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  1. #1
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Off- season advice

    Hey seasoned guys, does anyone have any general advice for the off season? With this season coming to a close, and me just having bad luck with injuries, I'm setting my sights on prepping for next season. What do you guys do? Tons of base? More gym, less miles? I've started taking yoga, and it seems to help with core strength and breathing.
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    VeloSIRraptor
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    in the broadest of terms, "More is More"
    However - I have no idea what your strengths, weaknesses, and goals are.

    Personally, my winter plans involve more torque/big gear work and lots of "picking-things-up-then-putting-them-back-down"
    As a frame of reference - I can easily and repeatedly hit 180rpm on rollers unrestrained, low 200s with a fork stand, but then struggle with jumping in a big gear and sprints against punchy sprinters.

    My goals for next year involve riding by myself more, and more successfully, as well as getting better at sprinting out of larger groups.
    So, YMMV, my teammates who kill me in sprints but can't make the break or move up in a long points race, they'll hopefully be doing different stuff than me.
    Last edited by Hida Yanra; 08-10-13 at 04:16 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    If it comes down to a field sprint, you probably won't win, so don't let it.

  3. #3
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    I've been finding that I'm a sprinter. My endurance is meh, and has been for a while. I don't know if I should continue to try and work on my endurance, or just work on power/sprinting since that's what I'm good at.
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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaytron View Post
    I've been finding that I'm a sprinter. My endurance is meh, and has been for a while. I don't know if I should continue to try and work on my endurance, or just work on power/sprinting since that's what I'm good at.
    Basically, most sprinters lift heavy weights 3x/week for most of the winter as well as riding road/rollers to keep weight down, fitness up, and keep fluidity in the legs. Long road rides are counter productive. "Long" for some can be anything more than 1 hour or for others more than 3 hours.

    Winter is the time to lose weight being that you have to eat so much to refuel during the season. Many say that it's tough to race and diet at the same time.

  5. #5
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Basically, most sprinters lift heavy weights 3x/week for most of the winter as well as riding road/rollers to keep weight down, fitness up, and keep fluidity in the legs. Long road rides are counter productive. "Long" for some can be anything more than 1 hour or for others more than 3 hours.

    Winter is the time to lose weight being that you have to eat so much to refuel during the season. Many say that it's tough to race and diet at the same time.
    Cool, that's great advice.

    Most of my friends are road racers right now, since I'm still pretty new to the track scene. In the off season, they're all about base miles and doing super long low intensity rides which is not the same thing a track racer needs to focus on.
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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaytron View Post
    Cool, that's great advice.

    Most of my friends are road racers right now, since I'm still pretty new to the track scene. In the off season, they're all about base miles and doing super long low intensity rides which is not the same thing a track racer needs to focus on.
    There are obviously several ways to train as a sprinter in the winter. I guess the key will be what suits you, your schedule, and your physiology. For me, riding long base miles (4hr rides) really wrecked me. Whereas lifting heavy 3x a week and the occasional once or twice weekly 2hr easy ride suited me, my schedule, and my body type. So, basically, it was much easier for me and I was able to recover and progress. That being said, I never amounted to much

    Remember: You aren't getting paid to do this, so don't do so much that it becomes not fun.

  7. #7
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    So, don't settle on thinking that you're a sprinter just yet. You said that you're still pretty new. Maybe your sprint is your best asset, but it doesn't mean that it's your best possible asset. I think for a lot of intro-level riders, a strong sprint is a lot more common than strong ability in other (less natural, harder-to-develop) areas. A good sprint as a beginner can indicate potential, rather than really the only thing you can be good at [I thought I was a sprinter as a Cat 4. I am an enduro now.]

    Anyway. Yeah, it sounds like long, low-intensity rides wouldn't help you.

    You have to think about what your race weaknesses are, and how to improve them. You'll probably have to increase your endurance (after all, you have to get to the end of a race to sprint; alternatively, you'll have to have the endurance to sprint over and over in a tournament) and your threshold. You probably want to develop your sprint further and you can probably do this through focused weight work, through force work, and through regular legspeed work. That way, you work on things to improve your sprint, but you're not completely neglecting the other areas which, if you're kind of new and looking to develop and move up, you're gonna HAVE to build on.

    That's what I'd do in your shoes anyway.
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  8. #8
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    although i don't know from personal experience, i would say that an enduro track rider is going to train more like a road racer than a sprinter would.

    having said that keep in mind queerpunk's advice as well from the opposite perspective. are you sure that you want to be a sprinter and to focus only on being the best sprinter you can?

    perhaps some sort of compromise between the two (with respect to training) may fit your lifestyle the best.

