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Looking for training book to get +2-3 mph average

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Looking for training book to get +2-3 mph average

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Old 12-19-18, 05:43 PM
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crankarmbreaker
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Looking for training book to get +2-3 mph average

Hi all,

I'm looking for training resources for bicycling. There's a big ride coming up this year called the Ride Around Mt Rainier in One Day, which is 154 miles / 10,000 feet of elevation gain, and it's pretty clear I need to up my average speed 2-3 mph if I have hope of finishing before the support guys sweep the course. (It's a 15-hour limit.) I've been riding long rides for 20 years, but never really taken on a formal discipline besides "ride big hills" and "go 100 miles and hope I go faster than last time." This year, I've ridden 2,200 miles.

To provide some other information, I'm 39, I weigh 355 pounds (would love to lose about 100 pounds), I'm 6 feet 9 inches tall, I ride a custom bike built 20 years ago (and am ordering a new one this year) and I have started using a wahoo fitness heart-rate monitor in the past few months, connected to a smartphone in a top-tube bag with a transparent cover. I have found that using the HR app does help me remember that I could be going faster and to resist the temptation to lazy about with my heart rate at 130 bpm, and I've been striving to get as much time as possible in the 151-172 bpm range, which the app calls "hard," with 173+ being "peak." Someone told me that's how you build stamina.

Ok, so having told you all that, I have no idea how interval training works, or even if that's what you're supposed to do or...? So, anyone have a favorite reputable book they want to tell me about? Or a web site that has this stuff? Or, does this forum have a sticky post with it that I just haven't been able to find?

Thanks,
Eric the Crankarmbreaker
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Old 12-19-18, 06:15 PM
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Training is great but loosing weight is the number one thing you can do.
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Old 12-19-18, 06:29 PM
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First of all, RAMROD is done on a lottery system so no guarantee you'll get it, better off volunteering for this year and planning on riding it in 2020. Gives you more time to build up the training and weight loss. If you are in the PNW and inside for most of the winter, an indoor trainer and base miles would be a good place to start.
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Old 12-19-18, 08:01 PM
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Two things you can do to improve:
1. Lose weight - pretty self-explanatory. This will make climbing easier (or rather, it will feel the same but you'll go faster).
2. Get more powerful. This is where the training comes in. There's lots of different training plans/methods but really it all comes down to riding hard, and then trying to improve. I forget who said it but "That which is measured improves". So keep a log of your progress. However... speed in cycling is quite variable. Wind direction and velocity is changing constantly. This makes measuring your progress based on just your speed somewhat difficult which is why power meters are so popular now. A few solutions I can think of (perhaps some more experienced cyclists will think of better options).
a) track yourself up a hill. Speed is less variable when going up hill.
b) track your average speed over a period of time, say month to month. This would eliminate much of the variance.
c) get a power meter and this stops being a problem.

Have you ever done any group rides? If not, let me tell you: drafting makes a big difference. Get comfortable riding close behind another cyclist, and do this on the day of the event as much as you can.
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Old 12-19-18, 08:17 PM
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If you want to gain speed, you can do that regardless of whether or not you improve fitness.

If you want to increase fitness, that may or may not be reflected in your speed.

Since you mentioned speed in the OP: 2-3 mph can potentially be gained by A) a more aggressive fit (may or may not improve total overall speed as you have to actually stay in the faster position for significant amounts of time) B) much better fitting clothes (like so tight you can barely stand up straight off the bike), and C) better tires and tubes (Corsa Speeds with latex tubes or some other such combination). Other things to improve speed come from a more aero helmet, maximizing pack/drafting skills, improving descending and cornering skills, and ensuring adequate nutrition to maintain maximum performance.

Potentially even more significant than any of that: just go ride more. 2-3x more. 2200 a year is a great start, but you should build significantly from there (and quickly) if you're serious about improving fitness/speed. No real shortcuts in endurance sports, aside from pure genetic talent. Gotta wear out those tires over and over again. At this point I'd wager that simply putting in more miles would get you more gains than intervals (though of course you can always incorporate those, too).
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Old 12-19-18, 08:19 PM
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And the sticky post is in the racing thread:

The BikeForums.net workout recipe book
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Old 12-19-18, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
First of all, RAMROD is done on a lottery system so no guarantee you'll get it, better off volunteering for this year and planning on riding it in 2020. Gives you more time to build up the training and weight loss. If you are in the PNW and inside for most of the winter, an indoor trainer and base miles would be a good place to start.
I volunteered this year and have the bypass. This will be my eighth time doing it. When I've managed to finish before sweep, it's been just before the finish line closed. But the past 3-4 years, I seem to have slowed down, and it's not as easy to get that back as it was when I was 25.
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Old 12-19-18, 09:42 PM
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Try intervals. There are several types and tutorials, from brutal HIIT to more relaxed intervals. Helped my conditioning significantly since summer 2017.

