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Old 12-13-10, 10:22 PM   #1
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Managing breakaway / Intensity question

So this guy Erik is complaining about losing every sprint from a breakaway and this is what they suggested:

From cyclingnews.com

Scott Saifer (AKA expert) says:

"Erik, Initiating breaks is great, but once they form if you are doing more work than your companions, they're going to have more sprint left than you in the finale. If you can shake riders out of the break, you reduce the number of people who can finish in front of you, but doing that shaking is also assuring that you will come in last in the break or close to it. Something to think about.

In racing season, it sounds like you are also leaving your sprint out on the road between races. Separate your training season and your racing season. In training season, you do up to two intense days routinely per week. In racing season, the races provide the intensity and the rest of your training is recovery and maintenance.

Put simply, only one-two days per week in season do you spend more than a few minutes above 80 percent of maximum heart rate if you want to win races, and if one of those days is a race, it's the only day up there for the week."


What is your approach to intensity during and off season? I cant imagine always riding or training below 80% of my HRM and do well in any race.

Last edited by Jancouver; 12-13-10 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 12-13-10, 11:14 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jancouver View Post
So this guy Erik is complaining about losing every sprint from a breakaway and this is what they suggested:

From cyclingnews.com

Scott Saifer (AKA expert) says:

"Erik, Initiating breaks is great, but once they form if you are doing more work than your companions, they're going to have more sprint left than you in the finale. If you can shake riders out of the break, you reduce the number of people who can finish in front of you, but doing that shaking is also assuring that you will come in last in the break or close to it. Something to think about.

In racing season, it sounds like you are also leaving your sprint out on the road between races. Separate your training season and your racing season. In training season, you do up to two intense days routinely per week. In racing season, the races provide the intensity and the rest of your training is recovery and maintenance.


Put simply, only one-two days per week in season do you spend more than a few minutes above 80 percent of maximum heart rate if you want to win races, and if one of those days is a race, it's the only day up there for the week."


What is your approach to intensity during and off season? I cant imagine always riding or training below 80% of my HRM and do well in any race.


A certain someone would have hit drivels like this one opposite-field. Maybe he could now given he has the time to write to the editors.

Below is the original questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cycling News
Managing a breakaway
I have had one of my best seasons ever with many good races and good performances. However the problem is that I end up with a bunch of just out of the podium finishes like fourth or fifth... I never win races!

I ride aggressively and initiate breaks and am normally strong in the break. But when it comes to the sprint in the breakaway group I am almost always beaten fairly easily, it seems.

The area where I live and race is fairly flat so the fact that I am a strong climber is something I cannot benefit from very often. If I have to I would gladly sacrifice some of my climbing skills for a better sprint. My training is normally two four-or five-hour rides on the weekend or racing. During the week I normally do two or three shorter high intensity training and sometimes also a TT. So in total it adds up to about 12-15 hours a week.

To improve my sprinting capabilities I have for this off season started weight lifting to add some more leg strength and my plan is to follow up with more on the bike sprint specific training during the season. Is the weight lifting a smart move or would I benefit more from only on the bike sprint training also during the autumn and winter? If so any tip on exercises on the bike to enhance my sprinting skills?

Thanks,

Erik
Sounds like he's overdoing it during his race weeks, and if so, this guy is a beast.
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Old 12-13-10, 11:17 PM   #3
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Lurk in the Training Status thread and see what people are doing. Everyone is different, and many of us compete in very different types of events.

As a counter point, for my first long road race win, I got off in a "break" with about 12 riders. I attacked several times during the next 13 mile lap, taking turns with the guy who had been winning half of the 35+ races that year. We shook it down to 5 of us, and I was low-ranking rider in the group, as a 3. Even after all that work, I won the sprint with plenty of room.

In the next race, I was against a large team, and spend a lot of energy chasing. I had nothing for the sprint, ended up missing the winning break, and got 7th.

Every race is different.

