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How do you urban-dwelling bike racers manage training?

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How do you urban-dwelling bike racers manage training?

Old 03-23-09, 11:34 AM
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agarose2000
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How do you urban-dwelling bike racers manage training?

Just curious as to how you folks living in densely urban environments train, given the crazy amounts of stoplights and traffic. Do you wake up super early, or do you ride out of town, or other methods? I'm in LA, and I find it nearly impossible to ride in the urban areas save weekend AM before 9AM - fortunately, the Santa Monica mountain roads are <10 mins riding away, and that's paradise. Still, how do you urban folks manage your routes? I'm in DC now on a 4 week conference, and I can't fathom how a DC dweller would do race-type hard riding/training on a daily basis if they're working M-F 8AM-5PM.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:46 AM
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I live in NYC (Manhattan). Weekends I ride over the George Washington Bridge to northern New Jersey or Rockland County (NY), or over the Broadway Bridge towards Westchester...once you're out of the city limits it's suburban paradise; and the farther north you go the better the cycling gets. Weekday mornings or evenings before/after work I'll ride in Central Park, where there's a reasonably bike-friendly (ha!!) 6-mile loop.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
I live in NYC (Manhattan). Weekends I ride over the George Washington Bridge to northern New Jersey or Rockland County (NY), or over the Broadway Bridge towards Westchester...once you're out of the city limits it's suburban paradise; and the farther north you go the better the cycling gets. Weekday mornings or evenings before/after work I'll ride in Central Park, where there's a reasonably bike-friendly (ha!!) 6-mile loop.
+ 1

Thank God for Central Park. I would rarely ride without it. And ot be honest, not sure I could live in Manhattan without it.

And there is a long line of cyclists going across the GW all day long on Saturday and Sunday. Really nice riding out there.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:52 AM
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as much as i hate the trainer...there is no workout like it unless you have 10+ mile climbs around.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
I live in NYC (Manhattan). Weekends I ride over the George Washington Bridge to northern New Jersey or Rockland County (NY), or over the Broadway Bridge towards Westchester...once you're out of the city limits it's suburban paradise; and the farther north you go the better the cycling gets. Weekday mornings or evenings before/after work I'll ride in Central Park, where there's a reasonably bike-friendly (ha!!) 6-mile loop.
^^ What he said. During the week is CP laps, weekends is normally over the GW.
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Old 03-23-09, 12:04 PM
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I live in Edmonton Canada which can lay claim to having the greatest urban park system in North America and has over 400 km of combined road and off road trails, paths, and routes through the city and beautiful expanses of well paved open roads no matter what direction you go in.

On my old commute I could ride 9 miles and only cross 6 stoplights and in many cases forget I was in the city.

They tell me that our city is flat but it's only as flat as you want to make it... with a river valley floor nearly 1000 feet below the city proper and many routes in and out with varying degrees of grades one can get in some serious climbing if you apply yourself.

Most of the grades in and out of the valley are in the 10-18% range and one climb gets as high as 22% and within the valley there are some nice stretches to test the lungs and legs with some 10% plus grades.

The rockies are not that far away either... a 4 hour drive will bring you into some beautiful and challenging terrain.

Without serious climbs I always suggest that one rides into the wind for a few hours... and it never stops blowing here either.
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Old 03-23-09, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
Just curious as to how you folks living in densely urban environments train, given the crazy amounts of stoplights and traffic. Do you wake up super early, or do you ride out of town, or other methods? I'm in LA, and I find it nearly impossible to ride in the urban areas save weekend AM before 9AM - fortunately, the Santa Monica mountain roads are <10 mins riding away, and that's paradise. Still, how do you urban folks manage your routes? I'm in DC now on a 4 week conference, and I can't fathom how a DC dweller would do race-type hard riding/training on a daily basis if they're working M-F 8AM-5PM.
Given the M-F 8-5 caveat, I don't think it's any different no matter where you live if you're in the Americas. How can anyone who lives anywhere do race-type hard riding/training on a daily basis if they're working M-F 8AM-5PM? Depending on where you live, the sun comes up between 7 and 8am and goes down between 7 and 8pm. So, the most you can do is ride the trainer or get a light or take a spin class or commute during the week and then ride a ton on the weekends. Am I missing something?

