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    Recovery time after an "A" race 4 hours or more.

    Curious how long it takes folks to recover after a serious hard race, 4 hours or more?

    61 here with good established base, 10 - 14 hours a week.

    I find a real hard race over the week-end lasting 4 or more hours empties my tank for pretty much the entire week following. Two days off and easy slow rides are all I can afford.

    Something wrong, or just getting old?

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    What type of race are you doing that is 4 hours or more and at what category e.g. 80 mlle road race category 3?
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    I'm usually pretty well wiped out for about three days after a hard road race. One thing that helps me, and I had to learn this from my coach, is proper nutrition before, during, and after the race. It is essential, and it will help recovery. Age is a factor, though, I won't deny that.
    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."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    What type of race are you doing that is 4 hours or more and at what category e.g. 80 mlle road race category 3?
    Yep, pretty much 80 miles, or beyond. With a 3 hour race it's not so bad. Category 4, or Masters. Did the Assault on the Carolinas recently, which is not a timed event, but gave it everything I had. Only 65 miles, but a 6 1/2 mile 10% climb at the end. I can still feel it a bit in my legs after one hard interval session and two weeks.
    Last edited by ColnagoC40; 04-23-14 at 10:23 AM.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    That is substantially different from racing in NorCal. Typically, the 55+ peloton races 50 miles in a road race and we do not have any sanctioned road races on the calendar 80 miles or longer. The elite P/1/2 racers generally race more than 80. Even in our championship road race it is 4 laps of an 11 mile course. I suspect there are some non sanctioned races in CA that offer older masters longer races. Even the elite Cat 4 men race less than 80.

    When I raced the Madera and Topsport stage races, that were two day / 3 race events, I could feel the race a few days later but so did the elite 1/2 racers.

    Many of my 55+ racing friends race multiple races on both days on the weekend.

    Are you happy with your racing results?
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    That is substantially different from racing in NorCal. Typically, the 55+ peloton races 50 miles in a road race and we do not have any sanctioned road races on the calendar 80 miles or longer. The elite P/1/2 racers generally race more than 80. Even in our championship road race it is 4 laps of an 11 mile course. I suspect there are some non sanctioned races in CA that offer older masters longer races. Even the elite Cat 4 men race less than 80.

    When I raced the Madera and Topsport stage races, that were two day / 3 race events, I could feel the race a few days later but so did the elite 1/2 racers.

    Many of my 55+ racing friends race multiple races on both days on the weekend.

    Are you happy with your racing results?
    Our USA cycling events are pretty much the same as yours. 40 miles this Saturday and a 45 minute crit Sunday, no problem. Getting ready for an overseas event slowly though, with the longest stage being close to 160 miles. We have lots of open charity rides, 60 miles, 80 miles, 100 miles, they are supposed to be recreational but the front normally goes really hard and I can hang in most of the way.

    My results are OK with good progress, as I was off the bike many years. As long as I don't compare performance to 35 years ago, I am good.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Endurance is a speed killer. The ability to be competitive in an 80 mile + charity ride (timed or not) riding with the lead group is not on my dance card and would not be an "A" race for me. Others can speak for themselves but I have become a trackie specialist - 500 meter, 2K pursuit, team pursuit and team sprint. My training is primarily the lactate and ATP CP systems with some aerobic training and my coach wants more rest days with much harder efforts on the days I train.

    What is interesting is that since I have been on this training protocol, my aerobic shape has improved dramatically - go figure.
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    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Recovery depends on a lot of things. As Sara pointed out nutrition/hydration before/during/after greatly impacts recovery, and there are other things you can do to enhance how quickly you recover. Ice baths, stretching, rolling, electro stim, oxygen supplementation, compression garments, nutritional supplementation, elevation...all these things play into how quickly you bounce back. Even the cool down matters.

    And, of course, how you train before the event.

    I did well at stage races because I took recovery seriously, and had developed a set protocol that worked well for me. I got off the bike and pretty much everything I did was directed at recovery for the next day.

    At Gila I would do 5 "A" races in a row. 3 of these would be 80 mile road races. One would be a full on 40+ minute TT. And all of them would be with people trying to kill me off. My answer for "how long to recover" would be 24 hours at that race.

    If you devote 10-14 hours for training, you should be devoting at barest minimum 30 minutes of recovery practices for each day of training. If you do a 4 hour race you should have a timed nutrition plan before/during/after, then employ those recovery practices.

