Chapter 1: Preparing in Namibia

Victor Campenaerts is going to break the World Hour Record, timed by Tissot
Namibia, not your everyday cycling destination. But exactly the place where Victor Campenaerts spent his time preparing for his World Hour Record (timed by Tissot) attempt on April 16 or 17. Not just for the exotics, the European ITT champ had some very specific reasons to choose that spot for his training camp. “Definitely not the best spot for the average cyclist to train!” This yells for an explanation.
Roads in Namibia are mostly flat and not omnipresent. There is almost no option to ride in tours, except if you would plan to exceed 500K. When riding from A to B, you have a turning point at the end and you ride back to where you started. Pretty boring? “At home I often ride alongside the canal on straight roads, so I’m used to that. And it’s not so bad for time trial intervals. The advantage is that you’re immediately at home when you return from training. So, no extra effort needed there.”

Regardless of these circumstances Victor chose Namibia on purpose. The Lotto Soudal rider still has a good contact with the team coach from his previous Dutch team, Lotto-Jumbo. He was the man who guided Victor to the southern African country. The local training resort is also used by Dutch triathletes and according to his previous coach the facilities are in excellent conditions.
Geographically Namibia provided a couple of specific advantages. The attempt in April will be held in Aguascalientes, Mexico. The race track is located at 1800m above sea level. With 1730m Namibia provided a comparable height, however… “The height wasn’t the major advantage. It’s enough to improve your performance, but 2200-2400m would have been better. However, I didn’t want to isolate myself on a mountain or having to train in the snow.” It’s still early in the cycling season, so on the mental part there should stay space for his other challenges in 2019.
Talking about the weather, the local temperature in Namibia is perfect to prepare for what Victor will face in the Americas. Having trained for two months in 35°C, Victor has been able to improve his body heath control. This biological adaptation will play an important role in his performance. “Thanks to having trained in 35°C I have increased my blood volume and blood plasma which will improve the oxygen flow to my muscles and ultimately my performance. Thanks to this preparation I’ll be comfortable in those circumstances.”
To top it off, Namibia is located in almost the same time zone as Belgium which excluded jet lags and having to adapt to local time. Summing things up Namibia has proven to be the ideal training ground for Campenaerts to break the World Hour Record, timed by Tissot. “I didn’t start this challenge to fail.”

The next in-depth blog will be released on Friday and will focus on the importance of core stability and yoga for time trialists.