FWIW - In Houston, we can drive to hills within an hour or so. So, you get up at 5am on Sat and Sun and drive to them. During the week you take a class, commute, or ride the trainer. If you can't get out of town, we don't have hills, but we do have parking garages and almost constant headwind in every direction.
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Old 03-23-09, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by kwrides View Post
Given the M-F 8-5 caveat, I don't think it's any different no matter where you live if you're in the Americas. How can anyone who lives anywhere do race-type hard riding/training on a daily basis if they're working M-F 8AM-5PM? Depending on where you live, the sun comes up between 7 and 8am and goes down between 7 and 8pm. So, the most you can do is ride the trainer or get a light or take a spin class or commute during the week and then ride a ton on the weekends. Am I missing something?

FWIW - In Houston, we can drive to hills within an hour or so. So, you get up at 5am on Sat and Sun and drive to them. During the week you take a class, commute, or ride the trainer. If you can't get out of town, we don't have hills, but we do have parking garages and almost constant headwind in every direction.
These days (4 days a week) I'm setting the alarm for 5:40 so I can ride (in the dark) from about 6-7:30. Sometimes I even get up when the alarm goes off... I also bike commute to work, so I'm guaranteed between 13 and 35 miles a day (depends on the route) on top of the training ride.

I don't get to work until 9-ish though. A true 8-5 schedule would make that morning ride nearly impossible unless I was willing/able to be in bed by 9p.
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Old 03-23-09, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by kwrides View Post
Depending on where you live, the sun comes up between 7 and 8am and goes down between 7 and 8pm.
During the summer here, the sun's up by 6am. 4th of July (randomly picked), the official sun rise will by 5:45 am. Next weekend, the sun raises at 6:45 am. Plenty early raising, but it sets ~7:30 pm right now, 8:30pm mid summer.

Now, if your urban and smart, you could hit the road in the minutes pre-dawn, get a 90 minute training ride in and still have plenty of time to get home, clean up, and be to work by 8. (To me, urban and smart would mean living within 15 minutes of work)
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Old 03-23-09, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
Just curious as to how you folks living in densely urban environments train, given the crazy amounts of stoplights and traffic. Do you wake up super early, or do you ride out of town, or other methods? I'm in LA, and I find it nearly impossible to ride in the urban areas save weekend AM before 9AM - fortunately, the Santa Monica mountain roads are <10 mins riding away, and that's paradise. Still, how do you urban folks manage your routes? I'm in DC now on a 4 week conference, and I can't fathom how a DC dweller would do race-type hard riding/training on a daily basis if they're working M-F 8AM-5PM.
I commute to and from work on every day that isn't freezing cold or snowing. Living in Brooklyn and working in manhattan i get ~8 miles each way though i usually take a longer route home, so I average about 20miles a day on the roads. Then I get on the trainer for 30-45 min before going to bed. Weekends I ride hard as hell in the parks and streets, though i rarely make it outside of the 5 boroughs... I never stop for red lights unless I really have to and I can usually go all day on the weekends without having to disengage my feet more than once or twice. Frequently I don't have a pre-determined route so if traffic is particularly thick at some cross-street, I'll just turn and flow with traffic to avoid stopping and ruining my workout. Get to know a bike messenger and they'll show you how to fly through the concrete jungle without ever slowing down!
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Old 03-23-09, 03:44 PM
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i started out in manhattan. can't think of a better place to start riding.
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Old 03-23-09, 03:52 PM
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Detroit has a couple of big rides, but they are full of red lights and stop signs. It's pretty hilarious. We have people attacking through red lights, swarming cars at red lights, cutting through parking lots to catch up, and behaving like idiots.

