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  1. #1
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    Please help me setup a training plan thanks! :D

    Hello everyone. I started cycling at the beginning of last summer. By the start of fall I was riding 50-75 miles per ride and doing so at a decent pace. Unfortunately I quit riding because of being busy in college and went over 6 months without riding. I also went from 180lbs to 230lbs :-( . The good news, though, is that I started riding again about 3 weeks ago and I've already gotten down to 200lbs (as of this morning woohoo) and doing about 40 miles in a ride. My goal is to get to 170-175 (i don't think i can go lower because i have a lot of upper body muscle and broad shoulders, but i could be wrong). I did a crit last wednesday and averaged 17 MPH over 40 minutes. What killed me was a hill that I had to ride that was about a 9 grade i think and the course was relatively short so I hit it a LOT of times lol. Anyways, my goal is to finish with the pack in cat 5 and to move up to cat 4 this year and finish with either the main pack or the second pack by the end of this year and then next year to work on moving into cat 3. Are these reasonable goals? Are these goals too easy and I should make them harder? Advice on how to get there? I truly LOVE cycling and I'm willing to put in as many hours a week as it takes. This week I've switched to a vegetables and fruits diet with some nuts and chicken as well.

    Thanks for your help, I can't wait for the replies

  2. #2
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    Caveat - I am not an expert (IANAE) and also IANAR (racer). I know and ride with a few racers and coaches (living the racer's life vicariously, I guess, at least until my kids are out of the house and my wife wants me to find SOMETHING TO DO) and read a lot of the posts the road racing forum.
    - Keep riding and entering your local races. I believe Cat 5 -> 4 requires 10 mass start races; your local official/coordinator responsible for upgrades may have some say in what constitutes a start (a friend went through this last year but it eventually worked out). Note what works for you and what doesn't in each race.
    - Set goals for each race; talk to other racers who have seen you in action to get a feel for what is possible in your area. Find/join a team so you have training buddies and a team goal to work for.
    - If you succeed in dropping another 20-30 pounds while maintaining you strength/power output, you're going to do a lot better on hills. (duh!) Riding/training will also help on the power side of the equation. Also practice riding on hills to do better on hills. I would not rush it (I think 1-2# a week is considered healthy, and expect plateaus), but weight control for me has been simple - watch what I eat and ride lots. Daily commuting helps (I use lights/stop signs for intervals).
    - How did you do on other parts of the race? Were you gaining on the field each time you came off the hill? Different body types can be suited for one type of cycling vs another. You may simply wind up better-suited to flatter races where you can murder the skinnier guys (like me) who have the W/kg advantage on climbs but are at a serious W/CdA disadvantage to you everyplace else.
    - There's a ton of good training material out there for road cyclists, TT/tri specialists, etc. The archives in the road racing forum are a worthwhile read. In books, one of my favorites is Friel's Cyclist's Training Bible, which I treat as more of a reference than as a read-once-and-follow book.

  3. #3
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    - How did you do on other parts of the race? Were you gaining on the field each time you came off the hill? Different body types can be suited for one type of cycling vs another. You may simply wind up better-suited to flatter races where you can murder the skinnier guys (like me) who have the W/kg advantage on climbs but are at a serious W/CdA disadvantage to you everyplace else
    I was basically catching back up the rest of the course but I slowly lost ground and was a 1 lap and a half behind at the end of the crit. The first couple laps I'd almost be caught up by the time we got to the hill, but I slowly fell further back. Also, I never got to draft the whole race because I was playing catchup the whole time so I'm sure that effected my time as well.

    One thing that is different in my training now is my bike. Last summer I was using a 10 speed 1970's steel motobecane. It was very heavy and only a few gears worked. Because of this I only had about 3 options in gearing for hills and I think this really helped me gain leg strength last summer. I'm now on a much nicer alum bike. I was thinking perhaps I should work lower RPMs constantly to increase my strength back up instead of spinning all the time.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    You only started riding 3 weeks ago? Just keep riding. You'll get better quickly.

    As a 5 (or 4, or 3) you don't need to ride 50-70 miles on every ride. Do some shorter rides with intervals. That will help when the race gets fast.

    I recommend that all 5s do all 10 of their cat 5 races. Cat 5 exists so riders will learn how to race safely in a smaller, safer pack. There's a big difference between 50 cat 5s who are being careful and 100 4s, half of whom think they could be the next Lance Armstrong if they take enough risks.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    You only started riding 3 weeks ago? Just keep riding. You'll get better quickly.

    As a 5 (or 4, or 3) you don't need to ride 50-70 miles on every ride. Do some shorter rides with intervals. That will help when the race gets fast.

    I recommend that all 5s do all 10 of their cat 5 races. Cat 5 exists so riders will learn how to race safely in a smaller, safer pack. There's a big difference between 50 cat 5s who are being careful and 100 4s, half of whom think they could be the next Lance Armstrong if they take enough risks.
    Well I just started riding again 3 or 4 weeks ago...I started back out at about 3 miles...and worked my way back up to 40 miles in a ride now. I seem to be making very fast progress on speed, distance, and my weight loss. I'd just really like to setup some sort of regimented training plan that I can stick to each week.

    I do plan on doing my 10 mass starts this summer. I have about 1 crit a week planned.

    Is there any way to purposely lose my upper body muscle so I can get lighter? Just curious.

  6. #6
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    what ericm said - keep riding. Our area has weekly group rides that are handy for developing pack riding skills and testing your general fitness vs. other riders. Also training crit series that I think count for Cat 5 upgrade. See if there is anything similar in your area. The better bike (small world - I once had one of those mid 70s Motobecane's, too!) really helps. There is absolutely no comparison between the mid 70s techology and modern wheels, frames, and wide-range 9/10/11 speed indexed shifting.

    If you want to develop an extremly detailed plan, study Friel's Cyclist Training Bible. He has enough info in there to develop a detailed week-by-week annual and multi-year plan (oy!). Me - I'd just ride and build experience now. You are also racing into shape. Depending on how quick you recover from hard efforts, an interval session (or 2 max/week) no later than Thursday (to give recovery for the weekend races) will help deal with the yo-yo accelerations in the pack. Treat the races as another training session. Like em said, you don't need several hours endurance (yet, anyway), for a under 1hr, 20 mile crit. If you want to do distance, save it for an easy day after the race day.

    Reducing upper body mass? Quit doing upper body exercises (at least with weights), although there is a school of thought that you still want some strength in upper body for staying stable on the bike under hard efforts and in other circumstances. Definitely continue core exercises and flexibility if you do so. Don't fixate on weight too much - if your fighting trim is 170-180, you are never going to outclimb a fit 130-140 pound rider (you have to make up a 30% weight disadvantage to get to the same power-to-weight ratio in climbs) but as you improve, you can make them suffer on flats, descents, and accelerations.

    There's a lot of information on training for racing in the road racing sub forum. There are several long threads on info for the new Cat 5.

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