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Thoughts on a new training goal?

Old 03-15-24, 07:20 AM
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Thoughts on a new training goal?

Last year I trained for my first Gran Fondo and the work plan was straightforward. Now I want to ride for about 2 weeks, say 3 days in a row, day off, 3 days on, day off, for a total of 16 days, and be ready by September (going to the Pyranees). I'll say goal would be daily rides averaging 50 miles and 3000 feet of elevation.

The way I'm training is linking up days of longer rides. I'm starting with a local 38 mile loop with 1900 feet, and working towards the 16 day cadence using this loop. Assuming I can do a 16 day session with the 38 mile loop, I'll add mileage and elevation.

Up until now, after riding this loop I'll take a day off, or do an interval hour on the trainer, so this is a significant change.

I don't see much info on training for this type of riding, so if you all have thoughts on getting ready for 2 weeks of riding, I'm interested!
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Old 03-15-24, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC
I'll say goal would be daily rides averaging 50 miles and 3000 feet of elevation.
The 3000 feet is the average elevation of your ride and not just your elevation gain/loss during the ride? If that is going to be the same elevation that you ride at in the Pyrenees, then no issue.

My recommendation would be that you ride the highest altitudes you can for as much of your preparation training as you can do. I don't see any need to slowly ramp up to the higher altitudes. For me the issue isn't leg strength, it's lung muscle strength. In the thinner air they just get tired of all the fast full breaths you'll constantly be having to do in the much higher altitudes you might be going to.

If you are going to be below 8,000 feet for all your rides in the Pyrenees, then you might not have any real issues if your lungs and body are healthy. But if you are going to spends some time pedaling at higher altitudes then start getting use to those higher altitudes now.

Note that I'm not really saying you have to move and take up residence and work out all the time at higher elevations. I'm just saying you need to experience it as often as you can now without gradually stepping up to them.

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Old 03-15-24, 08:04 AM
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I’m confused. What is the relevance of 16 days? It looks like you are preparing for a big event in September.

Edit: Ah I think I understand now. Your September trip is when you want to be able to ride for 16 days with the odd rest day.

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Old 03-15-24, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC
Last year I trained for my first Gran Fondo and the work plan was straightforward. Now I want to ride for about 2 weeks, say 3 days in a row, day off, 3 days on, day off, for a total of 16 days, and be ready by September (going to the Pyranees). I'll say goal would be daily rides averaging 50 miles and 3000 feet of elevation.

The way I'm training is linking up days of longer rides. I'm starting with a local 38 mile loop with 1900 feet, and working towards the 16 day cadence using this loop. Assuming I can do a 16 day session with the 38 mile loop, I'll add mileage and elevation.

Up until now, after riding this loop I'll take a day off, or do an interval hour on the trainer, so this is a significant change.

I don't see much info on training for this type of riding, so if you all have thoughts on getting ready for 2 weeks of riding, I'm interested!
Will you be doing this self-supported, with touring gear? I've never done something like the Trans Pyrenees in one continuous go. Mostly, I've gone someplace and then ridden from there on various routes for several days, then moved to another place, so I never had to ride with bags. September should be a good time to go, though the weather can be variable.

I think that if you can do this loop a few days in a row without too much fatigue, and then gradually increase distance, you'll be fine. The day off every three days or so will be key.

Originally Posted by Iride01
My recommendation would be that you ride the highest altitudes you can for as much of your preparation training as you can do. I don't see any need to slowly ramp up to the higher altitudes. For me the issue isn't leg strength, it's lung muscle strength. In the thinner air they just get tired of all the fast full breaths you'll constantly be having to do in the much higher altitudes you might be going to.

