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  1. #3701
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Sara, After my first racing season of being coached and getting some results I really hit a wall in the late summer where everything came apart. My body really needed a few months to recover enough to get the next cycle going. You may be at that same point. Its been over two months since the end of my peak fitness and the rest was beneficial and I'm mentally and physically ready to begin the next cycle in about 45 days. Yesterdays group ride had its moments of good, when I aced short steep hills leaving everyone in the dust, then the bad when I could barely hang onto the line after taking a pull.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  2. #3702
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    Sara, After my first racing season of being coached and getting some results I really hit a wall in the late summer where everything came apart. My body really needed a few months to recover enough to get the next cycle going. You may be at that same point. Its been over two months since the end of my peak fitness and the rest was beneficial and I'm mentally and physically ready to begin the next cycle in about 45 days. Yesterdays group ride had its moments of good, when I aced short steep hills leaving everyone in the dust, then the bad when I could barely hang onto the line after taking a pull.
    AJ, you described me. Like I said, I have no basis, nothing to compare to. I'm just learning, this is my first off season. My body has just gone "blah!", totally against what my head wants it to do. I'm mentally ready to go again, and I was really surprised to hit an absolute wall when I tried to do what was so easy just a couple of weeks ago. Sounds like tired, huh?
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  3. #3703
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    It doesn't take much to knock off what feels like a lot. Thing about PE, HR, and other metrics is that they may or may not be indicative of actual output, which is why power meters came to be such an important training tool.
    I have discovered a few things since I have returned to racing.

    Time off affects your base but not in the way most believe. I took 26 years off from riding anything, doing any significant aerobic exercise. I was racing and finishing top 20 in the Masters fields within 9 months.

    It's a long season. As we age, peak fitness becomes very fleeting. It is not unusual to lose more than 50 watts of FTP between peak and base. If you lost it, you can gain it again, within reason. It might make sense to focus on more than one season peak, or forget peaking altogether and focus on maintaining a reasonable level of fitness all season.

    Chasing racing fitness through the offseason, along with getting paranoid about fitness loss, is a fool's errand.

  4. #3704
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Chasing racing fitness through the offseason, along with getting paranoid about fitness loss, is a fool's errand.
    And we just a chain of fools...


  5. #3705
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Love your headgear.

  6. #3706
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Shovel, got it. I have silly worries, like "I had it, now it's gone, it may never come back". I said "silly", because I can be, and I know it. I have one season behind me, and even though I learned a lot, the biggest thing I learned is how much more I have to learn - about me, mostly. The mental side, and the physical side. I don't know how my body reacts to diet, to stress load, to no stress load when it's used to stress load, to fatigue - and I'm not really keyed in on how I react mentally. I tend to fret, that's rooted in a bit of OCD...funny, that, because I know it, but I still let it get to me. I know I'll be okay, and I'll come back in a few months to my previous fitness (or more), and I'll loose that weight, too.

    Thanks!!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  7. #3707
    Senior Member VanceMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    Shovel, got it. I have silly worries, like "I had it, now it's gone, it may never come back". I said "silly", because I can be, and I know it.
    As alluded to above, I think most of us are like this to some degree. I'm probably worse than most. One bad day (like after a business trip and obviously rusty and jet-lagged) and I think the season is cooked. Ha. One more reason I should finally bite the bullet on a power meter -- to help ease my neuroses by putting those outlier days (both good and bad) into perspective.

    I'm still in training limbo, as there are races both this week and early November. However, the new squatting experiment has me much more in off-season mode than trying to stay sharp for those events. Been lifting every other day in addition to riding, and my legs feel pretty thrashed. Rational side of me is obviously more interested in off-season goals than these two races. I don't always listen to the rational side...
    Last edited by VanceMac; 10-17-13 at 09:35 AM.

  8. #3708
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    @sarals and other new(er) racers, I hope this explanation isn't too geeky but since I can't change who I am...

    Your ability to perform over any period of time looks like a sine wave. There are macro and micro cycles. Macro cycles are typically from year to year and you'll typically see 2-3 major peaks. Typically means nothing is absolute. Micro cycles are typically associated with training blocks. You have a series of small sine waves (micro) moving along a larger sine wave (macro). Before power meters we looked at heart rate vs speed data on a velodrome or on trainers to gauge our fitness.

