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If only I had a powertap to document the horror... what went wrong?

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If only I had a powertap to document the horror... what went wrong?

Old 07-23-06, 12:03 PM
  #1  
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If only I had a powertap to document the horror... what went wrong?

So, yesterday was my longest RR to date, in my first season of racing. The Giro Di Coppi was a 37.5mi RR for the 5's around a 12.5mi lap. No giant hills, but definitely a couple steep rollers that get your attention.

I got to the race and registered, and had about 20 minutes to do some easy spinning on the trainer, and I threw in a couple 1 min hard intervals to get the blood flowing. So far, so good.

After a 1-mile neutral roll out the race starts, and I'm feeling really good. I moved up to the front 1/3 of the peloton and settled in. Things would spread out on the uphills but I closed the gaps pretty easily on the downhills, often just coasting back into my spot. I did need to work to close a couple gaps on I'm feeling really good through the first lap, and I'm starting to think that maybe I can pull off a decent finish. I did, however, notice that I hadn't taken the time to drink anything, so I started chugging some GU2O and threw back a GU.

1st major climb of the second lap and my legs turned to mush. My HR didn't really blow up too dramatically and I was otherwise feeling OK. The legs just died. I was envisioning the powertap graph with my HR staying in the 165-175 range and my power output dropping off the face of the earth. Overall I still felt pretty good, but there was nothing left in the legs. Very frustrating.

I mentioned some of this in another thread, but after I got dropped and fought for a little while, the reality set in that I wasn't going to catch the pack, so I just switched to training mode. I focused on keeping my HR out of the red zone and kept fueling with Water, GU, and GU2O. Keeping myself from totally blowing up actually allowed me to pick off a few more folks before the end. Another guy informed me that before I got dropped, there was a decent-sized group that went OTB well before me, and I finished well ahead of them. So out of 50 riders I think I was somewhere in the high 20s-30s (results were only posted 20 deep).

My question is this--Could I have done anything differently before the race to prevent this from happening, or do I just need to focus on training at longer distances? I'm to the point now where I'm in the final sprint at the local training races, but those are much shorter. In addition to training more for long distances and climbing, is there anything I can do from a nutrition standpoint to improve? I kept the carb intake up for a few days prior to the race and did a training race on Wednesday, day off Thursday and an easy ride with a couple muscle-tension intervals and one climbing interval on Friday. The race was on saturday.

Other than the obvious of training for and riding in more RR's, Do I need more carbs? Better recovery? Hydration? I'd be curious to know your thoughts. I was considering giving Accelerade and AccelGel a shot over GU2O and GU because I like the idea of more protein and more electrolytes, but I'm not sure if it's worth it.

(edit)I'm really starting to see where the PowerTap becomes such a valuable tool. If this "running out of gas" happened more slowly during a ride, I don't know that I would've noticed it, especially since I wouldn't have noticed a problem on my HRM...

As always, thanks for the advice!
DrPete

Last edited by DrPete; 07-23-06 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 07-23-06, 12:15 PM
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Dr Pete I am no expert, but it sounds like you went into the red and built up to much latic. You were probably riding over your LT doing the chases.

I read a good drill for the yo yo effect is to ride right below you LT then do interval above, then back to below LT then above.

HTH,
Richard
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Old 07-23-06, 12:24 PM
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what kind of average speed was the pack riding at before you got dropped?

I'm training for my first road race and i dont know what to expect yet.. I have only done one crit before this.
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Old 07-23-06, 12:28 PM
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Like I said, the course was pretty rolling, but I'd say the pace for the lead group was 21-23 or so... I'm just guessing, though, because I wasn't looking at my average speed at the time.

