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  1. #1
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Getting in LSD Miles in the winter

    Its cold. Its icy. Its not likely to be reasonable roads here until maybe March. I want to ride a brevet series (the only one near me) which starts mid may. How do you all get in long miles in the winter. Or do you? Whats your personal minimum miles before starting a brevet series? I am not too concerned with the 200 and 300 Ks, but the 400 and 600 are daunting, and I am not sure how to get in enough seat time. I cannot seem to tolerate more than about 80 minutes on my trainer, the boredom is numbing. Or am I just being weak minded here?
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  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    According to my logs since I have begun Randonneuring .... from the beginning of January to the end of April, I usually log somewhere between 1400 and 1700 miles (2200 to 2800 kms). That includes both inside and outside "miles", with most of that being outside. Then May is usually quite a heavy cycling month for me.

    During that time period I have lived in Winnipeg and central Alberta ... so there has been a bit of winter to deal with.

    If you visit the Winter forum here and/or the Icebike site you can get some tips on how to ride in cold and icy conditions. It is defintely do-able! And it makes a nice break from the trainer.

    When I ride the trainer, during the week I will do somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour. Then once or twice on the weekend, I'll do a 1-2 hour session.

    Then, in addition to all that, I will participate in snowsports (if there is enough snow for that!), run, and weightlift. Various things to keep fit.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit
    Its cold. Its icy. Its not likely to be reasonable roads here until maybe March. I want to ride a brevet series (the only one near me) which starts mid may. How do you all get in long miles in the winter. Or do you? Whats your personal minimum miles before starting a brevet series? I am not too concerned with the 200 and 300 Ks, but the 400 and 600 are daunting, and I am not sure how to get in enough seat time. I cannot seem to tolerate more than about 80 minutes on my trainer, the boredom is numbing. Or am I just being weak minded here?
    if you've done centuries before, then your goal is to do a century in April.

    That's all.

    Remember, the 200K is a training ride to get you ready for the 300K. The 300 sets you up for the 400, etc.

    When I completed my first brevet series last year, the only prep that I did was commuting and a 40, 60 and 100 mile ride in the weeks before my 200k. I started training in March to do a 200K in early May; so if your roads aren't "reasonable" until March, that's still plenty of time. Of course, it's helpful to maintain a modicum of fitness during the winter months, and I think that Machka's recommendation of crosstraining with winter sports is a good idea; but even a few hours every week on the trainer can be a decent substitute.

    However, don't get all wrapped up in getting ready to ride a 600k. Focus on putting the 200k to bed, and the rest of the rides will take care of themselves if you just take them one ride at a time.
    Last edited by spokenword; 12-08-06 at 08:09 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I cannot seem to tolerate more than about 80 minutes on my trainer, the boredom is numbing. Or am I just being weak minded here?
    You'll be OK. If you can workout at least 3 or 4 times a week, AND if you work really hard at least once a week, you'll probably get back on the bike ready for 50-70 mile training rides.

    It's true that you have recondition yourself for the longer time frames required by brevets. Your neck, your butt, hands and feet all have to toughen up. That's why some wise guys workout with weights and running to keep an "overall" toughness than cannot be achieved using a cycle-trainer.

  5. #5
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the good advise. As they say, best to get it from the horses mouth, and you all are a great info resource. In Book Long Distance Cycling, they suggest a prep phase that lasts something like 6 months or so ( I forget how long, but I recall if I used their prep, I would run out of cycling season long before I ever got ready to do the rides!). BTW Cranium, I used to live and ride in Southern Illinois and Rode a lot in SW MO. Lovely place to ride back in the 70's and 80's.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit
    Thanks all for the good advise. As they say, best to get it from the horses mouth, and you all are a great info resource. In Book Long Distance Cycling, they suggest a prep phase that lasts something like 6 months or so ( I forget how long, but I recall if I used their prep, I would run out of cycling season long before I ever got ready to do the rides!).
    no problem.