For myself, I sat on about 8 weeks of base miles that I just finished up this week. Today's riding has me convinced that this is the way to go. I think my FTP is 15W higher than it was at the end of the season. Just crazy. I did this same program at the end of 2008 and came out in great shape in 2009 -- just killing it. I didn't do base at the end of 2009 because my volume was down so much (wife went back to work, so no more commuting for me b/c of kid drop-off/pick-up) that I didn't think I could afford to give up the intensity, and I had a pretty mediocre year, only getting on the podium once.

This year, my wife is back home, I'm back to commuting, volume is up, base has been done, and I think I'll be flying in 5-6 weeks for the start of the season.
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Old 12-14-10, 12:03 AM   #4
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What is your approach to intensity during and off season? I cant imagine always riding or training below 80% of my HRM and do well in any race.
Well... he did say two days a week was high intensity.

I used to ride hard every day I was on the bike (5-6 days a week). It was a big mistake. 2 sounds good to me. For the past 2 months I've done 0 intense days per week, and have gotten stronger than I've ever been.
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Old 12-14-10, 06:36 AM   #5
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I do less intensity in the off season and 2-3 hard days (in a row typically, Sun-Tue) during the season.

Last year I tried 4 hard days (Sun-Wed) but the 6 hours of driving on Wed and the midnight/1AM return times fatigued me more than the 2-3 hours on the bike (at the track).

I rarely ride hard past Wed until I race on Sunday. In fact I often don't ride Thu/Fri for a Sunday race, and do 30-60 min on Sat easy. For a Sat race (I had just one) I'll do the 30-60 min on Friday. Or I'll gamble on a longer warmup and go into the race Sat cold.

Recovery is absolutely key. It's like sitting in and hoarding reserves before you make a big move. You can't attack every lap in a 30 lap race and then make the big move at 5 to go. You sit in for 25 laps and then you absolutely demolish the field with your attack at 5 to go. Or you let the break dangle at 15 or 20 seconds or whatever you can bridge and then you go and bridge it with 5 to go, instead of working the break for all 20 or whatever laps they're out there.

Likewise, you can't go into a Sunday race after a 75 mile hammerfest on Saturday after a hill repeat Friday after a Thursday night time trial after a Wed night crit after a Tues night worlds after a 3 hour ride on Monday after a long race on Sunday. I exaggerate but you get the idea. If you normally don't take a day off, try taking one or two of them off.

Give yourself 1 or 2 days of spinning before race day else your legs get awfully stiff. The first day back will be bad - the stiffer my legs feel the better I'll go Sunday. If I'm building lactic acid, that's bad, but if I just can't spin because my legs get swollen up then that's a good sign (the extra fluids go away after about 30-45 min of easy riding). My skin literally feels tight on my legs. Then I know I'll be good. I have no idea physiologically what's happening but over the years that's the sign I ended up looking for the day/s before a race.

Of course I'm the non-scientific training racer. I'm more like Merckx and less like Coggan. Ride lots, have good form (pedal stroke, no bobbing, relaxed upper body), take proper rest days, and you'll be fine.

cdr
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Old 12-14-10, 08:22 AM   #6
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I do get it about two hard days off season and all the recovery talk, base building etc but I was just surprised by the suggestion that the race is the only intense ride during the race season and the rest of the week is just recovery and I shouldnt go above 80% of my HRM.
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Old 12-14-10, 08:39 AM   #7
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I do get it about two hard days off season and all the recovery talk, base building etc but I was just surprised by the suggestion that the race is the only intense ride during the race season and the rest of the week is just recovery and I shouldnt go above 80% of my HRM.
Me,too.

If I trained like that I'd never make the break!

Reading the original question it seems like the guy is just not a sprinter. He's riding well enough to get in the break but he doesn't know how to win from the break.

I typically do intervals on Tuesdays, training race on Thursdays and either a hard ride or race on Saturdays/Sundays. The other days vary.

I will taper before an "A" race but only 1~2 days on intensity during race season sounds like nonsense to me.
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Old 12-14-10, 08:48 AM   #8
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I'm lazy - an agree with the cyclingnews response - imho opinion during race season you will not build much strength/fitness during the week if you are racing on the weekends but you certainly can take away from your strength/fitness by not allowing your body to rest and recover - in the peak of race season this year I think I was putting in 6 hours during the week - moderate intensity and some short intervals as we also race during the week Wed) much of the time I was focussed on letting the legs recover and watch diet.

