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  1. #1
    Riding the bike I love. sstang13's Avatar
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    I need a fresh start.. warning: lenghty.

    Sorry, this is lengthy, skip to the fourth paragraph if you care to.

    Ok, so I'm basically at an all time low right now mostly mentally wise because there's just no sign's of anything positive in my cycling right now, whatsoever. I've come for some advice/guidance on how to get through it all because I'm so lost right now. What I want to know is what do I do!!!??? I can't finish with the pack anywhere I go (races, training hammer fests..) and honestly speaking, I'm fed up with it!

    Here's some background before I begin a very angry rant: I got my bike in July 2011 after the tdf, all I did that year was ride with my dad super easily just to enjoy the bike, how it should be. Then in May 2012 I joined a local club. This club had 3 rides at the time - Sunday long rides (anywhere north of 100km), Tuesday hammer fest (race pace freaks), Thursday 'moderate' rides (30-35kph avg. basically fast for the slow ones). I started going on Thursday rides and wow was that ever tough. My first ride I got dropped in <10min. I kept going back though and all I did was hang on the back until I could leave with the group, and finish with the group. I had to learn many things the hard way such as going hard after we crested the hill instead of only on the hill just to keep up. After I was able to hang on I started taking 1 pull, then 2, 3.. and so on. Now I can sit on the front all day long and not even be tired. I progressed very rapidly (within a few months), I went from getting dropped instantly to Thursday night pro. By October, I found a coach/team. This is a great team, we've currently got riders at Junior track pan-am's in Mexico, and riding for Canada at Tour de l'Abitibi and soon to be at Worlds. I raced once in September, got dropped like expected but finished a respectable 6/18 and didn't give up. This was to give me a taste of racing before I went into my first 'real' season of training/racing with at least some experience.

    The winter of 2012/13 I trained my butt off, I trained so hard in my basement on that trainer that I didn't miss a single hour out of the 80+ that I was scheduled for except for 2 rides that I got sick and had to skip. Honestly. I had my first FTP test in January which I went out too hard for and scored 247 FTP. In march I had my second one which I felt like I was peaked perfectly on that very day, nothing was wrong (mentally, physically etc.). I had the ride of my life and left it all out there. I hit my goal exactly on the dot and increased my FTP by 25 watts to 272, with a w/kg of 3.68. This is where everything goes downhill.. This test was followed by a week of recovery, and then a new training block.

    My racing season started 2 weeks after the test and I got dropped 20 minutes into the race, okay, I can deal with that, it's my first year and all, I just need some more experience, I'll get there soon, that's what they tell me. Every race since then I've been dropped within 20 min.

    Now I'm sitting here, and I'm so fed up with getting dropped. It's really gotten on my nerves and has pushed me over the edge. I have no idea where to start because when I look back at my year I've done nothing very wrong. Ya I've missed a few training rides here and there, cheated out on that interval and there was even a few weeks where I only got out a few times because I was swamped with homework, I might not be on a strict eating diet, and no I don't have a power meter or even train with HR. I go by RPE which is still probably wrong. But what really pisses me off is that no matter where I look, who I ask, or whatever, it's the same answer every. single. time. "Just go race some more, you need experience, and keep riding". Well there's a problem. The only 'racing' experience I'm getting is registering for one. I can go there all I want but if I'm not actually racing the race, I'm not getting any experience racing. It's hard for a first year racer with 1 year or less under his belt of training to jump into races with National, World, Pan-am riders in the field. There's a difference between 'ride with the fast guys to become one' vs. learning to ride like a fast guy first and becoming one. You might say I have only 1 year under my belt and I just need to keep riding but that's all I do and it's obviously not working for me. But why is it that I can't even hang with them for 20 dam minutes? I'm not looking to win anything, or go to Nationals, or get signed anytime soon. I just want to finish a race with the same people I start with, and not alone from the ***.

    Could it be my bike? training? coach? diet? attitude? I try my hardest when I get on the bike, I do my intervals, I rest enough, I ride with fast groups, I do everything in my power and can't even race with the pack. My HR skyrockets the moment the pressure get's put on and within minutes I'm otb. I'm trying to strengthen my mentality every ride but I think I lack fitness to do so. I don't think I should be struggling so much 10 minutes into a ride, am I not fit enough? or strong enough yet? Like I said, I do train a lot.. I should at bare minimum be able to hang with the pack for a 1-2 hour ride or race by now. I havn't even made any progression, still getting dropped right away. I just find it amazing how I can invest so much time and money and effort into my bike and still get dropped so easily and quickly.

    Sorry for the length but I'm just so mad at how crappy I've been this year, I made so much progress from May 2012 to March of this year, and now it's like I'm making progress rapidly in the other direction.. I just don't know where to start (bike, coach, training etc.). My dad asked me about what I want to do with my cycling in the future and I can't even answer the question, it's really taking a toll on me now. It's making me more angry and all I want to do is go ride my all day so I can just improve a little bit, see some positive sign. I've always been an athletic kid, and always one of the best of my team (soccer, hockey, baseball, football, lacrosse) so it's not that sports just aren't for me. And at the end of the day it's not genetics or equipment, it's just the fact that I'm the only one no matter where I look that can't hang on for dear life in the first 20 min of any hard ride, when even the first timers can.

    It picks at my brain every day and I can't take it for much longer, I just need to see some slight improvement or just the potential for improvement. I've thought about just giving the sport up because I can't go anywhere with it but I can't let it beat me. I just need to prove to myself, my dad, my coach, and my team that I too can ride like the rest. The only answer I ever get back is "go race some more", "you need to train more", "give it some time" but you know what? I've done all that, and where has it gotten me? I wouldn't doubt it got me back to my 2011 year, just some crappy rider. What do I do differently next year to race a race, instead of just ride behind one?

    I'm sorry if this offends you or if I repeated myself a lot or however it makes you feel, I'm just in need of some help right now, I'm not thinking straight, thanks for any feedback, go ahead, lay into me.
    "You lack motivation because cycling is a stupid sport with no upside that takes way too much time out of your life to be mediocre at." - Racer Ex

  2. #2
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    Training alone is difficult and often causes riders to become "flat" or able to do very well within a narrow band, but have trouble stepping it up.

    This happens to everybody, and can be very discouraging. Back in the days when I took training seriously, I found that the easiest way to get better without being discouraged was to find others just slightly better (faster, better hill climbers, or able to ride longer before crapping out) than I was. It was easy to dig down in the well and come up with just that little bit extra to hang on for my dear life.

    The near match is critical because once they drop you all the desire to chase goes away.

    Something else you can do if training alone is to make a bit of a game of it, and if you see another rider up ahead, turn on the afterburners and chase him down as fast as you can.

