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Advice from people wiser than I?

Old 01-05-12, 08:28 PM
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davids11
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Advice from people wiser than I?

Hello,
I'm new to cycling, just started thinking about it last summer. Though high school I used to row but upon entering college I thought I'd find a sport that accommodated my body type better (skinny - 135 lbs, 5' 10"). I just got a new Kestrel Evoke with a powertap so I'e started trying to train with power. As a novice, I have a few questions especially about what category I should expect to race in collegiate races. I looked around and this seemed like the best place to post, if it's not this thread can be deleted/moved.

So, I did a FTP test (20 minutes) and managed to produce 250 W and make myself feel pretty sick (so 238 W threshold power). I've been reading Friel's book as well as coggan/allen and I'm trying to incorporate periodization into my training. My peak is the very end of April so I'm trying to do base and some tempo on the rollers (cold and icy but not snowy outside so I can't ski or ride) which is super boring. My questions are as follows:
1) Is there any way to make rollers less boring, after an hour of endurance I can't take it any more.
2) I have FTP of 238 and 3.85 W/kg, how much should I aim to improve these by my peak?
3) Any good training advice or less boring workouts, what's a good way to train strength on rollers?
4) Most importantly, what category should I try to race this spring? I rode with people from my school this fall and one of them said I could probably make top 10s in hilly C road races. Of couse, I'd really like to try and race higher, in B, but I really don't know if that's viable.
5) I am a generally athletic person and have some natural abilities in any sport. However, I realized in crew that while I started out as one of the fastest rowers in my first year, nearly everyone had gotten faster than me by the end and I was working as much as any of them. How can I avoid this sort of plateau in cycling?

I did some local races and I'm trying to figure out racing tactics before I start with those and watching Andy Schleck attack in last years TDF.
I appreciate any answers or other related advice, these forums seem to include some super-experienced people. Thanks, David
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Old 01-05-12, 08:57 PM
  #2  
echappist
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i didn't stay at a holiday inn express, nor am i the wisest of the bunch, but fwiw, i've done two years of collegiate racing. lemme guess, you race in ECCC for Dartmouth, Vermont, or New Hampshire?

Originally Posted by davids11 View Post
So, I did a FTP test (20 minutes) and managed to produce 250 W and make myself feel pretty sick (so 238 W threshold power). I've been reading Friel's book as well as coggan/allen and I'm trying to incorporate periodization into my training. My peak is the very end of April so I'm trying to do base and some tempo on the rollers (cold and icy but not snowy outside so I can't ski or ride) which is super boring. My questions are as follows:
1) Is there any way to make rollers less boring, after an hour of endurance I can't take it any more.
yeah, a resistance unit and a lap top in front of you. having a huge fan cooling you down is also good as it allows you to push intensity you can do outside
cyclingtorrents.nl is key to my winter training
2) I have FTP of 238 and 3.85 W/kg, how much should I aim to improve these by my peak?
i love the number crunching, but FTP isn't the end all and be all. I raced at 3.9 last year at Yale (hilly circuit)and got 5th place in men's C race, but it was my 5' power that saved my ass. Mikey did very well in the hilly Penn State race (5 mile climb at 5.5%). I think he was 4.2w/kg at the time.
3) Any good training advice or less boring workouts, what's a good way to train strength on rollers?
get the Coggan book. look up Bill Black's hour of power, oh and get a resistance unit
4) Most importantly, what category should I try to race this spring? I rode with people from my school this fall and one of them said I could probably make top 10s in hilly C road races. Of couse, I'd really like to try and race higher, in B, but I really don't know if that's viable.
you need to have raced at least 10 races to do collegiate B. If you are genetically gifted, you could be like my friend who won his first D race, then placed third in his first C race and first a week later on. He's a cat-2 now.

I'd do C's if i were you. Allows you to learn more about racing and you can still have enough at the end to contest things. FTP isn't the end all as i know someone who probably has a FTP of 4.4w/kg but have trouble doing well in C's.
5) I am a generally athletic person and have some natural abilities in any sport. However, I realized in crew that while I started out as one of the fastest rowers in my first year, nearly everyone had gotten faster than me by the end and I was working as much as any of them. How can I avoid this sort of plateau in cycling?
get a coach, read more of the Coggan book and try to understand how to periodize. You've come to the right place: inputs from this subforum has been instrumental in helping me get stronger. i was at 3.70w/kg this time last year and i'm at 4.25w/kg now. I've gotten a good doses of tough love, but i've progressed. Also subscribe to the wattage forum on which you'll find answers to many of your questions on training.
I did some local races and I'm trying to figure out racing tactics before I start with those and watching Andy Schleck attack in last years TDF.
the only facepalm worthy statement

The Schmucks know nothing about race tactics and guile. Look up Liege-Bastogne-Liege 2008 and see how pathetically they were trying to work over Valverde. Watch the classics and you'll see how real tacticians work.
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Old 01-05-12, 08:58 PM
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Welcome. Read through the "New To Racing..." and "Workout Recipe Book" threads at the top of the page and the Training Status. Then go here --> http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.com/

