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Setting realistic goals

Old 09-28-08, 06:28 PM
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Hocam
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Setting realistic goals

So I want to use the incentive of a new bike (probably CAAD9) and start racing to motivate me to some new goals. I think the areas I can improve most in are sprinting and cornering. Obviously cornering isn't very measurable but sprinting is and I haven't really ever consistently worked on either. Right now on a full out sprint, I'm consistently topping out in the low 30's and maintaining that for close to 30 or 40 seconds. Using the bike speed and power calculator (can't afford a PM) as a rough guide, 33 mph puts me at 720 watts. I might be able to squeeze out a bit more just by working on form, but I'm not sure.

So my question, is 35 mph on the same course (852 watts) an attainable goal over the next 6 weeks?
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Old 09-28-08, 07:26 PM
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In terms of the power - those numbers are assuming constant power output at that speed, i.e. how much power you need to generate to maintain that speed. In terms of the jump power, or 5 second power, that is also an important metric that you cannot judge even remotely without a power meter.

That being said, to improve your sprint you can work on speed drills and power drills. Power drills are something like big gear sprints and speed drills are very high cadence (> 150 RPM).

If you use the search feature, you will find tons of different recommended exercises in the racing forum.

Finally, 35 MPH sprint is likely attainable, but not really a very good indicator as you need to get that sprint out after an hour or more of racing.
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Old 09-28-08, 08:24 PM
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The strongest guys always seem to have good sprints. So get strong and fast. Build your endurance and power. If you are not one of the best guys in a field of 70 then what good is a strong sprint?....unless you want to sprint for 20th. I think sprinting is important, but maybe a bit overemphasized for most. Alot of the physical qualities required for good sprinting come by default thru your consistent day to day training...such as long rides, fast club rides, racing, intervals, etc. Now when you become one of the fastest guys in your club and at the local/regional races, then yes you could start doing more dedicated sprint training. That's when the little things make a big difference. Being just 5% better could mean the difference between 1st and 5th.
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Old 09-28-08, 08:44 PM
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You can go from 32 to 35 mph, for sure. You don't necessarily get there by working on your sprint, though that's obviously one way of doing it. It's funny, a lot of non-racing or untrained cyclists seem to quote 32 mph as their top sprint speed. Seems like a natural wall. I know that's what I was sprinting to (well... 31.5) before I took up racing. Train, race, get faster. That's your best bet. Racing will give you a better sprint. I went to about a 35 mph sprint (fresh legs, anyway) after a season of racing. I think that 35 mph is a speed that can win you a bunch sprint in the 5's IF you still have it in the legs in the last 100m. Racing will push your top speed up like you won't believe.
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Old 09-28-08, 08:55 PM
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F reality.
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Old 09-28-08, 09:12 PM
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Cornering is quite easy to measure. Find a big fast sweeper with a bit of a downhill entry, and see how fast you can take it. Just glance at your speedo as you come out of the corner and start to apply power again... the higher the number, the better.

You could also look at the speed just before the entry; I used to do this on one downhill chicane before a sprint point on our club rides. I knew I could hit that at 33 but not 34, and so I'd make sure I was right on every time.

Course, this is not feasible or advisable in a pack, but it's good practice.

Otherwise, your goals for your first season of racing should be:
- show up, pin on number, start
- not crash yourself or anyone else
- finish
- finish in the pack
- finish within sight of the front
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Old 09-28-08, 09:25 PM
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Yes, it's attainable. I don't know how you're going to qualify it though. You really need a power meter for sprints unless you're taking a time between two points with the same start speed, and making one run in each direction.

The power gains can be significant though. I considered myself a decent sprinter and still managed to improve my 5s power from 1467W to 1651W this season. The thing is that I did that without sprint workouts... mostly FTP gains pushed it up. My 1m interval method works it a bit too, but I only did 2 series of 1m intervals all season (maybe 12 workouts total).