    What I'm trying to tell you is don't get discouraged, and find some motivation through mind games. Whatever you do don't get discouraged if you cannot keep up with folks that a re materially better than you are, but at the same time don't get flat by riding with folks that aren't faster and who don't force you to step up your game.
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  3. #3
    Riding the bike I love. sstang13's Avatar
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    It's very hard not too get discouraged, I train with faster people every Thursday and Tuesday, they're both hammer fests now. When you've put so much effort and time into getting better at something, only to see you've gone nowhere, it's pretty demoralizing. I just need to find a way to ride harder for longer, but no matter what I do, I can only ride hard for a short period of time. I'm going to try and forget about the bad moments of the season and really focus on next season. I have one race left next weekend and if I can see any sort of improvement, it's a bonus to me.
    "You lack motivation because cycling is a stupid sport with no upside that takes way too much time out of your life to be mediocre at." - Racer Ex

  4. #4
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    As soon as I started reading I was thinking "burn out". It can be different factors - life plays a role in rest and recovery as well as physically training/resting. Think about other things in your life - family, friends, school, other hobbies/activities, work, etc. Any stress there will affect everything else. For example the other day I worked for a few hours very conservatively in the yard in 98 deg F temps. I came inside, planning on doing a ride, and instead, after a brief period, passed out until the next morning. Apparently the heat really got to me because the stuff I did wasn't physically challenging at all.

    Even a lack of stress can show itself - resolution with deep personal issues can make a fierce competitor into a meek one. A few of the very strong Juniors back in the day had massive personal problems - I remember one kid disappeared for a while, came back after dealing with a heroin problem, spanked us for a few months, then disappeared again. Etc etc etc.

    The other thing I thought of was my first year as a "serious Senior". I decided that I was going to turn pro (ha!) and to do that I laid out a step-by-step plan, milestones I had to hit to realistically get to a pro level. The first milestone was to do well in the state RR, a 120+ mile affair. Since I'd never even ridden 100 miles I figured I needed to do more miles. That year I did 10k miles, give or take (my odometer's accuracy, a mechanical Huret, is questionable at best), I think I started 45 races, and I finished only one. The massive miles gave me a lot of endurance but as soon as one of the guys ratcheted up the pace I'd be off the back.

    Over the years I've learned that 4000-4500 miles gives me the best return on the training dollar. Most years I'm lower, like 1500-2000 miles, and some years I've hit as high as 6500-7000 miles (all on more accurate cyclocomputers).

    It sounds like you never really took time off, meaning a few weeks or a month, which is fine if you can't wait to get on the bike again but if you're soaked in negative thoughts then it may be time for a break. I spent almost 10 years without taking any time off except for illness (typically 1-2 weeks a year) and I was absolutely and totally enthusiastic about riding and racing the whole time. When I was finally burnt out I eased up and backed off.

    It also sounds like you're doing a lot of steady work, great if you're going to do something like a randonneur event but not great for a shorter, more chaotic race. Training alone doesn't have to kill your jumpy speed but you need to incorporate some of that jumpiness into your training. When I say "jumpiness" I'm talking some efforts in the 35-40 mph range (solo, flat road, not unfriendly wind) and 40-65 mph (drafting trucks to screaming descents).

    I didn't realize this until I had a power meter but drafting a truck, even going only 40 mph, causes your power to spike immensely as you alternately punch the pedals and coast. The same is true for very fast descents, where you're sprinting, tucking, sprinting, tucking. To give you some idea my max power is in the 1400-1500 range (ftp is about 220, w/kg is well under 3, I usually avg about 160-180w in a race, and I almost never break 500w for 60 seconds), I generally sprint at about 1200 in a race, and I see maybe 1-2 efforts over 1100-1200 watts in a race (including the sprint, so maybe 1 other effort other than the sprint). When descending on a training ride, or when drafting a truck, I will see multiple 1100-1200 watt spikes. Not sustained, but definitely spiking to those levels. If you're not seeing these spikes in training then you're not training for racing, you're training for training.

    Hope this helps and let us know how you're doing.

  5. #5
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    I've had to take a good few months off to try and find the fun in cycling again. Raced CX till november, did an easy month, and then started ramping up for road season, and then burnt out this march. I've just been doing easy road rides, gravel/cx epics, riding with friends, long MTB rides, that sorta thing. Just starting to get back into racing now, and I'm really enjoying it. I will never be a professional cyclist, so if I'm not having fun, I honestly don't think it's worth it.
    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Doing one-legged squats while holding chickens in each hand will make someone strong...that doesn't mean it's the best way to train for track racing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nagrom_ View Post
    That would be spectacular. A trail of blood and sealant.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zitter's Avatar
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    Try to have more fun with your riding. While you do need structure to work towards certain goals, I found that I improved a lot by exploring different areas, setting arbitrary Strava goals, pretending I'm racing up climbs, and basically mixing it up so I'm not doing boring stuff all the time. Some people train better solo and some people need to ride with others to keep up motivation. Finding a riding buddy who is similar strength but a bit stronger will help you motivate to get stronger since you'll be fighting to stay with them and you can challenge each other. I know it's said all the time, but riding with fast people will make you faster. After my first year, I had made some major improvements as I had switched from swimming/waterpolo to cycling, but it only transfers over so much. After a while, you reach a plateau and have to work a lot harder for the same kind of gains. It looks like to me you burned yourself out from taking it too seriously so maybe take a step back and try to have more fun while training, but fun doesn't always mean easy haha. Don't get too discouraged over getting dropped from group rides, you know what it's like to go from being dropped to riding at the front the whole time so use that as motivation. People say it over and over to just keep riding, but maybe take a break for a couple weeks and restart with a fresh mindset.
    Last edited by zitter; 07-18-13 at 01:03 PM.
    0/35

  7. #7
    Riding the bike I love. sstang13's Avatar
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    CDR - I believe the biggest stressor in my life has been one of two things. One is quite personal that has carried on in my life for 2 years now and every once and a while it'll come out of nowhere and last about a week, it sort of acts like depression, but no, it's not depression, but while it doesn't seem to effect my everyday life all that much, it could be doing more damage than I think. The other is something that I think my parents/coach/me put on myself more than anything. I get to worked up when I go to a race knowing that if I don't start winning and doing good than there's no way I'll ever have a chance at making it anywhere in my cycling career. Such as you said you wanted to become a pro, so do I, but that's just the dream I have and being at a critical time in my life where I still have a great opportunity of racing in more elite categories, it's what keeps the fire in my belly burning, but it's also what stresses me out the most when racing and after failing to even complete a race with the pack. I know a now first year U23 who raced in Belgium in his 2nd year Junior, cleaned up there and signed this year with Lotto, so the opportunities are very realistic. There's just soo much unneeded/unwanted pressure! And that coupled with my poor performance in general this year and the hours I spent indoors going mentally insane on a trainer have all effected my love for the bike. Like I stated in my OP I've thought about just giving it up. I can't stand having to give up so much time that I could be enjoying with my friends, the outdoors, and just loving the life around me but instead get on the bike and do a set of 2x20s when none of it is getting me progress anywhere. Could it really be stress though? When I'm on the bike I seem to be fine, I only think about the road ahead when I'm riding.

    The only time off was about 3 days with a chest cold, and two weeks prior to my exams but that was a vey stressful 2 weeks, I had to prepare 2 15-20min seminars in less than a week, present them, start + finish my culminating projects for 3 other hard courses and study/do exams. Plus that whole time I was stressed over the fact that every minute off the bike was a minute of performance I was giving away. I've been reading a ton lately on training because I'm trying to make a plan for next year (base, build, taper, peak etc.) and it seems that my coach got the base phase right, re; my amazing (to me) performance back in march just after what I guess was 'base', but then after that, I can't find any real training blocks, it just seems that he gives me 3-4 weeks of copy/paste training schedules. For example, I've had the same training block now for 17 weeks, all it consists of are hill repeats at a hill that is a 1 hour car ride away (ie. can't ever get to it), and TTT's with my team which is also a 1 hour car drive away which I'm rarely ever there. So I just go on my own rides and do intervals just without the hills or team. Maybe that's why I did so bad, I went from actual training, to just random training and no actual specific blocks.

