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  1. #1
    Senior Member tbdean's Avatar
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    How much time weekly to race?

    So, this other thread (I'll hit 9000 miles...) got me thinking, how much time are you guys dedicating per week to riding?

    I raced velo in High School and loved it. I'm 29 now and I toy with the idea of racing again all the time. But I'm only riding 1 hour a day, M - F. Would I be blown away in a CAT 5 race?

    How much time does the average CAT 4/5 racer spend riding? Not the die hard junkie, just someone out there for some fun.

  2. #2
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i do 8-10 hours a week and rode decently as a cat 5 this whole summer. now that i'm a cat 4 i'm still figuring out how much more i need. probably not a whole lot more to tell you the truth.

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    I am a CAT 5 and have done OK with my main workouts being a 25 minute ride to and from work everyday, as well as usually trying to get in at least one 40 mile training ride a week and some short riding on the weekends. I usually try to alternate the work ride days hard to recovery pace and always ride the long ride hard.

    The thing I have noticed more then anything else is that the shorter the race, usually the better I do. I would think this is because your body will adapt to what you ask it to do most, and will suffer if the races that you do are nothing like your training. So for me, racing track is definately the best (I can win and get top 3s regularly), crits and flat road races are OK (usually top 10, never get dropped), and hilly road races are the worst (have been dropped).

    So bottom line, you can probabaly do OK in a CAT 5 race riding an hour a day, but make sure that you make those rides real hard, with recovery days of course. Also, since you are probabaly going to do best at shorter events, make sure you do a lot of sprinting and intervals in that hour, since that is the primary fitness needed to hang in a short race.

  4. #4
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    depends on what events your doing, but if it's 45-60 minute crits, and 90 minute to 2 hour road races, 10 hours a week is really enough. Honestly, I think 9,000 miles by August would be counterproductive for most people doing Cat 3-5 races in the US. Rides over 3 hours or so aren't going to make you a faster crit rider, and putting in a ton of long miles is going to decrease the intensity of the really hard workouts.

    IMHO, about 12-15 hours would be ideal (perhaps a little more if you're a Cat 2 or above with longer events) and 8-10 hours is quite doable, if you're very focused and make all of it count.

    And to answer the OP if you can do 3, 1 hour rides during the week, One 2 hour ride Saturday, and another 1 hour ride on Sunday, you can be a competitive Cat 5, if you make all of that time count with a structured program. that would be 6 hours, and I think that's about the minimum. But 6 hours with a lot of intensity, and some well thought out focus, will beat 12 hours of hit or miss training with a lot of screwing off. When you have less time, you got to make it all count.

  5. #5
    Senior Member curiouskid55's Avatar
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    Mon. 30-40 mile recovery level ride 2 hours after work
    Tues Intervals, Hill sprints, aand aero 30-40 miles 2 hours after work
    Wed La Tuna race intensity road ride 30 miles 90 minutes after work
    Thurs Sationary drills with coach 1 hour
    Friday Off
    Sat Mullholand training ride 60 miles high intensity 3 hours
    Sun Race or easier training ride 30-60 miles 2-3 hours

    Usually around 200 miles 10-12 hours a week

  6. #6
    Gios my baby hiromian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPRoadie
    I am a CAT 5 and have done OK with my main workouts being a 25 minute ride to and from work everyday, as well as usually trying to get in at least one 40 mile training ride a week and some short riding on the weekends. I usually try to alternate the work ride days hard to recovery pace and always ride the long ride hard.

    The thing I have noticed more then anything else is that the shorter the race, usually the better I do. I would think this is because your body will adapt to what you ask it to do most, and will suffer if the races that you do are nothing like your training. So for me, racing track is definately the best (I can win and get top 3s regularly), crits and flat road races are OK (usually top 10, never get dropped), and hilly road races are the worst (have been dropped).

