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Old 03-21-10, 11:02 AM   #1
cyclinfool
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Building the base

Yesterday was - for the most part for me anyway - the transition from skiing to biking. I cleaned out my locker on the mountain and except for spring break with my daughter in Utah, I'm done. So today I started in earnest on building the base - again for another year. Although many in warmer climates may stay with a cycling program all year and have little or no need to rebuild the base every season, I live where winter really comes with a vengeance.

So this is the critical part of the training program and sets the tone for the rest of the season. If I get this right than within a few months I will be injury free, riding strong and really having a good time. Today it was 30 miles on one of my favorite training routes - no huge climbs, but a few smaller ones to keep it interesting. Today, no HRM, no GPS, no speedometer - the only thing I paid attention to was cadence and pedal stroke. I have not idea how fast I rode, I didn't even bother to check the start or finish time. It felt good to get out and start building up the miles again. Although I have also started my weekday AM training rides, these are short (15 to 18 miles) and full of intervals - but they do little for the endurance and mental training that the base miles do. I am not a believer in LSD miles, so my base miles are done more at a cadence of 80-90 with constant pedal pressure and stroke, if I had to guess my HR is a steady Z3 with a little Z4 on the hills.

Are you building your base now or are you already into hard core cycling?
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Old 03-21-10, 01:04 PM   #2
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Still building base for now. During the winter I tend to try and maintain some base by staying on the trainer and getting out on the road when daylight and temps allow. I don't get to many 50+ milers in until the spring though.
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Old 03-21-10, 01:46 PM   #3
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Since I just got back on the bike in the last 2 weeks, I guess I'm in base training mode. The problem here is that there is very little to ride that doesn't involve lots of climbing. I need to really back off on the hills, both from a lack of fitness and not wanting to push it right now anyway. That means my cadence slows on the climbs but so be it. That's what I have to ride. My first hilly metric is 3 weeks away so I need to stay on task. The first two climbing metrics are training for our local sufferfest metric which has 7200' of climbing in 62 miles. That's in 6 weeks.
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Old 03-21-10, 02:25 PM   #4
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Do you guys go for time or distance, when building a base.
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Old 03-21-10, 02:32 PM   #5
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I'm fortunate to live in an area that allows cycling year round if you're okay with bundling up. However during the winter I just ride for the exercise and certainly not for performance.

It's interesting but it sounds like I try and get in riding shape doing just the opposite. It really hasn't been anything planned on my part but just how it's evolved the last several years. I try and build endurance first by riding LSD and then add intervals and intensity afterwards. Thus I can do longer rides earlier in the year at a comfortable pace but pick up the pace as the season progresses. The real key for me is getting rid of that darn winter weight. It becomes especially noticeable on the hills.

Whichever way we choose, it's good we're getting exercise and staying in shape.
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Old 03-21-10, 02:52 PM   #6
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Do you guys go for time or distance, when building a base.
Distance is meaningless to me when a ride can have anywhere from 3K' to 10K' of climbing. I go by time in the saddle.

jppe, I usually ride through the winter but this year we had snow on the ground from Dec to just recently. It was nasty.
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Old 03-21-10, 03:14 PM   #7
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Do you guys go for time or distance, when building a base.
George,

