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1200k training

Old 05-04-21, 06:58 AM
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GhostRider62
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1200k training

Meant to be a fun thread.

I want to do a 1200k in 2 months.

I didn't ride much last year due to Covid and family circumstances. I did 10 weeks of Zwift races in the Fall but have not been on the bike since Thanksgiving. Is 10 weeks enough time to prepare for a 1200K? How would I do it? Some Ultra coaches say as long as you can do 6 hours hard, you are ready for anything like TransAm or TCR. I have done 1200k and many brevets in the past, I know how to do it but not sure if my body can get there.

I have been walking 30-50 miles per week for about a year.

I recently backpacked in the mountains for 2 weeks at 20 miles per day, until I fell in the rain on a steep descent and messed up my ankle bad. So, I have some base aerobic fitness that may or may not translate to the bike. I don't know. Oh ya, first few weeks of bike training would be on a trainer.

Is 10 weeks enough time to prepare? How would I do it? No problem if you want tell me I am crazy. Any ideas?
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Old 05-04-21, 08:05 AM
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Ouch.

OK, with that first response off my chest, see if you can find a 200k brevet near you this weekend or next. Try it. If you can finish that, you may need to cast a wider net but see if you can find the rest of a SR series (300k, 400k, and 600k) and complete those. They're good training as well as prerequisites for most 1200k events.

Though I'm not sure if you'll be able to get into a homologated 1200k this late in the season.
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Old 05-04-21, 08:43 AM
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You ride a recumbent right? IIRC, the main reasons people abandon a 1200k is butt, neck and GI issues, so as long as you can eat and not get sick you should be fine since butt and neck pain are non-issues on a recumbent. If you need to sleep from 10-2 it will be on the side of the road since the planned stops are normally later than that on the first few nights IME. I would just start putting in as many miles as I could fit in a week from now til then.
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Old 05-04-21, 08:53 AM
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I have always said anyone can ride a 400k, and 1200k's are just a 400,300,300, 200. So it should be doable.

Haha.

Everyone is different, but one of the issues I had with PBP in '19 was I tried to ride too much in the last couple of months. I'm even more convinced than ever that 100 km is the longest ride that's helpful leading up to a 1200k, particularly in the last month. In the best of times, up to 300k seems to have a positive training effect, longer rides just seem to tear me down a little. Nobody is going to go through a complete build/peak training process in 2 months, so either lower expectations or expect to suffer.

An experienced rider knows how to ride a long ride and get up and do it again the next day. It's not something that has to be practiced over and over.
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Old 05-04-21, 09:14 AM
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It is the high country 1200. Iím on the waitlist but people are dropping like flies. If my ankle heals, I think I will do it assuming I get off the list.

I do ride a bent. So, neck and shoulders are not an issue.

I do wonder if walking fitness translates to rando fitness.

There are not as many brevets on the calendar as usual and some are capacity limited.

i was thinking of doing the PA rando 400K in 2 weeks. I hear it is pretty flat. Alternatively, there is a hilly NJ 200k in 2 weeks.

Unter makes good point about fatigue and trying to jam too much into a short timeframe. I wonder if legs retain or have memory? I would say 20-25 miles per day backpacking on Appalachian Trial is easily like a hilly 300k or a Double in bad terrain. Since I was able to do that for 4 days, wouldnít that sort of be like a 1200k? Or my lungs and heart might be able to write checks my legs canít cash. I do take to heart what unter wrote. Being fresh and not burnt out is critical. Maybe a 200. 400. And then a 200 would be enough. I always felt 400 was acid test.

I also need to lose 30 pounds. Any tips?
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Old 05-04-21, 09:51 AM
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I have a tip about losing weight, you might be able to lose the first 10 pounds quickly and relatively safely. After that, you are in danger of developing gallstones if you lose more than 5 pounds a week. Plus you won't be helping your fitness.