    So bottom line, you can probabaly do OK in a CAT 5 race riding an hour a day, but make sure that you make those rides real hard, with recovery days of course. Also, since you are probabaly going to do best at shorter events, make sure you do a lot of sprinting and intervals in that hour, since that is the primary fitness needed to hang in a short race.
    Same here mostly. My only ride is the commute to work. I have made that into my racing workout with the weekly race being the extra riding. That works out to 6 hours of riding a week as I rarely get out on the weekends. Cat 5s have tried to chew me up but I have yet to be spat out and stay in the top 8 or better so far. I did an 800 meter hill climb race and came in 23 out of 26. That was close to being spat out. I was happy anyway because the cat 4s started 10 min behind us cat 5s and none passed me.
    "Aiyah...Oh no"

  7. #7
    cmh
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    I rode 25-32 hours/month, 8 1/2 hours being my biggest week, for a total of 3500 miles so far this year. I started the season as a Cat 5, and now I am a Cat 3, doing mostly road races. I agree with merlin - if you can do 3 hour long rides during the week and a longer ride on Sat. or Sunday you can be competitive in the Cat 5 or 4s. I think the key to training on limited time is to make sure your rides are focused and are either really hard, or really easy.

  8. #8
    Dirt-riding heretic DrPete's Avatar
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    When I was setting up my TrainingPeaks account, they recommended 350-500 hours/year (6 to 12/wk) for Cat 4. I've been doing pretty well in the 5's so far on that schedule and continue to improve. Hopefully by springtime Joe Friel and co. will have me ready to be reasonably competitive in the 4's...
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  9. #9
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tbdean
    So, this other thread (I'll hit 9000 miles...) got me thinking, how much time are you guys dedicating per week to riding?

    I raced velo in High School and loved it. I'm 29 now and I toy with the idea of racing again all the time. But I'm only riding 1 hour a day, M - F. Would I be blown away in a CAT 5 race?

    How much time does the average CAT 4/5 racer spend riding? Not the die hard junkie, just someone out there for some fun.
    Here's my sample weekly schedule:

    Mon - off
    Tue - 2 Hrs incl 60 minute intense practice crit with group (3 mile lap, sprint last 200-400m of each lap)
    Wed-60 min spin class (high RPM, low resistance)
    Th - 2 hr easy ride if racing, or hill repeats if not.
    Fr - 60 min spin class - low resistance
    S - Race or long ride with several long climbs(4-5 hours)
    Sun - Easy 1-2 hour ride.

    Weekly total - About 12 hours
    I'm Cat 2, and may try to bump this up to 14-15 a week if I want to make it to Cat 1

  10. #10
    Coastal NC oneradtec's Avatar
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    I have not raced in a few years, but I became a very competitive Cat 4 by doing 10-12 hours per week.
    Some of that was club rides, some racing, and some solo miles as well. I showed up for my first club rides and was immediately dropped by the more fit riders. It took me about 8 weeks of doing this 10-12 hours to get to the point where I could finish in the main pack at the crits(not as long for road races). After about week 12, I was starting every race thinking I had a legitimate chance for the podium. I got pretty fit on 10-12 hours per week for 12 weeks and beyond. Lost a lot of weight.

    I will be returning to racing in 2007 after a long layoff. I hope to be able to put in 12-14 hours per week. My goal is to upgrade to Cat3..and to go to Master's National's for the first time for the time trial. Will do the RR and Crit if I can upgrade before the Nats. Must be a cat3 to do the Master's RR or crit. My goal is not necessarily to win the 35-39 age group...but rather to do the 40k TT in under one hour. It's going to be a tough winter for me.

    Hope this helps in some way. Good luck!

  11. #11
    Senior Member WCroadie's Avatar
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    I just started racing and ride pretty much 10-12 hrs a week. I did ok in the few races I did.

  12. #12
    Outgunned and outclassed
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    I find the time to ride about 18 hours a week as a cat. 4.

    It is utterly excesive and I could probably do better in some races with less time spent on the bike.

    I second some other comments that 6 hours a week is a good minimum and 8 should serve you perfectly if done correctly
    Patience - Consistency - Motivation

    I literally put our 9.11 watts/kg for 12 hours.