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Old 07-23-06, 12:41 PM
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i'm not going to start giving nutrional advice to a doctor, so i'll try and skip that part. although i will type, what to me, seems obvious: a proper breakfast or lunch should be more than enough for a 38 mile race. eat a powerbar/etc 20 mins before the start if you're really concerned, and bring a gel or something as an emergency plan.

if you do a couple of 2+ hour training rides every week, then you should have been fine for the distance.

i'm guessing it was just a jour sans.
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Old 07-23-06, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dmotoguy
what kind of average speed was the pack riding at before you got dropped?
doesn't matter
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Old 07-23-06, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by botto
i'm guessing it was just a jour sans.
I don't speak French, but I take it you meant "bad day?" In which case I think you're right...

DrPete
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Old 07-23-06, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
I don't speak French, but I take it you meant "bad day?"
oui
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Old 07-23-06, 02:58 PM
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sounds like you could've been overtrained a bit? Or at least insufficienctly recoverd before the race. What has your workouts been the past couple weeks?
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Old 07-23-06, 04:00 PM
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Also, you didn't warm up enough. 20 mins doesn't cut it, even w/ nueutral roll out.
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Old 07-23-06, 04:18 PM
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How much warmup do you recommend for an RR? I usually warm up 45min or so for my shorter races, but I (possibly mistakenly) figured it wouldn't take as much for a longer race.

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Old 07-23-06, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Mothra
sounds like you could've been overtrained a bit? Or at least insufficienctly recoverd before the race. What has your workouts been the past couple weeks?
After I read your post, I picked up my Cyclist's Training Bible and re-read the chapter on overtraining. I think you might be on to something. I've been training at pretty consistent intensity/frequency for the last few weeks. For the last couple weeks I've been doing my weekly training crit, one day a week of climbing work with the CTS climbing DVD, and the remaining weekdays have been easier workouts, 60-75% MHR, with a handful of intervals thrown in for variety. Saturday last week I did 45 miles in the mountains with 2 major climbs, and this saturday I did the 37.5mi RR.

I will say, after looking at the table of signs of overtraining, I have a couple of them. Definitely feeling fatigued and un-focused during the day, taking more naps than normal, and this last RR yesterday I mildly strained a back muscle for the first time. So maybe there is a component of overtraining.

Joe Friel's book says to take 48 hours completely off, then do a recovery ride and see how I'm feeling. Any other ideas?

I have my last big race of the season on Saturday at the Tour de Toona. 20-mile RR on Saturday (with a 1200-ft mountain climb at the start) and a super short 7-mile crit on Sunday. My plan was to do the climbing DVD tomorrow, my training race Wed, and take it easy the other days with a rest day Friday.

Given my performance and the above info, should I change my plan for a week?

DrPete
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Old 07-23-06, 04:54 PM
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Is your resting heart rate a bit elevated? But yeah....either a bad day, or you need a good recovery week or so depending on how your training schedule has been.

It's usually a good idea to throw in a "rest week" every 3rd or 4th week of hard training.....which means easier efforts and no intervals, eat well, get plenty of rest and stretch (as should be the norm anyway). This gives the body a chance to get stronger. It's easy to get carried away with going hard all the time, especially once you begin to notice improvements.
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Old 07-23-06, 05:30 PM
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I just don't believe that--regardless of the type of race you're doing--you can get a solid warmup in 20 mins. 45 mins to an hour has always made a difference in my races.

p.s. You should do Turkey Day in September. It's in Columbia MD
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Old 07-23-06, 07:29 PM
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Length of warmup also depends on the weather and temp.

Carbo loading for me is only effective if I do it only the night before a race or hard ride, not 2 or 3 days before. That always seemed too much for me. Maybe you don't need to eat while on a race or ride that is 2 hrs or less. Like somebody already mentioned, have a biscuit (non-greasy) an hour or so before the start with plenty of water. If you're eating gel durine a 1 1/2 hr race, its too late!

Rest before a race, especially one that will be longer or more difficult than usual (like yours yesterday). The last 2 or 3 days before a hard ride or race should be spinning, not intervals or a lot of climbing. (The best thing to do of course is to spin over the course that will be the race.) Especially on the day before. Intervals on Friday won't help you on Saturday.

