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What a difference 20 miles makes.

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What a difference 20 miles makes.

Old 09-12-23, 04:30 PM
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What a difference 20 miles makes.

I'm pretty used to riding 20-30 miles training rides, with a few ~35 mile rides sprinkled in on occasion. I don't really consider myself a "cyclist" like many of you consider yourselves. I enjoy it, but for me, it's an element of an overall fitness regimen that encompasses triathlon and a couple other disciplines.

I'm only saying this to lay the groundwork that, while I cycle regularly, my interests are not quite so focused as many of you. I've done quite a few triathlons so far, several sprints and Olympics with the longest being that odd Santa Barbara tri that's like a weird 1/4 Ironman. But one of my bucket list items is a half Ironman. I'm not even remotely competitive, my goal is simply to finish. So far, I've finished every tri I've entered, even if I've been one of the last finishers (every single time).

But a half Ironman (which includes a 54 mile ride on the bike leg) is really stepping up my game. I found one in Sandy Eggo next April I think will give me the best chance of finishing. By the time I get to the run portion, I'm generally pretty well gassed, so I figure I need to do the ride in 3.5 hours in order to have enough time to complete the "run" before the course closes. And I use quotes around the run because I figure best case scenario is I'll be at a brisk walking pace for most, if not all, of that 13 mile leg.

So today I went out with the intention of riding a true 54 miles just to see what kind of time I could do. The Sandy Eggo course is listed as "rolling", which is more or less how I would describe the route I took today. It's hard to compare, however, because most of my route today was more flat, with just about 15 miles that was hilly. And by hilly, there was a solid six mile stretch that was a constant 1200 foot climb, then six miles back down that 1200 foot, with only about three more miles of the route being "hilly". So according to my Velo Cateye, the route was just a tick over 54 miles, but I checked right at the 54 mile mark and I was at 3:22.

My target was better than 3:30, so in that regard, I did pretty well. However, I would really like to get that time down below 3:15 just so I have some cushion in April.

The one thing I will say is that I did finish the full 54 miles, but once completed, my legs were jelly. The very idea of then running 13 miles is simply out of the question at this point. Even walking at a "brisk pace" would be a challenge.

So this is just a very long way of me saying I need to step up my training. But also, for probably the last 10-15 miles of the ride, my lower back and hips were really letting me know they weren't happy with the effort level. I'm not really sure if it's a geometry thing on the bike, or just an age thing. I'm actually quite comfortable on this bike for the first 20-25 miles of any ride. After that, it's at least tolerable to around 35-40 miles, and then I'm really ready to be done with the ride.

Another factor that does play into the ride today is that it started out pretty comfortable in the mid 70s at 8am, but by the time I finished the ride after 11am, we were already in the low 90s. I do not have a very high heat tolerance so that doesn't help me either.

Anyway. Long story.
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Old 09-12-23, 04:52 PM
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But a good story. You need to look at the feet per mile of the proposed bike leg. Your bike training should incorporate at least that much gain per mile. I use 50'/mile as a good standard. When you can do 60 miles/3000' and still feel OK, you're good to go. And you'll have to do bricks once you can be comfortable on the individual legs. Run after the bike ride. Ride after swimming. You'll need to maintain a pace that will eventually allow you to still feel OK after a brick of the length of the proposed tri legs. You should probably be doing gym work now, too, focusing on your weak spots, like full depth barbell squats and a back machine or device, say twice a week between now and New Years, then once a week. Yep, tri training is super time-consuming.
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Old 09-12-23, 04:55 PM
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Well done! Now go do it some more!
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Old 09-12-23, 06:36 PM
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If Sandy Eggo refers to San Diego, the temperatures in April are generally pretty mild. But if your course runs next to the beach, there may be some brisk winds.
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Old 09-12-23, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
But a good story. You need to look at the feet per mile of the proposed bike leg. Your bike training should incorporate at least that much gain per mile. I use 50'/mile as a good standard. When you can do 60 miles/3000' and still feel OK, you're good to go. And you'll have to do bricks once you can be comfortable on the individual legs. Run after the bike ride. Ride after swimming. You'll need to maintain a pace that will eventually allow you to still feel OK after a brick of the length of the proposed tri legs. You should probably be doing gym work now, too, focusing on your weak spots, like full depth barbell squats and a back machine or device, say twice a week between now and New Years, then once a week. Yep, tri training is super time-consuming.
Due to getting old and abusing my body over the years, squats are simply out of the question. Knees and hips just can't take it. I haven't really been doing much leg weight training. I count mostly on my run/ride/skate routine for legs. However, I do some arm and shoulder exercises plus crunches for upper body a couple times a week.
Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
If Sandy Eggo refers to San Diego, the temperatures in April are generally pretty mild. But if your course runs next to the beach, there may be some brisk winds.
Ya, Oceanside to be exact. A little of a coming home for me, if I commit to this. I was stationed at Pendelton 30 years ago. And it's early April too, so I am counting on the temp being pretty mild, but the wind does concern me, especially for the bike leg.
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Old 09-12-23, 07:05 PM
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75 miles is about when the alarms go off if something isn't comfortable. But if by then it's still OK, I'll be fine for a few dozen more miles.
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Old 09-12-23, 07:22 PM
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Good on you! I’m also trying to get to a 70.3 with a couple sprints and olys under my belt. Next year I plan to focus on olys and getting better at that distance while also building up for longer distances. And while I’ve done plenty of 50mi+ rides in my previous life, I’ve not done so after swimming 1.2mi and then attempt to run 13.1mi.

