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  1. #1
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    Books or resources for the beginner roadie

    Hi All,
    I've gotten settled on my new bike. I got my helmet and basic gear. However now that I'm beginning to ride I want to ride with a purpose of improving and not aimlessly ride.

    I've search through this section and the forum and I see the advice for the new guy is just ride for a few months / 1 year then worry about techniques or training... Honestly I think that is ridiculous.

    1) I'd be bored and give up riding if all I did for a year was sit and pedal for hours or x miles as a goal (I would have gotten a hybrid or touring bike instead of a caad10)
    2) I strongly believe that if I develop a bad technique at the beginning I would waste time unlearning in it

    I am definitely a competitive person who enjoys details and tracking progress. My goal is to EVENTUALLY ride competitively and also be able to easily ride centuries etc..

    I'm looking for a book or resources (website or books) that can explain basic form, posture, pedaling technique, building simple training plans to get from newbie to intermediate (not race ready just yet). I am specifically looking for ways the track progress beyond miles. I'm the guy that would be interested using a heart rate monitor, bike computer and sensors to see improvements...

    Here is what I found so far:
    The Training Bible - (the reviews/forum suggest this was mainly for when you're intermediate to beginning racing is this true?)

    Time crunched Cyclists - (the reviews/forum suggest: and easier read than the training Bible, also for "intermediate" only?)

    Serious Cycling - (the reviews/forum suggest not much details other than this is a good book)

    The Heart rate monitor book for cyclists Sally Edwards (member koffee seems to promote this, are there others that are better)

    The big book of cycling (good amazon reviews nothing found on this forum)

    The bicycling big book of cycling for beginners (a few mentioned it but no details)

    Bicycling magazine new cyclists handbook. (good amazon reviews)

    I'll be looking for websites or you tube too.

    Of all these or anything you want to add; which would be the best for a beginner to improve fitness with measured results?

    I bought an e-book and regret it because it spent most of the time talking about describing what different bikes are and how to inflate tires road safety... Very beginner almost for a 7 year old kid. I'm looking to avoid paying for a book that is like that while avoiding overwhelming books or websites

    Thank You in advance for your insight/advice.

    Oh and I love this site but I find that I would have to sift through a lot or keyword search specifics. I'd rather have the resources centered in 1 place then come here for specific inquiries.
    Last edited by Kameleon; 07-05-14 at 11:13 AM.

  2. #2
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Newbies have had good results from using The Time Crunched Cyclist. It'll keep you busy while you figure it out. Get a pro fit right off because you don't know what you like yet.

  3. #3
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    I'm going to disagree with CFB about the time crunched cyclist. It's a quick fix for those who have been fit and lost it - use it as a beginner and it's a sure recipe for burnout.

    Joe Friel's bible is still, probably, the best. But even that is no good to you until you've put in some time building an aerobic base.

    Seriously, riding for three months or so, at an intensity that challenges you but does not exhaust you, is not "aimless". It is an essential step in creating a base on which you can build. And it isn't boring. If you track your progress using a HRM, or even a watch if you're riding the same route repeatedly, you can sustain your interest by watching yourself progress - and progress, at the start, will be quite rapid.

    This site is a good resource. Look at the sticky in this forum on testing for your aerobic threshold. Visit the racers' forum and look at the threads on training workouts, and tips for new racers. Buy a HRM - garmin is a good choice, they're compatible with powermeters, and if you get serious you might want one of them in a year or two.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  4. #4
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    The problem that I had with Time Crunched Cyclist is that it isn't what I thought it would be. I wanted a program that I could train for an hour to an hour and a half per day, every day. Not training for 2 hours+ per session, 4 days a week. The idea of training for 4 days a week is kind of lame to me, and making it 2 hours or more weekdays, on a routine basis, is difficult.

    My idea of a time-crunched training plan was "just ride 75-90 mins a day, twice that on Sunday. Do some LT, vo2, and high cadence work routinely." I expected the same thing out of Carmichael's book, and didn't get it. I guess you don't need a book for that, though.

    I don't have Friel's Teh Cyclist Training Bible, but I do have his Total Heart Rate Training -- and I find that to be very effective, much moreso than Time Crunched Cyclist.

    Fitness Cycling by Sandoval is also a good choice for a beginner.

    I don't race (on bikes, at least), just a fitness dude, so take my experience for what it's worth.

  5. #5
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    From a nutrition perspective, I really enjoyed Feed Zone Portables.

    it answered a lot of questions I had, and knowledge gaps in how the nutrition and hydration aspects worked.

    i consider the recipes a bonus, secondary to the nutritional knowledge.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    I'm going to disagree with CFB about the time crunched cyclist. It's a quick fix for those who have been fit and lost it - use it as a beginner and it's a sure recipe for burnout.
    I don't agree with this. I was mildly fit before starting my first TCC cycle and gained fitness, although it did generate a lot of fatigue. I'm doing the Intermediate Commuter program. I'm about to start my second cycle this week after several weeks of just endurance riding. I think the key to doing the TCC program, and probably any structured training program, is to learn the signs of overtraining and listen to what your body is telling you. Nothing wrong with dropping an interval session here or there and/or taking an extra rest/recovery day when necessary. Also, eat right and get plenty of sleep.

