Training to climb the Stelvio!

Hello. I’m going to Italy in September to climb the Stelvio and Gavia passes. Everything was going well until I got covid in mid June. Almost a month later, I feel like I’m 90 to 95 %. I’m setting PRs left and right on short climbs (5 to 15 minutes). But I have a longer climb that is basically 1/3 of the Stelvio, and I faded badly at the end of that climb. That led me to buy the ‘Climbing Intervals - Intermediate’ plan. It looks great and I’m excited to get started. But my typical routine is to do my “1/3 Stelvio” climb every Saturday morning and build back up to doing that 3 times (Front - Back - Front). Any thoughts on adapting the plan to my specific goals, and/or suggestions for longer intervals would be greatly appreciated.

p.s. I’ve been up the Stelvio once, but I took a lunch break halfway up. The goal is to do it without stopping. I’ve never done Gavia.

Sounds like a really great adventure! Good luck and enjoy.

As far as training, a climb that takes that long is going to take more aerobic fitness. So you should really focus on sweet spot training. Not sure what the terrain is like around the climb you use but you could also just ride to the climb at a hard pace and finish with the climb. This one it is like one big effort. You really want an effort that is a similar duration at the 2 - 3 week prior range. We call this normally a simulation workout. Just a run down of the effort you will be doing.

However it is also very beneficial to do intervals that add up to the same duration, like you have been doing with riding the climb 3 times back to back to back. Here you want to ride the climb at a pace that you can maintain for all 3 times. This is basically your Saturday climbing workout, along with making it into a longer effort if you can with riding to the climb at a pace you want to hold for the entire climb.

But bottom line is just FtFP. Really is as simple as follow the plan. If you follow the plan you will get faster and stronger. Just remember when you get there that you will have to pace the climb! Know what you are capable of holding for that duration. Take in account altitude as well. Get familiar with heart rate and perceived exertion. Most likely it shouldn’t feel hard at the bottom of the climb.

Jake, thanks for this great information! I’m starting today on the 6 week training plan and I’ll follow it to a T. I’ll definitely report back. Much appreciated!

Just back from Bormio at the weekend where we did Stelvio and also Gavia both sides. Altitude had a big impact for me.

Gavia from the south is stunning. Even if you do it from the North make sure to drop down the other side for a km and get photos. Very very steep in parts from south and there is a nasty 500m pitch black tunnel so lights required if going up from south (also an option to hike the rocky old road around it) .


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Thanks for that tip!!! A double ascent is beyond me at this point, but I can certainly take a break/get some calories at the top and drop down the other side a few KMs. I’ll make that my goal.