Good luck!
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Old 09-13-23, 04:44 AM
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Did you eat/drink enough and what was your HR or perceived level of effort?
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Old 09-13-23, 05:34 AM
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You rode just about double one of your usual rides.
I'm used to 40-50 mile rides, around 2500 feet of climbing. If I tried doubling that, 110 miles at 5000 feet, I'd barely finish.
Ramping up your ride distances sounds good.

Terrain: Is the event on continuous short rolling hills, or flats with longer and steeper climbs? Practice with a similar route would be useful. (you save the most time with a harder effort on the steeper parts, but that does affect the rest of the day's ride and run. testing harder efforts would be useful.)

Lower back: I get this occasionally if I grunt up a steep climb in a too-low gear. Are you spinning at a fairly high cadence with low pedal pressure, or pushing harder at a lower cadence?
Years ago, I got this Core Advantage book of cyclist exercises. The first part reviews why core muscles are important in cycling. Then there's the different exercises, with suggested sets to do. These just need a floor mat, a doorway, and sometimes a couple of towels to perform at home.

I just do the easy sets, and not often enough, but they are helpful to me. I'm 70, and these can be done with easy efforts. I really like the low stress dynamic stretches included in the sets.

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Old 09-13-23, 05:55 AM
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Morning rides are the best! By the time you realize that it's become hot to a point that you can cook an egg on the pavement, your ride is over or close to be over and you can go enjoy the sun on a terrace somewhere!

Congrats on your achievement. You gained some endurance points for sure. Let them legs rest and repair, and go out again to do the same ride or a similar one!

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Old 09-13-23, 06:11 AM
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Intervals. If you want to get faster, you have to ride faster. Best 2 ways to do that are riding with faster people and doing intervals.

So, while doing long rides has its place , you need to mix in more intense workouts. Classic interval session for the type of riding you’ll be doing is 2x20’s. 20 minutes at threshold( about as hard as. You can hold), 5 minutes easy, repeat.
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Old 09-13-23, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
I'm pretty used to riding 20-30 miles training rides, with a few ~35 mile rides sprinkled in on occasion. I don't really consider myself a "cyclist" like many of you consider yourselves. I enjoy it, but for me, it's an element of an overall fitness regimen that encompasses triathlon and a couple other disciplines.

I'm only saying this to lay the groundwork that, while I cycle regularly, my interests are not quite so focused as many of you. I've done quite a few triathlons so far, several sprints and Olympics with the longest being that odd Santa Barbara tri that's like a weird 1/4 Ironman. But one of my bucket list items is a half Ironman. I'm not even remotely competitive, my goal is simply to finish. So far, I've finished every tri I've entered, even if I've been one of the last finishers (every single time).

But a half Ironman (which includes a 54 mile ride on the bike leg) is really stepping up my game. I found one in Sandy Eggo next April I think will give me the best chance of finishing. By the time I get to the run portion, I'm generally pretty well gassed, so I figure I need to do the ride in 3.5 hours in order to have enough time to complete the "run" before the course closes. And I use quotes around the run because I figure best case scenario is I'll be at a brisk walking pace for most, if not all, of that 13 mile leg.

So today I went out with the intention of riding a true 54 miles just to see what kind of time I could do. The Sandy Eggo course is listed as "rolling", which is more or less how I would describe the route I took today. It's hard to compare, however, because most of my route today was more flat, with just about 15 miles that was hilly. And by hilly, there was a solid six mile stretch that was a constant 1200 foot climb, then six miles back down that 1200 foot, with only about three more miles of the route being "hilly". So according to my Velo Cateye, the route was just a tick over 54 miles, but I checked right at the 54 mile mark and I was at 3:22.