@Bob - what are you going to accomplish by doing more intense workouts during the week if you are racing on the weekend? If you are on EPO go ahead, if not you are just going to wear yourself out.
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Old 12-14-10, 08:53 AM   #9
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Reading the original question it seems like the guy is just not a sprinter.
Impossible. The simplest answer is never correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Saifer
If you can shake riders out of the break, you reduce the number of people who can finish in front of you, but doing that shaking is also assuring that you will come in last in the break or close to it.
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Old 12-14-10, 08:59 AM   #10
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Impossible. The simplest answer is never correct.



Nice.
I'll be honest in a break I'm a little lazy as well - I try and manage how much I pull and I strategically look for where I want to be in that break heading into the start of the last lap so I can take one last pull early fall back a few spots and wait for the sprint - I love me some sprints
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Old 12-14-10, 09:06 AM   #11
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Nice.
I'll be honest in a break I'm a little lazy as well - I try and manage how much I pull and I strategically look for where I want to be in that break heading into the start of the last lap so I can take one last pull early fall back a few spots and wait for the sprint - I love me some sprints
And I'd be attacking you like a rabid pit bull.
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Old 12-14-10, 09:30 AM   #12
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And I would be sucking your wheel waiting for that last 250M - then watch out young fella
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Old 12-14-10, 09:52 AM   #13
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I'm lazy - an agree with the cyclingnews response - imho opinion during race season you will not build much strength/fitness during the week if you are racing on the weekends but you certainly can take away from your strength/fitness by not allowing your body to rest and recover - in the peak of race season this year I think I was putting in 6 hours during the week - moderate intensity and some short intervals as we also race during the week Wed) much of the time I was focussed on letting the legs recover and watch diet.

@Bob - what are you going to accomplish by doing more intense workouts during the week if you are racing on the weekend? If you are on EPO go ahead, if not you are just going to wear yourself out.
25 years of racing tells me I'll be fine.

I'm not sure what EPO has to do with it. It's not usually touted for its benefits in aiding recovery.

Full recover in 72 hours. This means I can go hard on Wed and be fine Sunday morning.

Not every race is important. Some races are just training with prizes. If it is important I will taper accordingly.
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Old 12-14-10, 09:54 AM   #14
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I do get it about two hard days off season and all the recovery talk, base building etc but I was just surprised by the suggestion that the race is the only intense ride during the race season and the rest of the week is just recovery and I shouldnt go above 80% of my HRM.
The cyclingnews guy stated 80% of max HRM, not 80% of LTHR, so obviously take it with a grain of salt as the ratio of LTHR to MHR is different from people to people. My max observed was 206, which means that if i were to take the suggestion, i shouldn't go above 164 or so. That's basically subthreshold/SST work territory for me. Not sure if that's the way the cyclingnews people want the answer to be interpreted. Personally, i'd do one session of HIT late Tuesday(after taking off Monday) with a tempo/SST on thursday depending on how i feel.
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Old 12-14-10, 09:54 AM   #15
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And I'd be attacking you like a rabid pit bull.
+1.

Long before the last lap.
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Old 12-14-10, 10:06 AM   #16
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+1.

Long before the last lap.
Spent last year putting up with attack after attack after attack - that isn't what kills me - it's when guys start hooking/boxing me that wears me down as I raced unattached last year I was solo in all races. I remember one race where another team's manager is screaming at his guys "You don't want to sprint him" - that translated into getting boxed in and pushed around until I found a little spot to get through.

@Bob = good points and I can appreciate where you are coming from. I was thinking of racing Sat/Sun not just Sun so it would make sense with 72 hours of recovery.
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Old 12-14-10, 10:11 AM   #17
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@Bob = good points and I can appreciate where you are coming from. I was thinking of racing Sat/Sun not just Sun so it would make sense with 72 hours of recovery.
If I am racing both Sat/Sun they are usually 3~5hr road races. If so, they are most likely important. For those races I would do a proper taper.
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Old 12-14-10, 10:22 AM   #18
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If I am racing both Sat/Sun they are usually 3~5hr road races. If so, they are most likely important. For those races I would do a proper taper.
after how many years of racing were you able to pull this off? What you mentioned sounds like quite a bit intensity in the middle of a week. Then again, iirc, you were a former pro, so i might just never handle that level of intensity. Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-14-10, 10:33 AM   #19
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You raise a good point.

