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  1. #1
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    What would you be doing on the bike now ?

    Ok so I been in the gym for a while doing heavy squats , dead lifts , leg presses and a few other upper body lifts. I feel much stronger. But I have no idea what I should be doing on the bike right now. Any input would be appreciated. I know it's to soon to specialize but I think sprint events will be my focus. I am 53 years old and have limited time to spend on the road due to job and family obligations.

  2. #2
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    Riding history? Years riding, current and past volumes, intensity used etc?

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    Ok here goes. Started road racing and mtb racing in my late 20's. Dabbled in cross and raced bmx weekly until about 5 years ago when I had a major operation that put a halt to all riding for about a year. So basically the last 4 years has been nothing but single speed mtbing averaging about 50 to 60 miles a week with no specific training just riding. I recently got the track bug when I saw a velodrome was being built within driving distance. I have had some back and forth with Carleton and put some what of a plan together. Along with lifting I have been working on 10 second max efforts , 40 second max efforts and low resistance high cadence work all indoors on a heavy fly wheel fixed trainer. I would like some ideas on what to work on actually outside on the track bike. Thanks in advance

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    Senior Member joshpants's Avatar
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    Defer all to Carleton's expertise - but what we're doing on the track right now is just a lot of lactate threshold work and technique drills. Nothing too intense or serious. This (sort of) satisfies both folks in that the technique stuff is standing start work, rolling start sprints (but very short), and then just a lot of fitness work.



    Edit: I am still very aware of Carleton's "Volume is the enemy of speed." I suppose I am aiding and abetting the enemy at this point.

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    Since I am a complete newb I guess a better question would be how is a track season broken down. Do you just jump into racing or is there a sequence of training that takes place leading up to racing. I am totally in the dark. Btw one of my first priorities when I get to the track is to find a good coach. I am probably just being over anxious , but I am really excited to get started , I really miss competing.

  6. #6
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joakley View Post
    Since I am a complete newb I guess a better question would be how is a track season broken down. Do you just jump into racing or is there a sequence of training that takes place leading up to racing. I am totally in the dark. Btw one of my first priorities when I get to the track is to find a good coach. I am probably just being over anxious , but I am really excited to get started , I really miss competing.
    1) Track racing season in the Southeast is LONG. DLV in Atlanta races for a complete 6 months. 1st week of April till the last week of September. By the time September comes, most people can't stand looking at their track bikes

    2) Get a coach sooner than later. Some coaches like to take on new people in the fall...in preparation for summer racing. A track coach will answer all of the questions that you have right now, namely, "What can I do now to be ready?". But, you may not *need* a coach. As with all things, it depends on how serious you want to get with it.

    A training club may be just as effective for a group of beginners...for much less money. Basically you guys hire a coach and he writes a basic plan for everyone. He gets paid and you guys split the tab. But, of course, you lose the personal programming. As a beginner, this isn't as important.

    Maybe you can organize a group and ask the velodrome director to sponsor several clinics. DLV in Atlanta used to have an instructor-led clinic every Monday night. Basically, it was an organized group training session that focused on tactical drills, intervals, etc... The things that a team coach would do. I learned a heck of a lot from these before I hired a coach.

    3) Everybody races like crap the first month. Very few riders come out on fire. Your legs will "open up" as the season progresses. Your race gear will get bigger as the season progresses. The "race gear" is the gear ratio that you feel comfortable on. Not too heavy, not too light. This is important to grasp. It's like if you were a car with a manual transmission. It's the gear that gives you the perfect amount of torque for driving and accelerating to the speeds you need and you don't rev-out.

    4) Don't stress about your first season. Just train and race as much as possible. LEARN.

    5) Take the beginner's class. This will teach you track etiquette. The etiquette is generally the same at all tracks around the world.

    6) As far as what you should be doing in terms of training:
    - General cycling fitness goes a LONG way. It seems like you already have this.
    - Work on leg speed. You will suffer if you are a low RPM "grinder". You know this from BMX. But, in BMX, you work in micro-bursts. On the track, it's continuous. There is no coasting. You can float, but not coast.
    - Bike handling. You probably have this from BMX, MTB, Road and CX.
    - Watch track racing videos. Sprint and mass start. Pay particular attention to the RPMs.

    I'm reluctant to suggest an actual training program because I don't want to open a can of worms.

    8) Read the rule book: http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=4220

    7) You asked: "Do you just jump into racing or is there a sequence of training that takes place leading up to racing."

    You pretty much jump right into racing...after you take the beginner's class where they explain rules, types of races, what is expected of you, what not to do, etc...

    Being that your track scene is brand new and the majority of your racers will be newbies, things may be different. Your first few race days may be more like clinics.

