Planning for the Alps next year

How should plan for a ten-day bike ride in the Alps next summer (Geneva to Nice - Grandes Alpes).Apologies for a long post!

My background

61 year old female, cycling 4000-5000km a year, living in southern Sweden.

I’m used to longer cycling trips (cycled Gibraltar to Denmark 2020) and have cycled ten or more HC Alps over the years, doing a different Col for three days, so I have a good idea of the requirements for the trip - mental, physical and practical.

But I’m no mountain goat - and I’m past riding up hills against the clock.

After SUFF spring this year and a couple of cycle touring trips here in Sweden I feel in good shape, perhaps the best ever, so…

How should I plan to best use the months ahead in order to

  1. keep what fitness I have now (late August) ,

  2. possibly improve on my climbing speed (laughingly slow with the right gears!) and

  3. build some serious fitness through a Swedish spring which can be too cold/icy to cycle out of doors until mid April.

I don’t want to “burn out” /tire of turbo training by Christmas. I have used a coach some years ago - big disappointment as I felt I “detrained”, lost any speed I might have had and consequently the Quebrantahuesos gran Fondo was a tearful nightmare for me - although I did get round - with 45 mins to spare on 12 hour time limit.
Is it reasonable to hope I could get EVEN fitter given my age or should I focus on the endurance side of things - and if so - how?

All thoughts welcome! I may also ring a SUFF coach but it would be great to hear what others think!
Thanks - Liz

1 Like

Wow, I’m inspired by you, just reading about this big ride trip- it sounds exciting and challenging and awesome!
I do think you can improve your fitness- overall endurance, speed, strength, everything! I don’t think age alone would hold you back. But I would recommend a customized plan so that you can have a coach optimize a training plan for YOU based on age, goals, etc. You should still be able to do and can benefit from high intensity sessions, but based on age, you may need a little more recovery time in between them than the standard plans in the SUF app provide and talking to a SUF coach at the beginning would be really valuable in accounting for that and planning your training program accordingly.
If you want to look into it more, here’s a link -

Best of luck and please post an update sharing your experience from such a cool bike trip!


Also, there are rides by Mike Cotty that are included as part of the Sufferfest Subscription that can give you an IDEA of what you are getting into. I agree that a Custom Plan is definitely the way to go with this effort as well.