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  1. #1
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    Cyclists Training Bible good for longer distances?

    I was wondering if anyone has experience using the knowledge in Joe Friels Cyclists Training Bible for longer distances. Specifically, I would love to improve my century time, and move up to doubles, triples and eventually the Furnace Creek 508. I just want to be sure the book will be useful for those events. I get the impression from reading about it on amazon that it is more geared toward racers who are doing crits and actual races. Anyone have an opinion on this? If this book isnt the right training book, which one is? Thanks!

  2. #2
    VoodooChile zoste's Avatar
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    I have Burke and Pavelka and Friel's Cycling Past 50. Both have useful information, but it's been a while since I've read either one. If my memory serves, I think that I got more out of the Burke book. I never read the Training Bible but You're probably right that it's not geared so much for long distance riding.
    Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand

  3. #3
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    What do you need a book for? Just get on your bike and ride. Work on your speed and climbing and it'll be a piece of cake. For the 508 you should be able to easily do a 5hr century. The 508 is a tough ride but it isn't that tough. It just has that mystic about it. Heck, if I can do it 8 times you can do it. I suggest you put together a two man team to tackle it the first time so you can get an taste of it. That should help you loose your fear of it. Go to the 508 website there are a bazillion articles from people who have over analyzed it. You can actually get some good info out of there for free!

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    @Homeyba.
    Thanks for the feedback. What is your actual name? I am very interested in the 508, in fact it was the whole reason I decided to buy a bike in the first place. I am actually going to be crewing for Charlie "Water Dragon" Engle this year, so I am hoping to learn a lot in the process.
    Regarding the training, I totally understand what you are saying about getting on my bike and riding. I have actually heard that a lot from 508 riders. I completely respect that perspective, but I think I really want to be a good cyclist first, then a good ultra cyclist. In past endeavors I have made the mistake of not learning good form and really absorbing knowledge about the activity, and I end up suffering in the end. I plan on riding my bike for the rest of my life, so I have some time to learn proper form, technique, and eventually ride the 508.
    How did you go about getting to the condition you are in? Did you just ride a lot?

  5. #5
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    I am just now reading the Burke and Pavelka "Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling" mentioned (and linked) above by zoste. There is a lot of very basic info, which you might already know. But, there are important hints about nutrition, for example, that are vital, but not obvious.

    They explain how to carbo-load in the week before the ride, and why it works. Taking carbs is huge during the ride, but if your carb is fructose, it can block up your digestion and cause a bonk or a barf. It's important to your training success to eat carbs within 30 minutes after a big ride. It restarts your insulin, to refill glycogen in your muscles and speed recovery. They give specifics about what to eat, when, and how much, for the best performance possible.

    This book is tailored to LD riding. Depending on your knowledge level, you may find it much too basic in many aspects. But, if you only get a couple nuggets out of it, that could save a big ride, or just help you feel better during/after, it's worth it. If anyone has other books to recommend, I would be interested, and I'm sure some others would be, as well.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    No, you don't just ride a lot. Actually you don't need to ride a ton of miles. What is more important is the quality of the miles that you put in. Speed and climbing work are essential. When I train for an ultra I usually ride 3-4 times a week. One day of speed work about 25 miles, one day of climbing repeats also about 25 miles (1 1/2hrs) one recovery day ride 30-35miles and a longer ride on the weekend 45-75miles. I'll thrown in centuries and double centuries here and there just for fun.

    Nutrition is important as Chewybrain said. You want to get that sorted out before you do something like the 508. That has taken out more racers than any kind of lack of conditioning. Figuring out what will work is going to be your biggest chore because everyone is different. Also what works for he first 300 miles may not work for the last 200 miles. As an example, the carbo loading that Chweybrain mentioned does not work for me! That'll have me puking my guts out. I have to have a relitively high protien intake. I also can't use SE or perpetuem after about 250 miles or so. my stomach rebels. I use Boost or Ensure. I can use those product exclusively even for an event like RAAM. I'm be at the 508 again this year on a Tandem team. Should be a hoot! If you want more info PM me.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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    @chewybrian
    I actually bought that book and used the training plan for my first century. I do find the information in there a little sparse when it comes to actual techniques for improving speed or climbing ability. It is definitely a great first book for long distance cycling, I think it does an excellent job of setting expectations and giving you some basic knowledge. I am looking for the next step though.