I wouldn't set too many goals for improvement until you know what your limiters are in races. It may turn out that you have nothing left in the tank when you get to 100m. At that point, a stronger sprint isn't going to help a bit -- you'll need to improve your FTP (and forget about sprints).
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Old 09-28-08, 09:59 PM
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From what I can tell without a powermeter, I feel like my FTP is very good compared to my sprint. Especially considering most of my rides tend to focus on longer intervals and endurance. I can ride the majority people off my wheel on a steady climb on group rides (especially towards the end, when everyone else is getting cooked) but generally can't contest the town line sprints.

Maybe my incentive should be get a powermeter instead of a new bike (similar price range...). I've been thinking most about a new bike because the one I have is sort of irreplaceable, but it's steel so I could always have it repaired in a crash.
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Old 09-28-08, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
I wouldn't set too many goals for improvement until you know what your limiters are in races. It may turn out that you have nothing left in the tank when you get to 100m. At that point, a stronger sprint isn't going to help a bit -- you'll need to improve your FTP (and forget about sprints).
Word. I thought I was a pure climber. Apparently not, as it turns out. Figuring things out more precisely than that will take more racing. Though I do have a theory...

EDIT: Hocam, don't make the mistake of assuming that your performance in group rides necessarily indicates your actual strengths. I mean, it might, but it might not. I was climbing great at the local group rides. But in road races with long climbs, I found myself getting dropped by guys who I was racing better than in crits. A lot of this is fitness, of course, and I intend to really work on my FTP next season, but still, quite out-of-line with my expectations.

Last edited by grolby; 09-28-08 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 09-29-08, 03:46 AM
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When the form is good, everything is better (including your sprint).
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Old 09-29-08, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Hocam View Post
From what I can tell without a powermeter, I feel like my FTP is very good compared to my sprint. Especially considering most of my rides tend to focus on longer intervals and endurance. I can ride the majority people off my wheel on a steady climb on group rides (especially towards the end, when everyone else is getting cooked) but generally can't contest the town line sprints.

Maybe my incentive should be get a powermeter instead of a new bike (similar price range...). I've been thinking most about a new bike because the one I have is sort of irreplaceable, but it's steel so I could always have it repaired in a crash.
youre either pricing very expensive power meters or very inexpensive bicycles.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Hocam View Post
I can ride the majority people off my wheel on a steady climb on group rides
Do these guys race? If not, this doesn't mean much. The only real way to find your limiters are to go race and then see why you didn't win or got dropped. Trust me, this was my first year doing races and it's a whole different ball game from the local group rides. Unless your group rides are full of higher CAT's than you that is. I think a big problem with most new CAT5's is that we have a lot of time on our hands and use it to over analyze everything. Go race, pay attention, get better. Since the season is ending, you might not find too many races. I'd find some local racers and get in good with those guys in the off season. Join a team.
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Old 09-29-08, 06:45 AM
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My fitness is definitely the best it's been all year. I know average speeds don't mean anything, but my solo rides are significantly faster than early on in the year. I built about 2,000 miles of base over the summer on a self supported bike tour and have plans for another 1,000 this january (Athens to Rome!). It's too late to start racing now, so I'm just thinking about the spring. Then again, is it pointless to worry about sprinting when I'll be doing LSD for a month anyway? Or is that just periodization?

Friel's book is in the mail btw, so I'll get to that soon.

Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
youre either pricing very expensive power meters or very inexpensive bicycles.
Seems a powertap wheel is about $1,000, CAAD9 ranges from 1100 to 1500. Not that far off.
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Old 09-29-08, 07:00 AM
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Hocam, you need to race first and ask questions later. Once you get some races under your belt, then you can start worrying about sprinting.

The season is basically over, so just focus on staying fit. Try to find some local racers and ride as much as you can with them. You can learn alot just from riding with higher CAT racers.
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Old 09-29-08, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by aperez8264 View Post
Hocam, you need to race first and ask questions later. Once you get some races under your belt, then you can start worrying about sprinting.