Do race-specific training. (Just like studying for an exam!) Three weeks before a race, start focusing on that race and do training rides that mimic what you will face on race day, plus 10%. You had a 37 mile race (90 mins?) so you want to train 1 or 2 times a week at 40 miles (100 mins). And if there are rollers, include rollers. And that means that a few days ago--when you did your spinning "easy" days before that race, you were already planning how to train for the next race. Right?
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Old 07-23-06, 07:40 PM
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Well, this race was really prep for next weekend's RR--I wasn't expecting a great finish at this one, but I really didn't expect my legs to just blow up.

In the weeks prior, I did actually include rollers (and some mountain passes in prep for next week's race)...

Good advice about keeping the easy days easy before the race. I'll be sure to tone it down.

I am thinking that an extra recovery day will be in order, and we'll see how things look for my mid-week training crit. That'll be my hard day, then I'll rest/active recover to prep for the weekend. Sound reasonable?

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Old 07-23-06, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by *new*guy
I just don't believe that--regardless of the type of race you're doing--you can get a solid warmup in 20 mins. 45 mins to an hour has always made a difference in my races.

p.s. You should do Turkey Day in September. It's in Columbia MD
Cycle Ops rollers set to level 2 tension spinning in 53/18, and yes 20 minutes of that and I'm perfectly warmed up no matter what type of race. Warmups aren't about time, they are to get your heartrate up and blood to muscles. .
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Old 07-23-06, 08:27 PM
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Are you able to get a professional massage tomorrow? Actually, it would've been perfect for today. Then regualr training ride tomorrow and Tues, the race on weds, regular training ride on thurs, spin the race distance on fri, spin 20 miles easy on Saturday. Race on sunday, right?
Speghetti and warm french bread on saturday night with your sweetie, if you're not on call.

And if this weekend was a warmer for next week, its not a problem, is it? No need to worry about it, right?

(And I'll get all kinds of heat about this, but my feelings about indoor trainer use during race season sucks. Starting in March road miles are necessary, and by May everything should be outside. But I realise you have a bust schedule so you rely on a trainer for miles.)
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Old 07-23-06, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
Well, this race was really prep for next weekend's RR--I wasn't expecting a great finish at this one, but I really didn't expect my legs to just blow up.

In the weeks prior, I did actually include rollers (and some mountain passes in prep for next week's race)...

Good advice about keeping the easy days easy before the race. I'll be sure to tone it down.

I am thinking that an extra recovery day will be in order, and we'll see how things look for my mid-week training crit. That'll be my hard day, then I'll rest/active recover to prep for the weekend. Sound reasonable?
Sounds good. Going along with what GuitarWizard said, if you've got macrocycles planned out a couple months ahead of time, juggle them so that the rest week occurs right before your big RR. Personally, I can do 2-3 crits a weekend without much rest needed, but if I do a RR, I'll definitely need to take the entire week beforehand really easy. Mainly on volume, miles will be down -20-30%. Will still have sprints and intervals, just not as many. Good luck on your next race.
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Old 07-23-06, 08:57 PM
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Yeah, this season (being my first) has really been a fairly unorganized mish-mash of training strategies that varied based on what book/website I was reading that day/week/month. What I've learned from all of them is how wrong that is. So next season I'll definitely be approacing things more systematically, maybe with some help from a coaching program. This week is pretty much winging it till the end of the season, and once the racing dies down I'll be getting on track for next year. My real goal is to get a couple decent Cat 4 finishes by this time next year--we'll see.