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  8. #8
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    No, you don't just ride a lot. Actually you don't need to ride a ton of miles. What is more important is the quality of the miles that you put in. Speed and climbing work are essential. When I train for an ultra I usually ride 3-4 times a week. One day of speed work about 25 miles, one day of climbing repeats also about 25 miles (1 1/2hrs) one recovery day ride 30-35miles and a longer ride on the weekend 45-75miles. I'll thrown in centuries and double centuries here and there just for fun.

    Nutrition is important as Chewybrain said. You want to get that sorted out before you do something like the 508. That has taken out more racers than any kind of lack of conditioning. Figuring out what will work is going to be your biggest chore because everyone is different. Also what works for he first 300 miles may not work for the last 200 miles. As an example, the carbo loading that Chweybrain mentioned does not work for me! That'll have me puking my guts out. I have to have a relitively high protien intake. I also can't use SE or perpetuem after about 250 miles or so. my stomach rebels. I use Boost or Ensure. I can use those product exclusively even for an event like RAAM. I'm be at the 508 again this year on a Tandem team. Should be a hoot! If you want more info PM me.
    Is the weekend ride a hard, stay on the front kind of group ride, or do you noodle around solo and do what feels good? I do about this mileage and can sometimes manage this effort level without overtraining, but my legs go totally to hell at about 250 miles. They sort of work, but it's painful. OTOH, I'm 64. I don't know if it's just age or not training as well as I might.

    I always thought I just needed to have the time to get 300 miles/week or so. I'll have to experiment some more? Not that I'm a 508 aspirer, but I do like doing long fast rides. One of my riding buddies does 20K-30K miles per year and is on track to do 1.5M' of climbing this year. He has incredible endurance, so that's what I thought it took.

    The Hammer stuff has soy protein. Ensure has whey. Might be the story. I think I have more trouble with soy. I'm experimenting with mixing my own with whey. So far, so good.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoste View Post
    I have Burke and Pavelka and Friel's Cycling Past 50. Both have useful information, but it's been a while since I've read either one. If my memory serves, I think that I got more out of the Burke book. I never read the Training Bible but You're probably right that it's not geared so much for long distance riding.
    Cycling Past 50 has a section, around 10 pages, that is explicitly about cycling a first century, then added sections about performence improvement on long rides. It's about the athletic side of long rides, not the management (shoes, shorts, equipment, clipping toenails, all the important minutuia). But which aspect are you looking for?

    Not to downplay Burke, or Simon Doughty, for that matter!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Is the weekend ride a hard, stay on the front kind of group ride, or do you noodle around solo and do what feels good? I do about this mileage and can sometimes manage this effort level without overtraining, but my legs go totally to hell at about 250 miles. They sort of work, but it's painful. OTOH, I'm 64. I don't know if it's just age or not training as well as I might.
    The weekend ride is just whatever I have scheduled. It depends on what I'm doing I guess. It's important to not over train though. Recovery is just as important as the riding/training. I don't know if age is your problem. There are a lot of stinking fast guys your age and older.

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    I always thought I just needed to have the time to get 300 miles/week or so. I'll have to experiment some more? Not that I'm a 508 aspirer, but I do like doing long fast rides. One of my riding buddies does 20K-30K miles per year and is on track to do 1.5M' of climbing this year. He has incredible endurance, so that's what I thought it took.
    I know a guy (several actually) like that. In fact I did an ultra race with him. He was like the EverReady Bunny. His downfall was that he was slow as a slug. Riding a ton of miles is fine if that's what you want to do but riding miles in-and-of-itself isn't going to make you faster. What good is it to have the endurance to finish a ride like Paris-Brest-Paris but not the speed to make the controls? I've done a boat load of ultra races (including three RAAMs) and have a couple course records here and there and I rarely ride over 10,000 miles a year.