    As for the steady work, I have had a lot of those sort of rides, just one pace mostly the whole time, but I've also had intervals thrown in the mix. If you want me to post what my training week has been for the past 17 weeks I will gladly, because that could be the problem.. I might just self coach myself but it's a tough decision between coaching myself, or sticking with a coach whose had very much success. Just to add a little more unneeded stress..

    David Broon + zitter - Great idea, I am thinking about running and mountain biking in the winter so I don't have to sit in my basement and stare at the tv. for hours on end. I would like to get a cyclocross bike and try some races, they really would seem to help power a lot plus just getting on the bike especially in the winter months would be easier and it looks like so much fun! But then again, maybe a power meter would be of greater benefit to me.
    Last edited by sstang13; 07-18-13 at 02:17 PM.
    "You lack motivation because cycling is a stupid sport with no upside that takes way too much time out of your life to be mediocre at." - Racer Ex

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    I too think you sound burned out. However, I am also interested in the fact that you train entirely on RPE but have a coach who provides you with training plans. If you are not providing the coach with any hard data, how does he/she assess your training load, progress etc. and tailor your training accordingly? Plus, training just with RPE takes a bit of experience. If one is not careful one can end up never going easy enough on the easy rides, and therefore never being fresh enough to really max out on the hard sessions. So instead of getting fitter you just get tired.

    Back off. Have a couple of really easy weeks. Maybe don't even touch the bike unless you feel you really want to. You won't lose a disastrous amount of fitness in two weeks amd you might regain a lot of freshness and enthusiasm. And then get an HRM, at least, to bring a bit more objectivity to your training sessions.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  9. #9
    Riding the bike I love. sstang13's Avatar
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    I do have a HR monitor but I havn't done a LTHR test so I've never been able to actually train with it. I tried to once but got a flat tire. I think I'm going to do one Saturday or maybe tomorrow. And I honestly don't think he ever tailor's my training or focuses on me at all. We got 6 riders that he cares about, other like he doesn't. Like I said, exact same schedule for 17 weeks now, I might not be a coach but that doesn't sound to good to me. I'm definitely going to take a few weeks off in the winter and take a few weeks to run/MTB or do whatever.
    "You lack motivation because cycling is a stupid sport with no upside that takes way too much time out of your life to be mediocre at." - Racer Ex

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstang13 View Post
    (stuff)
    First, when I did a winter of intense trainer work I ended up so burnt out I didn't really do intervals after that, ever, and it took me something like 10 years to get back on the trainer. Now that I rarely do intense work in training (no scheduled intervals) I am okay with the trainer for 1-2 hours at a time very regularly (even during the warm months) with occasional massive 3-5+ hour trainer rides in the off season. I think intervals on trainers is mentally super challenging and it led to my one bad year.

    So, to your list. I think that the first factor you list is almost normal for anyone at your age. I wasn't immune either, and I'm going to say that it lasted maybe 6-8 heavy years for me and then took another 10+ years before I realized it hadn't affected me recently. Speaking with other people it seems that a significant minority gets affected (at least that understood what happened and will talk about it). I know it's tough but you can work through it. My short comment here doesn't do it justice but I think you'll understand.

    The second factor is a bit more significant, at least to me. Although it's possible to improve your bike racing there's a genetic limit to that improvement. If you're not made of the material to be pro then you're not going to turn pro. It's a bit crushing to realize this but that's the truth. There's a reason why there aren't that many pro cyclists out there, a reason why every Cat 2 around doesn't become pro. Someone that did a study on power outputs pointed out that there's more of a power difference between a Cat 1 and a pro than a Cat 5 and a Cat 1. In other words if you take the progress a rider made going from Cat 5 to Cat 1 and you stack that progress again, you're not good enough to be pro yet.

    When I see 272 watts that's not a lot. My leadout teammate in 2010 averaged 387 watts for the race where he worked for me. He covered moves, chased down some riders (including a future pro who was only a Cat 4 at the time), and then went 35 mph into a headwind to lead me out. I learned a few months later that he raced pro mtb in the early 90s. He's a really strong rider, very savvy, and yet he's just a Cat 3 who sometimes does well in Cat 3 races.

    There's another guy in the area that was a top Cat 1 rider - he placed 3rd in (I think) the first combined pro-am Elite National Championship RR. He did it by attacking out of the field with 8 miles left in the RR, bridging solo across something like a minute gap to a 4 man break. It took 5 miles of effort to bridge. When he got there the "patron" of the break (the only actual pro in it) told him to pull so he did. He pulled the break all the way to the line, led out the sprint, and still got 3rd out of 5. Crazy. Brice Jones, of the 7-Up team, was the pro in that break, and he blogged about the race in Cycling News, referring to the local rider as "Number 56" because that's all he knew about him (the article has been taken down since, but it was up for a few years). It was his best result ever as a Senior rider - although he could win local races he never scored like that again in a national level race. In one local race he soloed for almost the whole 50 laps. His tactic was to go 28 mph if the field wasn't chasing because he knew the race would average about 28 mph. If the field started chasing he'd go 31 mph for a couple laps, until the field stopped chasing, and slow down to 28 mph. He had no aero wheels, no aero anything, just Ksyriums, cables going every which way, dorky helmet, but he rode away from a field that had two decent pros, Jeff Rutter and Graeme Miller. 28 mph on the slow laps, 31 mph on the fast ones, a mile a lap. For something like 45 miles. Think about that. (He won by a minute, about a half lap advantage, solo, and he was never threatened once he got more than a 20 second lead).

    He showed me some power files from his intervals - he'd do 500 watts for 5 minutes, repeating that 4 or 5 times. Before Elite Nationals he motorpaced for 4-5 weeks, huge workouts behind a moto driven by his dad (an ex-Cat 1 - and his grandfather was a pro track racer back in the day). Personally my absolute best 60 second avg power is 587 watts so I simply can't comprehend doing 500 watts for 5 minutes. This guy never turned pro, wasn't good enough.

    There's another guy, a Euro-pro for about 7 years. He raced the smaller teams, the feeder teams for the big ones, then raced for some of the smaller US teams before he stopped racing (Colavita, DeFeet-Lemond, I think one other). As a Junior he raced top level races nationally with a national level team, like Tour of Nutley (I write about him here - a story that involves Juniors, Seniors, and Juniors). He'd come back to the US to do Core States (Philly), for vacations, etc. He came to a race I promoted one spring. He attacked the crap out of the race, went away solo, and basically soloed for some insane amount of laps, like 30 or 40 laps. It was a P123 race so there was some pack fodder (3s) but there were also some very strong 1s and 2s. A couple teams worked together to chase him down, stringing out the field for something like 20 laps. I was marshaling at about the half lap point so I could see them gaining a second, losing a second, etc. Finally, in the last 5 laps, the gap started to only come down. My friend couldn't or wouldn't push harder so they started to close. He got caught on the last lap literally in front of me, half a lap to go, about .4-.5 miles. I got back in my car, drove to the finish to finish my promoter duties. I found my friend who looked pretty beat. I told him I was sorry that he got caught on the last lap and how did he do. He looked at me and told me that he won. When they caught him he led out the sprint and they couldn't hold his wheel! This guy was strong but not good enough to earn a "real" pro contract. He always raced for the B team. He won Harlem out of a break (Pro-1 crit), not sure of any other big races. Won some smaller ones, all of them solo (he doesn't sprint well to the point that if we were in the same race he'd offer to lead me out).

