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  1. #1
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    Need advice to finish 85km course under 4 hours

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    Hi guys, I've recently purchased a 2012 Allez, mod it a bit and have been training the
    "Penang Round Island Amateur Challenge 2013", which is an 85km event. Participants must finish within at least 4 hours to get the finishers medal while top three finishers get cash prizes. I've been practicing so far but can only seem to finish the distance in 4hours 20mins (inclusive of 30mins rest time which I can't do without at this point). The third quarter of the course is actually continuously uphill for quite a distance... Though I can pedal it up at a moderate pace (12-16km/h), I seem to loose steam by the time I reach the summit of the hill. By the time I reach the last quarter of the course (flatlands) I'm only averaging 29km/h. During solo training throughout the course, I cycle using the small front chainring and can't seem to power through the big chainrings... I'm really hoping to bring my finishing time down... Any advice?

  2. #2
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    Be a bit cynical and ride with a group for as much of the ride as you can. Hanging at the back of the pack might not be good form but it helps you make the time you need to do.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racerboywannabe View Post
    to finish the distance in 4hours 20mins (inclusive of 30mins rest time which I can't do without at this point).
    You aren't that far-off from being able to complete it in 4 h.

    You have a month and a hallf. Ride more. Do harder rides than the target.

    You are almost always better moving slowly than stopping for 1/2 hour.

    http://penangevents.com.my/index.php...challenge-2013

    23 June 2013.

    53 miles.

    An unknown amount of climbing.

    Finishing in 4 h means an average speed of 13.3 mph (21.3 kph).

    Finishing in 3.5 h means an average of 15.1 mph (24.2 kph).
    Last edited by njkayaker; 04-29-13 at 11:54 AM.

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    Hi guys, thnks for the feedback so far. And Mr NJKayaker, u found the event website! yes thats the one im signed up and training for.


    Ok, so on the actual day, I'll try to follow other participants to "slip stream" as much as possible. But question: in the second quarter, the route will take cyclists along a highway... I've noticed from my solo training that some riders can really go fast on their bikes (carbon, maybe?). I've tried to use my big chain ring to follow, but my legs can't keep up with the stress... How do I power through the big rings?


    Then come the third quarter uphill section and I'm really bogged down by my own lack of stamina... When I reach the summit, I tend to rest more (30mins)before powering downhill that's where I'm really slowed down... I'm still trying to build up my cadence, but at this point I pedal very moderately at small front chain ring and second largest gear in the rear.


    Are there any specific training routines I can do within 1 1/2 months?

  5. #5
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    It sounds like you live on the island and that the route is familiar to you which gives you a great advantage.

    If you are riding this route solo in 4:20 with a 30 minute break I would start by eliminating the 30 minute break as this will do more harm than good, it is better to rest on the bike while you are riding and keep pedaling at a comfortable cadence.

    Finishing this ride in 4 hours means that you have to maintain an average of 21.25 kmh which is not that fast... you need to make up time on the flats where you can kick it up and on the ride itself you will have 2499 other riders on the road and riding as a group is faster and more efficient.

    Conversely... you may find yourself behind slower riders and if you cannot pass them, this can really slow one down and affect your finish.

    Don't try to keep up with those riders who are significantly faster... you will just blow up.

    Improving your cadence will yield the most benefits, spinning a moderate gear at 30 kmh is easier that powering / mashing a gear that is too high.

    You have 45 days to prepare and for a ride like this, all you need is to be in good enough shape to maintain your speed / cadence for 4 hours.

  6. #6
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racerboywannabe View Post
    Hi guys, thnks for the feedback so far. And Mr NJKayaker, u found the event website! yes thats the one im signed up and training for.

    Ok, so on the actual day, I'll try to follow other participants to "slip stream" as much as possible. But question: in the second quarter, the route will take cyclists along a highway... I've noticed from my solo training that some riders can really go fast on their bikes (carbon, maybe?). I've tried to use my big chain ring to follow, but my legs can't keep up with the stress... How do I power through the big rings?

    Then come the third quarter uphill section and I'm really bogged down by my own lack of stamina... When I reach the summit, I tend to rest more (30mins)before powering downhill that's where I'm really slowed down... I'm still trying to build up my cadence, but at this point I pedal very moderately at small front chain ring and second largest gear in the rear.

    Are there any specific training routines I can do within 1 1/2 months?
    When you get to the top of the hill instead of stopping for 30 minutes (during which time your average speed is a big fat zero), keep moving but as slowly as you need to. If you've reached the top of the hill and get to freewheel downhill do that, and catch your breath while you're freewheeling.

    If your legs aren't strong enough to turn the pedals in the big ring then spin faster in a lower gear and practise turning the big ring - either when descending to top up the speed a little or on the flats where it should be easier.

    If the only gear you can manage in even on relatively forgiving terrain is one of the lowest gears you have (I'm not sure if I'm reading you correctly here) then it's worth making another mod to the bike and putting either smaller chainrings on it (e.g. trade a 53/39 double for a 50/34) or put a cassette on with some larger sprockets.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racerboywannabe View Post
    Ok, so on the actual day, I'll try to follow other participants to "slip stream" as much as possible.
    It seems like you might be a relatively new rider. Keep in mind that riding close to people (pacelining) can be dangerous. Also, some people consider being followed by strangers rude. Ideally, you'd practice this and do it with friends of yours.

