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Drills for speed improvement

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Drills for speed improvement

Old 07-10-09, 01:01 PM
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curtwally
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Drills for speed improvement

Hi,

We have a group of high performance cyclists who are now joined by a few of the race team members. We are looking for some drills/practices that we can use to help improve speed and sprinting. Suggestions are welcome. Ideally these drills can be used for a group that has some varying ability as the racers are clearly stronger than most of us. So the intent is one night a week where we practice drills that will help us improve our speed/strength. Safety in the group is also very important. So far we have successfully used 3 person leadouts, short 30 second intervals, and jumps from the back of a fairly slow moving peloton. We have tried to keep the direct competition out of these practice nights as there is another night (the hammerfest) where the gloves come off so to speak, but with at least a final re-group back into town. Plus the racers will race on the weekend. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

Regards, curtwally
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Old 07-10-09, 01:18 PM
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Intervals where you send one of the stronger riders up the road with a time gap (say 30 seconds, but can vary with the relative strength of the individual and the group.)

The group then works together to catch the single, and the single trys to stay away as long as possible.
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Old 07-10-09, 01:51 PM
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Here is one that I do at least once a week:


warm up for 15 minutes.
in the small ring, x17t cog jump out of the saddle and sprint fast for 15 seconds. RPM should go just over 120 to be effective. repeat this 5 times with a 2 minute break between each jump.
take a 5 minute break before the next 3 sets...

Switch to the big ring x 17t and bring the speed up to 20 mph. Jump out of the saddle for 10 seconds and shift 1 gear then power through another 10 seconds. cool down for 5 minutes. Repeat this one again... For the final one, jump in the 15t cog and don't shift. hold it for 15 seconds.

Cool down for 15 minutes and go home.



This is a neuromuscular workout and it trains your muscles to jump to high rpms. =)


I am def. not a super-fast sprinter, considering that I get beat quite often by locals that I race with, but it goes to show that this workout is effective since on last weekend's crit I managed a 2nd place (in the field sprint) at 38.0 mph.

=)

PS: on my caad 9. !!! booyaa!!
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Old 07-10-09, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by fordfasterr View Post
Here is one that I do at least once a week:


warm up for 15 minutes.
in the small ring, x17t cog jump out of the saddle and sprint fast for 15 seconds. RPM should go just over 120 to be effective. repeat this 5 times with a 2 minute break between each jump.
take a 5 minute break before the next 3 sets...

Switch to the big ring x 17t and bring the speed up to 20 mph. Jump out of the saddle for 10 seconds and shift 1 gear then power through another 10 seconds. cool down for 5 minutes. Repeat this one again... For the final one, jump in the 15t cog and don't shift. hold it for 15 seconds.

Cool down for 15 minutes and go home.



This is a neuromuscular workout and it trains your muscles to jump to high rpms. =)


I am def. not a super-fast sprinter, considering that I get beat quite often by locals that I race with, but it goes to show that this workout is effective since on last weekend's crit I managed a 2nd place (in the field sprint) at 38.0 mph.

=)

PS: on my caad 9. !!! booyaa!!
Good workout.

One thing the OP needs to keep in mind, different people are going to be faster or slower. Doing a group "interval" session means that there's a strong likelyhood that the group will become separated during the "on" period. Just regroup during the recovery, or after the session is over.
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Old 07-10-09, 02:15 PM
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This is what our coach has us doing.

Sprinting

Get up to a fast pace, sprint for 100-150 m, recover about 8 min and repeat 5 time.

Speed

Rotating paceline at a fast pace for 5 min than 5min at 12 beats below that fast pace. 5 repeats.
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Old 07-10-09, 02:18 PM
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Also ladders are great introductions to intervals.