    Most folks have no recovery practice, it's a stretch that they even take a recovery drink after a ride. The result is they are wiped out for several days after, they can't train, and so they fall into a negative cycle of trying to do "make up" for the days they missed, where they ride too long, don't recover, add fatigue, Etc.

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    Senior Member Moyene Corniche's Avatar
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    ^^ To add to Racer Ex, after a training ride, a race, hard 80 mile race, it doesn't matter... But what is critical is the time window for recovery..
    After finishing a difficult stage say in the Killington Stage Race, we all have about 30 minutes for optimal absorption of a recovery drink or nutrients. Basically at this point, our system are in need of replenishment and that absorption factor decreases as time increases...

    After a hard ride, for me yesterday's ride was 2-1/2 hours, 48F, intermittent rain, 20-25mph headwind for 1/2 the ride, on a very hilly loop with three 1 mile climbs and finishing with a series of step hills ( 39-26 ).
    Immediately upon arriving home i ate and drank a recovery drink, showered then after had a meal.....
    The critical part is immediately after finishing, eating to replenish.... Also it is important to relax and allow your body to recover for the next few hours ... (this morning I am good, feeling about 75% recovered, but I also did this same ride and intensity on Monday. Saturday's and Sunday's ride were shorter durations. ) Today and tomorrow are rest periods for me, I may do a 1-1/2hour recovery ride after classes on friday, but I will not get my HR above 170-175bpm..

    OP.. I'm curious as to what you mean by base... 10 to 14 hours a week. But when did you start ? last December following a rest period ?
    A 4 hour race should not leave you drained for more than 24-48 hours tops, unless .....
    Your base training is not adequate and you are not allowing recovery time between hard training and racing.... For the last 3 months ( after Base Training ) have you implemented training rides which would mimic the intensity of a 4 hour race, for a 4 hour hard race I would be out training for 6 hours.
    Have you used a Base-Build-Training Race- Race phases in you early season ?

    In your training are you utilizing periodization, monitoring your Heart rates, especially your resting pulse in the morning after. If it's up 10 or more beats per minute, then it is an indication that you have not recovered and must adjust that day's ride intensity accordingly to even possibly not ride.... Going hard when your body is telling you otherwise puts you in a depleted state which then compounds and you risk falling into a zone of overtraining, which often takes weeks to recover since you have pushed too hard, too often before being at a required fitness level.

    I'm 57 so you are not too old, but as we age, it does take us longer to arrive at peak condition.....
    It's still early in the season to adjust your training so that you can recover and then rebuild....
    Last edited by Moyene Corniche; 04-24-14 at 07:33 AM.
    Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moyene Corniche View Post
    OP.. I'm curious as to what you mean by base... 10 to 14 hours a week. But when did you start ? last December following a rest period ?
    Racer and Moyene, thanks for both your posts and the time taken, both very informative.

    I was off the bike for 11 years and started riding again approximately 3 years ago. The first two years were purely recreational and all I did was long slow endurance rides, with a few close friends. Last year I was posted to Germany for 3 months and in August started riding with a club there, which made me get back to training properly, base1, base 2, base 3, build 1, build 2 and the objective was to peak right now. I know how to train from my young days, FTP now is around 250 watts, using a Cycleops 420 indoor bike to measure, compared to 400, 30 years ago (estimate from TT performance we did not have power meters back then.)

    Still working an 8 to 4 job, so getting in 17 hours a week during base 3 was a challenge. Right now I am between 8-11 hours a week.

    From Racer's post, I need to take direction in terms of nutrition and recovery, stretching needs attention. During base I had to loose 30 lbs, accomplished but difficult to improve form with a weight loss diet. Weight is still something I have to keep an eye on, so carbs are restricted and may be part of the recovery problem.

    Moyene, with me heart rate works the other way, max is around 167, but if I am fatigued, getting over 140 is really hard and an indicator to rest. Resting pulse is pretty flat at 47, never really changes early morning.

    From the post by Hermes above, I am a strong believer in focusing on lactate and ATP CP systems, meaning short hard intervals on top of a firm established endurance base. With week-end racing though, recovery does not always allow them.

    Thanks again everyone for input, nutrition and stretching is my takeaway from the advice given.

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    Senior Member Moyene Corniche's Avatar
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    Ok ... Clearer... I should have clarified... (1) the 170-175 BPM was my range, not to be a range for anyone else... My resting is 142, my max is 205, I'm in my optimum efficient zone between 165-180.. I enter anaerobic at about 190 then max is 205....