    So what's the point of all that? Don't worry about turning pro. Don't worry about the kid that signed for Lotto, the kid that went to wherever, blah blah blah. Enjoy the racing for the moment. You're thinking of your racing like a stage race and only aiming for the overall instead of racing "in the moment". The few times I did stage races or even a omnium (basically a Series type race) I realized that I had to race each day to the maximum. There was no "oh, I'll close the gap to the leaders next time" etc. If you look at the way amateur (Cat 2-3-4) stage/omnium races pan out you'll see that usually the rider that wins the overall was winning from the start. You have to race "in the moment" to do better "later". Focusing on turning pro for Omega Quick Step is going to take your attention away from the fact that you need to hold the wheel in front of you RIGHT NOW.

    As part of the "reality check" thing I'd convince the powers that be that you need a power meter immediately. Use all your favors, future/past presents, etc, and get yourself a used PowerTap or, if you can find a really good price, a used SRM. The PTs are pretty reliable once you get past the first generation or so, and the SRMs are incredible in terms of longevity. Then go out and do some 400-500-600 watt efforts. See how long you last. If you can do 500w for 5 minutes you're talking some serious power, good enough to be "almost pro". Well if you're really light then maybe enough to be pro, but at 150 lbs or so it's not a deal maker. Power meters are really depressing to most of us regular people.

    A friend asked me why I don't work on my climbing so that I can be a more rounded rider (and so I could help him in road races). I pointed out that at my recent best, the year I upgraded to Cat 2, I was at 220w FTP, racing at about 3.05 w/kg (220w, 159 lbs, 72 kg). I'd have to drop 40 lbs just to get another 1 w/kg (4.05 w/kg). I was already skinny at 159, to drop 40 more pounds??? No way. I could also bump my FTP up by 30%, but, yeah, that's really going to happen - I was super fit at 220w, super strong, and at one point I did a test that said my FTP was 230w, but that was it. To increase my power by 30%, 66w FTP? Right. Then that gets me to the sort of "medium" Cat 3 level. To push it beyond that? Unreasonable.

    To prove a point I asked my friend back why he didn't work on his sprint so he could contest field sprints with me. He said his max power was barely 1000w. I asked him why he didn't train to make it 1300+w, a 30% increase in max power. He said he couldn't. Then he realized what he was asking me to do, and he's left me alone about my non-climbing racing.

    Instead of a power meter you can go do a time trial, something like 7 miles (our local TT was 7 miles long). Find 3.5 miles of flattish road with no stop signs if you can. A good time for 7 miles is about 15 minutes if you have to make a turn around (out and back is best, it neutralizes wind and elevation factors for the most part). This is Cat 2 level, no aero equipment unless you consider a 24H Ardennes wheel "aero". If you have aero wheels and helmet then 14 minutes puts you in the upper tier of good amateurs, not-very-good pros (the local TT record was 14:05 - the rider was ranked top 10 in duathlon cycling in his best year but otherwise was a non-person in the world of duathlons). If you consistently get into the 15s for 7 miles (with a turn around) then you're at a decent Cat 3 level. My record was 16:28 and I only broke 17 minutes that one time (and I had aero bars, 24" front wheel, 17mm tubulars, prototype super light disc rear wheel, aero TT helmet, skinsuit, taped over laces on Aerolite pedals, no bottle, etc). I usually did a 17:30-17:45. My leadout man (not the ex-mtb pro, a different one) did about 15:30s on no aero equipment (he didn't own any), and he was a medium Cat 3 who couldn't win a Cat 3 race to save his life.

    If you go out right now and do a 16 flat for 7 miles without much motivation then that's pretty good. If you do a 15 flat without motivation you're talking serious potential. 17 minutes... don't quit school.

    If you do a 15 flat then it's okay to put pressure on yourself thinking about the long term (pro, etc). 15 flat means riding at basically 30 mph the whole time - you'll lose a good 20-30 seconds at the turn around, and you'll lose another 30 seconds or so accelerating up to speed from the start (compared to a flying/assisted start and no turn around).

    btw L'Abitibi is a HUGE race. Huge. Michel Zanoli won it (he later turned pro for Motorola and Tulip). Ullrich got annihilated in the race and that particular year a US Junior, Andrew Lewis, won it. Lewis won it twice I think, and he never turned pro - he was a local kid and actually worked for me briefly. Ullrich won the World Amateur RR the following year, to Lewis's great puzzlement, since Ullrich was a non-factor racing the year before. That was the year Lance won Pro Worlds. If you go to L'Abitibi and get your doors blown in then you're in the same league as Jan Ullrich. Maybe a clean Ullrich but still an Ullrich.

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    Riding the bike I love. sstang13's Avatar
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    When you say intervals on the trainer do you say that all year round? Or only in base training. Intervals were the only thing that kept my head intact when on the trainer for 2-3 hours through the winter, mostly during January and February.

    For the first thing on the list I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing, but thanks for the support anyway!

    I think tomorrow I'm going to go do that 7 mile TT. I have a road that has like 30m elevation the entire way and is very long, open to wind usually so it should be a great road to. Those times are FAST. I've done 2 TT's in my life, one was last September as a cadet (15-16), I had just signed up for the team (they put the race on as well - the Youth Cup Championships), and had recently got back from vacation. So prior to the race I had absolutely no training whatsoever. I was still just a noob who rode a bike he knew nothing about. The TT was 3.5km (2.2mi). It was before the 36km race I finished in 8/16. The TT I finished 12th and did a 6:12. So bad but also considering I was untrained it was not bad for me and also without any aero equipment, and yes, wires everywhere. The only thing I had aero was a fully zipped up jersey choking me. The second TT was on June 9th this year, so not too long ago, it was 36km (22.4mi) and my goal was to beat an hour. I did a 1:00:38.. missed by a mere 38 seconds. I did it Eddy Merckx style with aero equipment only being 50mm clinchers and a skin suit. That was pretty enlightening to me.

    The next day was my best race ever. I started at the front, was 3rd wheel off the bat, never left the top 10-15 out of like 40-50+ people, and was a two lap, 85km race. I felt absolutely incredible the entire time, apparently hitting over 50km/h on a dirt section and I was moving around, taking wheels, defending mine etc etc. I had a race report in the RR thread. We averaged over 40km/h the first lap and I stayed out of the wind. Still feeling like it was a Sunday cruise I decided I would eat my cliff bar because "eat before you get hungry" and everyone else decided it would be feed time, so I joined. Not a word of a lie, exactly 5min after eat the cliff bar, my entire legs just seized up, could barely even turn the pedals over. Suddenly struggling to do 20km/h on a flat. I've never had a cliff bar on a ride since, and won't. It's so disappointing because I had a real chance of doing well! I believe the reason it happened that way was because it was the "B" race, so all the Cat 1-2 people would have been in the A race. So I had more motivation that I could actually race the race and not just ride it. We still averaged the same speed as the A race. But now I'm here hanging on for 8kms at a 40km/h pace.