Read the posts and watch the race videos.
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Old 01-05-12, 09:05 PM
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obligatory "ride lots"...if youre going to use a powermeter you might benefit from researching, then hiring a coach. Like jwible said, theres a few worthwhile "stickys" at the top of the racing page. And subscribe to the "training status" thread, do searches, etc...and take it all with a grain of salt. Having said that, if you stick around you'll find there are a handful of guys here who are very experienced and accomplished. Pay attention and you might learn a few things. I have.
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Old 01-05-12, 09:07 PM
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echappist
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Originally Posted by hammy56 View Post
obligatory "ride lots"...if youre going to use a powermeter you might benefit from researching, then hiring a coach. Like jwible said, theres a few worthwhile "stickys" at the top of the racing page. And subscribe to the "training status" thread, do searches, etc...and take it all with a grain of salt. Having said that, if you stick around you'll find there are a handful of guys here who are very experienced and accomplished. Pay attention and you might learn a few things. I have.
i've learned that Oreos are a great training aid. So much so they should be banned as PED.
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Old 01-05-12, 09:10 PM
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hammy56
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sshhh...
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Old 01-05-12, 09:18 PM
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Start here:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...s-a-tip-or-two

It is very important to find "the" fast ride in town or a race team ride that allows non-members to ride with them. If you are not dangerous and keep coming back you will be welcome.
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Old 01-05-12, 09:51 PM
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Be realistic. It's OK to have goals but as a new racer you need to learn about yourself first. Winning at any level comes from learning about your strengths and weaknesses, what you are capable of and what you are not, and making the right moves at the right time. Experience is the underpinning of all that. So forget about what category you think you could be racing at. Forget about the ewang. There is so much more to racing beyond numbers. Use your test numbers to set your base ftp and go from there. Don't anticipate a percentage improvement, work on improving every day. Cycling is full of peaks and valleys and plateaus. Get used to it. The trick is to learn enough about yourself to peak when it matters.
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Old 01-05-12, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jwible View Post
Welcome. Read through the "New To Racing..." and "Workout Recipe Book" threads at the top of the page and the Training Status. Then go here --> http://sprinterdellacasa.blogspot.com/

Read the posts and watch the race videos.
You're putting pressure on me. But it's all good.
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Old 01-06-12, 01:31 AM
  #10  
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what shovel said.
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Old 01-06-12, 02:01 AM
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I'm feeling cynical: not a sock-puppet?
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Old 01-06-12, 08:14 AM
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rkwaki
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Originally Posted by bostongarden View Post
I'm feeling cynical: not a sock-puppet?
+1 but I'll bite.

Race the lower collegiate level. Learn and grow from there.

The one thing that I wish someone had taught me early on if my athletic career was how to be humble and that it is ok to take my time to develop. I have finally learned this though it took me until my late 30's to get there. I can now look back and say that I was the Terrell Owens of cycling and that's not a good thing.

There are many on this board who can and will help and have a world of experience which they would wish to share.

Oh ya stay out of the 41
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Old 01-06-12, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by bostongarden View Post
I'm feeling cynical: not a sock-puppet?
calm down
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Old 01-06-12, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by davids11 View Post
1) Is there any way to make rollers less boring, after an hour of endurance I can't take it any more.
Rollers are good for technique, but I can't ride them long because I have to pay attention. With a resistance trainer (mag, fluid, whatever) I can zone out at times, ride with my eyes closed if I want, and focus on effort. More variety of workout type is possible for me.

Ideally, you'd have both available.
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Old 01-06-12, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by davids11 View Post
1) Is there any way to make rollers less boring, after an hour of endurance I can't take it any more.
Not exactly answering your question, and not really giving practical advice either, but spending 2+ hours a day staring at a black line in near silence several months a year for 7 years will really build up your tolerance. Watching movies, races, blasting music, texting, etc. all make riding rollers seem like a cakewalk mentally in comparison.
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Old 01-06-12, 07:28 PM
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I ride my rollers in the dark basement, no lights...no fan...facing a (cinder block) wall....with the TV blasting on a channel set to white snow.
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Old 01-06-12, 07:41 PM
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I ride my rollers in the dark basement, no lights...with a space heater on...facing a wall made out of straw....with an eight track tape player blasting barry manilow.
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Old 01-06-12, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
I ride my rollers in the dark basement, no lights...no fan...facing a (cinder block) wall....with the TV blasting on a channel set to white snow.
That sounds like it could be a good scene in a horror movie.
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Old 01-06-12, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by wanders View Post
I ride my rollers in the dark basement, no lights...with a space heater on...facing a wall made out of straw....with an eight track tape player blasting barry manilow.
sounds lovely
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Old 01-06-12, 09:39 PM
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to the OP, if this is your first year racing, just enjoy it for what it is. you're going to learn a ton. you probably won't be an instant success. you may be. but you have plenty of years to take this sport serious, just enjoy racing and hanging out with your college buddies. and if you're in the accc, say hi to the obnoxious little kid with a hopkins kit on.
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Old 01-09-12, 07:07 AM
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Wow, so many replies, I didn't realize how active these forums are. Thanks for all the advice, I'm not sure I'm going to set my trainer up in front of a cinder block wall... but I guess the overall message is don't take yourself so seriously, and that's a great message. I hope to see any of you who race collegiate this spring.

Btw, Dartmouth was a pretty good guess, I go to an isolated Ivy, Cornell. And I defend Andy Schleck's tactics. He might not be the cleverest rider but his attack in last year's TDF was easily the most exciting day of the race.
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Old 01-09-12, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by davids11 View Post
Wow, so many replies, I didn't realize how active these forums are.
I'd bet the combined experience of just those that replied to your thread is at least 100 years.
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Old 01-09-12, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
I'd bet the combined experience of just those that replied to your thread is at least 100 years.
If ex replies it will be 150
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Old 01-09-12, 07:59 AM
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Cornell has a few of the best riders in the area. It also has some great riding areas.
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Old 01-10-12, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
It also has some great riding areas.
So true, the only thing lacking are some really long climbs. So many beautiful rides.
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