    Like yourself I am rebuilding this year, to race fully again next ( 2015 ) season. I stopped racing in 2004, mostly due to extreme burn out from coaching juniors, promoting a stage race and having returned from 3 months training in France, I had enough of 20+ years of Cycling and Ski Racing and needed to reassess. The next ten years life, career, relationship took over although being naturally competitive, Tennis filled the void..
    Only in the last couple of years has a serious desire to return to Competitive Cycling reemerged, I never stopped riding but after my 10 year marriage blew up completely last summer I became determined to return to what I loved on my own terms, not an (ex)-spouse's ...
    Fortunately my GF is an avid runner, is highly competitive and we are incredibly supportive of each other's athletic pursuits...

    Off on a bit of a tangent here, but CC40 are you taking into account your work schedule and the stress that causes.. Recovery parameters should take career workload into account.... I think we are all guilty at some point or other in not addressing just how detrimental work and it's demands critically affect our cycling goals....

    As for losing weight.... I'm adverse to any so called Diet Plan... It's not about elimination but rather nutritional selection and reducing amounts correctly... We are fortunate as cyclist that within reason we can pretty much eat whatever we want when riding 250-300 miles a week.
    Not that we should eat everything we see but the excess fat stores will be burned up with a consistent program and proper nutrition...
    Time is the factor, but from what you describe it points to lack of recovery / recuperation as your biggest detriment....

    As much as we use HR's, Power meters, the latest training software and so on, the rest and recovery / recuperation equations are as relevant today as they were 10 20 years ago....
    Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!

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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Moyene, good stuff! It's nice to have another voice of reason here.
    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."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moyene Corniche View Post
    Ok ... Clearer... I should have clarified... (1) the 170-175 BPM was my range, not to be a range for anyone else... My resting is 142, my max is 205, I'm in my optimum efficient zone between 165-180.. I enter anaerobic at about 190 then max is 205....
    Thanks again and wow! Your heart rates are where mine were at an age of 25. At 48 years old I could still hit 185, must be the age (61 years old), but at 167 I explode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moyene Corniche View Post

    Off on a bit of a tangent here, but CC40 are you taking into account your work schedule and the stress that causes.. Recovery parameters should take career workload into account.... I think we are all guilty at some point or other in not addressing just how detrimental work and it's demands critically affect our cycling goals....

    As for losing weight.... I'm adverse to any so called Diet Plan... It's not about elimination but rather nutritional selection and reducing amounts correctly... We are fortunate as cyclist that within reason we can pretty much eat whatever we want when riding 250-300 miles a week.
    Not that we should eat everything we see but the excess fat stores will be burned up with a consistent program and proper nutrition...
    Time is the factor, but from what you describe it points to lack of recovery / recuperation as your biggest detriment....

    As much as we use HR's, Power meters, the latest training software and so on, the rest and recovery / recuperation equations are as relevant today as they were 10 20 years ago....
    Spot on about work/life stress and nutrition.

    A lot of current training plans and technology assumes that all people and conditions are the same if their FTP is the same. Download a 60 year old 300 lb untrained rider's 1 hour ride at his 300w FTP in 100 degree weather at 9000' after he works a 24 shift at a steel mill and you get the same number for training stress and plan for the following day as a 20 year old pro who did the same ride at his 300w FTP in 70 degree weather at sea level after 12 hours of sleep.

    Beware of the cookie cutter.

    As we age up, there are a lot of systems that don't function at the same level as they used to. There are lifestyle and nutrition things we can do to improve this. When we don't the impact is greater than it would be when we are younger.

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    Senior Member Moyene Corniche's Avatar
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    I definitely know that today at 57, I cannot expect the same results that I had at 35, as far as recovery / recuperation . It does take a bit longer however I never stopped practicing a sport since I was 15, so that accounts for longevity.. I am not immune to time although if you had asked me that when I was 25, I would have said " irrelevant ". As we are all invincible in our twenties :-/ ( or so we thought ! )
    Seriously one of the other factors that drove me away from cycling was that my team was 150%, I knew that in our 40's we were not going to get an invitation to UCI races, yet the team atmosphere was as if we could.... Thus it stopped being fun.... That to me is the primary motivator. Am I enjoying riding in 35F and snow in Feb. and did I enjoy yesterday's cold, windy and wet 2.5 hour hill fest. A resounding " Yes "....