My target was better than 3:30, so in that regard, I did pretty well. However, I would really like to get that time down below 3:15 just so I have some cushion in April.

The one thing I will say is that I did finish the full 54 miles, but once completed, my legs were jelly. The very idea of then running 13 miles is simply out of the question at this point. Even walking at a "brisk pace" would be a challenge.

So this is just a very long way of me saying I need to step up my training. But also, for probably the last 10-15 miles of the ride, my lower back and hips were really letting me know they weren't happy with the effort level. I'm not really sure if it's a geometry thing on the bike, or just an age thing. I'm actually quite comfortable on this bike for the first 20-25 miles of any ride. After that, it's at least tolerable to around 35-40 miles, and then I'm really ready to be done with the ride.

Another factor that does play into the ride today is that it started out pretty comfortable in the mid 70s at 8am, but by the time I finished the ride after 11am, we were already in the low 90s. I do not have a very high heat tolerance so that doesn't help me either.

Anyway. Long story.
Stepup training yes, but if the course will be rolling hills really focus on proper gearing, climbing ability, and knowing when to just coast. If you are riding a flatbar or a relaly relaxed endurance bike than yeah that 100% could be taking away from your efficiency and changing your positioning or even bars might help. Also play around with your tire pressure and maybe consider switching to some better rolling resistance tires and dropping some weight off the bike by goign with a TPU tube.
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Old 09-13-23, 08:55 AM
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Great Job Jen ! Now you have an idea of what's in front of you and what the job needs to be.
It's not an age thing, 50 is only a small bump. It's not the bike. It's all you.
And you know what it will take.
You want it, go after it, you know you can.

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Old 09-13-23, 10:09 AM
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There's no better training for longer distances than simply doing longer rides.

Yes, strength training can help. Intervals can help. Lots of things can help.

But nothing compares to just doing long rides.

So pick some longer routes, get on that bike and ride!
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Old 09-13-23, 10:44 AM
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Maybe make it a goal to ride 60 or so miles once a month. When/if you get a HR monitor, try to do the whole thing in Zone 2, except hills, of course - do them however gets you to the top! You want distance in your legs.
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Old 09-13-23, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
..............................But a half Ironman (which includes a 54 mile ride on the bike leg) .........................

So today I went out with the intention of riding a true 54 miles just to see what kind of time I could do. The Sandy Eggo course is listed as "rolling", which is more or less how I would describe the route I took today. It's hard to compare, however, because most of my route today was more flat, with just about 15 miles that was hilly. And by hilly, there was a solid six mile stretch that was a constant 1200 foot climb, then six miles back down that 1200 foot, with only about three more miles of the route being "hilly". So according to my Velo Cateye, the route was just a tick over 54 miles, but I checked right at the 54 mile mark and I was at 3:22.

My target was better than 3:30, so in that regard, I did pretty well. However, I would really like to get that time down below 3:15 just so I have some cushion in April.

The one thing I will say is that I did finish the full 54 miles, but once completed, my legs were jelly. The very idea of then running 13 miles is simply out of the question at this point. Even walking at a "brisk pace" would be a challenge...........................................................................Anyway. Long story.
GREAT JOB biking the 54 BUT --- the biking distance for a 70.3 Half Ironman is 56 miles.

I've done Sprints to 140.6 and employed *BRICKS* training because stand alone biking or running will not properly prepare you or give you an accurate assessment of time for completion.
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Old 09-13-23, 11:51 AM
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When I was enlisted 40 years ago I got put in charge of a Fat Boy program to get guys who were getting ready to get thrown out of the Army in shape enough to pass their PT Physical Training Test.

I decided that everyone would do the PT test without the time constraint. To their surprise every single one of the platoon size group completed their PT test. Some took longer but all finished.

Sometimes winning the race is just completing it!

Bravo 54... Your gonna do it...
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Old 09-15-23, 11:27 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey
Maybe make it a goal to ride 60 or so miles once a month. When/if you get a HR monitor, try to do the whole thing in Zone 2, except hills, of course - do them however gets you to the top! You want distance in your legs.
Ya, that's the plan. Once a month I'm going to do a longer ride, like 50-60 miles. Another member was kind enough to gift me a HR monitor, which I wore for that ride. I stayed pretty consistently between 120 and 130 for about 75% of the ride. I peaked right at 150-ish on the steepest incline part of the ride that's just a little more than a 1/4 mile long. And I spent most of the remaining time between 130 and 140, but that was almost entirely on that long, 6 mile incline section.
Originally Posted by OldTryGuy
GREAT JOB biking the 54 BUT --- the biking distance for a 70.3 Half Ironman is 56 miles.

