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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 09-14-12, 05:50 AM   #1
stevage
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Training advice?

Just wondering if anyone can point out some resources for training - other than the thread on fixie centuries. As I mentioned in another thread, I'm hoping to do a pretty mountainous 200km ride in late January, and want to start planning a training schedule.

ATM I'm finding it very hard to picture how much training I'll need. I've casually done "training rides" for other long rides in the past, but nothing very formal - just a few 100-120km rides on the weekends leading up.

So, a few dopey questions:

1) Does everyone get fitter at more or less the same rate? That is, if I measure my fitness at point A, and know what fitness I need at point Z, then can I calculate how much training is required between them?

2) What's most important - time on the bike, k's on the bike, or climbing time?

3) Is there anything wrong with training off-road? I'd probably rather be doing 100km of dirt than 150km of asphalt. Legit?

4) How much does commuting help? I have a 25km return commute, but I rarely do it more than 1-2 times per week. Will increasing that count for much?

Thanks!
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Old 09-14-12, 08:46 AM   #2
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I'll hit on a couple of your questions. For training info, try:

UMCA

Click around a bit, especially under 'articles'; you'll see stuff about training for a century, or 24 hour race.

I think commuting can be valuable training time. You have to have training objectives and focus on them to make it useful, though. You might do a series of hard climbs, or intervals, etc., depending on you progress in your training plan, or you might use it as a 'recovery ride'.. If the traffc does not limit you from hitting your training objectives, then you can save some time and money by training on the commute.
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Old 09-14-12, 08:53 AM   #3
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Ugh, the "T" word. Whatever happens to riding as much as you can because it's fun??
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There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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Old 09-14-12, 02:11 PM   #4
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Ugh, the "T" word. Whatever happens to riding as much as you can because it's fun??
Yes, I agree. When I was racing, I'd do a recovery ride on Monday, sprints on Tuesday, a long (3.5 hour) ride on Wednesday, intervals on Thursday, recovery on Friday, Fast ride or race on Saturday, and race on Sunday. Even with periodic variations, it gets to wear on you after a while! In contrast, this is what I love about randonneur riding: Training is largely just go out and ride. The more fun you have riding, the more you want to ride. And in order to do these long rides, you NEED to be having fun!

If you need to develop more speed, go out on rides with guys/gals who usually like to ride a bit faster than you. After a couple of weeks, you will notice that your speed has picked up on your solo rides.

Other ways to develop speed: try to keep up with guys who blow past you on your daily commute. Employ "fartlek" (speed play) training, where you just go as hard as you can whenever you feel like it. Or do some gentle intervals - pick up the speed to a pace that's a little uncomfortable and hold it for one, two, or five kilometers, or for ten minutes. Then just roll easy for a while, then repeat.

The idea is to not tax your brain. It's like operant conditioning; you want to associate cycling with pleasure. You don't want to be punishing yourself whenever you're on the bike.

Luis
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Old 09-14-12, 06:00 PM   #5
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My thoughts- I'll let the experts get more specific:
"...if I measure my fitness at point A, and know what fitness I need at point Z, then can I calculate how much training is required between them?"
First point, for a lot of us, improvement involves weight loss, which doubles the performance gain for us. Second point, I would say the answer to your question here is "no", because you don't have any guarantees that you CAN reach point Z, else we'd all just train our ways into the Tour de France.

"Is there anything wrong with training off-road? I'd probably rather be doing 100km of dirt than 150km of asphalt. Legit?"
If your risk of injury is higher, that'd work against you. If you're building upper-body strength, that's not especially beneficial for road riding (not to say you shouldn't do it, tho.)
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Old 09-14-12, 11:30 PM   #6
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>Ugh, the "T" word. Whatever happens to riding as much as you can because it's fun??


Well, yes. By "training" I mean, "a planned series of adventures, at the end of which I'll be fit enough to do the 200k audax". I'm really trying to work out how big those adventures need to be, and how many I need to do.

(I definitely don't have the motivation to do "boring" training like stationary bikes, multiple loops of the same course, etc.)
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Old 09-15-12, 03:31 AM   #7
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Every time i feel like exercising . . . I sit down until the feeling goes away . . . Mark Twain
Ride for the fun of riding! A 200 k ride will have all kinds of interruptions and distractions like a flat tire, storm, heat ,cold, animals, traffic. and other riders.
I did my second 100 mile ride last weekend and i had to rescue a puppy from the road . There is the form of riding and the art of riding. The art is much more pleasing than the form
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Old 09-15-12, 09:04 AM   #8
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I associate fitness for rando with "the ability to repeat." IOW, you'll always be doing a lot of climbing, so you want to build the ability to do climb after climb, recovering on the descents or flats which join them. I've found the quickest way to do this is to simply hit lactate threshold on every climb up to 1000', on training rides up to about 80 miles, figuring about 50' of climbing per mile or so. If you can do that, you can ride however far. For just a 200k, probably 60 miles of that is far enough. Training that way will teach you all you need to know about problem solving in regard to nutrition and hydration, which are the main show-stoppers, not exhaustion. Plus it's fun, I think, but then I'm weird.

Of course you won't ride the brevet at that pace.
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Old 09-15-12, 07:57 PM   #9
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Well, yes. By "training" I mean, "a planned series of adventures, at the end of which I'll be fit enough to do the 200k audax". I'm really trying to work out how big those adventures need to be, and how many I need to do.

