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Scott-SRAM team heading down a meadow biking [Swiss Epic]

Training Secrets from the Most Successful Team Manager in Mountain Biking

By Epic Series, 06/27/18, 4:00PM HST


Scott-SRAM’s Thomas Frischknecht, or Frischi as he is affectionately known, is the man behind one of the most successful mountain bike outfits in recent years

Scott-SRAM’s Thomas Frischknecht, or Frischi as he is affectionately known, is the man behind one of the most successful mountain bike outfits in recent years. He’s also claimed a host of silverware himself, including multiple world championships, an Olympic silver medal and an Absa Cape Epic title too, in the mixed category. Naturally, Frischi’s got a wealth of knowledge to impart – especially when it comes to preparing for an Epic stage race. Here are his top 12 secrets.

Scott-SRAM team heading down a trail in a meadow

The number one golden rule for success at a mountain bike stage race is functioning as a team: you’re only as fast as your partner. It’s important to be realistic about your goals and remember it’s all about having as much fun as possible. Respect your partner. Riding a stage race is a lot like a week-long marriage but under very rough circumstances. Sooner or later every team will have some kind of crisis so it’s important to be prepared for this moment.

Look at the route profile before the race. It’s good to have an idea of how much climbing is involved and how long the stages are but always remember that the riders make the race – sometimes an easy stage can feel much harder than the profile suggests because of the pace. Finding the right pace is the secret.

Long endurance rides. This is one type of workout that makes the biggest gains in training. While these types of rides are time consuming, it teaches you the importance of how to pace yourself. It’s also very helpful to invest in a week-long training camp where you can train day after day.

Preparation should be a big part of the experience and you should enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy training for the race, you won’t enjoy the race itself. Make sure you spend some time taking in the beauty of the surroundings when you’re training for the Perskindol Swiss Epic.

Acquiring mountain biking skills comes from practicing. Ride as many demanding trails as possible. Stepping out of your comfort zone will improve your confidence, especially when tackling technical trails.

The Perskindol Swiss Epic might be shorter than the Absa Cape Epic but it has more climbing and descending. It’s good to train on longer climbs if possible and it’s necessary to optimise your riding skills for the descents.

It’s all about pacing, especially on longer climbs. Finding the right pace, which is usually slower than most think, is key to managing long climbs.

I’ve never considered altitude to be a critical issue. Sure, the air is pretty thin at the highest points of the Perskindol Swiss Epic but unless you have three weeks to spend training at altitude you have to accept it for what it is… Travelling, has more of an impact on performance than altitude.

I prefer training outside with my mates than indoors on the trainer. This is how you can challenge each other while still having fun. But at the end of the day it’s also about spending as much time as possible on the bike. That said, you can always schedule in some shorter intense sessions on the rollers if time is an issue.

The secret to recovery is refueling, especially after a hard stage or training session. Sometimes this is difficult as some riders battle to eat after a stage but it’s advisable to start eating immediately – and keep your portions small. Thankfully, the Perskindol Swiss Epic offers a superb massage service which is awesome for recovery. In addition, taking an ice bath in the rivers and streams is highly advisable, too.

On-the-bike nutrition is just as important as the training itself. It’s good to keep a time table for feeding but it’s different for everyone. The moment you get hungry on the bike it’s too late. I would begin eating 30 minutes after the start and keep taking in small amounts every 30 minutes.

It’s about knowing your body and feeling when you need a break. Often a day of recovery helps more than an extra workout. Never do too much but always make sure what you do is done right.

Dominic Barnardt
Greg Beadle
Mark Sampson
Cape Epic