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  1. #1
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    Four weeks to get in shape for intense semester

    I am a 19 yr old college student who has joined the college cycling team. I began riding in for purposes other then communting this Sep. I was just starting to get into decent shape, pulling 50 miles at a little over 16 mph, when finals took away my training time. So I have had about 2 1/2 weeks of down time and need to use the winter break to get back to where I was and then some. Next semester I will be picking up martial arts again and need to make up for the three months I spent on cycling, so I need to go often. I need to use the next four weeks to get into good enough shape so that I can ride and train martial arts everyday.
    The races I will be competing in range from 30 to 40 miles and under 20 mph (I am not really sure about the speed, all I know is that it is the entry level racing class). I am riding on a Bianchi Brava, heavy for racing, but fine for the time being.
    The schedule for training that I have been toying with is based on hours. In the first two weeks get my endurance up to 6 hours a ride, with rest days in between ride days. The second two weeks I will drop down to 3 hrs a day, everyday and work my way back up. At some point in the second week of Jan. I would like to ride from Oakland or San Francisco to Santa Cruz, this would be my first century.
    Any advice would be great, I am open to all suggestion.

  2. #2
    Senior Member roadwarrior's Avatar
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    Sounds like criterium racing, although you did not say...

    First, I think you will be suprised by the speed and if I was you I go in expecting to ride 25+ mph. Crit racing is max out straightline speed and then being able to corner. The problem is that if you are not in the front, you will lose distance on the leader on each corner. Which requires you to have to accelerate out of each corner to keep up.

    To train for this you need to do two things...one is to simulate max riding with little recovery, and the second is the cornering technique. So...you can do two minutes of maximum effort with one minute off, back to two minutes of max effort (you'll need to monitor heartrate), to one minute off and do maybe ten to 15 of these.
    Then...in a two minute effort go 30 seconds max, thirty seconds "cruising" of flat line riding. That would be about 10% less than your max effort.

    If you are riding 16mph, my guess is that you are not close to maxing out your heartrate. Crit racing is riding 30 miles (or whatever the distance) at lactate. and there is no resting...so the ability to ride at those speeds and still have a bit left to race with at the end (there will still be another 5-10mph needed for the sprint) is what you are looking for.

    You might want to hook up with another experienced rider out there who can give you racing speed experience. Race pace, even at entry level, is another couple of levels above touring riding. CAT V races are littered with guys who have trained on their own, think they are in pretty good shape and last maybe 10 minutes at race speed. They had no idea the pace was that fast. Even at entry level.

    The CAT V race out here I helped officiate averaged 28MPH last October. The difference between CAT V's and CAT II's is not how fast they ride but how long they can ride that fast.
    "Nothing is so typical of middling minds than to harp on the intellectual deficiencies of the slightly less smart, but considerably more successful."
    Bret Stephens, WSJ

  3. #3
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    I hate to say this but...

    4 weeks is not enough training time for a crit. Training for a crit is NOT like cramming for a final. To see real gains on a bike, you need to start out with a base training time period, followed by endurance training, followed by strength training, followed by interval training, followed by power training. The minimum amount of time I could recommend for this type of training is 8 weeks, and even then, your gains will be minimal.

    Sorry buddy.

    What I would advise is perhaps doing interval rides- rides where you work on mixing aerobic with anaerobic timed intervals (ie 10 minute warm up bringing heart rate to 75% gradually, then 2 minutes at 85% max heart rate, 2 minutes at 75% recovery for 45 minutes, then 30 sec- 1 min at 90% max heart rate and 2 minutes at 75% recovery for another 15 to 20 minutes, then cool down on the bike for 10 minutes, taking heart rate to 60%). Repeat this type of session for 2 days in a row,then take a rest day. Follow that rest day with an endurance ride for 3- 5 hours going at 80%, and go no more than 5 beats less than 80% if you need a break from riding at 80%, and go no higher than 5 beats above 80% if your heart rate goes a little higher than the 80%. Then take a cooldown with heart rate going to 60% by the first 2 minutes into your 10 minute cooldown. Do this for 2 more days, then take a recovery. Then repeat the interval session for 2 more days, then take a recovery day. Repeat the 2 day endurance session, then take a recovery day. For your last four days, you're going to work on power training- Take the warmup for 15 minutes, gradually bringing heart rate to 80%, then alternate between 90% heart rate for 30 seconds and recovery to 80% for one minute. Do this ride for 45 minutes, then take a 15 minute cooldown, gradually taking heart rate to 60%. The next day, take a recovery, and I don't care if you feel like you don't need it, just take it. The day after your recovery, repeat the power ride with alternating between the 90% hr maxand 80% hr max like I outlined with the warm up and cooldown. Next day, take a recovery. On the 17th day, ride your century. If you can get 2 days off after that century, do so.

    Repeat process for the second part of your 4 week training period. That actually gives you 38 days instead of 28 days, but figure out how you can get those extra 10 days in.

    If you don't use a monitor, get one. You can get a low end, continuous read monitor like that Polar A2 or a low end Timex monitor (I prefer the timex because it's digital, so the reading is instantaneous, whereas the analog monitors take time to convert the heart rate from the strap before giving the reading, so it's sluggish when you're doing interval rides). You can get a good Timex from Walmart cheap, or try www.heartmonitors.com and get one there- they have good customer service. If you don't know your heart rate numbers, either get to a performance testing lab in your area, or do a search under my name for the 2 X 20 Anaerobic Threshold test so you can self test. Let me tell you right now- if you can easily reach 90% and feel like it's hard, but easily achieveable, your numbers are OFF. A 90% effort should feel like you want to die and can't be maintained for more than a short period of time (30 seconds for amaeturs and 1- 3 minutes for pros). I took a forum member recently and put him through the 2 X 20 Anaerobic test, then at the end, we tried to get him to 90%. He got within 5 beats of his 90%, then had to stop. I thought that was very good for a first time effort... I know he'd never seen that number on his monitor before, but that's what 90% effort is- it's a number you don't see very often, if not at all. So don't fool yourself if you haven't been tested and have trained before and think you can use some old school math formula to find your heart rate numbers and use them. Most likely, they will just make you slower, since more often than not, I find people training under their true numbers.

    This will probably not get you up to the level of the folks who have trained properly for these races, but I guess it'll take you a bit closer, which is better than where you are right now, right?

    Good luck.

    Koffee

  4. #4
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Regarding getting back into shape after a break, here's a pertinent article by our club coach. Good luck, maybe I'll see you at the Jefferson Cup.

    http://www.cvilleracing.org/Temperance.doc

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Thanks for the advice guys, it all helps a lot. Don't worry I don't have to be in crit shape (and I agree that is what it sounds like) by the end of the four weeks, I just need to be in shape to train for a crit if that makes sense...

    either way you all helped me out a lot.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
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    Oh yeah-Koffee, as long as it is constructive, don't ever 'hate to say' anything to me. Honesty may be difficult to take sometimes, but I would rather place dead last but have built a good foundation, then struggled for second to dead last and killed myself for the rest of the season. Truth can be our only ally.

  7. #7
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    Cool- I know sometimes folks get all personal when told something they don't want to necessarily want to hear. I'll always be honest with you 100% and keep it as informative as possible.

    Koff

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