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  1. #1
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    Need some racing/training advice

    Had my second crit race yesterday. I finished this time but I lost the pack about 20 minutes in. I did notice during my warm up my heart rate was higher than usual starting off(150). During the entire race I felt like I was red lining at 180. Is this a need for more interval training or just a lack of a good aerobic base?

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    Senior Member Wylde06's Avatar
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    What kind of training are you doing now?

    My first year of racing, it took me the entire year to not get dropped..but I just did a lot of riding that year and didn't really "train". Just keep going back and eventually you will be finishing with the group.

    And fwiw, my heart rate tends to run high in races. I pretty much ignore it.

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    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by briandelmo View Post
    Is this a need for more interval training or just a lack of a good aerobic base?
    Yes.

    Visit The C-Blog : the blog about cycling.

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    I ride a lot. Sometimes easy sometimes hard. Try to get at least 1 interval session a week in the form of hill repeats.

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by briandelmo View Post
    Had my second crit race yesterday. I finished this time but I lost the pack about 20 minutes in. I did notice during my warm up my heart rate was higher than usual starting off(150). During the entire race I felt like I was red lining at 180. Is this a need for more interval training or just a lack of a good aerobic base?
    It's not possible to say what your HR says without knowing where you typically run during various efforts. 180 might be high for you, or it might not. If I'm in good form and working hard in a crit, a heart rate in the low to mid 180's is pretty normal for me. For others, that would be extremely high. It's when I get into the low to mid 190's that I'm really ragged. But being in the 190s doesn't necessarily mean that I'm about to get dropped, and sometimes I'm really suffering with a HR in the low 180s. Because heart rate is highly variable based on fitness, fatigue, hydration, time of day, the phase of the moon, whatever, it's not enough by itself to explain why you are struggling.

    Chances are good that you could use both better overall fitness and some more interval training. Pack skills could be a factor as well. Do you tend to get dropped during accelerations? In corners? How many hours per week of training are you doing? It also depends on what you're doing with those hours. If you're doing a few hill intervals once a week but otherwise cruising around for a couple hours with no real structure, you probably aren't doing a whole lot to stress the physiological systems that you need to train.
    The Workingman's Honest Bicycle Program - Heady talk about bikes, bike racing, bike racers and bike riding. standarddouble.com/whbp

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    Quote Originally Posted by briandelmo View Post
    Had my second crit race yesterday. I finished this time but I lost the pack about 20 minutes in. I did notice during my warm up my heart rate was higher than usual starting off(150). During the entire race I felt like I was red lining at 180. Is this a need for more interval training or just a lack of a good aerobic base?
    If you get dropped you should have zero left. Finishing a crit isn't an accomplishment by itself, finishing in the field is.

    I did a series of posts, mainly for my teammates, but for everyone in the B race at the local Tues night worlds. This is how pretty much all new racers should approach a race, the sticky thread at the top of the forum notwithstanding. For all intents and purposes every race for a new racer is a training race. Only when things start getting familiar etc can a race become something more than that.
    Sprinter della Casa: Racing - Approaching A Training Race

    Sprinter della Casa: Tactics - Get Lapped Less Than 4 Times
    "If you're getting shelled from the race, THERE IS NO REST OF THE RACE! Your race is done, over, finished. You're no longer racing, and in fact, if I'm shelled on a Tuesday race, I'll sometimes do some laps but I get on the sidewalk or in the parking spaces when the field rolls by me, because my race ended when I got shelled.

    So don't focus on saving yourself for the rest of the race that isn't a race. Go all in while you're in the race. I'd actually say that if you can keep pedaling after you get shelled then you didn't try hard enough before you got shelled."

    Sprinter della Casa: Tactics - Out of Position Regarding Wind

    Sprinter della Casa: Tactics - Cornering

    Sprinter della Casa: Tactics - Struggling With Peak Speeds

    The race after the series of posts, which unfortunately got cut short due to rain:
    Sprinter della Casa: Racing - CCAP Tuesday Night Race, May 27, 2014
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

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    Also on HR, as grolby pointed out it's relative to yourself. What's normal for you?

    For me 100-110 is normal at the start. If I warm up (not normal) then it's 110-120 I think. During a race 155-165, 170 and I'm in trouble.

    The biggest thing that newer racers can do to race better is to learn and practice drafting better. A close second is optimizing position on the bike, although the returns are less significant.

    Drafting gives you exponentially more speed for a given power output, meaning if you draft well you can go significantly faster for a given power output. I typically do 140-160w training rides, doing 15-17 mph. My last ride was 15 mph, 140w, almost 3 hours and just 41 miles covered.

