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  1. #1
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    I commute 7200 miles a year. Is that enough training to race and do well?

    Title says it all. I go easy on the 14 miles in but do intervals 14 miles home. The problem is that I don't have any additional time for training really, and was wondering if commuting, if done right on my 7200 miles a year, 600 vert / day, on a touring-type bike, is enough to train within in order to race MTB and do well.

    I guess what I'm asking is "is 7200-8000 miles a year of 90% road / 10% MTB close to what is needed to be a top 10% amateur MTB rider?". Thoughts?
    Last edited by when; 02-01-12 at 11:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Spinning @ 33 RPM Glynis27's Avatar
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    That's a lot more miles than most people will be doing. Best way to find out is do a few races and see what happens.

    Doing some MTB rides will help a bunch though. Riding off-road is quite a bit different, plus you need the bike handling skills and ability to maintain speed through turns and rough stuff.
    Last edited by Glynis27; 01-31-12 at 01:33 PM.
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  3. #3
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    Training isn't required to race...

    Do you mean to win? That's a different question.
    Race-o-meter:
    Broken until next season

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    By "do well" I mean at least top 10% of the field.

    There is this loop I could do with the MTB, 14 miles into work then 40 miles home at night on trails... hmm...

  5. #5
    Senior Member LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Sounds like too much training since most XC races are designed to last 45-60 minutes. Maybe do that 40 miler once or twice a week. Really work on beating that 14 mile ride into submission.
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  6. #6
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    the only thing that will really prepare you for racing is racing. it will give you an idea of the kind of efforts and skills involved, which will allow you to train smarter and improve. you should have some aerobic capacity and fitness with all those miles, but "race fitness" is a very different thing and not necessarily developed by the kind of riding you're currently doing.

    anyway, put a race on the calendar and see how it goes. skill level varies wildly in beginner categories, and I wouldn't sweat results too much until you race a few times.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Add some intensity to your commute with intervals. For me, an XC race is above 90% of maximum heartrate with surges beyond 95%, so there's value in training at a high intensity.

  8. #8
    Fourth Degree Legend junkyard's Avatar
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    Title didn't mention that you wanted a top 10% finish. So, in fact, the title did not say it all.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Add some intensity to your commute with intervals. For me, an XC race is above 90% of maximum heartrate with surges beyond 95%, so there's value in training at a high intensity.
    Sounds like I need an HRM. Recommendations?

  10. #10
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by when View Post
    Sounds like I need an HRM. Recommendations?
    If it's not exceeding your budget, the Garmin Edge 500 plus any ANT+ heart-rate strap is sort of handy. You can upload your rides to Garmin's website, like this sample...

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/104640962

    ...and then if you want, you can click "Export" and download it back as a .GPX or .TCX file, or even a Google Earth .KML file. With TCX or GPX files, you can load them into the free demo of Topofusion Pro and play them back at any speed to look at your heart rate and such. Some screencapture from TF Pro in both top-down and 3D mode:


  11. #11
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    You have a good base of mile under you that will be great. Intervals is also a big plus. Racing is a different endeavor. You have to pass people without ended up in a tree or pile of rocks. The people in a race are as varied as people driving cars. Some are happy to get out of the way, others want you to meet their elbows and hips.

    But it is a fun world, go learn some new stuff. Be sure to take some before and after pics.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member bigbadwullf's Avatar
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    There's really only one way to find out. Enter a race. Have fun. But I think you will do better than you think you will.

    I was off a dirt bike for like 15 years. Bought a used woods bike and entered a race that very week. Finished in the top-third of my class even after letting the whole class go at the start(I just sat and let them go). Passed 2-3 in the first turn and 3-4 by the time we got in the woods and picked off about 10 more during the race................You just never know.
    Last edited by bigbadwullf; 02-02-12 at 02:00 PM.

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  13. #13
    Senior Member ljsense's Avatar
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    It probably depends on how fat you are.

    If you're skinny and you're riding those miles, I'd bet you'll do alright. If you're overweight, other racers will have an advantage despite your training mileage.

    Are you shooting for top 10 percent overall? Top 10 percent in the CAT 5/beginner's field or Top 10 percent in the Elite/1 category?

  14. #14
    ed
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    So if you don't finish top 10%...it's not even worth trying? Why not enter a race and see how you handle it?

  15. #15
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    If the race is 14 miles long you're set.

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