The PA 400k isn't too horrible, although the first half has constant climbing. I had trouble last time because the first control restaurant was closed and I needed some real food at that point. This was pre-covid, so I have no idea if they'll be open.
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Old 05-04-21, 10:16 AM
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I've finished two 1200s, and dnf'd one. I did a lot of volume in the months leading up to the 2018 Cascades but I dnf'd due to achilles pain and didn't want to risk injury. I had done a devil's week (full SR in a week) about 15 days before the Cascades so that is probably the source of the problems that year. In 2019 before PBP I did a 1000k 15 days before the start of PBP and I felt like it really cemented my fitness and when I finished that strong I knew PBP was going to be okay. I had done two full SR leading up to the summer of PBP. When I did my first 1200k back in 2017 I didn't even manage to get a full series in that year due to working out of province, but I did do a 9 day credit-card tour through the Canadian Rockies about a month before the 1200. Looking back at my calendar I also did 275k on the Sunday before that 1200 that started on a Thursday. I think my key to success has been adding more zone 2 type rides. In 2018 I did too much intensity during the devil's week in the lead-up to the Cascades 1200 and it caught up to me. In 2017 the riding I did before the 1200 was almost all low-intensity stuff as I was just doing solo rides, no fast group rides or chasing PRs.

Looking at the CHC route it seems like the longest day is 'only' ~320km so I had been planning on being really quick through the controls, staying in zone 2, and bagging as much sleep as possible. If I were in your shoes, I'd try and get at least an imperial century or 200k done in the next 10 days and then I'd be looking at doing some back-to-back 300km permanents, possibly with 1% climbing if possible... I know around here that much elevation means shorter steep climbs instead of the longer shallower (avg) grades up the Rockies. If you're sticking to the CHC overnights there's not much point in doing a 400 or 600 IMO, esp. if you've done them in the past. I would focus on getting saddle time in to get more bike-specific fitness in, having all hiking in your legs should help... if you have the time I'd start off with a couple hours of zone 2 rides for 4 days a week and start building volume, and throw in longer distances on the weekend. I find I can ramp up the "endurance zone" rides pretty quickly now that I have been doing rando for a few years. I'm lucky that my work keeps me in decent shape though. I dunno how much value intervals on the trainer would be but I find two hours on zwift in zone 2 isn't the worst thing. Though outdoors on your recumbent would probably be better... although with the long climb out of boulder on the first day there won't be a lot of coasting so it might feel more like trainer ride in that regard.

I wouldn't worry about losing weight this late in the game, it's tough to lose weight and train at the same time... I've done it but it meant weighing food and tracking calories over a few months.
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Old 05-04-21, 10:59 AM
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Great suggestions. Iím on a 40 mile ride. Taking a break. Lol. I never take a break after 20 miles. Iím going to do a century this weekend. Legs are NOT great. Maybe should not have donated blood other day. I like the idea of building on Multiple days. Maybe I should go touring. Hadnít thought of that.
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Old 05-04-21, 11:06 AM
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I find that the effect of donating blood goes away after a week. But the first couple of days are not great.
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Old 05-04-21, 11:50 PM
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I'm frequently coming off of a low training base and jumping back into a 600+. For some reason, it's working less this time around - loss of neck strength and the fact my bike fit slipped has imploded the last few rides; plus a much lower average speed vs my past expectations; sleep needs.
For PBP, I went from nothing to a low volume of training and doing the SR series over 4 months, which went OK; and late last year a similar pattern building up to the 600/400 within a few days of each other.

10 weeks is maybe a bit short, but you should be fine particularly if you are on a recumbent, and put up with being a little cruisier at the start. Consider doing a 600 in the *middle* of your training regime, to discover all of the little pain points ahead of time and not go into the 1200 fatigued.
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Old 05-05-21, 06:02 AM
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Thank you all for the insights. This is what I am thinking......

There are really 4 attributes (neglecting the bike, that matters little) that allow one to enjoy or complete a 1200k.

1. Knowledge. This is the hardest to acquire and also the broadest characteristic.

2. Aerobic Base or endurance

3. Power or speed

4. General muscular fitness (neck, back, arms, derriere, strong ligaments, tendons, etc,)

Number 4 is less important on a recumbent but not trivial

Number 1 can be ticked off once a number of 1200k and Series have been done over the years.

Number 2 takes the longest to achieve and ten weeks is little time. Excessive training volume build ups can also impair endurance.

Number 3 can improved significantly in 10 weeks.

So, do I try to fit a series in? A 600K? Build up the miles as much as possible? What precisely is endurance? What is a base? If I was riding say 10-20K miles per year up to last year, does any of that endurance carry over? Or is it just gone? Poof. Would the hiking over that period retain some of that cycling endurance? I do not know the answer. I do know that my FTP in the Fall was about as high as it has been in the last 5+ years although I was only doing 6-10 hours per week on the trainer and over 8-10 weeks on Zwift, I had increased it 15%. Yesterday was my first ride in 6 months, inside or outside.