  13. #13
    Lint Picker toshi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pizza Man
    Here's my sample weekly schedule:

    Mon - off
    Tue - 2 Hrs incl 60 minute intense practice crit with group (3 mile lap, sprint last 200-400m of each lap)
    Wed-60 min spin class (high RPM, low resistance)
    Th - 2 hr easy ride if racing, or hill repeats if not.
    Fr - 60 min spin class - low resistance
    S - Race or long ride with several long climbs(4-5 hours)
    Sun - Easy 1-2 hour ride.

    Weekly total - About 12 hours
    I'm Cat 2, and may try to bump this up to 14-15 a week if I want to make it to Cat 1
    Pizza Man, just out of curiosity, does the Monday off day give your legs a chance to recover well enough to start the routine again on Tues? Or are you perennially sore for the most part? The more I train the more my legs pretty much remain torched, or vaguely torched. I assume this never really lets up so I just live with degrees of freshness.
    Last edited by toshi; 08-23-06 at 12:28 AM.

  14. #14
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toshi
    Pizza Man, just out of curiosity, does the Monday off day give your legs a chance to recover well enough to start the routine again on Tues? Or are you perennially sore for the most part? The more I train the more my legs pretty much remain torched, or vaguely torched. I assume this never really lets up so I just live with degrees of freshness.
    Usually the monday off is enough, but if I've done a long hilly race on Saturday, I still feel it Tuesday. I keep the hours roughly the same, but back off on the intensity every 4th week, which really helps keep the legs feeling fresh.

  15. #15
    Dirt-riding heretic DrPete's Avatar
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    This should all be taken with the appropriate grain of salt, i.e. that Pizza Man is a genetic freak who is capable of rising to a Cat that I'll never see in my LIFE in the span of a year.

    PM, I say this purely out of respect and admiration. Seriously.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  16. #16
    Senior Member tbdean's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, lots of useful info. I think I'll give it a shot!

  17. #17
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    yeah, no kidding...all pizza_man posts should have a disclaimer saying "results not typical".

    actually, i read in pizza's bio that he has been running for 20 years. that's gotta help a bit i'd imagine.

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    I think friel recommends taking it a bit easier every 4th week, and "tapering" before a big race.

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    There's a lot of variables in order to answer this question. How old are you? What is your beginning level of fitness? What are your strengths and weaknesses? How well/quickly do you respond to training? What kind of races will you be doing?

    I know a gifted cyclist who trains, maybe, 5 hours a week. He kicks my a$$, even though I train double that.

    Bob

  20. #20
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    ^^ agreed. Some one like Pizza can probably get away with far less training then most of us especially in the cat 4/5 field. I am a cat 4 soon to be cat 3 and I do fine on 8 - 10 hours a week. I do a training race ride every Wednesday for about 1 hour but other then that my 'training' is riding around and a commute to work.

  21. #21
    Racing iS my Training Pizza Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna
    ^^ agreed. Some one like Pizza can probably get away with far less training then most of us especially in the cat 4/5 field. I am a cat 4 soon to be cat 3 and I do fine on 8 - 10 hours a week. I do a training race ride every Wednesday for about 1 hour but other then that my 'training' is riding around and a commute to work.
    When I first started racing at Cat 4/5 I was only riding about 5-8 hours a week, but still running about 2 hours a week. Now I don't run at all and ride about 12 hours a week. It's really difficult to quantify improvement since I'm racing against faster riders now.

    Before I started riding I had been running 50-70 miles a week for many years.

  22. #22
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Here's what weekly-hours looked like when I raced:

    Collegiate D & C: 7-10 hr/wk
    USCF 4 & 3: 8-12 hr/wk
    Collegiate B & A: 9-14 hr/wk
    USCF 2: 10-20hr/wk

    Now that I'm not racing, but have been getting back into shape and losing weight for the past 1.5 years, I've been averaging about 12-20hr/wk.

