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Frustrated

Old 04-24-16, 01:19 PM
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RFEngineer
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Frustrated

Saturday was a rough day. I am trying to prepare for an 80 mile, 4000 ft ride in June. I did several centuries a decade ago, but took a long enough break that I was basically starting at square one last year. Three weeks ago I rode 40 miles and climbed 3500 ft. I had to take two weekends off due to travel and a blizzard. So, I was planning to ride 45-50 miles yesterday with about 3500 to 4000 ft of climbing. On my way back, I was climbing a 2 mile, 7% hill into about a 20 mph headwind and it killed me. The wind didn't let up after that and my legs just gave up. Terrible cramps. I had to stop riding and I couldn't get off my bike due to the leg cramp pain. I ended up having to call my wife to come pick me up. I would guess the winds were up to 30 mph by that point. I ended up riding about 30 miles.

So I am trying to figure out if I just had a bad day. Am I pushing myself too hard to get to 80 miles by June? The weather forecast is showing lots of rain this week and next weekend, so I am wondering if I will get a long ride in. Is this 80 miler too early in the season? Should I lower my expectations to 60 miles and do a longer ride later in the summer? Thoughts?

Alan
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Old 04-24-16, 01:49 PM
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In order to gain the endurance and fitness you'll need for that type of ride, you should be riding at least three days a week. It sounds like you only have weekends available and have missed a few of those. You still have time to get yourself in shape for the ride, but you'll have to make some time to get in more rides. Shorter rides with hard intervals can improve your fitness faster than long rides. My interval rides are only about 13 miles, but I'm completely exhausted after the ride. If you can get in some short intervals rides before or after work, it will greatly improve your fitness.
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Old 04-24-16, 02:02 PM
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I agree with dsaul about how intervals can get you in shape faster then do long/slow.

But I also think you need the saddle time to get used to being in the saddle for 5-6 hrs. or so.

You can probably get away with training for 60-65 or so, then you only need to do the additional 15 -20 on the long ride day. I recall that the Bike Tour of Colorado recommended folks accomplish one century in training before attempting 7 days of 65 or more. Good advice.

Curious if this is a group ride you are doing ?, or just a goal for a solo ride ?.

If a group ride, sometimes the group helps you get the distance done, as long as you pay attention to maintaining a pace you know you are comfortable with.
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Old 04-24-16, 02:48 PM
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Thanks,
I am trying to do the 80 mile route of the Denver Century. So it's a group ride, and I know what you're saying about the group helping with the additional miles. All my training is solo at this point.

I have been able to get in a couple ~10 mile rides most weeks in addition to a long weekend ride. It sounds like I need to up the intensity during the week and get more out of those rides.
Alan
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Old 04-24-16, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by RFEngineer View Post
Thanks,
I am trying to do the 80 mile route of the Denver Century. So it's a group ride, and I know what you're saying about the group helping with the additional miles. All my training is solo at this point.

I have been able to get in a couple ~10 mile rides most weeks in addition to a long weekend ride. It sounds like I need to up the intensity during the week and get more out of those rides.
Alan
Any chance you can bike commute ?.
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Old 04-24-16, 03:28 PM
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If you took three weeks off, I don't see how you'd expect to match or exceed your previous toughest/longest ride of the season immediately, unless that previous similar ride was relatively easy for you. Back track a little and build yourself up again.

For the 80 mile ride you're describing, pure miles with gradually increasing weekend rides are more important than spending those days on intervals, in my not expert opinion. Maybe one day with pure hill work and repeats to learn how to do hills without burning yourself out. But intervals aren't going to do as much for long distance endurance as, well, long distance rides. If you've got the base and want improve your speed for a racing situation, yea, do some intelligently designed intervals.
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Old 04-24-16, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Any chance you can bike commute ?.
Yeah, so actually, my commute is only 2 miles, minimum. Those 10 mile rides during the week are commutes to/from work that I extend to a worthwhile distance (what good is a 2 mile ride?).
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Old 04-24-16, 08:40 PM
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What chain rings and cassette are you running? You might get a little assist with improved climbing gears.
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Old 04-24-16, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
What chain rings and cassette are you running? You might get a little assist with improved climbing gears.
Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I have about the lowest gears I can get. 50-34 compact, 11-32 cassette.
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Old 04-24-16, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by RFEngineer View Post
Thoughts?