Being fit or experienced enough to handle the training load does take a few years. Also, the type of events you are training for obviously dictates the training.

For a lot of people they have a day of intervals and some kind of WC mid-week, non? Then a race on most weekends? Isn't this pretty much the norm?

Maybe I'm reading the OP wrong. It just seemed intensity was thrown out the window mid week in favour of recovery. For certain phases in a training cycle, or during tapers/peeks this could be the case. Or for older riders (who need much more recovery) this might also be reasonable advice.

In the end I can't speak for anyone but myself and what works for me. Based on trail and error, if I don't get a day if intervals and a training race once a week I just never have any snap on race day. Our weekend rides are also usually hammerfests and can be harder than some races.

YMMV.
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Old 12-14-10, 10:39 AM   #20
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You raise a good point.

Being fit or experienced enough to handle the training load does take a few years. Also, the type of events you are training for obviously dictates the training.

For a lot of people they have a day of intervals and some kind of WC mid-week, non? Then a race on most weekends? Isn't this pretty much the norm?

Maybe I'm reading the OP wrong. It just seemed intensity was thrown out the window mid week in favour of recovery. For certain phases in a training cycle, or during tapers/peeks this could be the case. Or for older riders (who need much more recovery) this might also be reasonable advice.

In the end I can't speak for anyone but myself and what works for me. Based on trail and error, if I don't get a day if intervals and a training race once a week I just never have any snap on race day. Our weekend rides are also usually hammerfests and can be harder than some races.

YMMV.
Bob I agree with weekend hammerfests - it's the occasional stops that kill me - takes me a while to get going again.
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Old 12-14-10, 10:44 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Jancouver View Post
So this guy Erik is complaining about losing every sprint from a breakaway and this is what they suggested:

From cyclingnews.com

Scott Saifer (AKA expert) says:

"Erik, Initiating breaks is great, but once they form if you are doing more work than your companions, they're going to have more sprint left than you in the finale. If you can shake riders out of the break, you reduce the number of people who can finish in front of you, but doing that shaking is also assuring that you will come in last in the break or close to it. Something to think about.

In racing season, it sounds like you are also leaving your sprint out on the road between races. Separate your training season and your racing season. In training season, you do up to two intense days routinely per week. In racing season, the races provide the intensity and the rest of your training is recovery and maintenance.

Put simply, only one-two days per week in season do you spend more than a few minutes above 80 percent of maximum heart rate if you want to win races, and if one of those days is a race, it's the only day up there for the week."


What is your approach to intensity during and off season? I cant imagine always riding or training below 80% of my HRM and do well in any race.
There are whole books, websites, and threads on the subject of training.

But wait! Two sentences on a website?? Stop the presses... drop your training plans and start over..
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Old 12-14-10, 10:47 AM   #22
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Bob I agree with weekend hammerfests - it's the occasional stops that kill me - takes me a while to get going again.
Me, too. I hate stopping. It's my biggest pet peeve around here.

The legs clog up with crap and it takes ages to flush them out again.
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Old 12-14-10, 11:10 AM   #23
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Not every race is important. Some races are just training with prizes. If it is important I will taper accordingly.

This. You just can't be _on_ for every race. Some races I go into knowing I'm going to suck and I'll ride accordingly. I'll attack just to make people chase (knowing it won't stick) and maybe drop out 2/3rds of the way through. It helps the team and it's good training for me. There's no harm in doing what you want to do and then bowing out early.
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Old 12-14-10, 11:23 AM   #24
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Me, too. I hate stopping. It's my biggest pet peeve around here.

The legs clog up with crap and it takes ages to flush them out again.
Wait till your racing age hits the half-century mark.
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Old 12-14-10, 11:27 AM   #25
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Wait till your racing age hits the half-century mark.
After racing with Bostick a bunch I don't fall for that anymore
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