If you are going to be below 8,000 feet for all your rides in the Pyrenees, then you might not have any real issues if your lungs and body are healthy.
The Tourmalet tops out at 2100m (~7000 feet. Passes in the Alps can be higher, like the Iseran). The biggest issue with the Pyrenees, as opposed to the Alps, is that while the climbs are shorter and they top out at a lower (though still substantial altitude), the gradients are nastier. I trained for riding in the Alps and Pyrenees just by riding in and around Paris, cuz that's where I was living at the time so I know it can be done.
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Old 03-15-24, 11:19 AM
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Yes, it's a significant change. Good to start now. You might find that this schedule will wear you down over time. Or not, depending on how hard you ride the hills. At least you have plenty of time to experiment. I assume the the elevations you quote are simply elevation gain during each day ride. It'll certainly give you a good idea of how to pace yourself. You might wind up lacking high intensity work.

My practice was to not change my normal training schedule, consisting of mostly Z2 weekday rides and one all out 60-80 mile weekend ride, getting about 45' of Z4 and 5'-20' of Z5 in the one ride. Plus gym twice a week up until the last couple of months then gym once a week. That worked too, though it was obvious that I was in better shape after the tour than I had been before it.

Interesting. You'll have to let us know how the plan works out.
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Old 03-15-24, 12:05 PM
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I have a personal philosophy about training for long and challenging events (with a nod to James Carville):

It's the volume, stupid!



Caveat: Everyone is different, and this may not work for you.

My "A" event one year was the now defunct Everest Challenge, a two-day stage race that climbed the equivalent of Mt. Everest. My training consisted of hilly routes, and I gradually kept increasing the weekly volume (time), taking rest days only when I felt like I needed it. I didn't ride hard -- staying mostly within endurance and tempo paces. When the event got closer, I started doing one long ride every week.

In the final weeks before the event, I was averaging 400+ miles and 40,000 feet per week. The two-day event went well, and I had no sense of fatigue on the second day.
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Old 03-16-24, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by RChung
I think that if you can do this loop a few days in a row without too much fatigue, and then gradually increase distance, you'll be fine. The day off every three days or so will be key...
I trained for riding in the Alps and Pyrenees just by riding in and around Paris, cuz that's where I was living at the time so I know it can be done.
Perfect. This plus terrymorse 's Volume comment say I'm on the right path.

And no to touring. We're staying at a friend's home near Girona, then to a hotel outside Foix, France. We're not planning on any big car rides to get to an iconic climb, when there's beautiful rides right out the front door, or very close by.
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Old 03-16-24, 09:04 AM
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You are expecting to ride around 50 miles and 3000 feet of elevation gain per day. Is that likely in the mountains? I have a selection of nice local rides in Kentucky that are this hilly, with the biggest climbs at just 300-400 feet high, but lots of smaller rolling terrain mixed in.

My favorite Blue Ridge Parkway ride is 55 miles, 6000 feet. The biggest climb is 1100 feet and the steepest grade is around 8-9%. Most of the climbing is 5-7%. There's just no flat sections on this route, it's either climbing or descending, so the elevation adds up. This is an all-day ride for me, I'm slowing down by the end of the route. I'll often have a 12.5 mph average for the day, 4.5 hours moving, 1 hour stopped time.

I'd review the possible route choices on your trip. For a 50 mile, 5000 foot ride, I'd work up to training with longer local rides that took 5-6 hours of moving time.
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Old 03-16-24, 12:06 PM
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To ride in the mountains I'll travel off the glorified sandbar I live on. Will do 3 day romps in the Catskills and Green Mtns.
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Old 03-19-24, 06:57 AM
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I'm training right now for a trip to the Alps in the spring. I also live in a pancake flat area, and any hills we do have are short/steep.

-Zwift - ride the Alpe and Mt Ventoux at 100% trainer difficutly as often as possible. Do 15-20 min threshold intervals up the climbs as well.
-Threshold intervals on the flats on zwift or on the roads 2x per week.
-Climbing repeats on the local 10-21%+ grades - and I hit those climbs with everything I've got.
-Long rides on the weekend at high Z2-Z2.5 - 2.5-3+ hours. I expect to climb at Z2.5 power levels.

