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Old 05-14-07, 02:38 PM   #1
DRLski
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What gives?

I'm giving it all I've got to train myself out of cat 4 but performance wise I'm not where I should be...this is my third year racing, last year I was getting dropped in almost every race, this year I just finished my third race of the season this past weekend. My first two races (Marblehead and Sturbridge) I did fairly well, missed the split in Marblehead and finished in the second group but I finished strong and placed in the middle. Sturbridge I felt even better, got a top 25 (which is good for me) and I probably could have even done a bit better in the sprint. This past weekend at Sterling things did not go well, I'm obviously improving because last year as a cat 5 I only made it a lap until I got dropped but nonetheless this year as a cat 4, four laps in I got dropped (at the beginning of the fourth). For those of you who know this race I made it up the finish line hill without a problem but burned through more energy than I had realized to stay with the group, then on the second hill or false flat immediately after I completely lost it at the base and blew right out the back. I finished the remaining laps and got all 40 miles in but I'm having a hard time understanding what I'm doing wrong. All I can think of is that I should have tried to get closer to the front so I'd have more time to recover however trying to get myself further up there would have taken up just as much energy.

Currently I'm riding mostly solo with a few group rides thrown in, I'm putting in 14-15hrs per week, getting plenty of recovery time when I need it, I'm climbing like crazy, losing weight, my life basically revolves around training. I don't really know what else to do. I'm racing Sunapee this upcoming weekend and am afraid that it's going to be dejavu. Suggestions?
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Old 05-14-07, 02:41 PM   #2
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more groups rides and more racing. it sounds like your fitness is progressing but you just need more race experience.
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Old 05-14-07, 02:41 PM   #3
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EPO?? well its a suggestion.
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Old 05-14-07, 02:44 PM   #4
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I'm in the camp of no more than one group ride per week and it should be a hammerfest ride. What kind of riding do you do solo? Is it steady riding or do you do interval work?

--Steve
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Old 05-14-07, 02:46 PM   #5
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1) Get a personal trainer. Not one from a gym, one that specializes in coaching cycling athletes. Your training time isn't effective if it isn't done properly.

2) 14-15 hours isn't much. I'm pretty sure my trainer had me doing 15-20 hour weeks when I was a 15 year old junior listed as a cat 3 track and cat 4 road.

Now that I don't even have 10 hours per week to dedicated to cycling, I don't compete anymore.
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Old 05-14-07, 02:47 PM   #6
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2) 14-15 hours isn't much.
14-15 hours if used wisely is PLENTY for Cat4 crits and road races.

--Steve
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Old 05-14-07, 02:48 PM   #7
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Would you describe in more detail what is happening when you get dropped and just prior to that? I'm a relatively new racer (did 10 races last year) and am racing again this season. Last year I felt awful in crits the entire time. I'd get dropped so early on it was embarassing so I won't even say. This year I've felt pretty good at teh start, have ridden smarter and found that things feel a lot easier. Maybe this is partly from a higher FTP. anyhoo, I do fine until there is a HUGE sprint (like on a prime lap) and then like switch, my legs turn off and need several minutes of recovery time. Once I'm recovered I can jump back in the pack and feel ok. It's just that frustrating sprint that I have a hard time following.
That has a bit to do with leg speed and some with needing to do more hard but short intervals.

If you could describe what is going on in more detail that would help. Do you feel like crap the entire time? Or are you ok until there is a big speed surge or something else?
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Old 05-14-07, 02:54 PM   #8
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Make sure you're doing some intensity.

14-15 hrs is too much in my opinion. You're likely to be taking enough of an edge off your strength that it's killing your intensity training. I'm doing fine on 6 hours, but I would probably be doing 8-10 if I had my druthers. Stay fresh so your intensity training can be intense. Sprint or 1-minute interval workouts shouldn't take more than 90 minutes -- and they're usually 50 minutes for me.
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Old 05-14-07, 02:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by zimbo
I'm in the camp of no more than one group ride per week and it should be a hammerfest ride. What kind of riding do you do solo? Is it steady riding or do you do interval work?

--Steve
mostly steady riding with some TTing mixed in. Most of my interval work is done trying to keep up with traffic while commuting to work.
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Old 05-14-07, 02:59 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
Make sure you're doing some intensity.

14-15 hrs is too much in my opinion. You're likely to be taking enough of an edge off your strength that it's killing your intensity training. I'm doing fine on 6 hours, but I would probably be doing 8-10 if I had my druthers. Stay fresh so your intensity training can be intense. Sprint or 1-minute interval workouts shouldn't take more than 90 minutes -- and they're usually 50 minutes for me.
so, I've got 14-15hrs isn't enough and that it's too much. I'm putting that much in right now just because I figured I need to get the miles in my legs as last year I felt my endurance was seriously lacking.
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Old 05-14-07, 03:00 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
Would you describe in more detail what is happening when you get dropped and just prior to that? I'm a relatively new racer (did 10 races last year) and am racing again this season. Last year I felt awful in crits the entire time. I'd get dropped so early on it was embarassing so I won't even say. This year I've felt pretty good at teh start, have ridden smarter and found that things feel a lot easier. Maybe this is partly from a higher FTP. anyhoo, I do fine until there is a HUGE sprint (like on a prime lap) and then like switch, my legs turn off and need several minutes of recovery time. Once I'm recovered I can jump back in the pack and feel ok. It's just that frustrating sprint that I have a hard time following.
That has a bit to do with leg speed and some with needing to do more hard but short intervals.

