete 2 blocks of efforts at 115% of FTP (Zone 5 - Vo2 Max), with a 15 minute block of Zone 3 (82% of FTP) in the middle.

We are going to complete all 6 of the Zone 5 efforts at a low cadence (60rpm) to simulate being stuck on a really steep section, where you are having to navigate around rocks - likely a fairly erratic pedalling style as your power output varies significantly from pedal stroke to pedal stroke!

You will notice the second block of efforts is a lot harder, as we will have the first block of efforts already in our legs - plus the 15 minute aerobic effort too. This will help prepare you for the end of a hard Absa Cape Epic stage!

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 33m

Stress points: 109

Zone distribution

Z1: 47m

Z2: 3m

Z3: -

Z4: 42m

Z5: 1m

Z6: -

50%
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In today's session we're working right at threshold. By chunking up the workload in to blocks 7 minutes, we will complete a total of 6 x 7 minute blocks at 100% of FTP, which gives us a really good training stress as we rack up 42 minutes worth of threshold power in total.

While riding under threshold is a smart and efficient way to develop all sorts of physical attributes, there is no substitute for developing yourself physically and mentally for pushing your body right to threshold power. This session helps to give you the confidence that you can push yourself right up to your FTP for over 40 minutes worth of work, while also creating plenty of muscle damage.

When you hit lactate threshold, the sensations are hugely different vs riding even 2-3% below - so we need to prepare ourselves.

Depending on how fatigued you are going in to this session, you may need an easy day tomorrow!

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 25m

Stress points: 97

Zone distribution

Z1: 39m

Z2: 3m

Z3: 30m

Z4: -

Z5: 13m

Z6: -

45%
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Today's workout again focuses on helping to develop our endurance and aerobic capacity - both key attributes for mountain biking and specifically the Absa Cape Epic.

Long days in the saddle, with some tricky terrain that requires a bursts of power to get through - this is where being able to produce spikes in power output, repeatedly for a few minutes at a time is critical for success. These efforts are not all out max efforts, but surges above threshold, but still a controlled, aerobic effort.

We are completing two blocks of Zone 3 effort at the start of this session to generate some fatigue and give the 3 minute Zone 5 efforts much more of a 'race feel' vs doing them fresh.

The 3 minutes Z5 efforts are to be completed as much as possible, out of the saddle as we imitate a very steep single track section!

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 41m

Stress points: 92

Zone distribution

Z1: 37m

Z2: 3m

Z3: 1h

Z4: -

Z5: 1m

Z6: -

36%
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This may not be the most inspiring workout, but the stimulus we get from it will really help to boost our endurance. It's a very similar training stress to a 3-4 hour steady group ride, but we complete in less than half the time.

At first you might feel this session is very easy, but the fatigue will build through the session. Aim to have trained the day before this session to give you that little extra fatigue in your legs to aid the training stress of this session.

Each effort is Zone 3 - 81% of FTP, however the first two blocks are to be completed at a slightly lower than normal cadence of 70rpm to prepare yourself for the slightly technical sections, where a lower cadence gives you more stability in picking your way around rocks and other obstacles.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 32m

Stress points: 111

Zone distribution

Z1: 32m

Z2: 3m

Z3: 24m

Z4: 32m

Z5: 1m

Z6: -

34%
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Today's workout is a very famous 'Over - Under' session, where we repeatedly ride over and under our threshold.

We will complete 2 x 28 minute blocks, each alternating between 3 minutes 'over' Zone 3 (80% of FTP) and 4 minutes 'under' Zone 4 (102% of FTP).

Critically, both the under and over sections are to be completed at a cadence slightly lower than 'standard', at 70rpm. This is to give the session a strength endurance focus - ensuring we get used to producing not only high power, but also high crank torque, to support us in those sections of a mountain bike race where we have to momentarily freewheel, and are asked to produce huge crank torque from 0rpm!

We stimulate acidosis during the 'over' efforts, and we are then trying to recover, while still producing a moderate effort during the 'under' phase. Think of the 'over' as a technical part of a climb, while the under is climbing on a fire road or through a field!

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 13m

Stress points: 91

Zone distribution

Z1: 27m

Z2: 3m

Z3: 20m

Z4: 20m

Z5: 1m

Z6: 2m

37%
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This workout is really fun and engaging - plenty of changes in effort, as is the case in a mountain bike event.

Another take on 'Over - Unders' - we vary our effort between 95% and 78% of FTP - so we don't actually go over our threshold, but we do complete 30 second Zone 6 efforts at 175% of FTP, critically at 60rpm!

The 60rpm 175% of FTP efforts simulate making an effort up a steep bank, where the best way up is to do it quickly without changing gear and creating chances for your gears to jump. By the top you will be grinding the gear, with a low cadence, circa 60rpm!

After the steep bank, we are straight back in to Zone 3 as we continue riding along a nice wide, open path.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 11m 35s

Stress points: 77

Zone distribution

Z1: 52m

Z2: 3m

Z3: -

Z4: -

Z5: 1m

Z6: 15m

73%
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21%

In this session, we really give our Type 2 muscle fibres a huge hit, as we hit Zone 6 and complete some Anaerobic Capacity efforts!

Throughout the session, we will complete 15 minutes worth of riding @ 121% of FTP - which is split up in to 3 blocks of 1 minute on, one minute off. These intervals aim to stimulate the demand of riding up short, punchy climbs - which mountain biking is renowned for!

You can use whatever cadence you like for the efforts - a mix of cadences is ideal, so aim to grind a few efforts out and really rev a few to the max - 110rpm +

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 20m

Stress points: 95

Zone distribution

Z1: 55m

Z2: 3m

Z3: -

Z4: -

Z5: 22m

Z6: -

68%
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28%
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Today's session is focused on hitting our Vo2 Max, by completing 7 efforts, each being 3 minutes long, with 5 minutes rest between each effort.

You may think that you don't need the full 5 minutes after effort 1, however its about getting enough recovery early on in the session that efforts 5, 6 and 7 are still quality efforts and you are not too fatigued.

This session will help you become more efficient at utilising oxygen as an energy source, and help you to produce high power more efficiently / more aerobically.

So translating this to mountain biking - it means you can more efficiently tackle those few minute tough sections, leaving you fresher later on in your ride.

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Workout overview

Duration: 1h 22m

Stress points: 88

Zone distribution

Z1: 22m

Z2: 23m

Z3: 20m

Z4: 12m

Z5: 5m

Z6: -

26%
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This is a pyramid style workout, which is an all round session which will help to boost your endurance, but also your strength as we hit the peak of the pyramid. Here we complete a 2 minute effort at 109% of FTP, critically at 70rpm which really draws on your strength and is what really makes this part of the pyramid a challenge.

Metabolic waste will build up throughout this session, and you will be forced to continue producing power with lactate present - this is known as your lactate tolerance, which we are trying to improve.

This workout keeps things interesting by changing the intensity and the monotony of a steady state workout. Real life racing is often more comparable to this type of workout than a very steady state type of workout. The changes in cadence also try and mimic the conditions of real world riding.

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