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Old 11-17-10, 02:35 PM   #1
frankmayer
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Hammering on the flats

I live in Southern New Jersey where it is very flat. I have been riding with a group of guys every Thursday night on a paved bike trail that is 6 miles long. We do a total of 36 miles, two by two, each pair pulling for 6 miles then turning around. I am 5'6 and 138 lbs. and train about 10 hours a week on the bike. I am having trouble keeping up with these guys hammering at about 23 to 24 mph. They are quite a bit bigger than I am, averaging about 6'0" and 175 to 200 lbs. i can actually drop most of them when we do the hills, but these flat time trial type rides are kicking my butt. What can I do if anything to improve at hammering at this pace on the flats? 20-21 mph, no issue, but the 23-24 is a problem.
Frank
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Old 11-17-10, 04:02 PM   #2
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Get some Clydesdale weight in those legs.
I ride with guys of all sizes and my experience has been the bigger guys are just faster flatland riders. Without starting a flame fest this is my experience. Take a look at guys like Spartacus, Boonen, Thor, Etc. they are all bigger guys (i.e. between 170-185 pounds at their heaviest). I do believe that bigger guy just generate more power and being that you are riding flat roads there are no elements to stress the bigger guys which is why you would drop them in the hills.
Now for how to keep up with them:
Simply put: more power or learn to suffer more. This is going to take time but I am sure with your dedication you can get there. If you want to get to that pace you have to continue to train at that pace - it will get easier with time just work up to it and you will get stronger.
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Old 11-17-10, 05:35 PM   #3
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I ride with guys of all sizes and my experience has been the bigger guys are just faster flatland riders. Without starting a flame fest this is my experience.
No reason to flame, this is generally true. Certainly if you take 2 people with the same power/weight (so equal climbing ability), the bigger rider is almost always going to be faster on the flats (unless they are freakishly tall or something).
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Old 11-17-10, 05:59 PM   #4
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That sounds strange and possibly a little dangerous. I take it this is not a closed path?

For sure it's easier for the bigger guys.

I always figure an average of a mile every 3 minutes on easy terrain. You're running a little faster than that, but still it must be around 16 minutes or something for each pair. So you have one LT interval for you, then 5 intervals at least 10 beats under LT. The 5 under intervals should be doable - it's not that long a ride. I'd try some 70 cadence X 20 minute intervals to build strength, two with 15 minutes between them. You could do them on that same path. OK if they're not exactly 20 minutes. Do one session/week for 3 weeks, then do over/under intervals to increase aerobic power and recovery. Do the 70 cadence ones at a pace that hurts pretty bad the last 5 minutes or so. Try to keep the pace exactly even and the same both intervals. Since you'll be pulling from the drops, do them on the drops, though some people prefer the hoods with forearms horizontal. Whatever's fastest for you, in your experience.

When you're in the line, if you're second, ride the drops. If you're 3rd or more, ride the hoods. Stay very close to your wheel, but a few inches to one side. Feel for the dead spot with your cheeks.
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Old 11-18-10, 08:38 AM   #5
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Thanks for the very insightful responses guys. Your right on that I'm having no problem with the 5 under intervals just the one LT In the last half mile or so. Tonight we're back out there again and I'm gonna take your advise on bike positioning and keep a close eye on my heartrate during my pulls. I will also try including these intervals in my weekly workouts on the bike using the path. This is a great workout for me and I really want to work hard to improve this aspect of my cycling. The bike path is a rail-to-trails thing that is about 10 feet wide thru the woods. We all have lights and it's really cool flying down that path. We usually are the only ones on there at night and the only real access points are at each end.
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That sounds strange and possibly a little dangerous. I take it this is not a closed path?

For sure it's easier for the bigger guys.

I always figure an average of a mile every 3 minutes on easy terrain. You're running a little faster than that, but still it must be around 16 minutes or something for each pair. So you have one LT interval for you, then 5 intervals at least 10 beats under LT. The 5 under intervals should be doable - it's not that long a ride. I'd try some 70 cadence X 20 minute intervals to build strength, two with 15 minutes between them. You could do them on that same path. OK if they're not exactly 20 minutes. Do one session/week for 3 weeks, then do over/under intervals to increase aerobic power and recovery. Do the 70 cadence ones at a pace that hurts pretty bad the last 5 minutes or so. Try to keep the pace exactly even and the same both intervals. Since you'll be pulling from the drops, do them on the drops, though some people prefer the hoods with forearms horizontal. Whatever's fastest for you, in your experience.

When you're in the line, if you're second, ride the drops. If you're 3rd or more, ride the hoods. Stay very close to your wheel, but a few inches to one side. Feel for the dead spot with your cheeks.
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Old 11-18-10, 09:27 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by frankmayer View Post
i can actually drop most of them when we do the hills, but these flat time trial type rides are kicking my butt. What can I do if anything to improve at hammering at this pace on the flats? 20-21 mph, no issue, but the 23-24 is a problem.
Frank
Since you describe the ride as a flat time trial, you might be able to make up some of the difference with a more aero position.
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Old 11-18-10, 10:28 AM   #7
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I will also try including these intervals in my weekly workouts on the bike using the path. This is a great workout for me and I really want to work hard to improve this aspect of my cycling.
If you want to improve your speed on Thur night you need to increase your threshold power. The Thur night workouts, while a nice social outing, are not an efficient way to increase your power. You are basically getting one 15min interval in 1-1/2 to 2 hrs of riding. Have a look at the threshold workouts in The BikeForums.net workout recipe book. Try some of the ZeCanon intervals (6x5x1) and you should see your threshold power go up.
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Old 11-18-10, 12:26 PM   #8
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I checked out the intervals. Looks good. I don't have a watt meter on my bike but I do have a Lemond trainer that does so I know my FTP and my heart rate at my FTP. So I have a good starting point. It looks like it's interval time. I'll give the Ze Canon a try.
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Old 12-01-10, 03:26 PM   #9
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How long have you been riding with them? That is the first question that should have been asked. I joined a group this year that would consistently drop me. They are fast and I just trained harder using spinnervals and CTS and was able to keep up with them after about 2 months. It takes time.
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Old 12-06-10, 03:39 AM   #10
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I have been doing this bike trail thing on Thursday nights with these guys since the time change this fall. When I ride with them in the rolling hills no probelm, but they are much bigger than me for the most part, 6 foot 200 lbs. or so and and can really go on the flats. I'm 5'6" and 138 lbs. I have started doing intervals now 2 days a week, 2X20 at 85% FTP. What are spinnervals and CTS?
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Old 12-08-10, 03:09 PM   #11
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CTS and Spinnervals are both DVD series you can purchase and train with on an indoor trainer. I don't know the policy here about linking so I won't. If you google them you can find them. The strongest guy in our group is your size, the guy is a beast on flats and hills.
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