If you could describe what is going on in more detail that would help. Do you feel like crap the entire time? Or are you ok until there is a big speed surge or something else?
I can recover quickly and feel pretty good during most of the race, it's when we have these long stretches of high speed or climbing that I can't get any recovery in at all and my HR is pinned to the max.
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Old 05-14-07, 03:22 PM   #12
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Riding to work is not training. You need to do drills that specifically address the areas in which you need improvement. Miles are just miles and are fine for recreation if that's how you wan to spend your time. But drills will make you stronger, faster, improve your endurance and shorten your recovery period. A commute is no place to try and execute drills. Tons of books out there on performance training. Sounds like you need to get some max effort -jump sprint type drills. But its up to you to identify what you need and ho to go about it.
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Old 05-14-07, 04:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterrockets
Make sure you're doing some intensity.

14-15 hrs is too much in my opinion.
+1. Our races are so short. 15 hours is probably about right for base phase. But when your in season, and your goal is doing well in 45minute +5 crits, and 35 mile road races, 15 hours may be counter productive, if its keeping you from doing really quality work when you're doing your hard intervals.

I'd focus on quality over quantity.
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Old 05-14-07, 04:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by curiouskid55
Riding to work is not training. You need to do drills that specifically address the areas in which you need improvement. Miles are just miles and are fine for recreation if that's how you wan to spend your time. But drills will make you stronger, faster, improve your endurance and shorten your recovery period. A commute is no place to try and execute drills. Tons of books out there on performance training. Sounds like you need to get some max effort -jump sprint type drills. But its up to you to identify what you need and ho to go about it.
Depends on how you ride to work, and what your commute is like. Commuting in an suburban to urban environment can be a great fartlek workout. If your commute has a bunch of stop lights and signs, may not be the best place to do 20 LT threshold intervals, but it can be great for shorter intervals, and chasing and motor pacing cars can be great motiviation and training.
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Old 05-14-07, 05:41 PM   #15
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Sure its possible. On surface streets in Socal survival is prime directive. I need to concentrate to get anything out of training. But I dont mean to discourage anyone . Just suggesting if possible to budget specific riding time for drills.
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Old 05-14-07, 08:01 PM   #16
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an old wise cat 1 once told me, 'the biggest problem with new racers is they go too easy when its time to go hard and too hard when its time to go easy'. Ive seen a lot of guys who ride a lot but never go hard enough, and get dropped in races.

You should be doing rides with the cat 2s in town and trying not to get dropped, I promise it will make you stronger.
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Old 05-14-07, 08:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waterrockets
Make sure you're doing some intensity.

14-15 hrs is too much in my opinion. You're likely to be taking enough of an edge off your strength that it's killing your intensity training. I'm doing fine on 6 hours, but I would probably be doing 8-10 if I had my druthers. Stay fresh so your intensity training can be intense. Sprint or 1-minute interval workouts shouldn't take more than 90 minutes -- and they're usually 50 minutes for me.

Agreed, we have a couple of guys down here, who ride like 250 miles a week or more, and never finish a crit. Becuase they don't go hard enough often enough. 45 miles a day at 21mph doesn't help you go 28mph for 60 min. Hard Hard (think pain, nasuea, tunnel vision etc..) training makes for easier racing, well until the end of course.
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Old 05-14-07, 08:13 PM   #18
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I'm usually top 10 so far this year in my cat 4 races, and honestly probably average about 5 hours of saddle time a week, including races.
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Old 05-14-07, 08:16 PM   #19
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an old wise cat 1 once told me, 'the biggest problem with new racers is they go too easy when its time to go hard and too hard when its time to go easy'. Ive seen a lot of guys who ride a lot but never go hard enough, and get dropped in races.