Like jppe I ride distance (base meaning base miles) and not push too hard to get them in. The goal here is to work on the stamina for longer rides and not the power for fast rides. For me I have to pay careful attention to build up my leg strength and endurance before I over do the pressure on the knee ligaments else I will get a knee injury. This time of year I will do short training rides with intervals to slowly build power but my long rides are gentle - but I try to work on pedal stroke and cadence and keep the HR in a moderate training zone. I don't worry about speed - that will come. I don't add big long climbs as the leg strength is not there yet to support it. I will need a few more distance rides in before I add in the week night climb fests. This year I am also going to keep up the spinning when the weather does not permit a 6AM training ride. Tomorrow - if I can get my sorry ass out of bed I will go to a 6AM spin class, it will be raining and cold at that time.
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Old 03-21-10, 04:23 PM   #8
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Thanks guys, I rode 40 miles the other day and averaged 13.5 and I kept telling myself to take it easy. I try to keep pedaling to build up my stamina. I thought, when I get up to 50 or 60 miles I would try more intervals, to build up more strength. We had the worse winter down here in 15 years, so I didn't get many miles in myself and it shows.
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Old 03-21-10, 05:31 PM   #9
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On those oddball warm days during winter and the early spring days when I get a chance to do a long ride, I just focus on getting in the miles/hours. These are the LSD days (Long, Steady Distance). When I only have time for a short ride, I'll push a little harder to help build power. As I get more rides in my legs, I start putting in more sustained harder efforts to try and increase my overall speed.
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Old 03-21-10, 05:33 PM   #10
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You may want to check out this link from my coaches website item 6. http://sportvelo.com/about/coaching_philosophy.htm
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Old 03-21-10, 05:38 PM   #11
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In Chicago it is difficult to ride often in Winter. I too need to rebuild, I'm also 10 lbs heavier than November.

I'll commute 84 miles a week, ride with a fast group twice a week for another 70 miles.

Starting in April, I'll start doing one or two Century rides per month.

I keep track of miles & pace. I care about hitting my mileage targets more than anything else.

I'll use a cycling computer with a cadence meter. I'm using a heart rate monitor this year, also.

Michael
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Old 03-21-10, 06:38 PM   #12
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building base even though I rode a few times each week through the winter. I did 43 miles in the teens a month ago and 56 miles yesterday in the 60s. I did consistent 60-70 mile rides last summer and I'm looking forward to getting back here without pain. it was nice o have my compuer so I would know what I had left on this closed circuit I do.

riding without all your monitoring must have been fun for you - freeing?
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Old 03-21-10, 07:35 PM   #13
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Knowing that you ride some hill climbing events later in the season, I think, building base should include more LSD at this time. Once you get to the point of being able to stay in the saddle @ Z2 aerobic for 1.5 to 2+ hours you can begin to work on muscular endurance or Z3 riding. My training plan is at the point where my Z3 rides are now at 1.5 hrs in length. Mixing up Z2 days and Z3 days will allow the body to recover while building aerobic capabilities.

In my opinion when riders spend most of their riding in Z3 they get comfortable within that zone and when the ride gets tough, up to Z4 or even Z5, their bodies and mind tell them it's time to quit. Adding some of the upper zone riding to the training plan will train the body to endure the demands placed on it and respond by making it stronger, and then delivering more power while riding in the Z3 ranges. The Z4 intervals would be added once the base has been established. The Z4 intervals would be increased each week in a progressive manner based on repeats and duration of each interval.
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Old 03-22-10, 10:03 AM   #14
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You may want to check out this link from my coaches website item 6. http://sportvelo.com/about/coaching_philosophy.htm
Hermes - I agree with what your coach says and this is exactly where I am right now - my longer rides are pushing a little less than I would on a similar distance training ride later in the year, There is some Z4 in them, I can't avoid jumping out of the saddle to top a few of the hills but for the most part it is Z3 and Z2. However that's not to say it's all that type of riding, my short rides and spin classes have a lot of Z4 Z5 intervals. If I were to come out strong and hard on the longer rides right now I'd fade way too soon and the remainder of the ride would be a real drag, not to mention I'd probably inflame my knees and that would set my back a few weeks.

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Knowing that you ride some hill climbing events later in the season, I think, building base should include more LSD at this time. Once you get to the point of being able to stay in the saddle @ Z2 aerobic for 1.5 to 2+ hours you can begin to work on muscular endurance or Z3 riding. My training plan is at the point where my Z3 rides are now at 1.5 hrs in length. Mixing up Z2 days and Z3 days will allow the body to recover while building aerobic capabilities.