10 miles to the north, we tried to get a country road ride going, but people would rather gravitate to the urban nightmare. It's one of those rides where everyone says, "one of these days, someone's going to get hurt" yet they still go.
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Old 03-23-09, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by enjoi07 View Post
as much as i hate the trainer...there is no workout like it unless you have 10+ mile climbs around.
You don't need 10 mile climbs to get a good workout.
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Old 03-23-09, 04:12 PM
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I work out in the northern suburbs and just take the bike with me to work. Two fast evening group rides during the work week up in suburban riding paradise (Tuesday/Thursday), one other solo ride over 9W or around the 'hood during the work week, and then group or solo rides up in Westchester or 9W on weekend. And racing here and there in Central Park.

I'd never even fathom trying to train hard on NYC streets, though. Too many opportunities to get taken out by morons. For those of you who do, my hat's off to you.
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Old 03-23-09, 05:05 PM
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LIE Service Road
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Old 03-23-09, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Jrather View Post
I work out in the northern suburbs and just take the bike with me to work. Two fast evening group rides during the work week up in suburban riding paradise (Tuesday/Thursday), one other solo ride over 9W or around the 'hood during the work week, and then group or solo rides up in Westchester or 9W on weekend. And racing here and there in Central Park.

I'd never even fathom trying to train hard on NYC streets, though. Too many opportunities to get taken out by morons. For those of you who do, my hat's off to you.
you take the metro north trains? i.e. nj transit? what is the bike policy exactly?
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Old 03-23-09, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by kwrides View Post
Given the M-F 8-5 caveat, I don't think it's any different no matter where you live if you're in the Americas. How can anyone who lives anywhere do race-type hard riding/training on a daily basis if they're working M-F 8AM-5PM? Depending on where you live, the sun comes up between 7 and 8am and goes down between 7 and 8pm. So, the most you can do is ride the trainer or get a light or take a spin class or commute during the week and then ride a ton on the weekends. Am I missing something?

FWIW - In Houston, we can drive to hills within an hour or so. So, you get up at 5am on Sat and Sun and drive to them. During the week you take a class, commute, or ride the trainer. If you can't get out of town, we don't have hills, but we do have parking garages and almost constant headwind in every direction.
Originally Posted by ok_commuter View Post
These days (4 days a week) I'm setting the alarm for 5:40 so I can ride (in the dark) from about 6-7:30. Sometimes I even get up when the alarm goes off... I also bike commute to work, so I'm guaranteed between 13 and 35 miles a day (depends on the route) on top of the training ride.

I don't get to work until 9-ish though. A true 8-5 schedule would make that morning ride nearly impossible unless I was willing/able to be in bed by 9p.
Wife and I wake up 5:15-5:30, on the road 5:45-6:00, off between 6:45 and 7:15, lights on, little to no traffic other than lots of other cyclists and the occasional runner. Longer rides on the weekends or afterwork(again with lights).
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Old 03-23-09, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by fatallightning View Post
you take the metro north trains? i.e. nj transit? what is the bike policy exactly?
Metro North you need a bike pass, $5 for life, application available online or at Grand Central. You can't take your bike on during rush hours but weekends are fine. I use them all the time for MTBing in Westchester. Full bike details on the MTA website.
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Old 03-23-09, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
Detroit has a couple of big rides, but they are full of red lights and stop signs. It's pretty hilarious. We have people attacking through red lights, swarming cars at red lights, cutting through parking lots to catch up, and behaving like idiots.

10 miles to the north, we tried to get a country road ride going, but people would rather gravitate to the urban nightmare. It's one of those rides where everyone says, "one of these days, someone's going to get hurt" yet they still go.
The local race rides here have a neutral roll-out and roll-in through town but I can't imagine racing through red lights. That's not cricket.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by fatallightning View Post
you take the metro north trains? i.e. nj transit? what is the bike policy exactly?
I drive to work because the closest Metro North stop is a couple of miles from the office and as someone else mentioned, there's a no full-sized bikes rule at during peak hours rule. On weekends, I take the South Country Trailway up to Westchester or the train (which is fine since it's the weekend, off-peak).
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Old 03-23-09, 07:17 PM
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Surprised nobody from dc chimed in.

