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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 09-16-13, 04:14 PM   #1
20_700c
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Starting over...how to increase mileage&speed most efficiently

After a loooong Spring and an even loooooooooooonger Summer where on-bike time and mileage reached near-record lows, I find myself basically starting over fitness wise. I've also changed riding formats, moving from a LWB touring setup to a SWB go-fast, high racer recumbent. The change in riding position is a result of seeking a better ride for my back - so far, that's working out well.

Up to three weeks ago, I was only riding the LWB on a 10-12mph, 20 miler once a week at best throughout the summer. Things have opened up time- and commitment-wise and I can ride daily again. Unfortunately, my first three weeks back have been all but miserable. Like I don't remember it being quite this bad, slow, painful any time previously.

Part of this is definitely due to adjusting to the new bike, literally getting used to it. But most of it is I seem to have lost my fitness/endurance. I've definitely lost my spin.

A couple local guys are suggesting that I am currently putting too much emphasis on increasing mileage without paying enough attention to intervals (specifically they're saying swap out two of my 4 - 11-13mph, 20-30mile midweek rides for 2 - 5-10 mile, higher intensity rides) [I take Wednesdays and sometimes Sundays off while I'm at slow steady metric distances on Saturdays].

So I'm looking for ideas, experience and/or real-world comments about what I can do to increase my endurance and speed from granny-walks-faster-than-me-slow to being able to ride a single stop 17-20mph solo century (something I approached regularly a couple years ago but never quite reached).

My long-term goal is to complete a Series next year. A couple years ago, I was riding monthly 200k's in the 10hour range. Different bike though and nothing longer than 150miles.

Schedule-wise, I'm hoping to complete a 300k in Feb/Mar and the 400/600s between Apr and Jun - before the Sun decides to hate me(us all) again.

Open for comments...
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Old 09-16-13, 04:19 PM   #2
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first off, don't expect it to get better right away. If you are feeling miserable on the bike right now, I don't see how intervals are going to help you. You could try it, but let your body be your guide. If you changed position, then it may take a while to adapt to it, and when I say a while, maybe a year.
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Old 09-16-13, 05:16 PM   #3
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...If you are feeling miserable on the bike right now...
"Miserable" was probably the wrong word to use. I AM miserable wrt my current fitness/performance. I am much more comfortable than on the LWB as far as the riding position goes. And I've been lowering the seatback/increasing my recline about every third ride as I get more comfortable on the SWB. Tomorrow, for the first time since switching, I'm finally going back to riding clipless(SPDs).

I guess the "misery" is a combination of exercise-related muscle soreness, adjusting to the new position, and mental disappointment with not achieving the immediate speed increase I'd hoped switching would gain me. I'm smart enough to know that nothing comes for free, but I WANTED it to.....ya know?!?!

Anyway, it's not MISERY misery..... if that makes any sense.
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Old 09-16-13, 05:58 PM   #4
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that's what I thought you meant. If you are getting muscle soreness now, intervals probably aren't going to help. At least I don't see how they are going to help
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Old 09-16-13, 07:35 PM   #5
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The most efficient way to build endurance is, as you are already hearing, is to do intervals.

If all you do is long distances without any intensity, physically you'll plateau fairly quickly. Intervals will improve your endurance no matter what level of fitness you're at.

You also don't want to overdo it. Too much intensity can result in burning out. Do a day or two at tempo (zone 3), a day with some pyramids, a long ride at a moderate pace, a few rest days.

In terms of muscle soreness... could be fit, could be overuse. I'd stick to increasing your mileage by 10% a week, and maybe ease into the interval thing.

You might also consider some intermediary achievable goals. February is a long way off.
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Old 09-16-13, 08:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 20_700c View Post
"Miserable" was probably the wrong word to use. I AM miserable wrt my current fitness/performance. I am much more comfortable than on the LWB as far as the riding position goes. And I've been lowering the seatback/increasing my recline about every third ride as I get more comfortable on the SWB.

I guess the "misery" is a combination of exercise-related muscle soreness, adjusting to the new position, and mental disappointment with not achieving the immediate speed increase I'd hoped switching would gain me.
Two thoughts:

1 - you are adjusting your seat angle every third ride? that sounds like a lot of adjusting. I would do that a lot less aggressively. How can you get your position dialed in and comfortable with it if you change it every third ride? I hope you are bringing the boom in / sliding the seat forward a little bit with every lowering of the seat angle too. You have to do this to maintain constant reach to the pedals. Want to post a pic and the bent savvy here can critique your fit? Or do it in a PM instead.

2 - I find it takes at least three or four months before I find the way a new bent likes to be ridden, so I can get the most out of my body and the machine when I am riding it. And this is when going from a high racer to another high racer, let alone something more radical like switching from a low BB LWB to a high BB SWB. You need to give a it time. A lot more time. Your spin will eventually come back too.
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Old 09-17-13, 08:41 PM   #7
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...adjusting your seat angle every third ride? that sounds like a lot of adjusting. I would do that a lot less aggressively. How can you get your position dialed in and comfortable with it if you change it every third ride? I hope you are bringing the boom in / sliding the seat forward a little bit with every lowering of the seat angle too. You have to do this to maintain constant reach to the pedals. Want to post a pic and the bent savvy here can critique your fit? Or do it in a PM instead...
I started with a very vertical seat because I'd only recently moved from the LWB/low-BB design and felt that was more safe while getting used to the high BB. As I wobbled less and got between 60 and 90 miles each three rides, I felt that adjusting the seat recline 1 hole at a time was okay. I'm certainly not reclining it willy nilly. I'm just adjusting to the new ride with a goal of getting much more reclined/aero than I started at 3 weeks ago.

And yes, I'm moving the seat forward on the boom accordingly - a learning experience to be sure. And like I said, I just started clipping in/using my SPD cleats again - which seems to make about a 3mm difference in where the seat goes compared to using the other/non-SPD side of my pedals.

No pic critique necessary as I KNOW that I'm still in the initial setup/adjusting phase. I've been using the reference photo on the Bacchetta blog/site as my basis for comparison; a relative takes a pic or I use the timer and position myself against a wall.

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