Training should also be specific. There is a weird phenomenon that I observe riding a recumbent and that adds a twist. Riding a low recumbent with your legs up above your heart makes a certain challenge to deliver oxygen to the working muscles or for those muscles to work as expected. This is a controversial topic in the recumbent community but a topic that I have read all of the research and of course, we are all different. On yesterday's ride, I could not make an effort hard enough to get my heart rate over 110 even on a hill and generally over 100. Otherwise, my legs would be burning with lactic acid (H+). The legs and feet tingle, This is a common problem with some bent riders (not all). It is called getting your bent legs. In bent parlance, I lost my bent legs but it is really more complicated. It is almost like a peripheral artery disease thing but it is more the extra demands that the riding position places on one's system, including most importantly right at the muscles where O2 perfuses. I can go out on an upright or jump onto a treadmill and have zero problem getting my HR up and right to my max. Not on a bent right now. Training volume does not fix that problem, at least for me and at least on a bent.

I recall two ultra coaches making statements about the training needed to do long events. I mentioned the 6 hour one, his rider won the TCR. I was coached for a little bit a long while ago by a well known racer, he had said that once he could do 10 hours at Tempo, he was ready for anything. I never got to 10 hours but did make it to 6 hours of tempo riding and based upon my experience, he was right. Based on that, I will probably shoot for an 11-13 hour 300K as the longest ride, or longer if hilly.

Another reason 10 weeks is short? 7 day microcycles don't work for me as an oldie. I need 10 day cycles. More rest days, some unplanned. So, I can squeeze 2 blocks in. This is starting to sound impossible. They will be power and speed based, rather than endurance. This is the fastest way to open my legs and increase the specific mitochondria in number and density. I usually randonneur at a heart rate of 100-105 and rarely over 130 on climbs with my threshold say around 150. I know my heart and lungs can deliver this load of oxygen but I think my recumbent legs lack the ability to use that much O2, so, my focus should be on power and speed. This worked in the past...............

For me, getting ready for long rides was very easy on an upright. Just increase mileage 10-15% per week, take an easy week once per month. Ride a lot. Do intervals or climb hills once every 5 days, but not more often. I would get fit. Sleep lousy? Take a day off. Eat and drink well. No booze. Weight melts off over 6-12 months or so. That recipe did not work for me on a recumbent. At all. What did Einstein supposedly say about insanity and doing the same things over and over? I went to the dark internet places where the esteemed exercise physiologists bicker with one another over arcane terminology and who invented various acronyms. In the past, tempo or sweet spot training was something that did not work for me and I avoided it. I was a casual Polarized guy. Somewhere a famous Physio was asked his favorite workout to increase power and IIRC, it was 2 x 20 every other day. Yikes. I now forget the intensity but it was likely well below threshold. So, I started doing those. Another esteemed Physio had chimed in to do Tabita intervals and I added those (as much as I detest them!!!). The rate of progress was nothing short of astounding.

It sounds wrong but there is no way to build much endurance in 10 weeks and I am going to assume I already have it. If I get in, I will find out.

Looking at the course profile, it is flat with about 7 relatively moderate but long, long climbs. All at altitude. First 100 miles is flat, made for a recumbent until the left turn up that 60 mile climb. The climbs are so easy in Appalachia, they rarely are longer than 2 miles, never 60 miles long. One climb on day one and two climbs a day on the remaining 3 days. The third day over to SteamBoat and back looks like the hard one.

I guess I now have to make a plan.

https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31358304
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Old 05-05-21, 08:19 AM
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There is a 60 mile 3000 foot climb near here in Appalachia. It looks really impressive on a 1200k map. I think it was the 2nd largest climb on the Endless Mountains 1240k. When you are on it, you wouldn't even know it's a climb. Typical river valley. Going up to the Poconos from Quakertown like the PA 600 used to do is about 60 miles of steady climbing. Not sure the elevation gain though. That always felt pretty slow to me.
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Old 05-05-21, 09:20 AM
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From the Delaware River to Wind Gap AT trailhead is a long climb although not strictly up the entire way. Then, there is Fox Gap, Millbrook, Old Mineshaft, Shire, Iron Bridge, and who could forget Fiddlers Elbow. I remember climbing Vesuvius down in Virginia after a long ride and thinking it was easy compared to other very hard but less known climbs down there.