    -------------------

    edit/rant: to use myself as an example, at this point in my racing career, im pretty much a crit racer, with a new found (1-season long) interest in endurance track races. having said that, i still enjoy doing 4+ hour long road rides and stuff, even though a 3 hour ride at a slightly higher intensity would likely be a better "long" base ride choice as a crit racer.

    heck, i even to a road race or three a year still just as a workout and to see how many climbs I can survive in the latter half of the race
    Last edited by TMonk; 08-11-13 at 02:11 PM.
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  9. #9
    Senior Member TrackMonkey7's Avatar
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    I shall be watching this thread closely.

    Since my local track program ended, I've had to change my goals from a track specific focus, to a more road specific focus. However, I think that if most folks who are fairly knowledgeable about training looked at my program, they'd be fairly confused. It probably looks like I train both like a road racer and a track sprinter at the exact same time. My in-season program has me lifting M/F with only 3 lifts on either day. Then on Tuesday I have a high intensity group ride focusing more on sprinting. Thursday I have a sprint/climb group ride that gives me around 55 miles. Lately on Fridays I've been doing a few high intensity intervals or speed work, and weekends are a bit of wildcard as I might go racing or do a long distance tempo ride on Sunday.

    When the road season ends, I like to dabble in 'cross to keep me fit into the winter months (beer is nice, too), but I typically start ramping up the lifting at that point. I keep the volume in the gym high and the bike stuff low for as long as I can, so I can carry as much strength into the racing season as I can. This year I'm thinking of dividing my base mileage rides with my winter break from school. That is, I'll do base mileage before my winter break and after, but not during. I think I'll keep that month to myself and just lift and do some trainer stuff. When the group base mileage rides start getting more frequent, I'll drop the volume in the gym. Next year I'm thinking of doing a larger transitional period focusing on generating power and more bike work than usual, then during the racing season lifting 1x a week.

    Ugh. Being your own coach is tough, but fun. You are your own guinea pig.

  10. #10
    Not actually Tmonk TMonk's Avatar
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    how long have you been training?

    if you are changing to a road specific focus, you should drop the gym work mostly, if not completely. on the road you power output over much longer time intervals is more important than a 1500w sprint. sprinting after minutes of anaerobic power output requires more than just >30s peak power.
    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  11. #11
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Part of me just wants to commit to sprinting. Although this has been my first season, most of the evidence points to me being a sprinter. Although I've only really been in cat 5 races... so maybe that's a bad way to estimate.

    Races I've lost have been stuff like points races or scratch races with too many quick attacks. On races that I've been able to suck wheel for most of the race, winning the sprint hasn't been too hard (again, only a few cat5 races done, so maybe not a good measure of my abilities).
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    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    my point, though, was as follows:
    from what i've observed, most cat 5's who have potential have a pretty good sprint [we're talking about midrange amateurs, here; not the riders who start racing, are immediately able to ride away from everybody, and are cat 2's in a matter of months]. I don't know why - it just seems like a sprint is that first indicator of potential.

    Now, once people start training - and, if one wants to advance, one must train the weaknesses as well as their strengths - they'll make leaps and bounds that dwarf the level that their promising sprint was at, which renders that original data point (sprint=best) irrelevant.

    tldr version: having a sprint as a Cat 5 just means that you have some potential, not that you're a Sprinter. So I'd encourage you to develop in many areas, which you need if you want to be a good anything - sprinter or no.
    the hipster myth.

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  13. #13
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queerpunk View Post
    my point, though, was as follows:
    from what i've observed, most cat 5's who have potential have a pretty good sprint [we're talking about midrange amateurs, here; not the riders who start racing, are immediately able to ride away from everybody, and are cat 2's in a matter of months]. I don't know why - it just seems like a sprint is that first indicator of potential.

    Now, once people start training - and, if one wants to advance, one must train the weaknesses as well as their strengths - they'll make leaps and bounds that dwarf the level that their promising sprint was at, which renders that original data point (sprint=best) irrelevant.

    tldr version: having a sprint as a Cat 5 just means that you have some potential, not that you're a Sprinter. So I'd encourage you to develop in many areas, which you need if you want to be a good anything - sprinter or no.
    Cool, I get you. Thanks for the tips!

    Maybe I'll try to split it in half, with 2~3 gym days a week but keeping 2~3 base mile rides too to work on endurance instead of going 100% one way or the other? I'll probably have to test it out to see if that feels like I'm stretching it out too thin.
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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaytron View Post
    Cool, I get you. Thanks for the tips!

    Maybe I'll try to split it in half, with 2~3 gym days a week but keeping 2~3 base mile rides too to work on endurance instead of going 100% one way or the other? I'll probably have to test it out to see if that feels like I'm stretching it out too thin.
    That's the "Jack of All Trades and Master of None" approach. Also, you'll dig yourself into a hole that way.

    I feel that the best way is to pick a focus (Sprint, Endurance, Mass Start) and train specifically for one of those and do the others for fun.

