This weekend sees the New Zealand Elite Cycling Nationals held in Napier. In the men’s field there is a top level of competition that has never been seen before racing in New Zealand. We have six UCI World Tour professionals (the top tier of professional cycling), with three more riders from Pro Continental teams (the next tier of professional cycling) along with the winners from the last two years and the world U23 Mountain Bike champion. I bet that in a field like that and history showing a high level of DNFs, just finishing this event will be a massive kudos to any rider.
I’ve been lucky enough to get a Qwik Interview with Brett Grieve prior to the weekend of racing.
QK: You’ve had a reasonably good November with a second place at the Abel Tasman Cycle Challenge and then a solid race at the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. How has your recovery and then subsequent training gone during December? Are there any key sessions that have gone particularly successfully for you?
BG: Recovery has been pretty good really, I have kept going with the three hard weeks/one easier week mesocycle and decided to get some TT specific assistance from Anthony Chapman at Optimal Performance. He put together a strength endurance program that has included a whole lot of low RPM efforts. I haven’t done much low RPM training before, but it has felt really good and my numbers have gone up. The real indicator was 3 x 20 min sessions on Mt Pleasant – low RPM but I was able to make good numbers, approx 380w for each)
QK: This should mean your form is coming on nicely, just in time for the Elite Cycling Nationals this weekend. You are doing the men’s 40km Time Trial on Friday and the 171km Road Race on Sunday. How do these particular events suit your strengths?
BG: The TT is pretty experimental for me really. I am a reasonable age group time trialer and am taking this opportunity to focus on developing the whole package. I’ve been working on position and aerodynamics along with pacing, in addition to general training which will hopefully result in more speed!
The Road Race is somewhat more familiar to me. The course is hilly with 3000m of climbing, but they are all power climbs (<5min) so as long as I look after myself I should be able to survive.
QK: What are your goals for these events? Will you be aiming for a certain Normalised Power for the TT or some other performance metric whilst you are racing? Or will you go totally by feel?
BG: For the TT I am going to aim for 380w average power. The plan includes going harder on the hills and resting a bit on the downhills and tailwinds. It is quite an ambitious plan and its going to get pretty gritty out there, but it is possible and I would rather risk blowing up, than settle for a slow time and finish with gas in the tank.
QK: For the road race you are representing the New Zealand Army Cycling Club. Unlike other clubs/centres that have full teams that can work for a key rider, you will be effectively by yourself. What is your game plan to help you achieve your goal?
BG: I’m going to try and keep an eye on the pros and understand what they are doing throughout. In a way being a minnow amongst sharks is an advantage, as none of them will worry about me being in the break or anywhere else. This race is a death match for the pros and one will win the jersey, that’s what they want, and if I can stay out of the wind and be strong enough to stay with it when the big guns start firing late in the race it is possible for me to survive. If I read the race wrong and get caught with the third group on the road it will be a DNF unfortunately!
QK: What are the other key events you are targeting this season?
BG: I’m riding with another Army rider Ian Eagle in the Tank Guy Bike Box team at the NZ Cycle Classic a week later but haven’t got anything else planned at this stage. I will need to take a break at some point as I’ve been training consistently since mid July now.
QK: All the best Brett and I’ll look forward to chatting with you after the races.