What I have found out West is the roads are graded pretty well and for the most part over the whole length do not exceed 7% but the elevation and lack of O2 is a bigger concern. On a recumbent, there is a crossover point in gradient where you are faster or slower than on an upright. This depends on the rider, the steepness, weight, the length of hill, and most importantly the CdA of rider/bike. On a rolling route that is 2-3% up and down, a velomobile will just disappear into the horizon but once the hills get steeper, the upright rider will leave them into the dust. A fast recumbent will also do that but not to the same extent because it is not as aero. I had a friendly joust with our local velonaut on a 1200k down South. We had like 80 miles to go. He would fly by me downhill and I would catch him on the climbs. Back and forth for half an hour.....we decided to "race" the last hours and it made for a lot of fun. We bascially wanted it over. I "won" because I bunny jumped the curb and hopped the guard rail (cheating) into the final control parking lot that was all under construction while he went around the block to find an entrance still open. It STILL astounds me how fast he would come by me on the downhills while I was on my upright rando bike. On PBP, there were a couple steep hills just out of Brest somewhere. I was swapping back and forth with a velomobile. I'd catch him on the climbs on my bent and he would pass me. I decided to pedal as hard as I could on one downhill.....I hit 62 mph and he was still faster.....perhaps, 70-75 mph. I do not know if he was the one caught with a motor but his speed downhill was breathtaking and especially how he out accelerated me over the top but some velos are fast. We still had had tailwind, it soon switched to a headwind. Lovely. Against the wind both ways. I can't remember if I was in a 56x11 or if I put the 53 on. Might have been the 53. Anyway, one of the velobiles got a speeding ticket. I was told he was also penalized 2 hours for the infraction. Everytime I would come out of the controls, people would be fondling my bike and trying to shift the etap. I only use blips and they are right where my thumb rests on the little bars. I would leave the control and the derailleurs would be all hosed up and I'd drop the chain or drop me. The controls all seemed to have a special parking lot for velomobiles keeping spectators away. I can only imagine the fondling of those machines. A Milan SL or Alpha7 would be very fast on the CHC 1200. Our local velonaut broke the suspension on the Alpha on his first brevet and I understand he was having a new one custom made out of titanium instead of plastic. Mine arrived with a broken suspension, missing battery lights, wrong color (pavement grey is what I got), wrong crank size, wrong rings, scratched up, and other stupid stuff. Why am I writing about velomobile. LOL
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Old 05-05-21, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
...There are really 4 attributes (neglecting the bike, that matters little) that allow one to enjoy or complete a 1200k...
You left out what is arguably the most important attribute for an under-trained 1200k; "Ability to endure suffering"
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Old 05-05-21, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
You left out what is arguably the most important attribute for an under-trained 1200k; "Ability to endure suffering"
Isn't that knowledge?

I have a simple way for that one.

I do not start a ride unless I am totally committed to finishing it. In practice that means three things.

1) I will not let a negative thought into my brain. If something bad happens, I just treat it as the reason that I am there.....to solve the problem. I have seen too many times people's moods go into the toilet. I just push negative thoughts out.

2) If whatever ails me will only last a few weeks, I continue and tell it to STFU

3) If the pain could result in permanent damage, I stop. I did that once on a 1200k, it was a torn PCL and quitting was right. I did break an elbow on a 600k and finished it.

I take it nobody thinks 20-25 miles per day carrying a backpack albeit a very light one has any carryover benefit. I thought "Randonneur" in French was "Hiker"....LOL
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Old 05-05-21, 10:39 AM
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Walking uses different muscles and has very little training effect for cycling in my experience. Plus, you didn't lose weight doing it. Definitely good for you though. I was disappointed that all the walking I did last year didn't help my cycling fitness at all.

Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
From the Delaware River to Wind Gap AT trailhead is a long climb although not strictly up the entire way. Then, there is Fox Gap, Millbrook, Old Mineshaft, Shire, Iron Bridge, and who could forget Fiddlers Elbow. I remember climbing Vesuvius down in Virginia after a long ride and thinking it was easy compared to other very hard but less known climbs down there.
If you climb Old Mine and then turn left at the top and go up Millbrook, that's quite a climb. First time I did it I thought I was at the top and then a pickup passed me going the other way with its brakes smoking. Sadly, I was not at the top. It's probably not quite as bad as climbing North Ogden Canyon in Utah though. If you survive that climb, you can climb up to Powder Mountain. I suggest having a ride home from there though.