    I've done well in Cat 3 and M45 races averaging not much more power than that, like 160-180w, but averaging 25-26 mph. +20 watts, +9 mph. That's a huge difference. If I were solo at 160w I'd have been lapped numerous times. In the group, drafting, I'm in contention for the win.

    You can optimize position and gain quite a bit of speed for a given wattage, but on a mass start road bike it's not the same kind of benefit, i.e. 20w won't give me 9 mph.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

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    I mainly get dropped in the accelerations. Im training about 6-10 hours a week but a lot of it is no real structure. I was trying to find a coach but one doesnt really fit into my budget. I just got a new job that will give me an extra day to train. 180bpm is almost maxed out for me. Thats pretty much my heart rate on hill intervals that last about 1:10 to 1:30

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    You don't need a coach, just get the "cyclist's training bible" book and start there. Or google "cycling intervals" for free.

    Keep racing and eventually it'll get easier.
    cat 1.

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    You just sort of need everything. Borrow/read/look up a training plan, try to follow it for real. Find a fast group ride and try to do it regularly, to practice conserving energy in a paceline and cornering smoothly without having to accelerate back on afterwards. You won't know what specifics you need to work on until you've spent some time working on everything.

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by briandelmo View Post
    I mainly get dropped in the accelerations. Im training about 6-10 hours a week but a lot of it is no real structure. I was trying to find a coach but one doesnt really fit into my budget. I just got a new job that will give me an extra day to train. 180bpm is almost maxed out for me. Thats pretty much my heart rate on hill intervals that last about 1:10 to 1:30
    When you say 6-10 hours a week, are you limited to an hour or so a day, or are there some days when you can spend more time riding?
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    If you get dropped you should have zero left. Finishing a crit isn't an accomplishment by itself, finishing in the field is.


    So don't focus on saving yourself for the rest of the race that isn't a race. Go all in while you're in the race. I'd actually say that if you can keep pedaling after you get shelled then you didn't try hard enough before you got shelled."
    agree with the first statement, very much disagree with the second.

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by briandelmo View Post
    intervals that last about 1:10 to 1:30

    keep doing those. google training plans, but I think better advice is to google training philosophy for endurance competition and learn how your body works. once you know what you're trying to get (adaptation), there's a million ideas on how to best (fastest) get there, but just about all those ideas will work if you stick to them long enough.

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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    When you say 6-10 hours a week, are you limited to an hour or so a day, or are there some days when you can spend more time riding?
    There will be now with my new job. Ill only be working 5 days a week instead of 6. If I plan my days right I can get about 2 hours of training per day and on my days off 4+.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    keep doing those. google training plans, but I think better advice is to google training philosophy for endurance competition and learn how your body works. once you know what you're trying to get (adaptation), there's a million ideas on how to best (fastest) get there, but just about all those ideas will work if you stick to them long enough.
    I come from a triathlon background so Im used to slower longer stuff. I just dont have that high intensity efforts down. I thought maybe road races might suit me better than crits, but that seems unlikely

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    gmt Grumpy McTrumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by briandelmo View Post
    I did notice during my warm up my heart rate was higher than usual starting off(150).
    nerves.

    race more and relax, or at least tell yourself to relax.

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by briandelmo View Post
    I mainly get dropped in the accelerations. Im training about 6-10 hours a week but a lot of it is no real structure. I was trying to find a coach but one doesnt really fit into my budget. I just got a new job that will give me an extra day to train. 180bpm is almost maxed out for me. Thats pretty much my heart rate on hill intervals that last about 1:10 to 1:30
    If you can't afford a coach, and lots of us can't, The Cyclist's Training Bible is a very good place to start.

    Also, 6-10 hours is a very wide range. As a general rule, JRA without structure penalizes you less the more hours you do (this is why some people conclude, wrongly, that in order to be fast they need to do 20 hour weeks). If you're regularly doing 10 hours - which I doubt - you might be able to hang on even if you're not paying much attention to structured training. If you're normally doing more like 6, a lack of attention to what kind of riding you are doing and when is going to leave you pretty screwed.

    Most of us with limited time to train (right now I'm at about 8.5 hours if everything goes perfectly) do our shorter, more focused sessions on weekdays with longer workouts on the weekend. That gives you a pretty good mix of what most of us need while not stressing our schedules too much. Higher intensity in the shorter sessions, with more aerobic engine work in the longer ones. A pretty common structure is to have Monday and either Thursday or Friday as a rest day, with the other days as workout days. It's important not to try to compensate for a lack of hours during the week with a marathon session on one day. That is, if you're getting maybe four hours during the week from two 1.5 hour and one 1 hour workout and you decide to push yourself up to 10 hours by doing a 2 hour ride on Saturday and a 4 hour ride on Sunday, that's not likely to work out so great as a training strategy. You'd probably be better off doing 8 hours and not wasting yourself on one day.