    as valuable a guide as Burke and Pavelka's book might be, keep in mind that it's aimed at guiding and developing competitive ultracyclists -- folks who don't want to just complete RAAM but also win it. Certainly, having a long prep phase and investing more time in long rides prior to your events is valuable, but if your primary concern is to finish a series then qualify and complete a 1200k; don't feel that you have to abide by their recommendations if you find it so intimidating that you'll be dissuaded from even giving randonneuring a try. Given good health and prior experience in century riding, you can certainly do your first brevet series with less preparation.

    also, to add to what Richard has pointed out about the drawbacks of just relying on a trainer -- my feeling is that anyone who can comfortably ride a moderately difficult or hilly century has the physical conditioning required for brevets. However, you also need a certain amount of mental conditioning to see you through the long hours in the saddle. You can't really replicate that development in a trainer within a controlled environment. All that prepares your mind for is boredom and ennui. So you do owe it to yourself to at least do a few rides in less than ideal conditions. Certainly don't push it if the roads are icy and dangerous, as an accident can prematurely ruin your season; but once you start riding more frequently in March, set up a schedule and stick to it regardless of weather conditions. Raining in the forecast? Pack a rain shell. Still snowing in spring? Wear extra layers. Get out there and get it done.

  7. #7
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    I have recently subscribed to Netflix in order to alleviate some of the boredom that goes along with riding for long periods of time on the trainer. Now i get the chance to catch up on all of the movies I can't convince my wife to watch. :-)

  8. #8
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Last winter I put in most of my base miles on the trainer and mixed in cold, dry, and relativerly ice free rides whenerver I could. I like the inside ride - seems I get into the habit of spinning - and either watching something from Netflix, zoning to music or meditating and listening to my body. My trainer rides from last season lasted from 1-3.5 hours, 3-5 days a week, depending on work and what I could do outside.


    I'm not a big fan of "weights" but I am a big fan of strength training - especially on the bike or through snow shoeing / xc skiing / hiking or other winter sports. (tele skiing gives me one heck of a quad burn!)

    I liked mixing in some cycling specific drills while on the trainer - one legged pedaling did wonders for evening out my spin, big gear spinning (slow and hard!) helps build strength, fast cadences will smooth out your stroke... these all can be done inside, and will help you come out in better form in the spring.

    I also found working on my core to be a big help - situps, crunches, some push ups, pullups, and a bit of tai chi. For me aerobic base building is a great compliment to these...

    And after you get your base down, don't forget to push it once in awhile - intervals can be done indoors, as well as stair climbing...

    And if you get a ton of snow, take the MTB out after dark on some less travelled roads, or maybe some trails - you'll get a great workout - and be riding in a surreal winter wonderland! (maybe during a full moon!)

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    One of the things you might try is actually using a trainer while watching a longer movie
    to avoid the boredom factor - if you don't have training DVDs you might consider a long
    film:

    I'm talking Lord of the Rings epic length film or the like.

    My winter/commuter bike is an old MTB hardtail frame, I'm running Specialized Nimbus EX
    tires on it although in more snowy/icy conditions I'd recommend going to knobby MTB
    tires or even studded winter tires for better traction. Luckily, this winter it's been very
    dry in Minnesota until New Year's eve.

    Keeping my endurance up - I've been attending spinning classes at my health club
    which has worked far better than I expected for maintaining (and indeed increasing)
    endurance.

  10. #10
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliensporebomb
    One of the things you might try is actually using a trainer while watching a longer movie
    to avoid the boredom factor - if you don't have training DVDs you might consider a long
    film:

    I'm talking Lord of the Rings epic length film or the like.

    +1
    I also went through the Kurosawa films last winter, and the Bourne Identity movies. When you move out of your base building I would ride tempo / intervals during chase scenes, recovering when they end.

    LOTR directors cut kept me on the trainer for my longest rides. I'd take a quick break to swap discs and reload some food and water.

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