The main difference I found after various types of intervals wasn't so much in my average speed, (although it did increase a bit, from 14 to 16 mph over 20-50 miles) but in my recovery time after hard efforts. I no longer needed to stop at the top of a hill to catch my breath or to walk up hills. I could recover just from easing up a bit after cresting a hill, pedal easily for 30-60 seconds, and be ready to go again. I no longer even needed to stop at all for rides under 30 miles. I'm having fewer problems with asthma.

I won't repeat the specifics for intervals because there are so many tutorials online. But I will suggest a caution: if you decided to tackle true high intensity interval training (such as the Tabata style) -- get medical clearance, and do it indoors on a trainer or in the gym. Probably a good idea to have a trainer or at least a friend to prop you up or call 911. I'm not kidding. True HIIT is brutal. The lungs and legs are on fire. I was dizzy, slightly nauseated. Some people say they've vomited during or after true HIIT workouts. I did HIIT sessions outdoors a couple of times during the summer of 2017 and had to prop myself against a signpost, fence or utility pole a couple of times to keep myself from falling due to dizziness.

After that I did less intense intervals outdoors and do HIIT type only indoors on the trainer, with something nearby to prop myself up or flop against. And a bucket nearby. And I don't eat just before those workouts.

I'm not sure that level of intensity is essential or even advisable. I'm 61, thin (5'11", 155 lbs), with good blood pressure and heart rate, with a background in competitive sports in my teens and 20s, no personal history of strokes, etc., or other medical issues that would make HIIT inadvisable. But I haven't done any HIIT since summer and probably wouldn't again unless I was training for a specific event, such as a time trial. Less intensive intervals have worked to keep my fitness pretty even over this year, with only a small loss due to injury and illness.
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Old 12-19-18, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
Two things you can do to improve:
1. Lose weight - pretty self-explanatory. This will make climbing easier (or rather, it will feel the same but you'll go faster).
2. Get more powerful. This is where the training comes in. There's lots of different training plans/methods but really it all comes down to riding hard, and then trying to improve. I forget who said it but "That which is measured improves". So keep a log of your progress. However... speed in cycling is quite variable. Wind direction and velocity is changing constantly. This makes measuring your progress based on just your speed somewhat difficult which is why power meters are so popular now. A few solutions I can think of (perhaps some more experienced cyclists will think of better options).
a) track yourself up a hill. Speed is less variable when going up hill.
b) track your average speed over a period of time, say month to month. This would eliminate much of the variance.
c) get a power meter and this stops being a problem.

Have you ever done any group rides? If not, let me tell you: drafting makes a big difference. Get comfortable riding close behind another cyclist, and do this on the day of the event as much as you can.
Power meter. I have not heard of one of those. What are they and how do they work?

Drafting. The only person big enough to punch a hole in the air big enough for me is my father, and he had a stroke on a 200 mi ride last year (and finished) and I doubt that my mother will let him come again. (His cognition & speech are about 75% of the way back to normal now.)
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Old 12-19-18, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
If you want to gain speed, you can do that regardless of whether or not you improve fitness.

Since you mentioned speed in the OP: 2-3 mph can potentially be gained by A) a more aggressive fit (may or may not improve total overall speed as you have to actually stay in the faster position for significant amounts of time) B) much better fitting clothes (like so tight you can barely stand up straight off the bike), and C) better tires and tubes (Corsa Speeds with latex tubes or some other such combination). Other things to improve speed come from a more aero helmet, maximizing pack/drafting skills, improving descending and cornering skills, and ensuring adequate nutrition to maintain maximum performance.
.
Clothes? How does that work? I have quite a challenge finding shorts in my size, I think there's only one company that makes them that big.

Better tires -- how much benefit do you think that gets you? Last year I tried SECA 26 x 1.25s, but I hit a rock at a funny angle when they had about 100 miles on them, and the rear tire blew out about 10 minutes later. When I don't hit rocks at weird angles, I could only get 300-400 miles out of them. I've switched to bulkier 26 x 1.5 Specialized Armadillos and I seem to be able to get 700-800 miles out of them. I love the idea of lighter, better tires, but I always seem to destroy them.
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Old 12-19-18, 10:19 PM
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Where are you?