    I'm sure people will quibble with what I'm saying there, but I'm not even trying to give you "training 101" here, more like the high school calculus prep session to get you an idea of the kind of material you're going to be exposed to later. Get the Training Bible and read it a good couple of times and you'll start to get some idea of what training aims to accomplish, and how to put something basic together.
    The Workingman's Honest Bicycle Program - Heady talk about bikes, bike racing, bike racers and bike riding. standarddouble.com/whbp

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    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by briandelmo View Post
    There will be now with my new job. Ill only be working 5 days a week instead of 6. If I plan my days right I can get about 2 hours of training per day and on my days off 4+.



    I come from a triathlon background so Im used to slower longer stuff. I just dont have that high intensity efforts down. I thought maybe road races might suit me better than crits, but that seems unlikely
    This is the experience of a lot of ex-triathletes, myself included. I could motor along at a steady effort all day, but after a few accelerations or getting out into the wind, I'd pop. You are going to have to start doing high intensity intervals. See the aforementioned Training Bible or the myriad sources online.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    If you get dropped you should have zero left. Finishing a crit isn't an accomplishment by itself, finishing in the field is.

    So don't focus on saving yourself for the rest of the race that isn't a race. Go all in while you're in the race. I'd actually say that if you can keep pedaling after you get shelled then you didn't try hard enough before you got shelled."
    Quote Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
    agree with the first statement, very much disagree with the second.
    I should have a disclaimer that my advice is meant for newer racers. My general observation is that newer racers will hold back some set of reserves during a race, or find such reserves once they're dropped. That's not the best way to learn how to race. A Cat 5 that gets shelled 10 minutes into a race and time trials for 30 minutes really shouldn't get a finish result, or at least they should get credit for racing 10 minutes, not 40. Plodding around the course solo is not teaching the racer much of anything useful. Yes, it teaches suffering, but if the racer is strong enough to time trial at a reasonable pace they should have been able to hang in the field.

    If newer racers have certain "rules" in their head it generally helps them. They can use judgment to break those rules. For me some of my "rules" I pretty much follow. I'm almost always on the drops in a race (except on hills). I'm 100% spent when I get dropped. Etc.

    For crits for a new racer I stand by the second statement. It may not apply if, say, it's a long RR and a not-so-good climber is coming off on a hill but there are 30 miles of flat terrain before the finish. May not apply in a crit if there's a chase group gaining. Etc.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  19. #19
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Also the workout sticky and Training and Racing with a Power Meter for workout ideas. The latter has HR targets based on LTHR.

    You our sound like the classic triathlete that wants to go bike racing. Your experience is the rule not the exception. Don't feel bad.

    You our will need to do the following. Test. Set zones. Set a preliminary racing schedule. Pick workouts that reduce Z1-Z3 and add Z4-Z6. You will also need to add rest. Race as much as you can. Listen to your body and don't be a slave to your workout regimen.

    You didn't say if you are going to continue to train for triathlons. If so that's a whole nother ball game.

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    CDR I like your coaching style.

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    I'm done with triathlons. I have no interest in swimming or running anymore. Also I was with another guy for the rest of the race. Took turns pulling and I worked on cornering at speeds. I figured they were going to pull us but they didn't. I guess with a 4 mile loop we weren't in danger of being passed by the other categories.

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    Senior Member aaronmcd's Avatar
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    ^ Idk, I did a cicuit race last month, 4.3 mile loops. The one pro who showed up lapped the rest of the field solo while I was off the front.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    CDR I like your coaching style.
    I'm putting you down as a reference.

    Actually I have to ask you what you mean as I don't know what I said above that's "good".
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    This.

    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    I should have a disclaimer that my advice is meant for newer racers. My general observation is that newer racers will hold back some set of reserves during a race, or find such reserves once they're dropped. That's not the best way to learn how to race. A Cat 5 that gets shelled 10 minutes into a race and time trials for 30 minutes really shouldn't get a finish result, or at least they should get credit for racing 10 minutes, not 40. Plodding around the course solo is not teaching the racer much of anything useful. Yes, it teaches suffering, but if the racer is strong enough to time trial at a reasonable pace they should have been able to hang in the field.

    If newer racers have certain "rules" in their head it generally helps them. They can use judgment to break those rules. For me some of my "rules" I pretty much follow. I'm almost always on the drops in a race (except on hills). I'm 100% spent when I get dropped. Etc.

    For crits for a new racer I stand by the second statement. It may not apply if, say, it's a long RR and a not-so-good climber is coming off on a hill but there are 30 miles of flat terrain before the finish. May not apply in a crit if there's a chase group gaining. Etc.

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