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Group rides and training question

Old 06-24-07, 11:36 AM
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serpico7
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Group rides and training question

A little background: I've been riding since last autumn. Almost all of my riding, excluding recovery rides on rollers, is done in groups. Usually, I ride with the fastest group I can hang with on the flats. In such groups, I tend to be mid-pack in speed on the flats and amongst the top 25% on the hills (we re-group on the climbs). I don't have very good metrics on HR (need to get better at monitoring this), but on these rides, I am over LTHR for nearly 50% of the ride (or ~2 hours out of a 4hr ride). My LTHR measurement is not perfect, but I'm guessing it's within several points of true LT.

I recently rode in a group that averages ~2mph slower on the flats than my typical group ride. There were 2 climbs, 1 sprint point, and 1 interval (~3 minutes). Not surprisingly, I had much more energy to throw into these efforts than I usually do. I didn't track HR carefully, but I estimate I was above LTHR for ~20% of a 4hr ride. After the ride, I felt like I had just been squatting weights, as opposed to the typical faster ride, where my legs feel sort of noodly. And the next day, my legs weren't nearly as sore as they are the day after a faster ride.

So what do you think? What's the best way for me to get stronger/faster? Should I continue doing fast rides? Or slightly slower rides where I throw a lot of effort into climbs and sprints and intervals? Or alternate between these rides?
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Old 06-24-07, 02:05 PM
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Stop only riding with groups and start riding solo more. Then you can dedicate time/energy to a plan specific to you without worrying about the pace the group is dictating. Group riding is great for getting better at riding in groups, not so great for increasing on the bike fitness. It can help, but you need solo time to do structured interval training.
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Old 06-24-07, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by NomadVW
Stop only riding with groups and start riding solo more.
I forgot to mention that I find riding by myself to be only slightly more interesting than riding a stationary bike (and I never do the latter). I take your point there are benefits to be had, and maybe I can ride solo once in a while and do intervals to make it more interesting, but assuming most of my riding will be group riding, which group am I better off riding with?
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Old 06-25-07, 09:40 PM
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bump

Danno, ericqu, what say ye?
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Old 06-25-07, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by serpico7
Danno, ericqu, what say ye?
I think you know the answer - you're working too hard.

All the training stuff I've read (Friel, Burke, Carmichael) says that most riders work out too hard when they want to get aerobic benefit and (therefore) not hard enough for intervals.

In the long term, you want to be spending a lot of time on base miles (most plans say to spend 95% of your time below your LT). But that's the long-term plan - what you would do in the preparation period.

For this summer, you will likely get better results if you try to structure your riding so that you are doing a fair amount of easier riding under your LT. If you do that, that will leave you rested enough to be able to work very hard on your intervals and tempo work, and that's where you'll see the real gains.

The fast rides that you are doing sound like race simulation. It's okay to do now and then, but not as a regular diet.
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Old 06-26-07, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ericgu
I think you know the answer - you're working too hard.
Yes, but it's nice to get confirmation from someone with more experience in these matters, and who is obviously more thoughtful about their riding than the average cyclist. So thanks.

I will modify my riding accordingly. I'd be lying if I said that I weren't a little bit worried that, when I do the occasional faster ride in the future, I won't be able to keep up. I guess I need to have faith that smarter training will overcome harder training.
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Old 03-29-08, 06:45 PM
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Sorry to bring this thread back to life, but I'm in a similar situation, with a fast ride that can kill me and is probably too fast to really let me develop my bike handling skills. I think I'll start dropping back to the slower ride and have more control.
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Old 03-30-08, 01:48 PM
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intervals FTW. lay off the group rides. i used to hate riding solo because i had no "direction" or nothing to "train" for...solo was boring as hell. i now have an actual training plan and a mentor/coach type that keeps me on the straight & narrow. i did a couple of group rides during the week last week, but found i would have rather been doing my intervals. riding solo is much better now. this week i'm back to riding solo and intervals.

intervals=your friend
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