Warmup for 20-30 minutes, then begin. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes each. The "on" portion and "off" portion are the same (1 on, 1 off, 2 on, 2 off, 3 on, 3 off, etc). Cool down for 20-30 minutes.
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Old 07-10-09, 03:09 PM
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Intervals, intervals and more intervals.
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Old 07-10-09, 04:22 PM
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Color me disappointed. I can't be the only one who thought this thread was going to be about the latest in drillium upgrades.
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Old 07-10-09, 07:13 PM
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Yes I like the suggestions but was also hoping for a bit more. I do like the "send the person of small group up the road and then send out a chase group".

I am looking for drills and practices that we can do as a fairly large group of 18 or so. Keep the good ideas coming.

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Old 07-10-09, 09:20 PM
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I think chasing and time trialing work on sub-maximal speed, but the only way to work on speed (I think) is to do speed work. I used to spend 2-3 months, 2-2.5 hours/week, doing sprints (leadout+sprint for one mile, recover for one mile) in a large group. I could tell when I progressed to the next level (using jumps in typical speeds and typical gears - I'd plateau for a while, then suddenly be able to go to the next cog, or +2 mph). I'd wait for the next level, the next gear. I guess it's like track, where riders "learn" a gear before going to the next one, but on the road bike, I'd just learn how to sprint effectively in a particular gear before "graduating" to the next cog. A 14 is where I started, but my goal was to max out my 11. I rarely got there.

18 riders would work, but 50-100+ would be better. I've done sprint training with as few as 3 riders, but it's better to have 5-6 riders for a single "team" (4-5 leadout + 1 sprinter, switching roles on each lap), and it's better to have two teams trying to beat each other to create some natural competition.

If I had a committed group of 18 riders who would be able to train together for 1-2 hours, I'd do the following:
1. Find a loop with no stops, no cross traffic, and reasonably good surface that is 2 miles long. Low traffic would be good.

2. Designate a finish line. This should be either slight uphill (emphasizes power/jump) or slight downhill (emphasizes aerobics/sustained sprint), with some slow-down room afterwards (no hard turns for 100-200 meters). Paint a discrete line, or use duct tape (white if possible). Put it next to something on the side of the road (our 2 mile loop had a speed limit sign at the finish, and the night time loop's finish line is a crosswalk).

3. Designate a start point. Ideally this would be at the beginning of a moderate downhill, to help get speed up.

4. Split into two groups, with the two best sprinters on different groups. You could do timed flying 200m efforts to decide who goes on what team (A + B). Use something to differentiate the two teams (jerseys, bandana, big strip of yellow duct tape on left seat stay, etc etc etc.

5. The two groups race each other to the line. Use leadouts - within 200 yards of start the speed should be uncomfortable (30-35 mph), and by 1/2 mile it should be 100% maximal efforts by the guys leading out, ideally maintaining 38-40 mph until the sprint, then sprinters finally go. This means everyone is doing insane efforts at the front until they explode, first rider doing the longest pull (300-400 meters). Then the next guy goes shorter (200?), then shorter and even shorter. Each guy picks up the pace if possible, and once it hits 38-40, each guy is basically sprinting until he pulls off.

6. If one group keeps winning, shuffle things around so that the winning team has to force the leadout, i.e. it has to lead it, at least for the first 1/2 mile. Or if they are good sustained sprinters, make them launch early. The idea is to make it even so that sprints are decided by under 10 feet, ideally under 2-3 feet. You want to encourage your guys to drive for the line, not sit up when the guy with the jump gets 30 feet on you in a heartbeat.

7. On slight uphill or flat sprints, with favorable winds, aim for 45-46 mph peak speeds. With unfavorable winds, 42 mph. With a stiff headwind it's all tactical and peak speeds will be much lower. I can't attain these speeds anymore, but I think that a good sprinter should be able to hit these after 12-15 or so sessions, i.e. 3 or 4 months. This means that you'll be aiming to start drills next spring in April and flying in July. If you start now, you'll be flying just as you get off the bike for Christmas.