    I'll be honest. Some experienced riders HATE racing with beginners, even if they are fast beginners. Everything on the track happens in tight quarters. You have to be smooth and predictable...even when being unpredictable (I know that doesn't sound logical). But, there are ways to do things and make moves, and ways not to. Also, newbies tend to freak out when they get pressed or bumped and of course, the freakout causes more havoc than the small bump ever could have. But, if you've raced BMX, you know bumping and grinding. It's the other guys who may not

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    Thanks C you answered all my questions. I hope all the newbs get a chance to read that response , I am sure it will be of benefit to them as well. Great info

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    Senior Member joshpants's Avatar
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    Indeed.

  9. #9
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    I would add that you might want to be doing strength (and some power) work on the bike to compliment your gym work. There are those that say gym work is a sprinter's "base training", and there are those that disagree with this. Personally, I've pretty much abandoned the traditional road base miles, I just cut down on the ice cream instead.

    Over-geared starts, over-geared standing and seated 500 TT's are what I'm focussing on, with some longer stuff to hit a little lactate threshold stuff (also mentioned above), typically 2k TT's at 80-90% effort (perceived effort, I'm not a power meter-guy). I'll also throw in the odd day on a tiny gear just to keep things from getting too tight. Easy, easy recovery rides on a road bike in between days.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the advice. I have been doing alot of the same , indoors on the trainer. I plan on going to the local high school track this weekend and working the same on the track bike. I know that sounds strange but it's about the only option I have around here that is oval and smooth.

  11. #11
    not actually Nickatina andre nickatina's Avatar
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    I didn't see above if you wanted to focus on enduro or sprint stuff, but from your background it sounds like you'd be a natural born enduro guy.

    Aside from the good advice already given, I'd basically suggest undergoing a transition from heavy lifting to lifting and plyometrics to turn some of that hard-earned strength into raw power, and in turn transitioning that into plyo/on the bike work/leg speed stuff to really dial it in for racing. That will help you in both enduro and sprint stuff - gunning that you're the one going for the mass sprint and not the 20 lap breakaway(!)

    "Volume is the enemy of speed" is a true to a point but the wording is a good way to throw off the total beginner. Volume is not an enemy of speed per se, but it can be a deterrent to sprinting speed and fast twitch stuff. The best coaches (and smartest riders, if self-coached), know how to achieve a fine balance of slow to fast twitch muscle recruitment (i.e., having a big aerobic engine but also being able to make a lightning quick attack off the group, or respond to someone else's). That goes for all enduro elements of bike racing - up to extremes that trackies don't generally realize, such as hilly cat 1/2 80 mile road races. Hell, the only 'true' slow twitch-only territory in my mind is ultra-endurance stuff (like 24 hour TT's, RAAM, etc.) and Iron Mans.

    Anyways, tangents aside, do you want to match sprint or be an all-arounder? If the former, focus more on the weights, the leg speed, and occasional aerobic stuff to keep the engine primed. If the latter, the sprint work and leg speed are still important but a high LT and great aerobic base are ultimately the things that separate each category and take the longest to build up. In any case, you can be a total enduro with zero sprint and still have "one speed", which is fast enough to solo away from everyone else with multiple kilos to go.

    One final word: sprinting is a club you're born into, and anyone who wasn't will only go so far in their efforts. Thank Mom and Dad.

  12. #12
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    you know its just hard to say. when i raced road on a team i was used to chase down breaks and if i could hang to the end i could pull off a good sprint. my best racing results were in cross country mtb'ing several top 5 finishes. but then again in bmx racing no body could beat me to the hole shot (even the young guns).so i really dont know what track racing has in store for me. i guess the season ahead will give me some idea.looking forward to it.thanks to all for all the help and info-cheers!

  13. #13
    not actually Nickatina andre nickatina's Avatar
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    All-arounder atmo.

  14. #14
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andre nickatina View Post
    All-arounder atmo.
    Ask him about weightlifting

  15. #15
    Italian Stallion mcafiero's Avatar
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    Chris Hoy used to race BMX, and I hear he is a pretty good sprinter.


    +1 on get a coach. I'm like a robot and he's my programmer. I have watched my progression climb from the start of the program to now and it's still not slowing down (in regard to power, RPM, etc.

    I'm in the gym twice per week and have various bike workouts 4-5 days per week. It's a lot of work, but I do exactly what he tells me to do. No more, no less. My legs are starting to look like sprinters legs, too, which is fun. My fiance says it's gross, but I'm sure she's just saying that.
    "Go out hard. When it hurts... speed up"
    I have a grande hairy chest and I am of Italian descent.
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  16. #16
    not actually Nickatina andre nickatina's Avatar
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    Yeah BMX is totally different than any other 'enduro' racing. You stomp on the pedals while standing up, coast, and repeat.

    FWIW a lot of world class cross guys come out of childhoods spent BMX racing.

  17. #17
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Andy Coggan notes that BMX racers are more powerful not only because they are comfortable operating at higher cadences, but that they can do so out of the saddle.

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