    Will I reach my goal of racing as a Cat II and Master 45+ next season ....?? Don't know, I plan to systematically reach each step but at this point in life, it is really more about the journey and doing it correctly and for the right reasons... Time will tell..

    Time is the biggest problem with many cyclists... The demands of the sport ( at the competitive level of Cat IV / III / II and Masters which can be a mix of ex-pro, Cat I's and II's. ) require a sound systematic training plan which has to be a year round plan... Take a few weeks off, let alone a couple of years and one starts back at zero... There is no way around this, if as a competitive cyclist you want to see results then treating all of the training including rest / recovery / recuperation is critical.... That and patience to allow the training to work...

    I'm pretty much a Noobie on this Forum, but I read and see an awful lot of secondary source advice that came from dubious primary sources.
    Granted, not everyone on this Forum wants to actually race a bike... pegging your HR just below your AT on a 10 mile climb, in order to stay in contention is not for everyone... But wether one is planning on riding a Century or heading to Battenkill the attention to nutrition, Rest / Recovery / Recuperation, Bike fit still applies....

    I truly respect and admire the one's that post " I just started cycling after losing 50 - 100lbs. " To motivate yourself to do that is exemplary, if I myself get 20+ lbs overweight I'm beside myself, so Good On Ya for those who I just described.
    ..... Excuse me just a bit of reflection .....
    Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!

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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Moyene, my perspective comes from a person who never did anything athletic at any point in her life until she was 55. That was when I started cycling, and that was strictly to loose weight. And, a proverbial *** had to be held to my head to get me to do that. How things change, and now I'm in my second year of racing at age 62. I have absolutely no basis on which to fall back on - I have no clue as to how I could have performed in my 20's, and hence no perspective. I've had to learn how to be a competitive athlete, and believe me, I'm not there yet! If it wasn't for the good graces of my coach (Racer Ex) and the other wonderful souls on this forum, I'd still be thrashing around. Or, more likely, I would have given up on racing and gone back to being a recreational cyclist. That thought does not sit well, believe me. It is truly great to have another experienced, reasoned, rational competitive athlete in our midst. Welcome!
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    Moyene, my perspective comes from a person who never did anything athletic at any point in her life until she was 55. That was when I started cycling, and that was strictly to loose weight. And, a proverbial *** had to be held to my head to get me to do that. How things change, and now I'm in my second year of racing at age 62. I have absolutely no basis on which to fall back on - I have no clue as to how I could have performed in my 20's, and hence no perspective. I've had to learn how to be a competitive athlete, and believe me, I'm not there yet! If it wasn't for the good graces of my coach (Racer Ex) and the other wonderful souls on this forum, I'd still be thrashing around. Or, more likely, I would have given up on racing and gone back to being a recreational cyclist. That thought does not sit well, believe me. It is truly great to have another experienced, reasoned, rational competitive athlete in our midst. Welcome!
    Good post!!!
    I think you are perhaps the lucky one. If I compare my current performance to when I was competing at 30 years old, it gets hard to keep up the motivation. Keep it going!!!!

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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColnagoC40 View Post
    Good post!!!
    I think you are perhaps the lucky one. If I compare my current performance to when I was competing at 30 years old, it gets hard to keep up the motivation. Keep it going!!!!
    Colnago, thank you! Sometimes I have motivation issues, myself - and then I have a good day!
    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."

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moyene Corniche View Post
    I definitely know that today at 57, I cannot expect the same results that I had at 35, as far as recovery / recuperation . It does take a bit longer however I never stopped practicing a sport since I was 15, so that accounts for longevity.. I am not immune to time although if you had asked me that when I was 25, I would have said " irrelevant ". As we are all invincible in our twenties :-/ ( or so we thought ! )
    Seriously one of the other factors that drove me away from cycling was that my team was 150%, I knew that in our 40's we were not going to get an invitation to UCI races, yet the team atmosphere was as if we could.... Thus it stopped being fun.... That to me is the primary motivator. Am I enjoying riding in 35F and snow in Feb. and did I enjoy yesterday's cold, windy and wet 2.5 hour hill fest. A resounding " Yes "....