    Looking back at my training for the last bit though, there has been a lot of 8km intervals with my local group/team. One of which is a 15min race on a 500m speedway. So roughly 10km. I guess I just got so used to doing that distance because I always get dropped at that exact mark. Trust me, I know I'm not going pro, I just get so worked up over it because I'm young, I'm sure you understand, it's hard just giving something up when it's possible, especially going pro. I'm taking your advice though and I'm going to take every road like a new challenge in my race next Sunday

    As for power meters, I was looking at dc rainmakers updated review of the Stages, is that still a no go power meter? And power tap I would have to get a hub because I have 50mm wheels that I would like to put it onto. I would love to get an SRM but 1) They are expensive, but that doesn't matter too much because I'd rather spend $1200+ once and use it for years than constantly buying bad power meters. I'm looking to the long run. and 2) I have an Edge 500 so ANT+ would really be nice.

    Check out the Abitibi results: http://www.tourabitibi.qc.ca/resultats.php?lang=en

    Canada got 1st, 2nd, and 1st in the 3 road stages so far. Yesterday my teammates got 1st and 3rd in the TT and as of this morning they are 1st and 4th GC! 1st place one did 19:10 on a 6 mile course. And the other guy was 8 seconds behind. That's 29.6 mph.

    Ps. I understand what you say about losing 40 pounds to gain w/kg. I'm 160 pounds which seems big but I'm 6'3" so that's very skinny! The most I'll try to lose if I do is probably 5 pounds. But I have so many other things to worry about before I do stuff like such as get a better diet and work on my engine. I always think about the pro's, mostly sprinters, who weight 180, 190 lbs who are getting over the climbs to not get time cut. Now that's tough going against someone who weighs 130lbs and was born at altitude, talk about power..

    Pps. As I wrote this a commercial came on tv. David Vellieux came on and the main message was, "ride for the love of it". Amazing
    Last edited by sstang13; 07-19-13 at 09:17 AM.
    "You lack motivation because cycling is a stupid sport with no upside that takes way too much time out of your life to be mediocre at." - Racer Ex

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    I can relate EXACTLY to how you feel. After approx. a year of riding seriously and maybe about 7 months of actual real serious training i can see ive improved, not a whole lot, but i see a difference. When i first started cycling it was with a 1980's cannondale touring bike, after that i got my first road bike in December and trained seriously and smart from there. I used to avg. 13mph even to get 14mph was a miracle and i know avg. speeds means virtually nothing but now on the same routes and stuff i avg. about 17 to 18mph (rarely). I train alone and ive always trained alone.My training is based on my terrain which is HILLY and when i mean hilly i mean to get to the corner store i have to walk up atleast 3 hills haha. But most of my training has included hills and LOADS of hill repeats, and i wouldnt say mountainous terrain but its pretty close to it especially the long 9-11% roads. But since ive basically almost trained all the times in hills i would probably not do so well in other areas of cycling.


    I dont train with a power meter so i dont even know what my FTP could be. Im 5'4 very close to 5'5. I weigh 116 pounds maybe even a little more. Maybe thats why i do so well in hills. Usually i always find other cyclists out training where i train and i can be half a mile behind them and once they reach a long hill i would not only catch up to them but pass them on the climb. I try to make my training as interactive as possible in the sense that i always try to get a better time up a hill or do a route faster or something. If i ever see another cyclist down the road i try to play a little chase and try to catch up to them. I wish i could get a power meter so i could have numbers to base my training off of and possible create a better training plan. As for the demoralizing feeling you get, ive had my bad times where i felt i wasn't improving or was getting worse. What i usually would do is take about 2 or max 3 days off or take 2 days off and do a day of easy spinning.


    Even right now i feel like im plateauing. In a few days youll go out and train and get that good feeling that you should be feelings everyday you train. Until then just eat well, sleep well, and enjoy your training!

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    Riding the bike I love. sstang13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    more stuff
    I did the 7 mile TT today: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/345547244

    I had no aero equipment except for a skin suit. My glutes and like upper inner hamstring area was really hurting all day, before during and after the TT. It was hurting on Thursday and apparently hadn't recovered yet. Clip in at the start was good, no time lost there. There was a strong cross-head wind on the way out, I got into a TT position and tried to dodge the wind as much as possible, then got into my drops after the turn around and tried to use the cross-tail wind as sort of a sail. I lost 37 seconds at the turn around!! It felt more like 10, didn't realize how fast time was going 15 meters of elevation both up and down so really flat section, and no problems with stop signs. Ended up with a 17:50 I was very disappointed as I felt it was at least 16 something.

    I'm also confused as how I only did 11.2km today in 17:50 with one turn around and only 15m elevation gain but in Ottawa I did 36km in 1:00:38 with 3 turn arounds and quite a few small hills. That's only a 1km/h difference but a third of the time. I always thought if you could do x pace for x time, you could theoretically do half the distance in half the time. I guess this doesn't work in terms of power though..

    But now I think about it, and you were talking about basically being a pro outside of a pro, like a "local pro" as I would call it. In the US it would be the cat 1's and maybe some upper end 2's. Here in Canada it's the Elite 1/2 category. By saying the times of what 14min, 15min, 16min etc. would be in your post above, (ie. 14:00 - upper tier of good amateurs), it has inspired me to chase those categories before anything else. I'll look forward to my second year Junior as a year to learn, and improve, and once I reach age 19, I can start in E4, and work my way towards the E1/2 categories. They are pretty much the pro's of my region and that's good enough for me. All I need now is motivation.

    Thanks for the help though everyone! It's very appreciated!
    Last edited by sstang13; 07-20-13 at 04:50 PM.
    "You lack motivation because cycling is a stupid sport with no upside that takes way too much time out of your life to be mediocre at." - Racer Ex

  14. #14
    Riding the bike I love. sstang13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chocho13 View Post
    I can relate EXACTLY to how you feel. After approx. a year of riding seriously and maybe about 7 months of actual real serious training i can see ive improved, not a whole lot, but i see a difference. When i first started cycling it was with a 1980's cannondale touring bike, after that i got my first road bike in December and trained seriously and smart from there. I used to avg. 13mph even to get 14mph was a miracle and i know avg. speeds means virtually nothing but now on the same routes and stuff i avg. about 17 to 18mph (rarely). I train alone and ive always trained alone.My training is based on my terrain which is HILLY and when i mean hilly i mean to get to the corner store i have to walk up atleast 3 hills haha. But most of my training has included hills and LOADS of hill repeats, and i wouldnt say mountainous terrain but its pretty close to it especially the long 9-11% roads. But since ive basically almost trained all the times in hills i would probably not do so well in other areas of cycling.