I have quite two 1200k's due to knee issues. Different knees. I don't like it, but there was no way I was going to make it 220km with a knee the size of a grapefruit. The other one I still had 800km to go. On that ride, I didn't realize I could ride fine if I never stood up. Which may not be easy for me, but I did it for most of the rest of the year including finishing another 1200k

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Old 05-05-21, 11:02 AM
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If you want to be strong on the bike you have to ride your bike. I ran a lot on the treadmill over the winter instead of my usual rollers and was 90 minutes slower on the 200k opener this year, which surprised me. For some reason I had the idea that the running would be good enough to keep me in shape.
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Old 05-05-21, 11:12 AM
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I lost 13 pounds in 2 weeks hiking.

I went from 234 to 221 lbs. I am just plump, meaning I need to lose weight or buy new kit (after just eating a really good chocolate croissant)

I finished 2015 PBP at 182 (started at 187). Started and finished 2019 at 195 lbs but I ate and slept a ton on that.
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Old 05-05-21, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
If you want to be strong on the bike you have to ride your bike. I ran a lot on the treadmill over the winter instead of my usual rollers and was 90 minutes slower on the 200k opener this year, which surprised me. For some reason I had the idea that the running would be good enough to keep me in shape.
Thanks, that is a good data point
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Old 05-05-21, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Walking uses different muscles and has very little training effect for cycling in my experience. Plus, you didn't lose weight doing it. Definitely good for you though. I was disappointed that all the walking I did last year didn't help my cycling fitness at all.


If you climb Old Mine and then turn left at the top and go up Millbrook, that's quite a climb. First time I did it I thought I was at the top and then a pickup passed me going the other way with its brakes smoking. Sadly, I was not at the top. It's probably not quite as bad as climbing North Ogden Canyon in Utah though. If you survive that climb, you can climb up to Powder Mountain. I suggest having a ride home from there though.

I have quite two 1200k's due to knee issues. Different knees. I don't like it, but there was no way I was going to make it 220km with a knee the size of a grapefruit. The other one I still had 800km to go. On that ride, I didn't realize I could ride fine if I never stood up. Which may not be easy for me, but I did it for most of the rest of the year including finishing another 1200k
I stopped to pee at the powerlines once. I could not get going again, it around 16 or 17 percent there. Walking was not so bad. I walk a lot on the bent if the hills are steep like that. With an 18 degree seat angle, a 16 percent hill feels really weird even if I had the power to make it up
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Old 05-05-21, 11:25 AM
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I went to the definitative authority, they say hiking improves cycling fitness. So, it must be true.....I am GTG

I actually started hiking as part of a plan to reverse osteoporosis in my hips. I went for -2.6 to +0.3 over 18 months. That is a Z score or relative standard deviation from my population norm.

https://www.bicycling.com/training/g...hese-7-sports/
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Old 05-06-21, 03:51 PM
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I wanted to share some feedback that I got from a well known ultra endurance coach. I am not sure if it is proper to mention his name but he is very well known.

He said that I have sufficient base from hiking and from many years of riding long distance. He also does a lot of hiking and XC skiing and that aerobic base translates into a cycling base.

Where I need to focus is regaining the neuro or biomechanics of pedaling and surprisingly, he recommended sprints right away which is how I was thinking to tease out the legs. Surprising because I do not recall ever reading one of his articles recommending sprints for a Rando. It actually makes a lot of sense. If my legs are not able to take full advantage of the O2 my lungs and heart can deliver, there are three reasons I can think of. One being some muscles are not being engage fully or not timed properly. Sprinting would fix that. Another is insufficiency in leg enzymes for the specific cycling motions and high intensity is the fastest way to remedy that one. The third relates to bents.

I did a short 30 minute workout on the trainer today. warmup. 2 x10 minutes at HR 130. The legs screamed like it was threshold but I wasn't even breathing hard, I could have held a rando conversation.

In any case, thought that might be of interest to all the kind responders to my inquiry.
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Old 05-06-21, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I wanted to share some feedback that I got from a well known ultra endurance coach. I am not sure if it is proper to mention his name but he is very well known.