You should be doing rides with the cat 2s in town and trying not to get dropped, I promise it will make you stronger.
^+1 -last year i was getting dropped in the 4s and this year i've gotten 2 top-tens in my first few races just by riding with the strong dudes on the weekends and doing a variety of intervals tues and thurs (sometimes 3-5min efforts, sometimes sprints, sometimes TTs...depending on what races are coming up), taking monday off, doing a long(ish) easy ride wednesday, and short easy spin on friday.....my weekly hours add up to about 13.

i'm not sure if what i'm doing is 'ideal' for in-season training, and the week before races i do intervals on tuesday and 1-2 hour easy rides the rest of the week (with some efforts the day before race day to 'open-up' my legs).

while it seems i'm in the same boat as you, i'm maybe one-step closer to cat 3....i get frustrated with my training as well, but this year, since adding more intensity i'm getting some real results.
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Old 05-14-07, 08:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRLski
I can recover quickly and feel pretty good during most of the race, it's when we have these long stretches of high speed or climbing that I can't get any recovery in at all and my HR is pinned to the max.
If those are your problem areas, here are my suggestions:

1) obviously, work on those two problem areas.
2) be at the front when the speed picks up and the climbs start. then, let yourself drift back through the pack. Not to the very back, but basically enough so that you've kept a good hard effort but you haven't killed yourself. Then when it gets back to the slow or flatter sections, you still have something left to move back up.

I also feel like I need to echo some other poster's thoughts on commuting. A 30 minute ride in to work, and 30 minute ride back, are not training. A 10 minute warmup, 15 minute interval and a 5 minute cool down are not going to help you get the results you want.

In high school, I ran to school (3 miles) a couple days a week to loosen up my legs, but it wasn't part of my official in-season training program and I didn't count it in my weekly mileage total. Just like cycling, that short of an effort isn't enough to really count for much in terms of long term improvement. It simply got me ready for the afternoon workout.
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Old 05-14-07, 09:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke of Kent
If those are your problem areas, here are my suggestions:

1) obviously, work on those two problem areas.
2) be at the front when the speed picks up and the climbs start. then, let yourself drift back through the pack. Not to the very back, but basically enough so that you've kept a good hard effort but you haven't killed yourself. Then when it gets back to the slow or flatter sections, you still have something left to move back up.

I also feel like I need to echo some other poster's thoughts on commuting. A 30 minute ride in to work, and 30 minute ride back, are not training. A 10 minute warmup, 15 minute interval and a 5 minute cool down are not going to help you get the results you want.

In high school, I ran to school (3 miles) a couple days a week to loosen up my legs, but it wasn't part of my official in-season training program and I didn't count it in my weekly mileage total. Just like cycling, that short of an effort isn't enough to really count for much in terms of long term improvement. It simply got me ready for the afternoon workout.
Thanks for the advice.

As far as the commuting goes, my commute is 20mi each way, so I can get in an hour of training in twice a day doing this.
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Old 05-14-07, 09:42 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke of Kent
If those are your problem areas, here are my suggestions:

1) obviously, work on those two problem areas.
2) be at the front when the speed picks up and the climbs start. then, let yourself drift back through the pack. Not to the very back, but basically enough so that you've kept a good hard effort but you haven't killed yourself. Then when it gets back to the slow or flatter sections, you still have something left to move back up.

I also feel like I need to echo some other poster's thoughts on commuting. A 30 minute ride in to work, and 30 minute ride back, are not training. A 10 minute warmup, 15 minute interval and a 5 minute cool down are not going to help you get the results you want.

In high school, I ran to school (3 miles) a couple days a week to loosen up my legs, but it wasn't part of my official in-season training program and I didn't count it in my weekly mileage total. Just like cycling, that short of an effort isn't enough to really count for much in terms of long term improvement. It simply got me ready for the afternoon workout.
20 minute commutes are the majority of the riding I do, and barring mechanical problems, I've finished in the top half of all eleven cat 4 race I've entered this season. Frequently top 10. I usually commute super hard, sometimes harder than a race. I have no doubt I get a fitness benefit from this.
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Old 05-14-07, 09:47 PM   #23
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I would have to echo the 'quality over quantity' sentiment. I would probably cut your volume back quite a bit, while raising the intensity by a commensurate amount. You can do a lot of things, from hill repeats to 2x20's, to motor-pacing, to group rides. But the bottom line for you right now should be to get a lot of threshold work in every week while also allowing for recovery.

Let's say you're quite ambitious for a Cat 4 and you want to put in 4 hours of threshold per week. That is a lot for a Cat 4 IMO. You would still have 11 hours of riding on top of your threshold work! I don't think it's sufficient recovery.

I speak from personal experience. In my first couple of years I stacked on the miles, usually doing 15 to 20 hours of riding per week. I didn't progress, and didn't do well. This year I cut back on the volume, but radically increased my intensity. I've really progressed and am much stronger.

It's hard for guys to understand that 'less can be more'. From what I understand, you are improving slightly doing what you're doing. I think you'd improve much more if you actually did a little less in total time, but used the time in a very focussed and intense manner.
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Old 05-14-07, 11:11 PM   #24
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try and race every weekend. Whether it's to get dropped or finish last, you'll gain fitness quicker than going solo.
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Old 05-14-07, 11:34 PM   #25
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try and race every weekend. Whether it's to get dropped or finish last, you'll gain fitness quicker than going solo.
+1

There are some things that are really hard to duplicate in solo training. Besides, by trying a lot of different things you will learn what your strengths and weaknesses are.
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