    I dont train with a power meter so i dont even know what my FTP could be. Im 5'4 very close to 5'5. I weigh 116 pounds maybe even a little more. Maybe thats why i do so well in hills. Usually i always find other cyclists out training where i train and i can be half a mile behind them and once they reach a long hill i would not only catch up to them but pass them on the climb. I try to make my training as interactive as possible in the sense that i always try to get a better time up a hill or do a route faster or something. If i ever see another cyclist down the road i try to play a little chase and try to catch up to them. I wish i could get a power meter so i could have numbers to base my training off of and possible create a better training plan. As for the demoralizing feeling you get, ive had my bad times where i felt i wasn't improving or was getting worse. What i usually would do is take about 2 or max 3 days off or take 2 days off and do a day of easy spinning.


    Even right now i feel like im plateauing. In a few days youll go out and train and get that good feeling that you should be feelings everyday you train. Until then just eat well, sleep well, and enjoy your training!
    I have a marinoni delta frame which was put onto a revenio 3.0 - a touring bike, for instance the handle bars are very wide! I'm upgrading parts here and there though, so slowly becoming a better bike for racing but I don't think it really makes a huge difference. I just saw another cyclist today, decided to catch him, turns out he was an older guy and started talking to me so when I wanted to go fast and hard, I ended up going slow. Lol. The thing about rest is that I never actually have planned weeks of rest, I'll have a couple days once and a while because life just gets in the way, and then other times ill have massive training weeks. I may have not been as scheduled as I should have been.

    You should do a google search about Nairo Quintana! You remind me of him. Ex: he is about the same height, same weight, and when he was a kid, he would bike to school, except his school was an 18km climb away. Maybe you'll meet him in the pro peleton one day?
    "You lack motivation because cycling is a stupid sport with no upside that takes way too much time out of your life to be mediocre at." - Racer Ex

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    Yeah man just plan a week of rest. You wont lose any fitness matter fact, when you come back you might even feel even better and your motivation will rocket. That's what happened to me, one week i was just stressing my body too hard (1 hour of intervals everyday). I ended up taking a few days off, running with friends in my local high school on the track and just getting easy days in. Once i came back to the bike i was just feeling happy to be sitting on the bike.


    As i said most of training consists of really steep gradient repeats which really sucks sometimes for me is because my bike weighs like 30 pounds, maybe even more with my water bottle and stuff, if i just had a lighter bikes! But i love hills, i love climbing in general. I spend most of my time climbing out of the saddle and many people tell me why don't i just sit down, im like im more comfortable standing on the pedals maybe its cuz im very light or something. One of my favorite hills maxes out at like 24% and thats one important thing in cycling you have to LOVE your training and i dont mean it like your girlfriend (most of my ex'es thought i liked my bike more than them anyway) but you have to like everything about it. Having a positive outlook on your training will give you positive results. Just like anything you do, if you do it right and with good spirit it will be better than if you're just doing it for the heck of it.


    And oh yes Nairo Quintana the colombian, he just won a stage today too in the tour de france, and coincidentally its Colombia's independence day too. But yeah i heard about his story. I was born back in south america and came here to the states when i was like four so yeah my dad used to mountain bike alot back in south america, i remember going biking with him when i was like 7 or 8 years old around Greenwhich, Ct ; i woudl ride 5 miles or sometimes even 10 miles with him. So yeah hes the reason i got into cycling and im happy i found cycling!


    Remember take some days off and then go back to training your ass off! My cycling road shoes broke (too much dancing on the pedals while climbing) so im on forced rest -_- but anyway Good luck man!

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    Riding the bike I love. sstang13's Avatar
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    Haha ya, he was born at almost 10, 000 feet! Oh and, watch the spoilers I have him on my computer desktop, a picture from behind him when he attacked on the mountain in the Pyrenees, I would link it but can't right now. He's one of my favourite riders!

    What should I do this week though? I have a race in 7 days (Sunday), should I just ride light a couple days? I'll be sure to take 2-3 weeks off in the winter though. This is my last RR of the year, then maybe one TT and I'm done.

    Ps. I love climbing too! Any hill I struggle going 'easy' on. It's fun to smash them. I broke my pedal a couple weeks ago from so much pulling up while standing on climbs. And don't worry what your friends say, right the way you ride, everyone's different. Look at Froome, when's the last time you've seen him stand on a climb? (Except for today )
    "You lack motivation because cycling is a stupid sport with no upside that takes way too much time out of your life to be mediocre at." - Racer Ex

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstang13 View Post
    I did the 7 mile TT today: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/345547244

    I had no aero equipment except for a skin suit. My glutes and like upper inner hamstring area was really hurting all day, before during and after the TT. It was hurting on Thursday and apparently hadn't recovered yet. Clip in at the start was good, no time lost there. There was a strong cross-head wind on the way out, I got into a TT position and tried to dodge the wind as much as possible, then got into my drops after the turn around and tried to use the cross-tail wind as sort of a sail. I lost 37 seconds at the turn around!! It felt more like 10, didn't realize how fast time was going 15 meters of elevation both up and down so really flat section, and no problems with stop signs. Ended up with a 17:50 I was very disappointed as I felt it was at least 16 something.

    I'm also confused as how I only did 11.2km today in 17:50 with one turn around and only 15m elevation gain but in Ottawa I did 36km in 1:00:38 with 3 turn arounds and quite a few small hills. That's only a 1km/h difference but a third of the time. I always thought if you could do x pace for x time, you could theoretically do half the distance in half the time. I guess this doesn't work in terms of power though..

    But now I think about it, and you were talking about basically being a pro outside of a pro, like a "local pro" as I would call it. In the US it would be the cat 1's and maybe some upper end 2's. Here in Canada it's the Elite 1/2 category. By saying the times of what 14min, 15min, 16min etc. would be in your post above, (ie. 14:00 - upper tier of good amateurs), it has inspired me to chase those categories before anything else. I'll look forward to my second year Junior as a year to learn, and improve, and once I reach age 19, I can start in E4, and work my way towards the E1/2 categories. They are pretty much the pro's of my region and that's good enough for me. All I need now is motivation.

    Thanks for the help though everyone! It's very appreciated!
    Your earlier question about riding trainers - I found that the mental energy I needed to exert to put out the high efforts killed me mentally. After a really serious trainer schedule one winter I lost tons of motivation and basically didn't ride indoors, except for checking a bike build or something, for many years.

    TT - if your heartrate and cadence are accurate you did a really hard effort. That's good. You should do this every now and then to get some benchmark numbers. Don't be discouraged by your first time - you'll find ways to pace better, to ride beyond what you thought possible. When I did my PR I was chasing my leadout man. Since he was on a bad day I could keep him in sight (30 seconds between each rider). I also decided to just spin my 54x15 or so instead of push big gears so I didn't blow up pushing a 12 or something stupid. Then after the turn around I realized I was feeling really good. I did push the 12, I went super hard, and almost caught my teammate at the line. It was a perfect storm of things but that's why it's a PR.

    Also on the TT - if your glutes were sore then you were probably pushing much harder than normal on that Thursday (or whenever you rode hard). It also means that you're not training in your racing position - if you only use your glutes when you're riding hard then you're not training them when you "train". Even easy days ought to recruit them a bit. Whenever I finish a race and my glutes are sore/tender I chide myself for riding too upright when I train. I spend a lot of time on the drops when I train, even if I'm not going that hard, so that when I do a race my glutes are used to making the efforts.