    I have to add, that I'm no Lance Armstrong either! There are a lot of people who are way faster than me! Maybe if I rode 20,000 miles/year...
    Last edited by Homeyba; 07-30-09 at 03:09 PM.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  11. #11
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    The weekend ride is just whatever I have scheduled. It depends on what I'm doing I guess. It's important to not over train though. Recovery is just as important as the riding/training. I don't know if age is your problem. There are a lot of stinking fast guys your age and older.


    I know a guy (several actually) like that. In fact I did an ultra race with him. He was like the EverReady Bunny. His downfall was that he was slow as a slug. Riding a ton of miles is fine if that's what you want to do but riding miles in-and-of-itself isn't going to make you faster. What good is it to have the endurance to finish a ride like Paris-Brest-Paris but not the speed to make the controls? I've done a boat load of ultra races (including three RAAMs) and have a couple course records here and there and I rarely ride over 10,000 miles a year.

    I have to add, that I'm no Lance Armstrong either! There are a lot of people who are way faster than me! Maybe if I rode 20,000 miles/year...
    Thanks for the encouragement. Every year I try to train just a little smarter and so far so good. My friend is no racer. He never does speed work or gets out of the saddle. However he did finish a 600k brevet in 26 hours on an ordinary road bike, complete with 33 and rain on one of the night's mountain passes. He's just getting started doing LD stuff. He was hoping for 24 hrs, but it was just too tough. He has alien physiology.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    The weekend ride is just whatever I have scheduled. It depends on what I'm doing I guess. It's important to not over train though. Recovery is just as important as the riding/training. I don't know if age is your problem. There are a lot of stinking fast guys your age and older.


    I know a guy (several actually) like that. In fact I did an ultra race with him. He was like the EverReady Bunny. His downfall was that he was slow as a slug. Riding a ton of miles is fine if that's what you want to do but riding miles in-and-of-itself isn't going to make you faster. What good is it to have the endurance to finish a ride like Paris-Brest-Paris but not the speed to make the controls? I've done a boat load of ultra races (including three RAAMs) and have a couple course records here and there and I rarely ride over 10,000 miles a year.

    I have to add, that I'm no Lance Armstrong either! There are a lot of people who are way faster than me! Maybe if I rode 20,000 miles/year...
    honestly, how do you find the time to ride that often?? I LOVE riding, and i like to do longer rides (60-100 miles) but i feel like they take so much time and mental preparation to ride that far (even tho i could prob pull out my bike and go do 100 right now if i forced it). i just feel like i need at least a week off in between longer rides that push my body to the limits

  13. #13
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickthaquick1 View Post
    honestly, how do you find the time to ride that often?? I LOVE riding, and i like to do longer rides (60-100 miles) but i feel like they take so much time and mental preparation to ride that far (even tho i could prob pull out my bike and go do 100 right now if i forced it). i just feel like i need at least a week off in between longer rides that push my body to the limits
    I suppose it's just how you organize your days and the choices you are willing to make? During the week it's only 1 1/2 hrs out of the day, three days a week. 60-100 mile rides on the weekend are no big deal. Just get on the bike at 6:00 am, ride out to where there is food and ride home before lunch. I usually ride to where I meet my friends, do 30-40 miles then ride home. You probably don't need a week off the bike. What you should probably do is go out and ride 20-25 miles easy. Just a nice spin. You might find you feel better.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  14. #14
    pedo viejo
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    +1 on most of what Homeyba said.

    I've been using Friel this year since I wanted to improve my 10-mile ITT time and break my PR in a metric century. But I also wanted to do weekend centuries to finally get over that "gulp, a CENTURY" feeling in the back of my mind.

    Kinda hard to do that AND do the kinds of intervals, skills etc. workouts that a Friel schedule will entail, all in just ~10 hours/week!

    So I've adjusted to a schedule similar to Homeyba's: 4 rides a week with a century on the weekend, 2 intervals days (TT & hills) and one other day of easy noodling.

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    The Friel book is really good for figuring out how to plan your training year so your form peaks for your 'A' races. The actual training parts are aimed at road racers, so you will want to do some different things there.

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