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Old 12-15-10, 06:34 PM   #1
gbot
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Skipping the 'base' period?

Wondering if I could get peoples' opinions on a somewhat 'non-standard' winter training plan.

I'm in Vancouver and this time of year, I don't get much chance to ride outside. Not into riding in the dark on weeknights, and during the weekends I'm up in the mountains ski touring.

Going into my 2nd real season of racing - currently a cat 4, but have been told by everyone on my team that I'll be able to upgrade pretty quickly after I stop racing like a moron. Going to work on that.

I'm trying to figure out a way to get myself as bike-fit as possible over the next few months so when my first races of the year roll around in April, I'll be able to ride well despite very few long rides.

Currently, I'm relying on the ski touring to handle the aerobic endurance - each day is generally about 4-6hrs of Z2 or Z3, with breaks for the downhill fun part. During the week I'm working mainly on FTP stuff on the trainer. 'Drive for 5', 6x5x1, etc.

What's missing from all of this is anything resembling a 'base' period. No long spins in the small ring. Longest trainer ride is typically 90 minutes. Lots of intensity, not much Z2 on the bike.

The plan is to keep this up until about 4 weeks before race season starts, and then start working in some v02max stuff, sprints, etc. By that point I'll likely be riding outside more as well, with guys who are more than happy to tear my legs off.

Is this reasonable? Any major red flags with this approach? Will this lack of a real base period on the bike kill me in my first long road race of the year, or have any other big downsides?
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Old 12-15-10, 06:41 PM   #2
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Red flags might be #'s 2 & 3 here: http://www.joefrielsblog.com/2010/12...letes-1-3.html

So I would guess that your peak will be shorter and shallower than it would be with a base.

That said, your training plan sounds about as good as it can get, given your limitations.

If anything, you might think of doing at least a few long rides on the weekends, sound like you'll have to put down the skis for that though.
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Old 12-15-10, 06:55 PM   #3
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Wondering if I could get peoples' opinions on a somewhat 'non-standard' winter training plan.


What's missing from all of this is anything resembling a 'base' period. No long spins in the small ring. Longest trainer ride is typically 90 minutes. Lots of intensity, not much Z2 on the bike.
Last Jan I was forced to ride over 30h on the rollers...I built up a pretty good base, less intensity and more z2. It was boring as hell..but movies got me through it. It's worth the effort, I had a couple of set backs during the year and I'm convinced that my base helped be bounce back quickly.
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Old 12-15-10, 07:05 PM   #4
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You would do better to have some long rides in your legs. Maybe check the snow report on weekend mornings and do a long ride on days that don't have fresh powder (or in the case of backcountry, ride on days with high avalanche danger)?

It does sound like you are making good use of the time you are spending on the bike.
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Old 12-15-10, 07:17 PM   #5
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There's some muscular differences between the bike and skiing, but if you can log 4-6 hours in z2/3 daily on the ski's you're building plenty of aerobic "base". When I lived in snow country I did a fair amount of my base on the skiis and hiking up mountains.
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Old 12-15-10, 08:42 PM   #6
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It can depend on when your season starts. For me from Dec to Feb, I do 30-40 hours a month on rollers with alot of intensity. Once the roads clear in March, I get out on the road and start getting some more hours in. while dropping some intensity. It works pretty well for me.
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Old 12-16-10, 01:09 PM   #7
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I hate base and don't do much / any of it.

If you want to do well, I think you need 2 months before any race you care about, not 1 month.

If you stay fit in the winter, and I really cant say what alpine skiing does for you..... 1 month you will just get into decent aerobic shape, and then you can start throwing in some intensity.

I would skip vo2max in the first two months on the bike. month 1 = long tempo like 3 hours, month 2 = threshold power... then you can worry about anything shorter than 8-9 minutes intervals.

if you mix intensity in with your 1st month of riding i dont think you will do that well. like everyone says you need a base but i do not think pure base has to come from actual bicycle riding.