Alan
I've been doing HIIT & bodyweight exercises, including squats and plyometrics. You can do all of this in the garage or bedroom if it's raining, or even in a hotel room. For cardio I prefer trail running to biking.

When I get on a bike now my legs feel like I'm dancing on the pedals. Maybe this is worthless advice, but I've come to believe you don't get much of a quality workout by bike riding, but then again...I'm not testing myself doing centuries anymore.

Results may vary.

Last edited by FrenchFit; 04-25-16 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 04-25-16, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by RFEngineer View Post
Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I have about the lowest gears I can get. 50-34 compact, 11-32 cassette.
You could go lower if needed. Say a 36T cassette in the back with a mt derailleur. Lots of discussion on gearing. Only you can decide what works for you. Depends on the hills and your conditioning. I like to spin and not mash the gears. Any hills in CO? ( )
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Old 04-25-16, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
I've been doing HIIT & bodyweight exercises, including squats and plyometrics. You can do all of this in the garage or bedroom if it's raining, or even in a hotel room. For cardio I prefer trail running to biking.
...I've come to believe you don't get much of a quality workout by bike riding, but then again...I'm not testing myself doing centuries anymore.
Does not compute! Yes, you are not going to get a balanced and complete full body workout from cycling only. That is correct. However, for a well trained cyclist, a basic century (100 mile ride) is not a big deal.

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Old 04-25-16, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
I've been doing HIIT & bodyweight exercises, including squats and plyometrics. You can do all of this in the garage or bedroom if it's raining, or even in a hotel room. For cardio I prefer trail running to biking.

When I get on a bike now my legs feel like I'm dancing on the pedals. Maybe this is worthless advice, but I've come to believe you don't get much of a quality workout by bike riding, but then again...I'm not testing myself doing centuries anymore.

Results may vary.
My wife and I are looking to do a 5k this summer or fall, so we're starting with short jogs. It was eye-opening how easy and low-impact cycling (even what I thought was fairly intense riding) is by comparison. Jogging, especially involving hill climbing, ought to do a lot for the cardio part of it.

@RFEngineer, I'd try to commute everyday, too. You have lots of opportunities to alternate intense and easy workouts with such a short distance.
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Old 04-25-16, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by RFEngineer View Post
Yeah, so actually, my commute is only 2 miles, minimum. Those 10 mile rides during the week are commutes to/from work that I extend to a worthwhile distance (what good is a 2 mile ride?).
Do some intervals = warmup, pedal hard, recover, pedal hard, recover... then cool down. Take a slightly longer route if needed?

Cheers
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Old 04-25-16, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
My wife and I are looking to do a 5k this summer or fall, so we're starting with short jogs. It was eye-opening how easy and low-impact cycling (even what I thought was fairly intense riding) is by comparison. Jogging, especially involving hill climbing, ought to do a lot for the cardio part of it.
Nobody jogs, any more. These days, we RUN! And, dang, it is hard! Great for the heart and lungs, though. Good luck with your 5K. I ran my first, in March, and I'm pretty sure it killed me.
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Old 04-25-16, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by kevindsingleton View Post
Nobody jogs, any more. These days, we RUN! And, dang, it is hard! Great for the heart and lungs, though. Good luck with your 5K. I ran my first, in March, and I'm pretty sure it killed me.
Haha, you jog when you haven't done any serious running in years!

(I ran cross-country in high school, and briefly in college.)
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Old 04-25-16, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
My wife and I are looking to do a 5k this summer or fall, so we're starting with short jogs. It was eye-opening how easy and low-impact cycling (even what I thought was fairly intense riding) is by comparison. Jogging, especially involving hill climbing, ought to do a lot for the cardio part of it.

@RFEngineer, I'd try to commute everyday, too. You have lots of opportunities to alternate intense and easy workouts with such a short distance.
\
Besides running, you would think all that cycling would really build killer/endurance legs. Well, I'm not so sure. If you do a bunch of plyo jump movements, and squats, mountain climbers, burpees, etc., etc, it's somewhat shocking that your legs are not quite as awesome as your thought they were. And, that doesn't address the core, which is definitely engaged in long rides, but certainly not up to the rigors of HIIT training if you haven't been doing a variety of core burns.

