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  1. #1
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    The infamous hour - what gearing?

    I'm going to give a try for a the infamous hour and see how I do.

    Any recommendations? Anyone done this before? Our track record is 23.3mph.

    I can ride 20 mph all day long (well for 100 miles or more) and have done some long mountain bike races, but can't say I have ridden for much more than 7 miles at one time on the track.

    Given that my top speed is going to be about 10mph slower than normal, I expect I might need lower gearing? Any advice on gearing or strategy?

  2. #2
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    TONS of data on the subject including gear ratios:

    http://www.bikecult.com/bikecultbook...cordsHour.html
    http://www.wolfgang-menn.de/hourrec.htm


    I know you may not be world class yet, but I guess that would give you some insight in your gear selection. Maybe someone else can give some more info.

  3. #3
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    so, 48x15 at 100rpm (which seems to be the average) would put me at 25mph. Interesting.

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    Wow, that's like 37km/h. I could probably roll round all day at that speed in 90", on a mass start bike, only pedaling with one leg.

    You should set your goals higher, to completely smash the record, and make sure your untouched and be a god at your track forevermore.

    Seriously, a gear in the mid to high 90's - whatever you can stay on top of for an hour maintaining reasonably constant cadence. Go longer crank arms, aero bars, and a disc + something aero on the front. Skin suit and aero helmet. I'd be surprised if you couldn't sit on 45km/h pretty comfortably.

    Unfortunately for me, the world masters hour in my age was set on my home track. And there is a big difference between sitting on 45-47km/h and around 50km/h. Damn you Jay Austin.

  5. #5
    Senior Member joshpants's Avatar
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    Hi Chas58,

    I did this on the one year anniversary of my finishing chemotherapy using a 48 / 16. 299 laps on a 125m track, which came to 23 and a quarter or so. I really wanted 301, but I'll take this all things considered for me. The AMB data was really interesting:

    Lap Tm (sec)Mean12.027Std Dev0.368Min10.312Max12.82

    Easily the coolest (and most painful) ride I've ever done. I have some video of it. Did not use anything aero, prepped by doing 3x15, then 4x 15, then 3x20 intervals. I'll do it again next anniversary.

  6. #6
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Yeah, my first practice run was quite dissapointing. It was about 21.5 mph. I was on a bike with more road geometry than track geometry, and trying to use aerobars for the first time, so that took some getting used to.

    I was exhausted and in such pain when it was over. I did something wrong! I think rule #1 is to move on the bike. I had sat in the same position for an hour, and after about 40 minutes, the pressure points were getting overloaded. It was very strange going so slow and being so exhausted.

    But, it got better next time.

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    Senior Member joshpants's Avatar
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    I cannot say enough about the intervals in the build-up to the actual attempt.
    I did it on my Trek T1 in the drops. I didn't move, but maybe my fingers and definitely my head and neck.

    20 minutes: Hands tingle
    30 minutes: sit bones tingle, hands numb
    40 minutes: sit bones numb, hands hurt
    45 minutes: sit bones hurt, hands totally asleep
    50 minutes: everything hurts
    60 minutes: Pure awesomeness.

    Because the date was special to me in terms of pain - I was looking for the most pain I could find. Working my way up made it all work, though.

    The other key to the intervals, though, was using it as a guide for my HR. I had ridden to a certain HR range (for me it was the mid 160s). Remarkably, during the actual, I didn't really get much below 170, and stayed mid 170s - possibly adrenaline, and I had some family support cheering me on and giving me lap counts.

  8. #8
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    My first practice day was a lot like you mentioned. By the time the pain sets in, its really too late to do much about it. I probably hadn't ridden strong on the track for more than 15-20 minutes previously.

    Practice day #2 was better by 1mph. I did in the middle 22's, and felt much better afterwards. I was on my track bike - although I don't know what difference that made. But, I was getting more comfortable at riding around in circles for an hour. As the track record is 23.2, I was still way off from my goal, but getting better.

    Moving around really helped. Just standing every 10 minutes, moving my hands on the handle bars, shifting my position and pressure points. I wasn't so sore afterwards, but still it was a good workout. Next up - experimenting with a heart monitor.

  9. #9
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    So are you training by doing 1 hour efforts?

    I trained for the kilo for 2 seasons and rule #1 was, "You don't train for the kilo by doing kilos."

  10. #10
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Makes sense for a 24 hour running marathon not to train by doing the whole thing, but why not for a Kilo? What would you suggest?