    My advice to anyone starting on the TTC is to build up to the expected weekly mileage *before* starting the program. As a ballpark, if you're going to be training 6-8 hours per week on an interval program, you should already have the endurance to ride at least 90 - 100 miles per week, every week. (Obviously 100 miles per week is nothing to some on this forum, but it's a lot for someone new to cycling). TTC will typically increase the intensity, and therefore the workload, above that. No one should be building mileage when starting with TCC - really bad idea.

    EDIT: This dovetails into comments others have made about building base miles. Spending 3 months or so building up mileage is really the way to go.
    Last edited by Spld cyclist; 07-06-14 at 08:40 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin in TN View Post
    The problem that I had with Time Crunched Cyclist is that it isn't what I thought it would be. I wanted a program that I could train for an hour to an hour and a half per day, every day. Not training for 2 hours+ per session, 4 days a week. The idea of training for 4 days a week is kind of lame to me, and making it 2 hours or more weekdays, on a routine basis, is difficult.

    My idea of a time-crunched training plan was "just ride 75-90 mins a day, twice that on Sunday. Do some LT, vo2, and high cadence work routinely." I expected the same thing out of Carmichael's book, and didn't get it. I guess you don't need a book for that, though.

    I don't have Friel's Teh Cyclist Training Bible, but I do have his Total Heart Rate Training -- and I find that to be very effective, much moreso than Time Crunched Cyclist.

    Fitness Cycling by Sandoval is also a good choice for a beginner.

    I don't race (on bikes, at least), just a fitness dude, so take my experience for what it's worth.
    You've read the TCC book and already know this, but for those who are considering it, I'll state the following: The training schedules are set up that way for a reason. The authors believe that a certain amount of rest and recovery are necessary, following the intense training stimuli, to allow for the physiologic adaptions necessary for improvement. They do say that there is some flexibility in scheduling workouts and they give guidance on that. However, they don't recommend training every day.

    I'm not an expert on this, so I won't assert that you can't train almost every day in the manner you describe. However, pretty much everything I've read on interval training says that rest is highly important. So if you're going to ride every day, some of those days will need to be very low intensity recovery rides.

    Edit: Just a further thought. 75 - 90 minutes per day, with double that on Sunday, works out to be 10 - 12 hours a week. The premise of TCC is that you would be training 6 hours or so per week. I don't have the book in front of me right now, but IIRC it states that they recommend a different training program for athletes that have more time for training. So there is something of an apples and oranges thing here between your expectations and their training program, which might have been predicted given the book's title. However, either way there is a need for rest and/or recovery days.
    Last edited by Spld cyclist; 07-07-14 at 01:20 PM.

  8. #8
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    Agreed, a hard/easy cycle is required with quality workouts.

  9. #9
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    The more I read reviews on these suggestioned books the more I feel that I'm not ready because they seem to be training for racing.

    For now my focus is "training with increasing fitness". I am however conflicted with base mileage building; this debate about it being a waste of time on this a other forums are of concern.

    My conclusion so far is focus on riding using an HRM (Wahoo TICKR) and cadence (Wahoo RPM) through my phone (both should Easily work with a edge unit one day) .

    However I still need to know how to develop good form and how to ride for or gauge improvements. (can't be as easy/boring as ride up and down some Hill for x months)

    I recently bought "serious cycling" and it has been a good read so far, but it's info nothing "actionable" yet..

    Is there a "TCC FOR DUMMIES" or "The cyclists Training bible: old testament"??? =P

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Get a pro fit right off because you don't know what you like yet.
    I did a static fitting with my shoes and clipless when I dropped from the 60cm frame I first bought to a 58cm. How much THAT IMPORTANT is a pro fit? I thought it was best to ride a few hundred miles to see what's not comfortable.....

    To me this is the proverbial "what came first the chicken or the egg" so anyone's advice is welcomed

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    Seriously, riding for three months or so, at an intensity that challenges you but does not exhaust you, is not "aimless". It is an essential step in creating a base on which you can build. And it isn't boring. If you track your progress using a HRM, or even a watch if you're riding the same route repeatedly, you can sustain your interest by watching yourself progress - and progress, at the start, will be quite rapid...
    Thanks! Took your advice. I looked into it a decided on a small setup to keep me interested : HRM + Cadence running through my Android onto a Magellan echo (I can mount to the bike)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brianj0101001 View Post
    From a nutrition perspective, I really enjoyed Feed Zone Portables.. .
    I'm very interested in this, I was looking at the feed zone regular book. Have you (or anyone) read both? Opinions? Are the nutritional advice the same but different recipes? Or do they serve different purposes?

    Thank all for the feedback!

  13. #13
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    when I started out, I went to a few libraries in my network. I looked up a cycling book and went to that section and just browsed the shelves and took out what looked interesting or useful at the time. it was great fun and cheap!
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  14. #14
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kameleon View Post
    I did a static fitting with my shoes and clipless when I dropped from the 60cm frame I first bought to a 58cm. How much THAT IMPORTANT is a pro fit? I thought it was best to ride a few hundred miles to see what's not comfortable.....

    To me this is the proverbial "what came first the chicken or the egg" so anyone's advice is welcomed
    I'd ridden a fair bit on older used bikes before I bought my first proper road bike, and got fitted to it in the process of buying it. That's what I was recommending and maybe you did that. I believe there are certain constants in a road bike fit involving compromises between balance, reach, and drop and the rider's flexibility and dimensions. I think it's better to get these resolved right away, rather than over a long period where one posts about this or that pain or element of fit. Of course one's fit can change over time as strength and flexibility increase. Or not. My fit's been the same for 15 years or so.

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