In my opinion when riders spend most of their riding in Z3 they get comfortable within that zone and when the ride gets tough, up to Z4 or even Z5, their bodies and mind tell them it's time to quit. Adding some of the upper zone riding to the training plan will train the body to endure the demands placed on it and respond by making it stronger, and then delivering more power while riding in the Z3 ranges. The Z4 intervals would be added once the base has been established. The Z4 intervals would be increased each week in a progressive manner based on repeats and duration of each interval.
AJ -I tried the LSD route some years ago, I find that you spend a lot of time and make little progress. Best to ride with a little bit more intensity. However, I agree that one can find that "zone" at Z3 that's hard to get out of. I think that is where experience comes in, at some point you need to recognize this and add some hill sprints and break out of the comfort zone. Luckily on my morning training route I have two such hills that I can sprint - usually dropping two gears from the flat, starting the hill with a sitting cadence around 100, standing when the cadence is down to about 70 and finishing up the hill at around 50, by that time my HR is Z5 and I'm panting like a dog. This kind of brutality will need to wait about a month, right now I climb them at Z4 with only a jump out of the saddle at the very end - this training route is only 17 miles. Spinning has kept me in pretty good shape for these short rides, I'm just not ready for the big climbs yet nor do I have the saddle time in for long rides at speed.
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Old 03-22-10, 04:50 PM   #15
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Yesterday was - for the most part for me anyway - the transition from skiing to biking. I cleaned out my locker on the mountain and except for spring break with my daughter in Utah, I'm done. So today I started in earnest on building the base - again for another year. Although many in warmer climates may stay with a cycling program all year and have little or no need to rebuild the base every season, I live where winter really comes with a vengeance.

So this is the critical part of the training program and sets the tone for the rest of the season. If I get this right than within a few months I will be injury free, riding strong and really having a good time. Today it was 30 miles on one of my favorite training routes - no huge climbs, but a few smaller ones to keep it interesting. Today, no HRM, no GPS, no speedometer - the only thing I paid attention to was cadence and pedal stroke. I have not idea how fast I rode, I didn't even bother to check the start or finish time. It felt good to get out and start building up the miles again. Although I have also started my weekday AM training rides, these are short (15 to 18 miles) and full of intervals - but they do little for the endurance and mental training that the base miles do. I am not a believer in LSD miles, so my base miles are done more at a cadence of 80-90 with constant pedal pressure and stroke, if I had to guess my HR is a steady Z3 with a little Z4 on the hills.

Are you building your base now or are you already into hard core cycling?
What I try to do in the off season is get in some riding on the trainer, it may be only 1/2 hour 3 or 4 times a week, so that the legs don't lose everything, so spring base building is just ramping back up. It doesn't always happen, and there is the cusp season (now) when some days you can get out, some you can't.
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Old 03-24-10, 02:14 PM   #16
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What I try to do in the off season is get in some riding on the trainer, it may be only 1/2 hour 3 or 4 times a week, so that the legs don't lose everything, so spring base building is just ramping back up. It doesn't always happen, and there is the cusp season (now) when some days you can get out, some you can't.
For the most part I have been going to spin class (although I had to take about 6 weeks off for a broken collar bone). But it's been since the end of October since I put any more than about 17 miles at a time on the bike. Base building is getting to where I can easily knock off a 40 mile club ride at a good pace. That takes some time and work.
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Old 03-24-10, 02:37 PM   #17
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For the most part I have been going to spin class (although I had to take about 6 weeks off for a broken collar bone). But it's been since the end of October since I put any more than about 17 miles at a time on the bike. Base building is getting to where I can easily knock off a 40 mile club ride at a good pace. That takes some time and work.
40 miles is no problem for me, it's the good pace that I have to build up. I was trying to get 60 miles for my base. It sounds more realistic at 40 miles though.
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Old 03-24-10, 02:46 PM   #18
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40 miles is no problem for me, it's the good pace that I have to build up. I was trying to get 60 miles for my base. It sounds more realistic at 40 miles though.
Yea - once I get to about 40 miles and can keep up with the club pack pace of 18mph on the rolling hills then I am pretty much good to go for metrics and then centuries. It takes awhile for me to build back up to that though.
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