    Given that most of my training time on the track seems to be sprint/recover/repeat, or high speed sustained motor pacing (all with other riders on the track, and plenty of variations on those themes) I clearly need some practice at time trialing. I have never done a TT before, and the simple mistakes of my first day showed some easily solved weaknesses. Initially, I had no idea what my weaknesses were, or even what gearing to use. ;-)

    What is a good way to train for The Hour? (or the Kilo?)

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Makes sense for a 24 hour running marathon not to train by doing the whole thing, but why not for a Kilo? What would you suggest?

    Given that most of my training time on the track seems to be sprint/recover/repeat, or high speed sustained motor pacing (all with other riders on the track, and plenty of variations on those themes) I clearly need some practice at time trialing. I have never done a TT before, and the simple mistakes of my first day showed some easily solved weaknesses. Initially, I had no idea what my weaknesses were, or even what gearing to use. ;-)

    What is a good way to train for The Hour? (or the Kilo?)
    You are right. Just like preparing for a century ride does not involve many (if any) century rides.

    Training for a particular event starts with a methodology. Basically, decide what you are trying to accomplish, break it up into components, train those components (this is the meat of the program), periodically test, then bring it all together for the event. All of this is summed up as a "program".

    The key is to find the right program for you.

    Any program is (arguably) better than winging it...unless you are really good at winging it. But, a program that suits your strengths and weaknesses is best. To do that, you will either have to scour the internet, ask someone who has done it (like joshpants above), or hire a good coach.

  12. #12
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    That is a good point.

    At this point, I’m just dabbling in it, trying something new. There is no glory in it, just the satisfaction of trying something different from a mass start race. As my first time trial, it is all new to me. My biking experience has a lot of variety, but just sitting in the saddle at a steady high constant output is totally new to me. So, I’m learning. So far, it is clear to me that my biggest weakness is lack of experience in an actual TT type event.

    Besides, breaking the track record of 23.2 mph strikes me as a rather modest goal. ;-)

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Riding the track to establish a 1 hour distance accomplishment or break a record is the same, IMO, as racing time trials on the road. There are some subtle differences such as riding the black line at the track and the constant turning. When I do long time trials, I modulate cadence to an extent which is less practical in a fixed gear.

    In building up to the 40K ITT championships last year, I entered several ITTs and practiced 4x10 and 2x20 minute intervals at race pace plus motor pacing at over speed. Waking up one day and saying, you know I think I will hop on a TT bike and ride in the aero position for an hour is interesting. When I did my 40K ITT, I broke up the race into 4 segments and tried to do each segment a little faster. The last segment I pushed until I had the faint taste of blood in my mouth and everything was screaming. Once you are in condition, the rest is mental.

    As far as riding in the aero position on the bars, that takes months of practice to develop power and hold the black line at the track through the turns.
    Last edited by Hermes; 08-10-11 at 12:17 PM.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  14. #14
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback.

    Certainly on the track, keeping a smooth line on the black line is part of the challenge. I’m also learning how to use aerobars, which takes a couple of days just to begin to get used to (to say nothing about getting semi proficient at) especially on a tight 200m 44 degree track. Someone told me to make sure I ride strong through the turns and relax a little on the straights.

    I can do a club ride (road) in the lower mid 20’s for 50-75 miles, and can motorpace (track) in the low 30s, so the conditioning is where I want it. It would be interesting to ride hard for 10-15 minutes to get a better idea where my physical limit actually is.

  15. #15
    Senior Member joshpants's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Moving around really helped. Just standing every 10 minutes, moving my hands on the handle bars, shifting my position and pressure points. I wasn't so sore afterwards, but still it was a good workout. Next up - experimenting with a heart monitor.
    I guess I took a different approach and tried to build a tolerance to the pain.
    If you are going to stand up and move around, you may defeat the aero bars. Not sure.


    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post

    At this point, Iím just dabbling in it, trying something new. There is no glory in it, just the satisfaction of trying something different from a mass start race.
    I don't think there is any glory in track period. I definitely think everyone interested should do try this once, though. $0.02. It is a really cool thing, even if you just keep it to yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Certainly on the track, keeping a smooth line on the black line is part of the challenge. Someone told me to make sure I ride strong through the turns and relax a little on the straights.
    I spent a lot of time just working on holding black over long periods of time (20-30 minutes), but without a fitness / HR component to it - before I started on the intervals in prep for this. I was just getting really comfortable with just exactly how far to throw my body over to the left at various speeds. I'd mix in some hard laps and then just go back to a tempo pace.

    The track I used was shorter than the 200 you are on, but in general where I was you want to float into the turn, hammer out of it, and then modulate your way back to float on the (pretty short) straight. Of course this is a minimal speed change, just sort of what your pedaling perception is. I would NOT use this strategy on the 333. No idea for a 200. I'll be curious to hear more what you find.