Take a weekend trip down to TN/NC. Hit Roan Mt, Mt Mitchell... Mitchell is the closest we have on the east coast to European climb. 20+ miles with climbing grades that average 7-9%+, peak elevation near 6k, close to 6k total climbing.
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Old 03-19-24, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
Take a weekend trip down to TN/NC. Hit Roan Mt, Mt Mitchell... Mitchell is the closest we have on the east coast to European climb. 20+ miles with climbing grades that average 7-9%+, peak elevation near 6k, close to 6k total climbing.
Mt. Mitchell is a serious climb. If you can complete that comfortably, there's not much in the Alps to worry about.

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Old 03-19-24, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Mt. Mitchell is a serious climb. If you can complete that comfortably, there's not much in the Alps to worry about.

I did it last year at 193#'s on a 21# stock aluminum bike with heavy old wheels... it knocked the snot out of me.

Once the climb started proper, my garmin listed 7-9%+ for all of the uphill bits.

This may just flat kill me - day two.
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Old 03-26-24, 09:33 AM
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Mt Mitchell
We are probably getting off subject -- Mt Mitchell is a long way from NY.

The two long climbs to Mt Mitchell are either: From Asheville, or via NC-80. Bring lights for the tunnels!
Climbing from Asheville, there's quite a lot of traffic heading up to Craggy Gardens, and it's quite hard for the cars to pass cyclists, since it's mostly curving roads. It was fairly quiet early on a weekday when I rode it years ago, though.
Via NC-80 is the "Assault on Mt Mitchell" route, and NC-80 is steep, with hairpin turns. I wouldn't like it.

~~
I like this shorter version, starting just after the NC-80 route turns onto the Parkway
Singecat Ridge overlook to Mt Mitchell. 30 miles, 4350 feet. It starts with a 1400 foot climb right away, with the "Mt Mitchell View" overlook at the top, seeing Mt Mitchell way across the valley.
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/4627749

Extended, adding Crabtree Falls for more miles
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/27521132

From Asheville, 63 miles, 7200 feet
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/37844...1OMuqP6fm3HsCx

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Southbound from Asheville:


Doubletop to Pisgah Inn, up and over Richland Balsam, at 6050 feet the highest point on the BRP.
My favorite route on the BRP. Fairly low traffic, alternating views from each side of the road. Carryout lunch at the Pisgah Inn on it's back deck, with fantastic views.
A four mile downhill at the end of the ride!
55 miles, 5500 feet.
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/1140046

The extended version:
Pinnacle RIdge Tunnel overlook to the Pisgah Inn.
62 miles, 6800 feet.
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/1140046

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Old 03-26-24, 10:59 AM
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I did my 3 days in a row at low Z2. It felt easy, but needed 2 days off to feel better, so now to rinse and repeat.

Interesting bit of mountain training advice from a older racer and cycle-bum, for a flatland training; ride out of the saddle for extended periods of time. Low power, low cadence is fine, but get up to 30 minutes OOS, 45 minutes if you can. He said giving the OOS muscles long Z2-ish training pulls is very helpful. Not to ride OOS for 30-45 minutes, but to have the ability to give your sitting muscles a good long rest during a climb. He said the standard OOS work we do is short, a few minutes of hammering up a steep section or a sprint.

I didn't think the concept sounded crazy...until I started timing my max OOS efforts. Let you know when I break 10 minutes.
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Old 04-03-24, 07:57 AM
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If you want to be "trained" for a long ride then ride a lot. If you want to be "trained" for big climbs, then ride some big climbs.

Your post doesn't mention specific goals - other than completing the event - so I think you are over analyzing the endurance requirements of the event. The key factor here (IMHO) - is that you avoid doing something stupid.
Typical mistakes are trying to keep up someone else's pace, eating the wrong amount at the wrong time - or riding to high of an intensity at altitudes that produce ill effects.

You probably don't need it but - good luck.
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