He said that I have sufficient base from hiking and from many years of riding long distance. He also does a lot of hiking and XC skiing and that aerobic base translates into a cycling base.

Where I need to focus is regaining the neuro or biomechanics of pedaling and surprisingly, he recommended sprints right away which is how I was thinking to tease out the legs. Surprising because I do not recall ever reading one of his articles recommending sprints for a Rando. It actually makes a lot of sense. If my legs are not able to take full advantage of the O2 my lungs and heart can deliver, there are three reasons I can think of. One being some muscles are not being engage fully or not timed properly. Sprinting would fix that. Another is insufficiency in leg enzymes for the specific cycling motions and high intensity is the fastest way to remedy that one. The third relates to bents.

I did a short 30 minute workout on the trainer today. warmup. 2 x10 minutes at HR 130. The legs screamed like it was threshold but I wasn't even breathing hard, I could have held a rando conversation.

In any case, thought that might be of interest to all the kind responders to my inquiry.
Yeah, that's a wake-up call, isn't it? For sure long steady state rides don't stress the legs enough. My favorite loop near home has a 30 second steep hill on it. I ride that loop maybe every other week and every time I try to match my 28" PR. I'm down to 32" now and every time I do it my legs scream at me for a couple days. This last time I was finally strong enough to spin the rear tire a little, but still a long way to go. My standard workout program has me starting to do hill sprints about 8 weeks out from my A ride. Basically 30" to 1', 4-6 repeats, 5' easy pedaling between. I'm nowhere near ready to do repeats! I'm older than you but also haven't been riding due to Covid and a horrible saddle sore. I don't rando anymore, but it's all the same training once you know how to do it.

A gym in my town has finally opened. All the others went out of business. I've just started doing sets of 30, 9 exercises circuit style. That's helping for similar reasons sprint training was suggested. My leg strength sucks now and strong legs always seemed to be a very good rando attribute, at least for me. I'm doing sets of 30 because I don't have the time to get injured and rehabbed. I need to be strong by the end of June. When I'm doing those circuit sets, I try to keep my HR up into the bottom of Z2 and I usually do an hour of pedaling drills on my rollers before I hit the gym. Many folks say it's BS, but I find that trying to hold 115-120 cadence at a Z1 power and HR for 30' or so fixes that neuro stuff right up. I do a good bit of that. Hurts pretty good until it doesn't anymore, then I go on to other stuff.

I also do 50-55 cadence tempo work on a long even maybe 4% climb, just shallow enough to have some momentum, maybe 4 reps of 10', no upper body movement. My legs hurt now, and I didn't even work out today..
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Old 05-07-21, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Yeah, that's a wake-up call, isn't it? For sure long steady state rides don't stress the legs enough. My favorite loop near home has a 30 second steep hill on it. I ride that loop maybe every other week and every time I try to match my 28" PR. I'm down to 32" now and every time I do it my legs scream at me for a couple days. This last time I was finally strong enough to spin the rear tire a little, but still a long way to go. My standard workout program has me starting to do hill sprints about 8 weeks out from my A ride. Basically 30" to 1', 4-6 repeats, 5' easy pedaling between. I'm nowhere near ready to do repeats! I'm older than you but also haven't been riding due to Covid and a horrible saddle sore. I don't rando anymore, but it's all the same training once you know how to do it.

A gym in my town has finally opened. All the others went out of business. I've just started doing sets of 30, 9 exercises circuit style. That's helping for similar reasons sprint training was suggested. My leg strength sucks now and strong legs always seemed to be a very good rando attribute, at least for me. I'm doing sets of 30 because I don't have the time to get injured and rehabbed. I need to be strong by the end of June. When I'm doing those circuit sets, I try to keep my HR up into the bottom of Z2 and I usually do an hour of pedaling drills on my rollers before I hit the gym. Many folks say it's BS, but I find that trying to hold 115-120 cadence at a Z1 power and HR for 30' or so fixes that neuro stuff right up. I do a good bit of that. Hurts pretty good until it doesn't anymore, then I go on to other stuff.

I also do 50-55 cadence tempo work on a long even maybe 4% climb, just shallow enough to have some momentum, maybe 4 reps of 10', no upper body movement. My legs hurt now, and I didn't even work out today..
Very interesting, thanks. Do you think I should do my sprints at higher cadence?