I ride from Portland to Eugene, and Eugene to Portland a few times a year. You're welcome to join me, varying from about 140 miles to 200 miles.

Whew, 15 hour time limit for 154 miles. Actually, that is averaging only about 10 MPH (including restroom breaks, rest stops, etc). And, with some luck, you'll not have to carry much of anything with you.

As far as speed, there are two things. Speed and endurance.

I can hit 20 MPH for say 10 miles. But, I just can't keep it up. I find that I'm slowing down considerably as I get over 100 miles or so.

I can't motivate myself to do a lot of intervals, but you presumably have to work on both short term effort & quick recovery from hard efforts (intervals will help with that), as well as overall endurance and fatigue. Really, I think the more century rides you do, the better off you will be.
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Old 12-19-18, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Try intervals. There are several types and tutorials, from brutal HIIT to more relaxed intervals. Helped my conditioning significantly since summer 2017.
I just did a Google search on HIIT and Tabata and I'm not that masochistic. Also, given my weight, I've never done an honest push-up in my life, thus kind of nixing the burpee.
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Old 12-19-18, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Where are you?

I ride from Portland to Eugene, and Eugene to Portland a few times a year. You're welcome to join me, varying from about 140 miles to 200 miles.

Whew, 15 hour time limit for 154 miles. Actually, that is averaging only about 10 MPH (including restroom breaks, rest stops, etc). And, with some luck, you'll not have to carry much of anything with you.

As far as speed, there are two things. Speed and endurance.

I can hit 20 MPH for say 10 miles. But, I just can't keep it up. I find that I'm slowing down considerably as I get over 100 miles or so.

I can't motivate myself to do a lot of intervals, but you presumably have to work on both short term effort & quick recovery from hard efforts (intervals will help with that), as well as overall endurance and fatigue. Really, I think the more century rides you do, the better off you will be.
I live in the Seattle area. I do the STP. I'm ok with endurance as I can do the STP all in one day without having a "I can't go another inch moment", it just takes 18 hours.
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Old 12-19-18, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by crankarmbreaker View Post
I live in the Seattle area. I do the STP. I'm ok with endurance as I can do the STP all in one day without having a "I can't go another inch moment", it just takes 18 hours.
Is that 18 hours for 200 miles, or 18 hours for 100 miles?

If you're getting 200 miles in 18 hours, you are mighty close already.

10,000 feet of climbing will be a bit of a drag.

Ohhh... You want a good spring training ride?

RondePDX

Ronde & La Doyenne are both in the spring. Le Foglie Morte is in the fall. Somewhere around 7,000 to 8,000 feet of climbing, but you do it all in about 50 miles.

The rides are FREE, but they are BRUTAL.

Hmmm...
Here is your ride (found on the internet).
https://www.strava.com/activities/1105031546

It doesn't look that steep, but overall, a long unrelenting climb.
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Old 12-19-18, 10:52 PM
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Oh, I think there is also a strong Seattle area Randonneur group. You could check them out.
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Old 12-19-18, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Is that 18 hours for 200 miles, or 18 hours for 100 miles?
It's 18 hours for 200 miles with 2,700 feet of climbing. But there's a significant speed gap when I do RAMROD, so much so that I'm inclined to drop out of RAMROD unless I'm able to make some progress.
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Old 12-19-18, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Oh, I think there is also a strong Seattle area Randonneur group. You could check them out.
I've done a few rides with them. Ralph Nussbaum is a slave driver.
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Old 12-19-18, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by crankarmbreaker View Post
Power meter. I have not heard of one of those. What are they and how do they work?

Drafting. The only person big enough to punch a hole in the air big enough for me is my father, and he had a stroke on a 200 mi ride last year (and finished) and I doubt that my mother will let him come again. (His cognition & speech are about 75% of the way back to normal now.)
A power meter does what it says: it measures the power you put into the bike. They can be built into the rear hub, crankset, or pedals. Strain gauges and whatnot. With a training plan and some data analysis, it can be a great tool to optimize your training.

Sorry to hear about your dad. I hope he continues to make a recovery.
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Old 12-20-18, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by crankarmbreaker View Post
Clothes? How does that work? I have quite a challenge finding shorts in my size, I think there's only one company that makes them that big.