Last edited by pjcampbell; 12-16-10 at 01:12 PM.
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Old 12-16-10, 01:31 PM   #8
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Building a good aerobic base with that much skiing but its not going to translate 100% to a cycling aerobic base.
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Old 12-16-10, 04:53 PM   #9
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It can depend on when your season starts. For me from Dec to Feb, I do 30-40 hours a month on rollers with alot of intensity. Once the roads clear in March, I get out on the road and start getting some more hours in. while dropping some intensity. It works pretty well for me.
First races likely aren't until April so I do have some time to work with.

Some good responses here, thanks all - my main concern is the lack of specificity between ski touring (not riding the lifts, 95% hiking in z2/3 for those unfamiliar with it) and cycling. Ski touring is IMO almost as effective from a cardiovascular standpoint as cycling is - maybe moreso because there's no sitting in - the effort is relatively flat and steady for long periods of time.

What I don't understand fully is how much muscular specificity matters in 'base'. Is base supposed to be mainly training cardiovascular fitness? If so, then it sounds like I'm good and I'll actually come into the season with more base than most people. I doubt anyone around where I live is doing 10 hours of Z2/3 riding on the weekends when it's pissing rain and a few degrees above freezing.

On the other hand if there is a major muscular fitness component then I obviously need to be a bit more concerned.

This is more or less what I've been doing for the past few years (in triathlon before bike racing) but this season I'm going to be starting a bit earlier and my important races are in may/june as opposed to july/august, as they've been in the past.
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Old 12-16-10, 05:42 PM   #10
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sorry I missed that. so you basically XC ski up the mountain and then down... something like that? you will be fine or even better. but I would do some tempo riding before doing any intensity.
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Old 12-16-10, 05:49 PM   #11
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It's a lot like classic XC but more hills - I use skins which I put on the bases of my skis, these provide better grip than XC wax and allow climbing much steeper pitches.
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Old 12-16-10, 10:49 PM   #12
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How much do capillary beds grow when you train? That seems like a large portion of muscle-specific fitness. I have no idea if they change much at all with training, but I got the impression somehow that they do.
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Old 12-16-10, 11:05 PM   #13
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As far as I know, capillary density increases the most under muscular hypoxia, a low-blood supply condition put on by high torque, low cadence riding, and is definitely muscle specific. This is often done during the base period, but it's not a part of the standard Z2 aerobic conditioning base miles stuff.
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Old 12-20-10, 11:08 AM   #14
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gb - I'm assuming you're the guy I see over on the ST classifieds?
Sounds like you are a fellow PacNW guy, yeah, you can skip the base period, but it'll keep your peaks from being quite as high and as long... but you can still go plenty fast.

I've been running and doing XC skiiing this winter, there will be lots of XC skiing, snowshoeing, and other 'related disciplines' for me until late Feb... and I still intend to go plenty fast.
HR training may be your friend here, try to put yourself into the same zones you'd be in on the bike, that should help quite a bit.
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Old 12-20-10, 12:02 PM   #15
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HTFU ? I'm in Vancouver also, it hasn't stopped me from riding. The fact we have an indoor velodrome helps a lot.
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Old 12-20-10, 01:20 PM   #16
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I'm not particularly fairweather but I work a 9-5. I'll ride in the rain, but riding in the rain AND dark isn't something I'm into.

I'd love to get out to the track more, but it's pricey!
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Old 12-20-10, 05:29 PM   #17
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I'm not particularly fairweather but I work a 9-5. I'll ride in the rain, but riding in the rain AND dark isn't something I'm into.
+1 to that, I get off work and it is rainy and dark, and I live in the middle of the city, so I'd spend 30' each way just getting to roads that aren't clogged by commuters.
Rain+dark+commuters is not a recipe for me to ride a whole lot.
Trainer/Roller combinations are fun (off and on between the two), playing in the snow is fun, it can all work out just fine.
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