    Quote Originally Posted by Racerboywannabe View Post
    But question: in the second quarter, the route will take cyclists along a highway... I've noticed from my solo training that some riders can really go fast on their bikes (carbon, maybe?). I've tried to use my big chain ring to follow, but my legs can't keep up with the stress... How do I power through the big rings?
    We have no idea what bicycle you have. Assuming it's a standard sort of road bike with a compact 50/34 crank and a 11-25/28 rear cassette, you really wouldn't necessarily need to be in the "big" ring very often. Anyway, it's the front/rear combination that matters (there's a lot of over lap between the gears available in the big/small rings).

    Quote Originally Posted by Racerboywannabe View Post
    I've tried to use my big chain ring to follow, but my legs can't keep up with the stress... How do I power through the big rings?
    Get stronger.

    Quote Originally Posted by Racerboywannabe View Post
    Then come the third quarter uphill section and I'm really bogged down by my own lack of stamina... When I reach the summit, I tend to rest more (30mins)before powering downhill that's where I'm really slowed down... I'm still trying to build up my cadence, but at this point I pedal very moderately at small front chain ring and second largest gear in the rear.
    Get stronger.

    Do you have any idea what the elevation gain for the course is? I tried looking for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Racerboywannabe View Post
    Are there any specific training routines I can do within 1 1/2 months?
    You are already close to being able to do it. Ride more and try for a few rides that are longer than the course. Work on stopping for a shorter length of time (or not at all). Make sure you are in the drops when you are going fast (20+ kph or so).

    Keep in mind that you want to avoid going out too fast. Just like trying to keep up with faster riders, going out too fast will just burn you out.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 04-29-13 at 01:48 PM.

  8. #8
    absent Ferrous Bueller's Avatar
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    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/45463814 Here's the Map my Ride info with elevation. Rolling with two big bumps.

    Rbw, I'd go and practice on those climbs. Doing the whole tour is useful, but not for each training effort. Get out on your bike as much as possible, even if it's for short sessions. See if you can find others to ride with. Drafting is a skill which should be practiced as much as possible before the event.
    I'm confident you can do this!

  9. #9
    tcarl
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    Assuming the bike in the photo in your original post is the one you're riding, what type of pedals are those -- flat platforms or clipless. If they're platform pedals you could probably gain several km/hr by switching to clipless.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrous Bueller View Post
    http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/45463814 Here's the Map my Ride info with elevation. Rolling with two big bumps.
    Thanks. (The bumps are not exactly "big".) They are both about 2.5 miles (4 k) at about 3% grade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrous Bueller View Post
    Rbw, I'd go and practice on those climbs. Doing the whole tour is useful, but not for each training effort. Get out on your bike as much as possible, even if it's for short sessions. See if you can find others to ride with. Drafting is a skill which should be practiced as much as possible before the event.
    Reasonable advice.

    On the actual ride, he should do those two "little" bumps at a some-what relaxed pace. He isn't going to gain that much time burning himself out on them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferrous Bueller View Post
    I'm confident you can do this!
    Yes.

  11. #11
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    Hi guys, thnx for the advice once again and thnx Ferrous Bueller for the encouragement... I'm actually pretty new to road biking... I'm currently using platform pedals, not clipless ones as I'm still not confident of using it and traffic around the area where I live can be quite harrowing... I'm currently using shimano 105s, where the big ring says 53-B...


    Hi Sixty Fiver, I actually live on the mainland, just across the island (but not too far off), so there aren't many hills to practice on. But earlier i tried njkayaker's advice and rode along the flat roads around my area (not round island). I tried bending down in the hoods and managed to average 31km/h using the small front chain ring and the 4th smallest gear (from the right). It felt great, but a few things bothered me 1) my back was really sore... 2) I could only keep it up for a few minutes, then it was 25km/h for the most part home (taking traffic into account). My final average speed for the practice run was a mere 22.3km/h...


    Guys, the "bumps" u mentioned is like a mental barrier for me actually... But I'll try to make it a point to practice every weekend until the event. My LBS actually organizes weekly rides (MTB one wk and road another), so I'll take the advice to ride with a group and see how it goes...


    Btw, my LBS guy keeps pushing me to get the SRAM Force groupset, but I think it's too early for me...


    I'll keep u guys updated on my next round island practice run.


    Cheers!

  12. #12
    absent Ferrous Bueller's Avatar
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    Being more securely attached to your pedals will help your pedaling. Some platform pedals will accept toe clips and straps to accomplish this.
    Most riders eventually ride with clipless pedals and rigid shoes. With them, you can comfortably push harder on the pedals. I find the improvement especially noticeable when climbing hills. At the very least, try to ride with the stiffest shoes that will work with your pedals.

    Getting down and aerodynamic is not easy for many. I don't do it for more than 10 minutes at a time because it hurts my back too. At the level you're at right now, it's more important to work on your fitness and confidence. The group rides sound like a great idea.

    I agree with you about the groupset upgrade. It wouldn't make much of a difference in your speed, and there are many other things you can improve before making such an investment.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Give it another Hour .. Start earlier in the morning,

    Or, start at the 45th Km.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racerboywannabe View Post
    But earlier i tried njkayaker's advice and rode along the flat roads around my area (not round island). I tried bending down in the hoods and managed to average 31km/h using the small front chain ring and the 4th smallest gear (from the right).
    The "hoods" are the things the brake levers are mounted on. What you want to do is ride in the drops: either on the lowest part of the handle bar or where it bends (so you can reach the end of the brake levers with your index and middle finger).

    It takes some getting used to that position but it's about the most-effective "equipment upgrade" and it's free.

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