The season is basically over, so just focus on staying fit. Try to find some local racers and ride as much as you can with them. You can learn alot just from riding with higher CAT racers.
Correct. Race first before you assume anything.

Correct again. I'd like to think that I'm at least partially responsible for several 4s in my club moving up to the 3s. I pounded their heads in every Tues/Thurs night for the majority of the summer. They were strong, but they applied their strength at the wrong times, too hard, too often, too long, or some combination thereof. When they did this, I'd lay it down. This resulted in them being shot out the back faster than you can blink. Luckily, our ride is forced to stop 2 or 3 times along the route depending on traffic conditions, so I got a chance to explain what happened most of the time. Eventually, they picked up on these things, and applied them in both the group rides and their races. And started getting results to match their ability level.
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Old 09-29-08, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Duke of Kent View Post
Correct. Race first before you assume anything.

Correct again. I'd like to think that I'm at least partially responsible for several 4s in my club moving up to the 3s. I pounded their heads in every Tues/Thurs night for the majority of the summer. They were strong, but they applied their strength at the wrong times, too hard, too often, too long, or some combination thereof. When they did this, I'd lay it down. This resulted in them being shot out the back faster than you can blink. Luckily, our ride is forced to stop 2 or 3 times along the route depending on traffic conditions, so I got a chance to explain what happened most of the time. Eventually, they picked up on these things, and applied them in both the group rides and their races. And started getting results to match their ability level.
Hey listen up, OP, the Duke just gave you a thousand dollar racing tip right there. Can you find it?
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Old 09-29-08, 09:30 AM
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Best way to practice fast cornering is on a downhill corner where your speed comes from gravity (not effort) so you can concentrate on technique and form.

Regarding sprinting, here's a newsflash: Successful sprinting is NOT about top end speed. It's about positioning, timing, choosing the right wheel to be on, and having a good JUMP.

Bob
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Old 09-29-08, 09:48 AM
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I have a good 5sec power around 1500.... Too bad I cant do that when it counts at the end of a race.
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Old 09-29-08, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Bobby Lex View Post
Best way to practice fast cornering is on a downhill corner where your speed comes from gravity (not effort) so you can concentrate on technique and form.

Regarding sprinting, here's a newsflash: Successful sprinting is NOT about top end speed. It's about positioning, timing, choosing the right wheel to be on, and having a good JUMP.

Bob
+!

Cornering is easy if you practice 3 things. 1. Countersteering 2. Look thru the turn where you want to go and 3. Trust your tires. I think you will find your tires grip will exceed your nerve to find their limits.

Sprints is also about nerve too. You can have all the speed in the world, but if you dont have the stones to bump bikes and bodies in the last 200m, forget it.
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Old 09-29-08, 11:06 AM
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Thanks all, lots of good advice. I think I'll just stay fit and worry about this in the spring.

Daylight is getting scare so most weekday group rides have stopped but there are few others during the weekend, so I'll try and get more experience with them.
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Old 09-29-08, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Hocam View Post
So I want to use the incentive of a new bike (probably CAAD9) and start racing to motivate me to some new goals. I think the areas I can improve most in are sprinting and cornering. Obviously cornering isn't very measurable but sprinting is and I haven't really ever consistently worked on either. Right now on a full out sprint, I'm consistently topping out in the low 30's and maintaining that for close to 30 or 40 seconds. Using the bike speed and power calculator (can't afford a PM) as a rough guide, 33 mph puts me at 720 watts. I might be able to squeeze out a bit more just by working on form, but I'm not sure.

So my question, is 35 mph on the same course (852 watts) an attainable goal over the next 6 weeks?
I think so. I'm less experienced with this, but I think that if you put a lot of focus on intensity and power training, you should be able to meet your goal.

Good luck!
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Old 09-29-08, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
F reality.
You of course mean "BF reality".
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