    A common question that I ask that may offer insight: Did you play sports in HS? If so, which sport and what position/event? A football running back or 1-mile runner would have different track racing careers.

  15. #15
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    That's the "Jack of All Trades and Master of None" approach. Also, you'll dig yourself into a hole that way.

    I feel that the best way is to pick a focus (Sprint, Endurance, Mass Start) and train specifically for one of those and do the others for fun.

    A common question that I ask that may offer insight: Did you play sports in HS? If so, which sport and what position/event? A football running back or 1-mile runner would have different track racing careers.
    Not in HS, I was too busy being up to no good :\ I think all I did in early HS was ride BMX.

    I always was faster than the other kids before that though (running speed wise).

    I really want to specialize in sprint, but our local track doesn't really do a ton of sprint events. Although we have a new local coach and he's been doing sprint clinics once a month this year. The weekly races are typically mass start events.
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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaytron View Post
    Not in HS, I was too busy being up to no good :\ I think all I did in early HS was ride BMX.

    I always was faster than the other kids before that though (running speed wise).

    I really want to specialize in sprint, but our local track doesn't really do a ton of sprint events. Although we have a new local coach and he's been doing sprint clinics once a month this year. The weekly races are typically mass start events.
    It's easier to go with whichever way your muscle fiber type is predisposed towards. Kids may show this predisposition in early sports.

  17. #17
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    It's easier to go with whichever way your muscle fiber type is predisposed towards. Kids may show this predisposition in early sports.
    Most of the guys I ride with have me pegged as a fast-twitch type sprinter, but I don't really know for sure. Could be just cause I weigh more than them, so I put down more power

    If it helps, my dad was a lifter and did mostly legs growing up.

    When I DID play sports prior to high school, I seemed to always run faster than the other kids for short distances. I died in a mile run every time, but could get from one end of the football field to the other before everyone else during PE. This probably doesn't help that much lol
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  18. #18
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaytron View Post
    Most of the guys I ride with have me pegged as a fast-twitch type sprinter, but I don't really know for sure. Could be just cause I weigh more than them, so I put down more power

    If it helps, my dad was a lifter and did mostly legs growing up.

    When I DID play sports prior to high school, I seemed to always run faster than the other kids for short distances. I died in a mile run every time, but could get from one end of the football field to the other before everyone else during PE. This probably doesn't help that much lol
    Based on that, I would guess that you have more fast twitch than slow.

    Track racing isn't necessarily an Omnium so you do not have to train for both power and endurance events. You can do only short stuff or only long stuff or only mass start.

    I focused on 5, 15, 30", and occasionally 1min mostly and I was happy with that. I believe that if I trained like a roadie/enduro in the winter all I would do is become an OK mass start racer and an OK sprinter. I would rather be a great sprinter and a rubbish mass start racer.

    It's true that most tracks do not have many sprint events. The most you can hope for at times is a 5 lap scratch. That's the hard part about being a sprinter.

    Look at what Dick Lane Velodrome is doing 1 race night per month:

    Gladiator Night

    C Grade 5 lap Scratch
    B Grade 5 lap Scratch
    A Grade 5 lap Scratch
    C Grade Chariot(Top 6 to Keirin "A" Final, rest to "B" Final)
    B Grade Chariot(Top 6 to Keirin "A" Final, rest to "B" Final)
    A Grade Chariot(Top 6 to Keirin "A" Final, rest to "B" Final)
    C Grade Keirin
    B Grade Keirin
    A Grade Keirin
    C Grade Unknown Distance
    B Grade Unknown Distance
    A Grade Unknown Distance
    Then they have something for enduros on another night:

    Marathon Night

    B/C Grade 20 lap Split-Scratch
    A/B Grade 20 lap Split-Scratch
    Madison 30 Laps
    B/C Grade 40 Lap Points Race(sprint every ten)
    A/B Grade 80 Lap Points Race(sprint every ten)
    Good stuff here: http://www.dicklanevelodrome.com/pag...klyracing.html

    Not to mention short and long Time Trials as well as 200M and Sprints on separate nights also once per month. Alpenrose offers a similar program that is Sprinter-friendly. That's WAY more sprinting that most tracks offer.

    Maybe you can offer that as a suggestion this winter. Offer to help. Many tracks make such decisions in the winter and by the time the season starts, it's too late for any great idea. So, ask early.

  19. #19
    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    MAN I'm jealous. I think there were only a few Keirin events all year at Hellyer Not many sprint events at all.

    I'll definitely take your advice and see if it's possible to get more sprint events on the calendar though. The monthly sprint clinics/match sprint days are a start.
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    I'm kind of getting towards the end of my off season, and about to start on my fourth season of racing.