8. Do 15-17 sprints, 30-35 miles. Average 15 mph or less on the mile recovery each lap. If the sprinters are still fresh, go more. I'm convinced that a relatively fit rider (2000-3000 miles on their legs in the current season) can do 5-7 more 100% competitive sprints after they're absolutely exhausted, or believe they are. That's about what I could do before it got ugly (dizzy, purple lips, cramps, etc).

9. Do it on a Tue or Wed so you can recover for the weekend.

10. Eat and drink lots after. Usually fluids is better than food. Hang out with the guys and talk about all the sprints you did and how Howie just killed it in that one, but then John demolished everyone in that other one, etc etc etc.

Bonus: To simulate no-warmup, aim to win/complete your first sprint in less than 7 minutes of riding. This is not recommended for those injury prone. However, that was my approach, and it has helped me race well even when I get to a race late or have minimal warmup. It's not just getting used to extreme efforts right away, it's also learning how to recover from such efforts in a fashion that allows you to stay in the field.

I did this for probably 5-6 years and it made a huge difference in how I sprinted. I learned all sorts of tactics and techniques, pretty much all while experimenting on my own. By sprinting against far superior riders (Cat 1s and 2s, National team riders, etc), I had to figure out how to sprint in all sorts of different conditions, when totally outnumbered, when guys went super early, from the front, from a few back, from the back, with random riders thrown in the mix, etc.

I had a team that wanted to lead me out so we did a lot of leadout work too. I learned that faster is almost always better in a leadout, that going 30 mph just meant you were helping everyone, but that going 38-40 mph meant that only 2 or 3 guys were left to contest the sprint. It's really something to die a thousand deaths to stay on your leadout guy's wheel, jump, and realize there's just one really tired guy who is trying to beat you. Suddenly it becomes a lot easier, especially if that one guy isn't your most feared arch rival.

Many of the sprints were decided long before the line, 50-100 meters to go, maybe half or 3/4 of them. But the other ones were always tight, usually a wheel or less. Sometimes we'd argue that the other guy won. "I think you got me." "No, you did." "Well you let me claim the last one so I'm making you the winner on this one." "Okay." "Good sprint" "Good sprint" I had that argument a lot with a Cyclesport guy who seemed to be at the same level of tactics, jump, and speed. He had way more aerobic capacity than me, so he could actually do stuff like time trial, but during the sprint workouts, it didn't matter too much.

One of the last ones we had went something like this - "Man, I can't believe you beat me." "Well, I got an 11, decided to see how it went" "Well I have an 11 too. *And* I have a 54" "No way! I have a 54 too!"

Then both together, "I need a 55!"

We both looked at each other and laughed in between our gasps.

Damn. I wish I had a 2 mile loop with a slight uphill line and a short downhill start and 18 guys that wanted to work on sprinting. What a fun training ride that would be.

Then go to Wendys Superbar after

cdr
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Old 07-11-09, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Eatadonut View Post
Color me disappointed. I can't be the only one who thought this thread was going to be about the latest in drillium upgrades.
You must be a retrogrouch.
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Old 07-12-09, 02:47 PM
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Thanks cdr,

Some good ideas here. I'm trying to keep the interest level up plus come up with a training day that provides benefit for the non racer as well. In fact our sessions started out with only non racers who believe like I do that to improve speed you have to practice speed. Club rides at 22mph will get you really good at 22mph but guess what happens when it goes to 26? or when you have to close an opened gap up a steep hill? or when someone lets a gap open up in our weekly hammerfest ride. So at the moment interest is really high and riders are coming back for the weekly session. As mentioned last week we had 18 of which 7 were from our race team. This was the largest group we have ever had for this once per week summer session. So I like your idea of a larger team (more than the 3/4 per team) that we have been using. The riders of slightly lower ability can be the leadouts 1, 2 or 3 and then the race team members being the final sprinters. We should alternate as well to let the weaker riders be in the final sprint too. I think we do have a perfect 2 mile loop like you reference with a slight up hill finish and very very low traffic. Thanks again for your ideas.

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