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1st season of cycling: Review & What's next? (long winded)

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Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

1st season of cycling: Review & What's next? (long winded)

Old 08-17-04, 12:20 PM
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1st season of cycling: Review & What's next? (long winded)

This was my first year of seriously riding my bike on the road. While Iím not officially done for the year, my 2 major events are now over, and I thought this would be a good time to reflect on how things are going.

On 1/1 I decided the couch had to go, and I signed up for a couple of triathlons. The first event was a sprint (11 mile bike) the second an international (40k bike). I started biking in March, and my training rides were averaging 14-15 mph over 15-20 mile ďrollerĒ routes. In April/May I discovered a local bike club that has fast rides on Tuesday, and relaxed rides on Thursday & Sunday. I started riding these three rides every week with commuting to work 2-3 days a week. My first event in June I averaged 17 mph over the hilly 11 mile course. I was pretty pleased with that effort. I continued to ride two to three times a week with the group and this last Sunday I averaged 19.2 mph for the 40k route. The route was flat as a pancake though, so Iím judging improvement by relative placing in my age group. The 17 mph was in the bottom 1/3 and the 19.2 was more like the middle of the group.

Iím pretty pleased with my progress, but Iím beginning to notice that Iím not really increasing my speed so much as I am slowing down less on hills. Iím still a horrible hill climber, but Iím getting better at inclines. I noticed quite a few people averaging 21-25 mph on the bike leg of the event, and I want to know what is the best thing I can do to improve my speed? Iím sure intervals will be an answer, but I donít really know how to do them. How long, how intense, on flat or on hills, how many repeats, how often to do them, how do you stay motivated when doing them on your own, etc.

Iím thinking about trying to join a local citizen racing club, but Iím not sure if I am at the point where that I would not be embarrassing myself or if Iím good enough to be a newbie.

So here are my questions: How do I get faster? If intervals is the answer, how do I do intervals? Is my current performance ďgood enoughĒ to approach a citizen racing club? Why do I like to ride my bike so much? (Actually thatís my wifeís question )
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Old 08-17-04, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by DogBoy
This was my first year of seriously riding my bike on the road. While Iím not officially done for the year, my 2 major events are now over, and I thought this would be a good time to reflect on how things are going.

On 1/1 I decided the couch had to go, and I signed up for a couple of triathlons. The first event was a sprint (11 mile bike) the second an international (40k bike). I started biking in March, and my training rides were averaging 14-15 mph over 15-20 mile ďrollerĒ routes. In April/May I discovered a local bike club that has fast rides on Tuesday, and relaxed rides on Thursday & Sunday. I started riding these three rides every week with commuting to work 2-3 days a week. My first event in June I averaged 17 mph over the hilly 11 mile course. I was pretty pleased with that effort. I continued to ride two to three times a week with the group and this last Sunday I averaged 19.2 mph for the 40k route. The route was flat as a pancake though, so Iím judging improvement by relative placing in my age group. The 17 mph was in the bottom 1/3 and the 19.2 was more like the middle of the group.

Iím pretty pleased with my progress, but Iím beginning to notice that Iím not really increasing my speed so much as I am slowing down less on hills. Iím still a horrible hill climber, but Iím getting better at inclines. I noticed quite a few people averaging 21-25 mph on the bike leg of the event, and I want to know what is the best thing I can do to improve my speed? Iím sure intervals will be an answer, but I donít really know how to do them. How long, how intense, on flat or on hills, how many repeats, how often to do them, how do you stay motivated when doing them on your own, etc.

Iím thinking about trying to join a local citizen racing club, but Iím not sure if I am at the point where that I would not be embarrassing myself or if Iím good enough to be a newbie.

So here are my questions: How do I get faster? If intervals is the answer, how do I do intervals? Is my current performance ďgood enoughĒ to approach a citizen racing club? Why do I like to ride my bike so much? (Actually thatís my wifeís question )
I was there with you once. Congratulations. And tell your wife that riding a bike is the best way to not go wack-city later in life and end up with somebody other than your wife...hint....

First off, go ahead and race...you WILL get dropped, but so does everybody who races...even old LA himself. Nobody will look down on you for giving it your all and sliding off the back at first.