    (btw I'm not a poster child for training - I basically "JRA" Just Ride Along when I train. No structure, no nothing, just ride how I feel like riding. I'll jump after trucks/buses and go hard to make a light but that's about it. I also prefer not to do hills - I almost always ride the same flat roads. So the fact that I can do a hard hour long crit and my glutes aren't sore at all means that I've been using them even on JRA type rides.)

    As far as goals go it's good to have step-by-step goals, at least at the beginning of your cycling life. They can reach for the skies but they need to start with what you need to do in the next month or six. You should look up the list that Lemond made. It was pretty straight forward but said something like 18 - win Worlds, 19 - turn pro, 20 - top 3 at Worlds, 21 - Do the Tour, something like that. My list was more modest, it ended with doing Philly (156 mile race at the time), my first main goal was to finish the state RR (120+ miles). The first main goal meant that my training had to be gears for speed (in general) and distance (since I needed to ride 120+ miles in the RR). I focused on miles, it killed my speed, and I never hit that first goal. I re-wrote my goal list after a year. Heh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chocho13 View Post
    (stuff about power meter)
    If you want to check out the TT course it's in Weston, it's on Lyon's Plain Road. It starts just before the bridge just after the Coleytown Road intersection (we would park at the church lot there). You may even see a painted line on the shoulder.

    You go through the first stop sign (Cartbridge/Fanton), then turn around at the second stop sign (where the road splits into 3 different roads like a fan). Turn around so you loop around the end of the double yellow line at the stop sign at the end of the straight.

    There's a slight upgrade from the start, it's basically flat, then on the way back you get a bit of a boost of speed from the slight downgrade (which feels like a massive descent by then).

    If you get a chance check it out. And don't risk your life at the first stop sign - slowing severely will take maybe 10-15 seconds off your time each way.

    My PR with every piece of equipment I could get was 16:28. My normal times were in the 17:15-17:45s, slow times in the 18s. The last time I did it I was maybe 25? so I was training (including races) 5-6 days a week. The course record was, at the time, 14:05. The better Cat 3s would regularly do in the 15s, like 15:15 to 15:59. A Cat 2 did a 14:55 or something like that but would usually be in the 15s, no aero stuff.

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    Riding the bike I love. sstang13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
    Your earlier question about riding trainers - I found that the mental energy I needed to exert to put out the high efforts killed me mentally. After a really serious trainer schedule one winter I lost tons of motivation and basically didn't ride indoors, except for checking a bike build or something, for many years.

    TT - if your heartrate and cadence are accurate you did a really hard effort. That's good. You should do this every now and then to get some benchmark numbers. Don't be discouraged by your first time - you'll find ways to pace better, to ride beyond what you thought possible. When I did my PR I was chasing my leadout man. Since he was on a bad day I could keep him in sight (30 seconds between each rider). I also decided to just spin my 54x15 or so instead of push big gears so I didn't blow up pushing a 12 or something stupid. Then after the turn around I realized I was feeling really good. I did push the 12, I went super hard, and almost caught my teammate at the line. It was a perfect storm of things but that's why it's a PR.

    Also on the TT - if your glutes were sore then you were probably pushing much harder than normal on that Thursday (or whenever you rode hard). It also means that you're not training in your racing position - if you only use your glutes when you're riding hard then you're not training them when you "train". Even easy days ought to recruit them a bit. Whenever I finish a race and my glutes are sore/tender I chide myself for riding too upright when I train. I spend a lot of time on the drops when I train, even if I'm not going that hard, so that when I do a race my glutes are used to making the efforts.

    (btw I'm not a poster child for training - I basically "JRA" Just Ride Along when I train. No structure, no nothing, just ride how I feel like riding. I'll jump after trucks/buses and go hard to make a light but that's about it. I also prefer not to do hills - I almost always ride the same flat roads. So the fact that I can do a hard hour long crit and my glutes aren't sore at all means that I've been using them even on JRA type rides.)

    As far as goals go it's good to have step-by-step goals, at least at the beginning of your cycling life. They can reach for the skies but they need to start with what you need to do in the next month or six. You should look up the list that Lemond made. It was pretty straight forward but said something like 18 - win Worlds, 19 - turn pro, 20 - top 3 at Worlds, 21 - Do the Tour, something like that. My list was more modest, it ended with doing Philly (156 mile race at the time), my first main goal was to finish the state RR (120+ miles). The first main goal meant that my training had to be gears for speed (in general) and distance (since I needed to ride 120+ miles in the RR). I focused on miles, it killed my speed, and I never hit that first goal. I re-wrote my goal list after a year. Heh.
    I understand what you mean about the trainer though, when March came, I already put 80+ hours I think into the trainer, it was supposed to be spring by then, but we had an extra 1-1.5 months or so of winter, but I refused to even do 10 min on the trainer. I believe that's what kick started this whole demotivation thing, I felt that I NEEDED to go on the trainer, and go do my workouts when I really, really couldn't handle it mentally.

    Yes, 180 bpm is about 92% of my max HR. I think my LTHR leans towards 160-165 ish, I've never tested but based off of fast hammer fests, my HR spikes to 180 and I get dropped in 8km (I'm surprised I lasted 11.2km at 180!), but 160 usually seems to be when I'm not going super hard, but not easy either, just the ride effort that I can push without blowing up. Oh, and I hate when my HR is high because it feels like it's literally going to burst right through my chest because it beats so hard, makes me feel terrible.. ugh

    Thursday was the only real pain barrier that I broke through. I felt good the whole ride, and was in my hoods (usually in fast rides I sit in the drops), then the last stretch was 3 miles in 7min 54sec (23mph). I had my forearms flat on my hoods, got as low as I could, and spun ~100rpm, it was the only way I could hang on. HR was 1-2bpm below 180 for majority of it. I was in the around same position as my TT today, so I guess you are right, I never do train in the position. But I do race a lot in the drops, and train there, I may need to get lower though.

    And when you speak about adding in spikes every now and then in my rides and these hard efforts once and a while^, how do I incorporate it into my training? Say, if I have a training block, and days I have 2x20, the next I'll have sprints, and another day 5x5, just for example, how do I add those spikes in there? During warm up/ cool down? During rest? etc.

    My team had a meeting with my coach this winter and we talked about S.M.A.R.T goals, and made a whole bunch. I'm going to take your advice , make some goals again yearly, and monthly. Then I could brake it down to races as well. I'm also thinking about peaking for a race so that I could have top form going into a few knowing that I can do well. It should be an easier year now that I'm second year junior.

    I was talking with my dad today and he said I should get a new bike. I told him about power meters (I said they cost a lot - but never gave him any prices). That may just be what I need for a little extra motivation, I've had the same bike for 2 years now, it's a touring bike, and maintenance is just terrible, scratches everywhere, same chain from the start, oh and did I mention a compact crank!!?
    "You lack motivation because cycling is a stupid sport with no upside that takes way too much time out of your life to be mediocre at." - Racer Ex

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstang13 View Post
    Haha ya, he was born at almost 10, 000 feet! Oh and, watch the spoilers I have him on my computer desktop, a picture from behind him when he attacked on the mountain in the Pyrenees, I would link it but can't right now. He's one of my favourite riders!

    What should I do this week though? I have a race in 7 days (Sunday), should I just ride light a couple days? I'll be sure to take 2-3 weeks off in the winter though. This is my last RR of the year, then maybe one TT and I'm done.