There's lots of good training road here. Daily lunch ride at Haine's point, weekend ride up Beach Drive, McArthur Blvd... you just have to know where to go. You can even use the MUP's for long slow distance in the fall and winter when they're empty.

Bike commuting to work is popular here, too, that's a good way to get the miles in.

You're here for four weeks - did you bring your bike? You could check it out.
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Old 03-23-09, 07:19 PM
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I wish my hours were 8-5...

I'm in DC and commute 11 miles each way, adding miles on some mornings or evenings. Weekends, particularly as the weather gets warmer, I'll either start my ride before 8am (get up and out past River Rd before too late) or not ride at all/ ride the trainer.
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Old 03-23-09, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by kwrides View Post
Given the M-F 8-5 caveat, I don't think it's any different no matter where you live if you're in the Americas. How can anyone who lives anywhere do race-type hard riding/training on a daily basis if they're working M-F 8AM-5PM? Depending on where you live, the sun comes up between 7 and 8am and goes down between 7 and 8pm. So, the most you can do is ride the trainer or get a light or take a spin class or commute during the week and then ride a ton on the weekends. Am I missing something?
Another great thing about Central Park, it has lights and you can ride without a headlight at any point without a problem. I admit it may be hard for others to see you without a headlight, but you can see perfectly. The city is a pain in a lot of ways, but from a cycling perspective, it's not that bad. Plus it helps living across the street from the park.
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Old 03-23-09, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by lifevicarious View Post
Another great thing about Central Park, it has lights and you can ride without a headlight at any point without a problem. I admit it may be hard for others to see you without a headlight, but you can see perfectly. The city is a pain in a lot of ways, but from a cycling perspective, it's not that bad. Plus it helps living across the street from the park.
That really is the one good thing about the city... a long as I make it back across the GWB before dark, I have streetlights the rest of the way home.

That said, I have a HID light so I can go over the bridge at night and see good enough to not hit any gravel, rocks, sticks, dead animals, beer bottles, potholes, or other road hazards.

And a CatEye headlight and TWO blinkies (a superflash and a blackburn one thats just as bright but flashes on a different frequency) that I use in the city.

My primary goal is to be seen. And it works quite well.
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Old 03-24-09, 10:03 AM
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I used to live a 45 min Metronorth ride from NYC. I could train on "regular" CT roads but there's something about urban sprints that is just exhilarating.

Therefore I used to take the train into NYC to train at night. Best riding, so much fun. Lights are synchronized, traffic is just over comfortable riding speed, so you can motorpace for a minute or three at a time. Just enough time to recover for the next burst, and adrenaline-laden the whole time. It'd take me 3 lights to get from Bond St in the Village to Central Park, and the last light I got caught at was usually around 55th due to the heavier traffic up there. On a good, warm night I could do 2.5-3 hours in Manhattan before calling it a night. I'd basically go up and down from the Village (my office was there) to CP. I'd venture either around CP or up the sides of it, but never much farther north than mid CP (except when I was on the CP loop).

Training in traffic is really intense, helps you read traffic (for racing and driving), and offers an environment unlike any other. You have to be aware of pedestrians, cars, buses, lost tourists, potholes, slippery manhole covers (some are like ice), oil/antifreeze slicks, lights, other cyclists, etc etc etc. Awesome. Just awesome.

I found that taxis are usually somewhat attentive, livery vehicles are very aggressive (and therefore make great leadout cars), and everyone else is really hesitant.

I used a blinkie taillight and headlight, nothing else.

I wish I lived close enough to a place like Manhattan so I could ride in places like that again. Hartford is too desolate and not developed enough - no traffic when it's quiet, roads are all screwy (i.e. not grid like), people drive too fast or slow for cycling (25 or 45 mph), etc etc.

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