You will get faster on flats when you train in big gears specifically to time trial. I rode 19 MPH my first 10 mile TT..after 6 months of training in aero position (and not long miles...just quality miles) I did 20 miles in 25 MPH average. You will see rapid improvement as you get used to pushing the big gears.

Get the book "smart cycling" ...there are fantastic interval programs and trainer programs (for spinning and strength) in the book...dry read but very effective.

Oh yeah and hill training is simple...go up as hard as you can...coast back down...go up as hard as you can...coast down...go back up and stay on the bike...don't quit...you will notice that you are riding smoother in bigger gears in no time.
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Old 08-17-04, 01:20 PM
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A great but challenging interval exercise is:

60 seconds On (total balls-to-the-wall flat out hard as you can sprint)
60 seconds Off (light, light spinning, try to spin the lactic acid out, just spin enough to remain upright and moving forward)

50 seconds On
50 seconds Off

40 seconds On
40 seconds Off

all the way down to 10 seconds On and Off. It is a *killer* workout.

Dave
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Old 08-17-04, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by bunabayashi
A great but challenging interval exercise is:

60 seconds On (total balls-to-the-wall flat out hard as you can sprint)
60 seconds Off (light, light spinning, try to spin the lactic acid out, just spin enough to remain upright and moving forward)

50 seconds On
50 seconds Off

40 seconds On
40 seconds Off

all the way down to 10 seconds On and Off. It is a *killer* workout.

Dave
Ouch dude
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Old 08-17-04, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by DogBoy
So here are my questions: How do I get faster?
Keep riding! Next spring, it will feel like you're starting over, but soon you will realize that your muscles retained a lot from this year.

Do some riding indoors over the winter (buy a trainer or join a spinning class). It will make those first few spring rides feel easier.

I like to keep a ride diary. I can show you every ride I've done since '89, including the one where I met my wife I use Excel so I can add distances, chart, etc.

Keep riding on the group rides and try to hang with the faster groups as long as you can. Someday, you'll be the one people are trying to hang on to

Oh, and did I mention to keep riding? Anyway, keep it up and maybe I'll see you on one of the Wednesday rides (we have a red Volvo wagon).

-murray
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Old 08-17-04, 02:23 PM
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Why quit riding during winter? Riding when it's 0 degrees makes you look hard core.
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Old 08-25-04, 12:56 PM
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Hi Dogboy,

I have a suggestion that may help answer your question about being "good enough" to join a local citizen racing club. This saturday (28aug) the Atkins Citizen Racing Club out of Verona, WI (I mentioned this club to you in previous thread) is holding a time trial on roads between Madison and Stoughton. Lots of Atkins members do the race as well as riders from other local clubs. The time trial is 12 miles long with several hills and some flat areas. If time permits you to participate in this race you could compare your race results with Atkins members and/or people in other racing clubs. This could give you an idea where you fit into the scheme of things. Plus you'd be able to meet and talk with a lot of other racers in a friendly setting!

I'm an Atkins Club member...I'm not trying to push the club or anything...there are lots of Madison clubs you could join. It's important to find one in which you feel comfortable. I know how intimidating it can be to get started in bike racing/group training. I get dropped on training rides all the time but I just keep trying. I figure any amount of fast riding (even if it isn't as fast as everyone else!) is doing me good. Plus Atkins does specialized rides like chase groups and jack rabbit starts...this is very different than riding in a paceline and is good training for going faster in a race.

If the time trial sounds like something you'd like to try...shoot me a reply and I can give you more information...

Bike riding is addicting!
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Old 08-25-04, 01:25 PM
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Hi,
try to find a good cycling coach if you can.
Training breaks down into a few categories. The schedule should be a periodised training program. Within that program you want to do zone training. To accomplish that you need training routines. You can find a ton in https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...glance&s=books

Don't forget the accompnaying logbook. You will likely want to spend some time in the gym. Comnbining all these elements into an effective program is both a science and an art. A coach would be ideal, but you can learn. Watch for symptoms of overtraining, a trainer's Enemy #1.
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