    You take your body off of a peak either on purpose (rest) or because your body says enough and won't perform. The basic trick is to keep the macro valley higher from year-to-year to build performance. It doesn't matter if you have good genes, like many in this sub forum, or if you just work at it over time, sort of like me, you need to live through these cycles. I don't know the physiological mechanism, but if you try to dampen the lows by training hard through a down cycle, you dampen the next peak.

    So, while you can't perform at the level you were at during your best of the season, I am sure that you are riding better than you were at the same time last year. That is raising the valley from year-to-year.

    BTW, any coaches out there feel free to correct anything that's changed since I spent a lot of time studying training in depth.
    Last edited by Cleave; 10-17-13 at 02:34 PM.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
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  9. #3709
    Old Road Racer Cleave's Avatar
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    I'll be at VSC tonight for Roger's Session and I'm riding a club century to San Diego (coming back via Amtrak) on Saturday.

    @shovelhd, I had almost 10 years where I was racing very little (< 10 mid-week and weekend races per year) and during those 10 years I ended up at about the weight I am now. Now it's been about 10 years of training harder and racing more and more and I'm still not as competitive as I was when I was a Cat 3 in the 1980s. Just relating the other end of the bike racer spectrum.

    I'm only complaining a little. I just wish that I wasn't dealing with the shallow end of the athletic gene pool. Fortunately, the gene that likes racing is very strong.
    Thanks.
    Cleave
    "Real men wear pink."
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  10. #3710
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    The sine waves analogy is a good one.

    Sara, there's a winner inside of you. Racing well builds confidence. There will always be ups and downs, but once training and racing becomes a more regular part of your life, you will be better able to ride out the peaks and valleys, both physically and mentally. You will also have the benefit of being coached through the offseason and into race base and build after a season of experience. Your feelings aren't that different from most of the beginning racers I've known and worked with. It takes time. This is a really difficult sport. There is so much to learn, and often it's best learned by failing. You may never stop second guessing what you could have done differently for a better result, no matter how much experience you have. It's the nature of the sport. What you do have that many never will is guts, determination, and the fight to succeed. Many successful beginners have natural talent that overwhelms the need for these things, only to find out when they hit their plateau that it might have been better to learn them in the lower categories first. I think you get this. You just keep on working hard. Don't worry about your weight. Moderate, prepare, work with your coach, and take a nice fresh outlook on next season.

  11. #3711
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleave View Post
    BTW, any coaches out there feel free to correct anything that's changed since I spent a lot of time studying training in depth.
    Nothing to correct.

    The most common problem with cyclists is they are myopic. What happened today is the only thing that matters. That's why there are coaches, so that someone can take a big picture view. A bad day might be exactly what should happen, and it can be the beginning of something good. It's why I'll sometimes warn people in advance that they might fail or feel tired. That's all part of the "wave".

    It's also part of the reason if I take on new clients I stick to full programs. When I was doing consulting or just plans I was, if not blind, at least very near sighted. In the end while the results were good overall, they weren't as good as they could have been.

    But even with the full program at times the wave looks like this:



    External, not measurable things can influence performance. And sometimes the vagaries of human physiology rear up and create bad or good days when you wouldn't expect them. Or a confluence of race situations.

    I don't have the biggest brain by any means, but even the guys who do will admit to getting stumped if they are honest. Some aren't and will stick to their dogma regardless of getting hit in the face with a fish.
    Last edited by Racer Ex; 10-17-13 at 07:31 PM.

  12. #3712
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post

    External, not measurable things can influence performance. And sometimes the vagaries of human physiology rear up and create bad or good days when you wouldn't expect them. Or a confluence of race situations.

    I don't have the biggest brain by any means, but even the guys who do will admit to getting stumped if they are honest. Some aren't and will stick to their dogma regardless of getting hit in the face with a fish.
    Or a confluence of life events. Lord knows I have been a challenge for you this year.

  13. #3713
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Went to a group ride tonight and it started drizzling on the way to the meeting spot. Only three guys showed up to ride in the dark, 50 degrees and wet roads. We said that it would be a ride where we just turn the legs over, right! My riding buddy JK (NSG winner) and I took turns doing hard 1 mile pulls and the third guy sat in. It was odd in that I was more comfortable pulling than drafting and recovering. At first I was drafting off to the side to avoid spray but after a while I just HTFU and took a spray bath. Loving the off season.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  14. #3714
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Or a confluence of life events. Lord knows I have been a challenge for you this year.
    As have I! I'm going the full program with Ex for the next season. I sure as hell don't have any athlete genes, but like Cleave, I have the one that likes racing - and another one that craves going really fast.