(I definitely don't have the motivation to do "boring" training like stationary bikes, multiple loops of the same course, etc.)
Ah, that's better! Pet peeve of mine when people take fun things too seriously, didn't mean to take it out on you.
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Old 09-16-12, 12:26 AM   #10
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I associate fitness for rando with "the ability to repeat." IOW, you'll always be doing a lot of climbing, so you want to build the ability to do climb after climb, recovering on the descents or flats which join them. I've found the quickest way to do this is to simply hit lactate threshold on every climb up to 1000', on training rides up to about 80 miles, figuring about 50' of climbing per mile or so. If you can do that, you can ride however far. For just a 200k, probably 60 miles of that is far enough.
So, summarising: do shortish, not-too-hilly rides, but ride them hard. (Btw, 50 foot per mile works out as less than 1% gradient. Is my maths right?)

Btw, also, this particular audax is basically just 2 big climbs (740m at 5.7%, 1000m at 4.8%), and 2 medium climbs (480m at 6.3%, 537m at 3.9%), and almost nothing else.
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Old 09-16-12, 08:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevage View Post
So, summarising: do shortish, not-too-hilly rides, but ride them hard. (Btw, 50 foot per mile works out as less than 1% gradient. Is my maths right?)

Btw, also, this particular audax is basically just 2 big climbs (740m at 5.7%, 1000m at 4.8%), and 2 medium climbs (480m at 6.3%, 537m at 3.9%), and almost nothing else.
Yes, your math is correct. So an 80 mile ride might have 4000' or so. An effective route might have something on the order of five 500' climbs of around 5% or so, plus some rollers, shorter climbs, etc. IOW, you're not looking for a 1% continuous climb. Ride the whole route for time, concentrating on LT level effort on all climbs. The idea is that doing 1000m climbs doesn't stimulate the system as effectively as shorter, harder effort climbs. That said, it is helpful to have ridden 1000m climbs at some time, so you'll know what the appropriate effort level is. No good to blow all your glycogen away on the first 2 climbs. I use a HR cap - an effort level which I do not exceed. For me on a ride like this, that's about 84% of MHR, but everyone's different. And if I have it left on the last climb, I give it all I've got. So actual training for something like this involves increasing power at LT, learning hydration and nutrition strategies to cope with the effort level, and learning what max appropriate effort feels like. Be sure to eat and drink at the top of each climb. You'll have to eat and drink on the way up, too, even though it's trickier.

Of course all the commenters who recommend having fun on your bike are correct. I find it fun to move the bike up the road.
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Old 09-16-12, 08:27 AM   #12
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So, summarising: do shortish, not-too-hilly rides, but ride them hard. (Btw, 50 foot per mile works out as less than 1% gradient. Is my maths right?)
On a closed loop course, 50 feet per mile ascending also involves 50 feet per mile descending. Those are both averages; obviously some sections of the course will be mostly climbing, while some will be mostly descending. Depending on how those ascents and descents are arranged, the average gradient while climbing could vary substantially. One of my courses that's just over 50 miles long has about 2600 feet of climbing, but most of those are packed into a couple of stretches. The longest of those is 9 miles long with an average 2.4% grade. Feet per mile is a useful metric for gauging the overall hilliness of a closed loop ride, but it needs to be used in conjunction with other metrics if you want a fine-grained comparison. A 50-mile out-and-back course that involves a steady climb of 2500 feet over 25 miles, then a steady descent on the return, is going to feel very different than one that has 15 miles on flat terrain, then a 2500-foot climb over 10 miles. They're both 50 feet per mile, though, over the entire course.
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Old 09-16-12, 01:02 PM   #13
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Have fun on the Alpine Classic, it can be quite hot. If you are aiming to be at the quicker end of the field, getting used to riding in bunches would be a good idea but heading down Beach Rd is too flat to be a lot of good to you. The more climbing you do (fairly fast) leading up to it, the fitter you'll be be.
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Old 09-17-12, 06:32 AM   #14
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How can anyone suggest how you train? Just because we know about your goal hardly means anyone knows what you need the most.

I guess you should ride a lot on the same bike and same kind of roads and terrain as the 200k. It helps to alternate your daily effort. One hard, one easy - etc etc etc ..
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Old 09-17-12, 03:24 PM   #15
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^

RC, where you been. I've been waiting for those lines since this thread was started.
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Old 09-18-12, 04:58 AM   #16
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I know the event, I know the terrain.

But as RC points out...
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Old 09-18-12, 07:37 AM   #17
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I suppose thousands of coaches across many disciplines would probably disagree with a couple of the posts in here

Many people have reported success with Friel's books, it seems like a sensible approach
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Old 09-18-12, 11:05 AM   #18
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The ride profile for the 200 is here:

http://www.cyclingprofiles.com.au/HT..._ADXAAC200.htm

That might be a starting point in understanding this event.

This is the information page about the event:

http://www.alpineclassic.com.au/inde...d=24&Itemid=50
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Old 09-18-12, 04:10 PM   #19
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stevage, have you heard of the 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge? If not, look it up, and then do it before the Alpine Classic starts. The Alpine Classic qualifies for 1 or 2 of those climbs, so you'll end up doing those ones twice, but that's OK.

Rowan and I did the 7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge last summer and it's good. It's a nice variety of climbs to get you fit for the Alpine Classic, and of course actually doing some of the climbs on the Alpine Classic will help as well. Here's our write-up: http://www.machka.net/2012/7PeaksChallenge_2012.htm We did them quite slowly, but then we weren't training for the Alpine Classic. You'll want to do them faster.

Then join Audax Australia's Victoria club and start riding some of their 200K and 300K Audax events. Pick the hilly events.
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