My take on cadence in general is the preferred cadence depends on how much power you are generating or more specifically the preferred contraction forces on the working muscles. When I am randonneuring, the power is pretty low as is the cadence. Low cadence is metabolically more efficient. But if I want to say do a time trial or something like that, my preferred cadence is more like 89-92 rpm to keep the forces in the muscles at the preferred level.

Unter made the point that hiking uses different muscles, which is almost completely true. The muscles that are in common with cycling are used differently than in hiking. I mean there is only one VL per leg but the combination of all the muscles working while pedaling has a completely different recruitment pattern than walking. I suspect your higher rate of cadence would be very helpful for me in terms of getting the timing right and recruiting or engaging better. I almost wonder if some muscle fibers are sitting on the bench, slacking off. The coach told me not to use or look at the power meter, just go as hard as I can. The interesting part, he said to rest 10 minutes before doing another one. I have a short steep hill that is about 10 seconds in length right down the road. I am thinking of doing a 3 mile loop and when I get to the hill, just go all out with a high cadence (can't stand to pedal on a bent). 10 loops would be abou a 90 minute workout on the bent, many a bit less. 10 sprints might be too many??
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Old 05-07-21, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Very interesting, thanks. Do you think I should do my sprints at higher cadence?

My take on cadence in general is the preferred cadence depends on how much power you are generating or more specifically the preferred contraction forces on the working muscles. When I am randonneuring, the power is pretty low as is the cadence. Low cadence is metabolically more efficient. But if I want to say do a time trial or something like that, my preferred cadence is more like 89-92 rpm to keep the forces in the muscles at the preferred level.

Unter made the point that hiking uses different muscles, which is almost completely true. The muscles that are in common with cycling are used differently than in hiking. I mean there is only one VL per leg but the combination of all the muscles working while pedaling has a completely different recruitment pattern than walking. I suspect your higher rate of cadence would be very helpful for me in terms of getting the timing right and recruiting or engaging better. I almost wonder if some muscle fibers are sitting on the bench, slacking off. The coach told me not to use or look at the power meter, just go as hard as I can. The interesting part, he said to rest 10 minutes before doing another one. I have a short steep hill that is about 10 seconds in length right down the road. I am thinking of doing a 3 mile loop and when I get to the hill, just go all out with a high cadence (can't stand to pedal on a bent). 10 loops would be abou a 90 minute workout on the bent, many a bit less. 10 sprints might be too many??
Most folks say do them at the cadence which produces the most power, which is usually quite high, but it's individual to some extent and also depends on gradient IME. Most randonneurs with whom I've ridden use quite a high cadence, 90-100, though that's certainly not universal. I never turned a high cadence. My understanding is that saves glycogen at the expense of, as you say, metabolic efficiency. Higher cadence = lower pedal pressure. That's certainly not universal.

I agree about hiking not being great prep for cycling, but I've found that it does work the other way, probably because sport riding imposes much greater momentary stresses on the legs than does hiking. Thus the advantage only works in one direction. Yes, of course muscle fiber recruitment is key. When folks start to do strength training for the first time, they make big gains in the first couple months, purely because of increased fiber recruitment. I think that's the idea of early sprint training. IME you need a lot more than 10 seconds. The idea to to be exhausted at the end of the sprint and losing power. What I do isn't really sprinting, it's really defined as max effort intervals, 30" to 1'. The idea again is to exhaust the legs during each effort, much like doing strength training to failure, which is also designed to increase fiber recruitment. That's also rather the point of doing those long FastPedal intervals, to exhaust the Type 2 fibers and then teach the Type 1 fibers to pedal properly. Admittedly just riding lots does the same thing, just not as quickly..

The usual coach's recommendation for max effort intervals is 5 minutes easy between them. I think that's about right, sort of rested but not completely cooled off. One does them until failure, which doesn't usually take too many repeats. These aren't paced efforts. It's max effort for as long as one can sustain it. I used to be able to hold it for 45" though I'm down to more like 30" now. I never could do it for a full minute. I peak at about 4 X FTP, though of course that's on a DF where I can really use my legs out of the saddle. It's not body weight OOS, because sometimes I'll pick up one of the wheels from the backstroke effort. I'm trying to rip the bars off the bike.
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