    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    I can do a club ride (road) in the lower mid 20ís for 50-75 miles, and can motorpace (track) in the low 30s, so the conditioning is where I want it.
    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Besides, breaking the track record of 23.2 mph strikes me as a rather modest goal. ;-)
    I agree. If your fitness is there I think that is within reach with a bit of work on technique - obviously knowing nothing of the conditions. However, that is barely less than I did, and I'm a relative newb with partially destroyed lungs.

    Of course, there may be some glory in smashing the track record. (I sure didn't touch it, though).

  16. #16
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I thought standing on the podium at Masters Track Nationals was pretty glorious but to each his own.

    Riding the black line is key to any race but considering the number of laps one will do in an hour, it is imperative. In an out and back road ITT there is one opportunity to go too far and if your cone turn around is terrible, you may add a bike length to the race. On a short track, the turns will eat you alive if you ride out of the pole lane. In addition to going farther, you ride uphill and lose energy.

    With respect to riding the turns, I float in the outbound portion of the turn (a track has two turns) on a 250 meter track and put power back into the straight. On a 333 meter track, power is on at all times.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  17. #17
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I suggest that while motor pacing at the low 30s, position the motor at the stayers line and every couple of laps drop to the pole lane and take a 100 meter pull on your own and then get back on the motor or for a short track a full lap. I find this to be a great workout with the toughest part accelerating to get back on the motor traveling at constant speed.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  18. #18
    Senior Member joshpants's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    I thought standing on the podium at Masters Track Nationals was pretty glorious but to each his own.
    For me. That certainly would be.

  19. #19
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input.

    I’m only moving around for ľ of a lap every 10 minutes. Its not enough to slow me down, but does keep my body relaxed and fresh. Not sure what happened that first day, but there was a lot of pain and effort for what turned out to be a pretty slow pace. That hasn’t been a problem with a little stress relief.

    On this track, the general consensus is that you should feel like you are putting a little effort going into the turn and relaxing slightly on the straights (which are shorter than the turns). It's a pretty tight radius turn.

    Practice day #3

    Given that the first day was at 48x16 gearing and the second at 48x15 gearing, I’m just going to stick with the 48x15 and get it up to ~100rpm. This is my second day of using Aero bars, and is much easier than the first, but they still need to be adjusted to fit better and of course I could use a lot more practice with them. Also, I’ve started playing with a heart rate monitor, and seem to be at 165-170. Certainly more consistency there would be helpful.

    My distance today is once again almost a mile farther than my last hour. This time it was 23.5 miles. Given that I’m sure I’m not doing a perfect lap on the black line, I’m assuming this still isn’t enough to break the track record which is based on number of laps done (not whatever number is on my odometer). Improving by a mile every time I make the attempt makes me wonder how far I would go with more practice, but alas – today is my last practice day.

  20. #20
    Senior Member joshpants's Avatar
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    Good luck!!! Cannot wait to hear the results of this.

  21. #21
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    You got it – here it is:

    Today was the official day.

    My target was to bump it up a notch and to ride at a steady 24mph and 170bpm on the heart monitor. That heart rate is interesting as it is just under the maximum heart rate for someone my age based on the standard tables. Obviously I’m not standard as no one can keep up their maximum heart rate for an hour.

    And, I met my goal. I rode steady and strong for an hour. I don’t remember what my actual lap count was (I need to get the official paperwork too), but it was at least 190(+) laps or something over 38 kilometers in an hour. The previous record was 185 laps (37kph). I certainly was not riding at my pain threshold, but my heart rate and my breathing rate were certainly very strong and steady.


    With further work, I could better understand my target heart rate, refine my gearing, get better riding in the aerobars, and probably figure out what to do about hydration (or just do the event in the spring/fall where heat isn’t an issue). After the event I went off mountain biking with a couple of friends who had come by to cheer me on. Clearly I wasn’t exactly going all out, but I certainly improved a lot after a week’s worth of practice, and had fun learning and doing something new on the track! Yahoo! J

    Now there is a new track record for someone to shoot for.

  22. #22
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Wow! Congrats!

  23. #23
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Congrats to the OP, do 1 hour in the track is hard. You should try with 53x17 or 54x17... that is around the same than 48x15, the difference is that is easier to move in a track, probably will be easier to even improve what you have done. 17 has more torque than 17, the 54 will keep the legs moving easily. I wouldn't have picked 48x15 but either way great for the op. Congrats

  25. #25
    Senior Member joshpants's Avatar
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    Nice!!!!

    Congrats on the new record!

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