    Will I reach my goal of racing as a Cat II and Master 45+ next season ....?? Don't know, I plan to systematically reach each step but at this point in life, it is really more about the journey and doing it correctly and for the right reasons... Time will tell..
    Your story is very similar to mine, and we are essentially the same age. I returned to racing in 2011, downgrading to a Cat3, and by August was back as a Cat2. I had my share of success in my 20's but I've had a bit more success now. I race all Masters categories and P/1/2(3). You can do this. We live in the same general area, so if you'd like to get together, just PM me.

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColnagoC40 View Post
    Curious how long it takes folks to recover after a serious hard race, 4 hours or more?

    61 here with good established base, 10 - 14 hours a week.

    I find a real hard race over the week-end lasting 4 or more hours empties my tank for pretty much the entire week following. Two days off and easy slow rides are all I can afford.

    Something wrong, or just getting old?
    I'd like to know what kind of races you're doing at age 61 that are more than four hours. There's nothing like that around here. Hard rides don't count. At 57 about the longest road race I could do as a Master is 3.5 hours, 65 miles, unless I'm foolish enough to do the P/1/2 which I would never do. I typically do between 2-2.5 hours of back to back criteriums, though. At Bethel that's M45+, an hour break, then the P/1/2/3. I'm pretty much shot after that. I do a double recovery shake made with 2% milk on the ride home. It helps a LOT with reducing soreness.

    The next day I'm sore but I am very fast. Fortunately, I have a coach who calms me down and won't let me do anything other than recovery or a trip to the gym. Riding hard the day after racing is what led me to quit this sport when I was an elite. I'm not going down that path again. Two or three days in and I'm tired, sore, but ready for work. With the training cycle I'm on now, I feel tired during the week, but by openers day, I feel sore but very strong, and on race day I feel like a million bucks.

    I would not take two days completely off. Try a recovery day the day after your races. Target 25 TSS or less. Just roll around for an hour. I know this can be challenging if you live in hilly terrain like I do but it is possible. You can always do it on the trainer. Protein, rest, recovery ride in that order is what works for me. I also have no problem going to bed early if I feel tired. I also take breaks during the season with no racing, just riding.

    One more thing. I learned the hard way this year how much life stress off the bike affects training and racing. It hits you twice as hard, physically and mentally, and can be very difficult to recover from. I was really screwed up at the beginning of this season, but I'm much better now.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Moyene Corniche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Your story is very similar to mine, and we are essentially the same age. I returned to racing in 2011, downgrading to a Cat3, and by August was back as a Cat2. I had my share of success in my 20's but I've had a bit more success now. I race all Masters categories and P/1/2(3). You can do this. We live in the same general area, so if you'd like to get together, just PM me.
    Only have 35 posts... Seems I need 50 to be allowed to PM...
    Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!

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    Senior Member Moyene Corniche's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColnagoC40 View Post
    Good post!!!
    I think you are perhaps the lucky one. If I compare my current performance to when I was competing at 30 years old, it gets hard to keep up the motivation. Keep it going!!!!
    Motivation is about the patience to keep it all in perspective.
    BTW How has the Joe Friel Training manual worked out for you ??
    I have mostly all the previous editions and will get the new revised version at some point... I'm really still in the build phase so I'm not concerned with racing until at least well into Sept. More likely next year...

    Back in the 80's I recall using Bernard Hinault's training book, it was at the time far ahead of the norm... Not sure if it was ever available in english..
    Ah.... Voila les Cannon ... !!

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    I'd like to know what kind of races you're doing at age 61 that are more than four hours.
    This soon, probably wrong to call them races.

    Overview | Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York

    And this March next year

    The Tour | The Cape Rouleur | HotChillee

    For cat 3/4 I believe USA cycling races are all shorter. There are some 90 mile and plus for the cat 1&2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moyene Corniche View Post
    Motivation is about the patience to keep it all in perspective.
    BTW How has the Joe Friel Training manual worked out for you ??
    I have mostly all the previous editions and will get the new revised version at some point... I'm really still in the build phase so I'm not concerned with racing until at least well into Sept. More likely next year...

    Back in the 80's I recall using Bernard Hinault's training book, it was at the time far ahead of the norm... Not sure if it was ever available in english..
    I rode pro in 79. 80, 81 in South Africa and raced vets in 1999 in Italy. Then stopped in 2001. Joe Friel's methodology is pretty much standard with small variations, everywhere. In Europe we trained similar. I only do strength with weights before base 1, don't believe too much in that. Time on the bike is better. Short hard intervals 2 minutes to 45 seconds seem to be the new thing, they really work for me.

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