My point to the OP, your full body fitness is in question here, not just your legs from repeating the same stoke over and over again at different speeds & intensities. If you want to end cramping and dead legs, think about cross training, get your legs in shape, your glutes in shape, (and your core too).

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Old 04-25-16, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Clipped_in View Post
Does not compute! Yes, you are not going to get a balanced and complete full body workout from cycling only. That is correct. However, for a well trained cyclist, a basic century (100 mile ride) is not a big deal.
For most of the posters in this forum a century is a big deal. A quick search will prove that point. Personally, it a matter of serious boredom and a sore butt...last century I did I just about hammered myself into the back of a parked car I was so bored. But, I am speculating & being macho...perhaps if I went out this week a tried a century I would find it much harder to accomplish than I think...but if I do, I will be tucking a gel saddle cover into my jersey just in case; my butt is currently geared to the 2-3 hour saddle time.
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Old 04-25-16, 05:15 PM
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I basically lay off every winter, and start from scratch every spring. I'm up to about 40 miles right now. I've got about a month to go before the club's first century. Regarding workouts, you only get out of them what you put into them. When I get done with a spring ride, I'm dragging-in-the-dirt exhausted, no matter what distance I'm up to. Sure I could go easier, but then I wouldn't get the same workout.
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Old 04-26-16, 08:30 PM
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RFEngineer, how is your gearing? Do you drop down to your bottom gear? Can you lower the ratio on your bottom gear?

Some guys actually think its a wuss act to use the bottom gear that your bike has. I emphatically don't agree!
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Old 04-26-16, 08:59 PM
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You need more miles, more days a week.

Living within two miles of work you should be able to get up early enough to get them, wearing warmer clothes, or riding a trainer indoors noting you may need to use a time equivalent there (Kurt fluid trainers simulate a 160 pound rider headed up a 1% grade so their "miles" aren't far off from outdoor riding).

Lunch rides are nice this time of year in the Colorado Front Range - maybe you should ride instead and have a sandwich at your desk later.

Night riding is fun too when you have bright enough lights and warm enough clothes. It's super peaceful without daytime traffic. Wear a reflective vest and ankle bands.

You can usually get by with riding your weekly total in one ride, like 80 miles when you're riding 20-20-40 miles. 50% more than your regular long ride is a safer number. 25-25-50 although you really want to ride at least every other day for 25-25-25-50. 20-25 mile rides are bite sized nuggets of goodness easy to fit in on work days.

Work up to that adding 10% to your total every week, except take an easy week without increasing every 3 out of 4.

Riding more frequently is better. With a steady diet of 25-30 miles every weekday and 50 on Saturdays when I don't do a long ride I can cover 100 miles then feel fresh for 100 more but feel it for over a week. I skipped July 2015 since my broken collarbone ends hurt too much when they rubbed, but was back to 800+ monthly in October.

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Old 04-26-16, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
For most of the posters in this forum a century is a big deal. A quick search will prove that point. Personally, it a matter of serious boredom and a sore butt...last century I did I just about hammered myself into the back of a parked car I was so bored. But, I am speculating & being macho...perhaps if I went out this week a tried a century I would find it much harder to accomplish than I think...but if I do, I will be tucking a gel saddle cover into my jersey just in case; my butt is currently geared to the 2-3 hour saddle time.
That gel cover can do worse things to your perineal nerve and feeling in your private parts than a conventional road saddle will do to an insufficiently broken-in back side.
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Old 04-26-16, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by RFEngineer View Post
Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I have about the lowest gears I can get. 50-34 compact, 11-32 cassette.
Road bikes use standard components, meaning a triple crank with a 24 small ring is technically feasible.

Of course, assuming middle-age spread hasn't been too unkind that's not your problem - highway engineers in Colorado tend to keep grades under 6% so cars don't slide back down them.
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Old 04-26-16, 09:58 PM
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so what's more daunting...the 80 miles or the 4000 ft gained? or both? hopefully you've got a decent .5-3 mile hill w/good elevation gain nearby. if so, a few hill reps at the start and end of rides
should do wonders.
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Old 04-26-16, 10:25 PM
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you simply cannot generalize from a ride featuring 30mph headwinds. No rider will accomplish much under those conditions
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