    Ps. I love climbing too! Any hill I struggle going 'easy' on. It's fun to smash them. I broke my pedal a couple weeks ago from so much pulling up while standing on climbs. And don't worry what your friends say, right the way you ride, everyone's different. Look at Froome, when's the last time you've seen him stand on a climb? (Except for today )
    Usually a week before a race I dont ride as hard as usual. I sometimes just ride for an hour on an easy pace. One thing I do a few days before the race is practice race tactics and skills. For example practice high-speed cornering (keeping your line etc.) something to get me into that racing mode. Some people call it junk-miles i call it recovery/having fun haha. But yeah just take it easy dont do anything dumb like trying to learn to wheelie a few days before a race (me) haha.

    And when you mentioned your broken pedal it reminded me of a few days ago i was doing sprint intervals and on my last sprint i decided to go really hard and... i thought i broke my crank because while i was sprinting my foot came off the pedals so hard that it started rubbing on the road then i regained balance and realized my chain had dropped and nothing was broken, first time my chain dropped due to sprinting
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstang13 View Post

    Yes, 180 bpm is about 92% of my max HR. I think my LTHR leans towards 160-165 ish,
    So that means your Max HR is around 196bpm right? My max HR is 204 but ive maxed it out to 209-210 while sprinting up this really steep hill i do, i call it the wall . When i do a TT i usually avg 175-179 bpm but without power i have no idea how i can correlate it. But its better than nothing. I wish i could avg more than my puny 21 mph but considering im such a small guy im happy with it. I only use clip-on aero bars and thats about it.


    And CDR- Thank you for that maybe in the future i get a chance to test it out and maybe get some numbers to compare to yours.
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    Riding the bike I love. sstang13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chocho13 View Post
    Usually a week before a race I dont ride as hard as usual. I sometimes just ride for an hour on an easy pace. One thing I do a few days before the race is practice race tactics and skills. For example practice high-speed cornering (keeping your line etc.) something to get me into that racing mode. Some people call it junk-miles i call it recovery/having fun haha. But yeah just take it easy dont do anything dumb like trying to learn to wheelie a few days before a race (me) haha.

    And when you mentioned your broken pedal it reminded me of a few days ago i was doing sprint intervals and on my last sprint i decided to go really hard and... i thought i broke my crank because while i was sprinting my foot came off the pedals so hard that it started rubbing on the road then i regained balance and realized my chain had dropped and nothing was broken, first time my chain dropped due to sprinting
    Sounds good, I like the idea of skills practice before the race! @ wheelie

    And ya I pull up hard on sprints! Also at my TT in Ottawa, we had a starting ramp and a guy holding us so I was already clipped in. I pushed down the first pedal stroke with my left foot, and as soon as I rolled down the ramp, I went to push with my right foot (remember, lots of pressure - high gear, no speed) and my cleat just ripped out of my pedal. I was pushing so hard that I almost threw myself over off balance and I had a chain/crank grease stain covering my whole calf. It was pretty embarrassing as everyone was watching

    Btw if your chain drops over top of your big ring onto your crank, just switch into your small ring and it's all good. I used to get off my bike and fix it until I was smart enough to just switch back.

    Edit: Yes, max HR is 196. I had 217 once but my HR strap fell to my stomach, I'm going to call that one a false read.
    "You lack motivation because cycling is a stupid sport with no upside that takes way too much time out of your life to be mediocre at." - Racer Ex

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstang13 View Post
    Sounds good, I like the idea of skills practice before the race! @ wheelie



    Btw if your chain drops over top of your big ring onto your crank, just switch into your small ring and it's all good. I used to get off my bike and fix it until I was smart enough to just switch back.

    Edit: Yes, max HR is 196. I had 217 once but my HR strap fell to my stomach, I'm going to call that one a false read.
    Haha the wheelie attempt was just me being stupid and ohhh thanks for the tip!

    My HR strap sometimes restricts my breathing so i have to put it on kind of loose so it doesnt keep my lungs from not expanding but right now my HRM is my best tool for me, i also bought this power meter app for my phone, it was 10 bucks so i was like oh what the hell and i tested it out a few days ago and it gave pretty good readings not like powertap or something but its close enough.
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    I'm concerned about a few things.
    #1 it's not about what goes on during the 2-4 hours on the bike. What are you doing to help yourself during the 20-22 hours OFF the bike
    #2 you've got to learn how to go slow before you learn how to go fast

    I am almost 50. I am an A-/B+ rider, play hockey and work 50 hours a week. Wife, 3 kids, etc. I've got to be efficient with my training, time.
    Monday, walk the bike
    Tuesday, tempo with intervals
    Wednesday, tempo
    Thursday, fast, with intervals
    Friday, tourist. walk the bike
    Saturday and Sunday, fast A group rides.

    Is there any better cross-training than hockey? cross biking?

    You know your body better than anyone else. Train as you feel.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstang13 View Post
    And when you speak about adding in spikes every now and then in my rides and these hard efforts once and a while^, how do I incorporate it into my training? Say, if I have a training block, and days I have 2x20, the next I'll have sprints, and another day 5x5, just for example, how do I add those spikes in there? During warm up/ cool down? During rest? etc.

    My team had a meeting with my coach this winter and we talked about S.M.A.R.T goals, and made a whole bunch. I'm going to take your advice , make some goals again yearly, and monthly. Then I could brake it down to races as well. I'm also thinking about peaking for a race so that I could have top form going into a few knowing that I can do well. It should be an easier year now that I'm second year junior.

    I was talking with my dad today and he said I should get a new bike. I told him about power meters (I said they cost a lot - but never gave him any prices). That may just be what I need for a little extra motivation, I've had the same bike for 2 years now, it's a touring bike, and maintenance is just terrible, scratches everywhere, same chain from the start, oh and did I mention a compact crank!!?
    Spikes - I don't do structured training so it's hard for me to answer. However you can incorporate leg speed work on easy days (try to avg 120 rpm for an hour for example). If I were doing shorter intervals I'd stick the spikes in there, or do a few efforts before/after the intervals. Since it's spiky it's not a huge stress on your body.

    Goals - it really helps to map things out. You work backward from your goal. Pick a race, think about what it takes to do well there, then focus on improving your performance in those factors. Be realistic - if you're not a climber you're not going to be one. If you're not a TT'er you're not going to be one. Work on what you can. You may be pleasantly surprised here and there, that's fine, but focus on utilizing your strengths. You don't see Cav fighting it out for the climber's jersey and you don't see Froome fighting for the points jersey. Even pros know they have a place.

    New bike - my first race bike was a combination of birthday, Christmas, and chores, as well as money I put in. If you really have a touring bike (42 cm chain stay, 70-72 deg head tube angle) then it will make a difference to get a race geometry frame (typically 40.5 cm chainstay, 73 deg head tube). You should be able to pick one up used for not much money. You may need to change a few things but it'll really set the tone of the bike. Don't worry about the compact - a friend of mine got 2nd in the Cat 2 Battenkill race, the first Cat 2 race he did, on a compact. Worry more about fit. If you can get a power meter because you got a used frame then try and get either a PT or a used SRM. Don't get something that isn't super accurate because it'll just waste your time and money. If you get a PT then you'll be racing on it too (unless you can get a second hub) so you'll want a reasonable wheel.

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