    Quote Originally Posted by toshi
    Pizza Man, just out of curiosity, does the Monday off day give your legs a chance to recover well enough to start the routine again on Tues? Or are you perennially sore for the most part? The more I train the more my legs pretty much remain torched, or vaguely torched. I assume this never really lets up so I just live with degrees of freshness.
    Every other day for rest should be enough. But it depends upon your level of fitness and total volume. As you get stronger and into the racing season, you can actually get by with just 2 rest days since total miles will be lower (but with higher intensity here & there). You can pinpoint overtraining by keeping a log and seeing how you feel from week to week. If you start having chronic fatigue, weak muscles and bad attitude, it may be good to go back to 3-4 days rest/week for a while.

  23. #23
    Senior Member pedex's Avatar
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    Hmmm, either im a mutant or something is wrong somewhere. Just my job alone often means as much as 350 miles in a week doing messenger work, which works out to around 28-30 hours of saddle time in 5 days. I get weekends off but im car free and do errands and ride on weekends too, but usually keep sundays pretty light. An average week I do around 250-270 miles at work, or around 22hrs or so of saddle time. Been doing this for going on 5 years. Took about 12-13 months of this to be able to be still in good shape with my legs on fridays. This is riding SS and fixed only, and usually around 82-85 gear inches. Add to this the extra riding ive been doing for training, mostly 20-30 mile long tempo rides mixed with some intervals at and above LT to help deal with all the sprinting and stop/start I do at work. I spent about 34 hours on my bike last week. Now according to all the wisdom and posts I usually see, im dead already or something is wrong. I havent had chronic fatigue in years, heck my legs quit burning during/after long hard efforts about 4 years ago. I feel like crap if I dont ride, and 2 days off and I feel like I could probably almost snap my bike frame in half. But much more time off than that and I spend as much as a few weeks getting some of my stamina back. Im not alone either, both Nate and Davey(2 other messengers that race too) have similar numbers and we've all experienced prettymuch the same things. Nate rides more than Davey or I, and he's strong azz cat 2, and he has zero problems with the volume so he says. I know he's blazingly fast, and Davey has won like the last 8-10 alleycats here I think plus second in the world's in seattle a couple years ago.

    Im not sure what the fitness level difference is tween 10-15 hrs a week and double that, but ive noticed that I seem to be able to ride a long long way right at LT compared to the guys that dont, and ive seen Nate and Davey do the same, heck ive chased them riding with my HR redlined most of the time for more than 2 hrs in a race. Those kinds of efforts used to really drain me, enough to where the next day would suck, nowadays its really no big deal.

  24. #24
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedex
    Im not sure what the fitness level difference is tween 10-15 hrs a week and double that, but ive noticed that I seem to be able to ride a long long way right at LT compared to the guys that dont, and ive seen Nate and Davey do the same, heck ive chased them riding with my HR redlined most of the time for more than 2 hrs in a race. Those kinds of efforts used to really drain me, enough to where the next day would suck, nowadays its really no big deal.
    What you may notice when doing cat-1/2/pro races is you won't have the snap and pick-up that they do. Going from 35-45mph instantly and constantly with just 10-20s recovery in between. Doing 45-50mph sprints after 2-3 minutes of intense lead-outs. To train for those kinds of efforts, you gotta back off on some of the mileage and time. This is what the US crit racers typically do. Your current workout-schedule and conditioning may be equivalent to the European or US road-racers.

  25. #25
    starting pistol means war YMCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    What you may notice when doing cat-1/2/pro races is you won't have the snap and pick-up that they do. Going from 35-45mph instantly and constantly with just 10-20s recovery in between. Doing 45-50mph sprints after 2-3 minutes of intense lead-outs. To train for those kinds of efforts, you gotta back off on some of the mileage and time. This is what the US crit racers typically do. Your current workout-schedule and conditioning may be equivalent to the European or US road-racers.
    45-50 mph sprints? Jeesh, I've won plenty of races, never topping 40mph. You must be nudging the numbers for effect there Danno.

    Minimum hours for a rider wanting to race well and of average ability, would be 8-10 hours per week. Even racing P12's on the local level should not need more than 12 hours. Head out nationally and that will need to jump up a bit, but the avg local rider can get all they need out of the magical 12 hour mark and still have time for life.

    I am a cat1 and find I ride just about as well averaging 12 hours as I do on 25 hours. Just need to keep it consistent.

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