I've done Sprints to 140.6 and employed *BRICKS* training because stand alone biking or running will not properly prepare you or give you an accurate assessment of time for completion.
Another two miles? Oh well. At that point, I hardly think I'll care any more. What is "BRICKS"?
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Old 09-16-23, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
Ya, that's the plan. Once a month I'm going to do a longer ride, like 50-60 miles. Another member was kind enough to gift me a HR monitor, which I wore for that ride. I stayed pretty consistently between 120 and 130 for about 75% of the ride. I peaked right at 150-ish on the steepest incline part of the ride that's just a little more than a 1/4 mile long. And I spent most of the remaining time between 130 and 140, but that was almost entirely on that long, 6 mile incline section.

Another two miles? Oh well. At that point, I hardly think I'll care any more. What is "BRICKS"?
r.e. bold -- https://www.triathlete.com/training/...brick-workout/

Just this morning I began walking again in what I hope will be the long period of my training for entry into 2025 Ironman Florida. A stand alone training session, like my walk today, is great for that discipline but for actual competition it is best to combine 2 of the tri events so as to get the muscles used to the transition that must take place. SWIM THEN BIKE or BIKE THEN SWIM will be added as I improve until I can get to regular tri practice sessions.

Good Luck
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Old 09-16-23, 09:30 AM
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The swim part is hard for me to replicate here. We have one community pool and it's only open May through August. But a couple times this summer I did do a swim-bike or swim-run combo. And for the last couple years I will do a bike-run combo about once a month exactly for this reason. But I think I'm going to do more like what the poster above mentioned. On my run days, just start off with a short ride first. If nothing else, it will be good practice getting through transition.
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Old 09-16-23, 12:36 PM
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Sounds like a great goal, and starting now is important for not just surviving, but even enjoying your tri next spring.

The only way to develop heat tolerance is riding in it frequently, until it doesn't hurt. What I'll add is my heartrate is always higher riding 90 degrees and above, even if my pace is the same or even slower than in more comfortable temps. IOW it accelerates fatigue setting in.

For those longer distances, enforce pace limits early in the ride to have more in the tank during the final third. For me, that's harder than it sounds and sometimes, an out -and-back ride has me struggling that last leg back to the casa. My fault.

For your training, maybe work up to 100k so that your tri ride is well within your experience envelope. My kid's in her XC season and trains at much as 8mi for her 6 and 7k races. As a result she always has a finishing kick.

Good luck to you!
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Old 09-16-23, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick_D
Sounds like a great goal, and starting now is important for not just surviving, but even enjoying your tri next spring.

The only way to develop heat tolerance is riding in it frequently, until it doesn't hurt. What I'll add is my heartrate is always higher riding 90 degrees and above, even if my pace is the same or even slower than in more comfortable temps. IOW it accelerates fatigue setting in.

For those longer distances, enforce pace limits early in the ride to have more in the tank during the final third. For me, that's harder than it sounds and sometimes, an out -and-back ride has me struggling that last leg back to the casa. My fault.

For your training, maybe work up to 100k so that your tri ride is well within your experience envelope. My kid's in her XC season and trains at much as 8mi for her 6 and 7k races. As a result she always has a finishing kick.

Good luck to you!
I also have a difficult time limiting my pace. The other thing I have to remind myself is to track wind on my routes. I have found several times that I was flying on an out-and-back route. I felt great on the out portion because I neglected to consider the tail wind effect, only to struggle on the return in a head wind. That sucked hard.
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Old 09-17-23, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
I also have a difficult time limiting my pace. The other thing I have to remind myself is to track wind on my routes. I have found several times that I was flying on an out-and-back route. I felt great on the out portion because I neglected to consider the tail wind effect, only to struggle on the return in a head wind. That sucked hard.
Isn't that the truth? Wind is one of the constant companions keeping us humble. Why are there so many? :-)
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Old 09-17-23, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasJen
What is "BRICKS"?
Here ya go:
bike-run-in-combination
“The workout helps lay the 'bricks' of a good triathlon foundation.” “It's an acronym for bike-run-in-combination.” Another simpler explanation: Dr. Matt Brick coined the term when writing about his bike-run and run-bike sessions while training for a duathlon.
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