    As I started this last off season, I decided to engage a coach to get a more structured thing happening. One of the main things brought up by both my coach and a couple of others who I chatted to that also coach world level cyclists, was that I needed to do fitness work. Not the kind of fitness that means hours in the saddle, but doing the local club races and social rides for the winter. Now we're talking racing and riding for distances of around 40-50km, or around 1 1/2 hours. Riding with the better riders in the club gets the pace up a bit, and gets the heart pumping. Sticking to these relatively shorter efforts will get you the fitness you need to hang with the track pace without sacrificing the power you want to keep. My focus is just like yours, and I aim at sprint style events. That is where I want to be in my head, but at the end of last season, I won a silver medal at our regional champs in the scratch race, while taking a bronze in the sprints. I still feel I want to be a sprinter, but I know that I seem to be doing ok in the middle distance stuff. So I guess what I'm trying to say here is that you shouldn't specify at this stage. You can certainly gain some strength while still getting some good fitness. It's fitness that will get you through a sprint tournament. As they say, to finish first, you must first finish.

    I'm doing 2 of those fitness style rides a week, and doing weights on 2 other days. In between that, I'm doing some roller riding and maybe an hour or so at the track doing some starts etc. I'm getting faster/stronger, but more importantly, I'm getting fitter!

    That's basically what I had mapped out for myself last off season when I was putting my own program together. The coach has really given me some tweaking to get aspects of the training right for what I want to achieve. There's plenty of info out there if you're willing to put the time into the research.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Velocirapture's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    I focused on 5, 15, 30", and occasionally 1min mostly and I was happy with that. I believe that if I trained like a roadie/enduro in the winter all I would do is become an OK mass start racer and an OK sprinter. I would rather be a great sprinter and a rubbish mass start racer.
    So, possibly a very private question on a public forum, to a person i've never met (but who's knowledge I admire), which is probably highly inappropriate in conventional social settings, but I reckon an electronic meeting room does away with all of that..

    Dear Mr Highly-respected-Carleton, the above quotation seems to indicate that your aspirations to World Masters, and even potentially your coach-guided track riding etc, may now be a thing of the past.

    Given that you have a highly public profile (although are probably a highly-private person, otherwise), one would be saddened to hear this, and nevertheless interested(prying little so-and-so's....) to know if this is indeed the case?

    yours sincerely,
    a fan

  22. #22
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    I am still exploring stuff myself, even after several years on the track and a couple years focused on sprinting. One of the things I have discovered is you should choose your focus by what you do well, not by what you don't do poorly. Others are saying the same thing in different ways. After doing a lot of short sprint type training, I am working more endurance into my training. I have become heavy and my longer sprints have suffered. I am still learning things about my new body (the one optimized for sprinting over endurance); its capabilities and weaknesses.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velocirapture View Post
    So, possibly a very private question on a public forum, to a person i've never met (but who's knowledge I admire), which is probably highly inappropriate in conventional social settings, but I reckon an electronic meeting room does away with all of that..

    Dear Mr Highly-respected-Carleton, the above quotation seems to indicate that your aspirations to World Masters, and even potentially your coach-guided track riding etc, may now be a thing of the past.

    Given that you have a highly public profile (although are probably a highly-private person, otherwise), one would be saddened to hear this, and nevertheless interested(prying little so-and-so's....) to know if this is indeed the case?

    yours sincerely,
    a fan
    Thanks for the kind words

    Yeah, I decided to take a break this year. I had too much going on and training and racing felt like a job and not a hobby. So, I decided to back off. I also realized that I have more equipment than a guy like me needs, so I've been selling stuff. I'll be back Right now I'm enjoying having an extra 20+ hours of free time in my week.

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    Forgive me if I'm being a little naïve, but I thought that scratch races and the Keirin were effectively sprint races? My opinion's based on Chris Hoy 'n' all. I know they're not match sprints but still, they need big thighs and ay caramba levels of power, don't they?

    Just wanted to also ask what qualities would be required in a kilo rider. It's been suggested to me as I used to row internationally so have some familiarity with events involving oxygen deprivation. I've also had my virgin track cycling season (truncated by a torn calf muscle I picked up running) but have been able to hit 36 mph over 2 - 300 meters (3/4 of a Marymoor lap) running a 48 x 15 (because of the calf muscle I've been warned off using anything harder). I'm also 43 so am not expecting to be the next Nakano, just want to have a challenge to train for.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Near Portland, OR
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    Three road bikes. Two track bikes.
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    I would say that sometimes sprinters can do well in scratch races, but scratch races as a whole do not resemble sprints. One of the most amazing local scratch races I've watched was the elite men's 10 mile during the Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge a couple years ago. The announcers were offering a dollar or two or five (I forget the exact amount) for the first person across the line every lap. The average speed of that race was over 30mph. A couple of the sprinters who entered put on a huge gear, went off the front for the first 10 or 15 laps (enough to buy lunch) and then dropped out.

    The Keirin is definitely a sprint race.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

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