Better tires -- how much benefit do you think that gets you? Last year I tried SECA 26 x 1.25s, but I hit a rock at a funny angle when they had about 100 miles on them, and the rear tire blew out about 10 minutes later. When I don't hit rocks at weird angles, I could only get 300-400 miles out of them. I've switched to bulkier 26 x 1.5 Specialized Armadillos and I seem to be able to get 700-800 miles out of them. I love the idea of lighter, better tires, but I always seem to destroy them.
Clothes can dramatically improve aerodynamics. You could likely gain .5 - 1 mph going from really baggy, loose-fitting stuff to something like a skinsuit. Size is obviously an issue, so you may be limited in that regard, though you can still likely make improvements if you wanted.

Because of the rolling resistance, you get more speed from good tires and tubes than just about any other equipment change.

Based on your other posts, however, I'm inclined to suggest the only things you should really focus on at the moment to greatly improve performance is riding significantly more and losing as much weight as possible. That's probably also both the easiest and hardest thing to do at the moment.
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Old 12-20-18, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by crankarmbreaker View Post
Power meter. I have not heard of one of those. What are they and how do they work?
They are a device which measures how much power you are generating (think like horsepower in a car) by pedaling. Typically they are in your pedals, on your cranks or in some part of your drive train like your rear wheel's hub. Because things like wind, air density, the clothes you are wearing etc. can all affect your speed, it allows you to measure your fitness far more accurately.
Originally Posted by crankarmbreaker View Post
Drafting. The only person big enough to punch a hole in the air big enough for me is my father, and he had a stroke on a 200 mi ride last year (and finished) and I doubt that my mother will let him come again. (His cognition & speech are about 75% of the way back to normal now.)
Even a smaller person (or better yet, a group of people) in front will help. Look at the attached picture. The guy (Chaves) riding in the middle of the peloton (the big group of riders) is using less than 2/3 of the energy that the guy (Tuft) at the front is using.

The two biggest factors working against you are wind resistance (mostly on flat and downhill sections) and gravity (when going up hill). Draft, wear tighter clothes etc. to reduce wind resistance. I probably add about 1 km/hr to my speed by wearing cycling kit instead of a t-shirt and shorts. It really does make a difference. For gravity, lose weight.
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Old 12-21-18, 03:40 PM
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Have you heard of RTS? RAMROD Stories: RAMROD Training Series
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Old 12-21-18, 05:04 PM
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lol

Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
If you want to gain speed, you can do that regardless of whether or not you improve fitness.

If you want to increase fitness, that may or may not be reflected in your speed.

Since you mentioned speed in the OP: 2-3 mph can potentially be gained by A) a more aggressive fit (may or may not improve total overall speed as you have to actually stay in the faster position for significant amounts of time) B) much better fitting clothes (like so tight you can barely stand up straight off the bike), and C) better tires and tubes (Corsa Speeds with latex tubes or some other such combination). Other things to improve speed come from a more aero helmet, maximizing pack/drafting skills, improving descending and cornering skills, and ensuring adequate nutrition to maintain maximum performance.

Potentially even more significant than any of that: just go ride more. 2-3x more. 2200 a year is a great start, but you should build significantly from there (and quickly) if you're serious about improving fitness/speed. No real shortcuts in endurance sports, aside from pure genetic talent. Gotta wear out those tires over and over again. At this point I'd wager that simply putting in more miles would get you more gains than intervals (though of course you can always incorporate those, too).
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Old 12-21-18, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
Yes, I've done a few of those rides. They're ok, but I need something I can do on my own for a few hours while my kid is in school.
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Old 12-21-18, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
lol
Is that funny because speed is irrelevant when staring at the wall in your basement?
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Old 12-22-18, 01:32 AM
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Originally Posted by crankarmbreaker View Post
Yes, I've done a few of those rides. They're ok, but I need something I can do on my own for a few hours while my kid is in school.
Cool. I only know of the series from a co-worker. My goal next year is to get fast enough to finish in the gold medal tier of Cascade's High Pass Challenge, so I was considering those rides. In the meantime, since November I've bought PowerTap P1 pedals and tried out TrainerRoad, Zwift, and The Sufferfest. They are all subscription services that provide guided workouts, making it easier to not have to figure out what to do, and support a variety of indoor trainers. While you didn't mention any interest in indoor training, there are at least two good reasons to consider it: it's time efficient and it's much easier to do specific structured training.
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