I haven't ridden my bike since September (I know, I know, but I couldn't bring it to college, though I will next year). I also didn't do any training since then, or really any last summer either. Last summer was my first time riding a road bike; I started in April. The problem was, I really made a mistake in the bike I bought. It doesn't seem to fit me all that well, unfortunately, which means that after twenty miles or so I really didn't feel like riding much further, not to mention the fact that the frame beat me up like crazy, yet still had a flexy BB, which was an unfortunate situation.
I really liked riding though, and this spring and summer I'd really like to commit to it. I'd like to start racing next year, and I'll join the cycling team here at NU (Northwestern University). I'm getting a new bike this summer, from a good shop. I'm going to make sure I do myself right this time and get a great fitting and great riding frame. But that won't be until July, most likely (when I have enough money and enough time to shop for a bike).
Until then, I'm really trying to get faster. Ideally I'd like to be significantly faster at the start of this summer than I was at the end of last summer, which shouldn't be too hard as I hardly improved over the course of last summer, due to the fact that the bike was not pleasant for me to ride. My average speed by the end of the summer was ~17 mph over 25 miles. I never rode longer than that due to my aching back and feet. Yeah, I had poor shoes as well (Performance CR200, way flexy soles), but I've already remedied that by buying a pair of Lake CX165 shoes, which are very stiff and very comfy on my feet.
Here's my plan: Core exercises every day, plank, superman, bicycle crunches. It takes me about 20 minutes to get through these three exercises (a couple sets of each, obviously ramping up as I get stronger). I can currently do two minutes of the plank (or one minute then 15 second rest then one minute, which I've actually found harder), and I'm doing ten reps of holding the superman position for 10 seconds each time. Ten bicycle crunches (counting one as right elbow to left leg then left elbow to right leg). If I have time in between (say 30 minutes) I can do two sets. I have a feeling part of my back (and elbow) pain last summer was due to a weak core, and I will make sure that is not a problem this summer.
Trainer (well, spin bike, but with clipless pedals) 3-4 times a week (every other day), 1 hour each session, doing intervals. I don't know if I'll do them every time, but definitely a couple times a week. I'm getting a heart rate monitor tomorrow to help with this. I guess I'll have to find my LT before I can really get into the intervals, but that shouldn't take more than a few sessions.
What am I doing right? What am I doing wrong? What kind of improvements might I expect by summer? I really want to become a better cyclist, and I know I'll have an even better time this summer if I can maintain faster speeds on a bike I'm really comfortable on.
Also, once I get to whatever speed I decide I'd like to be at (not necessarily by summer), how much hard training will I have to do to maintain that speed? Intervals once a week? Never? Once every couple of weeks? Thanks in advance.