    AJ and Cleave, those were EXCELLENT explanations, and wow, did they cause me to smile. So did Ex!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  15. #3715
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I have no dogma. I have no dogs. Tuesday, I worked legs and core in the gym and then rode 2 hours. Wednesday, I was off the bike and did an upper body workout at the gym but first I warmed up on the treadmill and RAN 1/2 mile. Today, I rode 2:45 that included meeting my wife for a lunch ride, climbing 1/2 way up San Bruno and doing 3 circuits of the Brisbane Circuit course.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  16. #3716
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    90' of z2/3 on the way to work this morning. Small ring only. 81tss. 40F and was a bit underdressed until the sun finally came out.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  17. #3717
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Or a confluence of life events. Lord knows I have been a challenge for you this year.
    Thankfully no one else got hurt or sick...

    (sardonic laugh)

  18. #3718
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Got me chuckling too. What a year!

    Jet, your ride reminded me of the circuit race I did up in the mountains a couple of months ago. I also decided to just take the spray in the face; nothing else you can really do, and wet is wet.

  19. #3719
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Spin class this morning, and it wasn't too bad. It took me forever and a day to warm up, but once I did, I felt pretty good. I kept the PE high and the HR was low Z4, around 140 and change. After the class, I did a Barre class - OMG, I am so NOT flexible! I can't begin to roll forward from a legs crossed seated position to getting my arms out in front of me and into a stretch. My back will not let me do that. The instructor said she sees a lot of cyclists with that problem. Oh.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  20. #3720
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    1:24 this morning - HrTSS of 91. My HR is at least a zone elevated relative to power, but then I'm a weak wuss, so maybe those two factors cancel out. If this goes like last time, after about a month of ramping things up, my HR will just suddenly plummet 20bpm or so.. all at once during one ride. I'll be looking for that, and it's a strange experience.

  21. #3721
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Another spin class this morning, rather than a fast group ride. I purposely crank up the resistance and work as hard as I can against it. My warmup came faster today, about 20 minutes, which is what it was doing when I was on form. Intervals didn't do so well. My recovery was off, and each one was weaker than the one before. It'll come back. I'm doing intensity right now because I like it, I feel good afterwords. Maybe it will give me a leg up when I start to hit it with purpose soon. I suppose the off-season should be about enjoyment, and what I'm what I'm doing right now I am enjoying. Oh, yeah - I did an hour strength workout yesterday (Barre class, as I mentioned), working on core (abs, upper body, flexibility), and then did another hour today after the spin session. I was a bit looser during this class, and could move easier than I did yesterday.

    Tomorrow, group ride, but I think instead I'm going to get on the TT bike and put in some base. I'll try not to hit a curb.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  22. #3722
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Just about three hours of Z2 after a day if yard work. Everywhere I rode I smelled burgers, and I wasn't hallucinating. Dinner should be interesting.

  23. #3723
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    I did a group ride with the local racing club this morning. Though it was pretty much a standard club ride for them, it was a breakthrough for me.

    The ride was a normal paceline, with speeds from the low to the high 20s. Most of the first half was into a quartering headwind, from which there was variable shelter...sometimes none. I hung in there with little problem, occasionally taking pulls, though not as long as some other guys. We took a break at the halfway point, two hours into the ride. We started back in, and at the three hour point, I pulled off. Note - I didn't pop, I didn't get dropped, I pulled off. This is the longest I've been able to hang with these guys, and I wasn't totally wasted. Tired, yes; wasted, no. I was thinking 1) I've got a 2:30 ride scheduled for tomorrow and wanted to ride decently on that, and 2) my coach said "three hours at a moderate pace" for today. Luckily, she's a nice lady, and when she reaches through the Internet to beyotch-slap me, she won't do it too hard.

    The difference between today's ride and earlier ones is that today, when my HR was up there and I was pushing >400 watts again because the guy who was pulling decided to accelerate up a fargin' hill, I didn't throw in the towel. I guess I finally got sick enough of being dropped that I wouldn't let it happen again. I found that I can push through that fatigue and recover. This was a stone wall I couldn't get through when I raced this year. Now I'm through it. Looking forward to next year!
    Regards,
    Chuck

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  24. #3724
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Big day for you revchuck! Reads like me in a road race. About 7/8's way through I forget about everything prior then plot the ending.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  25. #3725
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    2:25 of z2/z3. 44 miles, 140tss. Ran into some teammates on the way home. All soccer dads trying to get in some miles before having to go to our respective kids' games.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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