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Old 07-24-06, 02:38 AM
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Doc,

there's a few things that I would have my athletes do different here. Firstly, the latest research suggests that attempting to 'carbo' load more than 24 hours out from your race, doesn't achieve anymore than carbo loading the night before a race. In a 60 km race, i doubt your problem is carb related, or even fluid related (unless it is extremely hot). I noticed your post spent a fair bit of time talking about these issues...in your case, I'd suggest in a relatively short race such as this, your issues lie elsewhere. Firstly, I'd suggest that you simply haven't developed the endurance to perform well in this type of event.....I'd be looking more closely at what you are doing in training & when. You mentioned that you had done some sort of 'interval' session on the friday?....depending what that was this may be the cause of your dead legs....mostly, for a race on saturday, Friday would be a 'spinup' session (I see you have Friel's book so an explaination of this term is in there), perhaps some sprints in an E2 session on Thursday. I wouldn't be doing intervals or hills, infact any hard session (including weights) after about Wednesday. I'd be happy to cast an eye over your schedule if you want to PM me & maybe make some suggestions. Remember though, less can sometimes be more beneficial, when you're looking to peak for an event. BTW, this sort of problem isn't unusual in a 1st year racer, so don't be to hard on yourself
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Old 07-24-06, 02:47 AM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
I am thinking that an extra recovery day will be in order, and we'll see how things look for my mid-week training crit. That'll be my hard day, then I'll rest/active recover to prep for the weekend. Sound reasonable?
Yep. While I freely admit that my program is far from scientific, or up to date, it's what works for me. I race every saturday, then do a long-ish/hard-ish group ride on sunday mornings. On tuesday I do another group ride, which is basically a mock race. Everything else is super easy riding, where my HR is in the low 100s.
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Old 07-24-06, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by daytonian
Cycle Ops rollers set to level 2 tension spinning in 53/18, and yes 20 minutes of that and I'm perfectly warmed up no matter what type of race. Warmups aren't about time, they are to get your heartrate up and blood to muscles. .
Ayup.

Warmups depend on the individual. I've watched some people jump out of the car and drill it to the front of a Cat1 field and win. 20 is plenty for some people, myself included. As long as I have 2 or 3 threshold efforts and a chance to recover from them, that's just fine.

Other thoughts in short declaritives...

Your training does sound like a mish mash. Think micro and macro cycles...hard, harder, hardest, recover. Repeat.

Breakfast and dinner make a big difference for me (type of foods, quantites, Etc).

Don't need protien until at least hour two, according to several studies.

Yeah, pack speed does matter Botto. Unless you believe there's no difference between 15 and 30 MPH. Much easier to blow if you're already on the edge.

Start training correctly now. Waiting is just pi&&ing away time you could be using to build.

Pick your big events, two or so a year. Taper (lighten the workload) a week before.

Accelerade gives me major gas. Try it BEFORE the race if you're going to use it. I stick with Cytomax or HEED and go 4:1 with soy protien for my 2nd hour bottle.

If you feel tired, rest.

Me, I'd chuck the climbing DVD. You want to improve your climbing? Go climb. Driving an F1 arcade game isn't driving an F1 car.
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Old 07-24-06, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Vinokurtov
Yeah, pack speed does matter Botto. Unless you believe there's no difference between 15 and 30 MPH. Much easier to blow if you're already on the edge.
read that reply again, and see who it was to.

here, i'll put the original quote in it's FULL context -

Originally Posted by botto
Originally Posted by dmotoguy
what kind of average speed was the pack riding at before you got dropped?

I'm training for my first road race and i dont know what to expect yet.. I have only done one crit before this.
doesn't matter
dmotoguy (who's in Idaho) was asking DrPete (who's in Maryland) about how fast his race was, so he could judge how fast his race in Idaho was going to be.

IMO when I'm preparing for the race in my 'hood, it doesn't matter how fast a race that's 2,000 miles away is. Different course, different field, different conditions, etc.
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Old 07-24-06, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by botto
IMO when I'm preparing for the race in my 'hood, it doesn't matter how fast a race that's 2,000 miles away is. Different course, different field, different conditions, etc.
I totally agree, but I think one could safely say that if you cannot at a minimum hold 20mph on flat ground by yourself for half an hour to an hour and quickly accelerate up to 25mph for a few seconds with regularity during that time then you're going to have some difficulty staying with the pack in a Cat5 road race. No?

--Steve
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