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Now I'm confused

popettepopette Posts: 2,089
Hi

Just a bit of background: been cycling since April, built up over the months to a century a few weekends ago. I cycle about 3/4 times per week - about 70 - 90 miles usually. I don't race, I want to enter sportive/challenge/charity events and build up to etape in 2009.

I've been reading lots of books about cycling training and I've created a training plan based on the Cycling Training Bible by Joe Friel. In october I'll be taking a break from cycling and then doing long easyish runs out until early next year, when the intensity will build up to doing intervals etc. I've read a few threads on here which are making me question whether this is the right thing to do. Every book I've read on the subject seems to suggest a similar approach - moving from generic training to more specific as you get closer to when you want to peak for an event. Is this wrong and if it is an outdated approach then what the alternative?

I can't afford a power meter. I do have a HRM but usually don't wear it and go on how I feel.

I thought I'd got a great plan together and now I'm starting to wonder.

Thanks in advance :)
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  • ash68ash68 Posts: 320
    I'm no expert but IMO you've got the right idea.i don't tend to have time off the bike as such in October but if it's pissing down on a sunday then i'll do a shorter ride of say 45-60 miles ,rather than 80-100 miles or take the odd sunday off altogether.That would be my rest.Winter in general is used as base mileage,i.e. long steady miles to build up a good base fitness for next year. it's also good to do some cross training.i.e. swimming,gym work or other sports you enjoy.i like to practise riding up hills in the winter as well as it keeps your heart and lungs working and to me is more beneficial & better time management than riding ftatter routes.i don't use any power cranks or heart moniters and just ride on how I feel on the day, Think you can get bogged down with all this technology, I ride for fun and to enjoy myself and can still get round sportives in reasonable times.Some people will agree with my approach,some won't, but to me you do what you enjoy, not neccesarily what the text books/ experts say.
  • Hi Popette

    Well done on doing the century ride. I too have got Joe Friel's book, 1996 edition bought several years ago and I used to follow his method of doing high volume low intesity over the winter then increasing the intensity in the spring. I also do some sportives and I use a HRM but like you I don't use it all the time and ride on feel.

    Others on this forum last year encouraged me to look at a different form of base training and I was pointed to this article http://www.biketechreview.com/performance/base.htm which suggests that instead of long rides being the basis of one's fitness is how much power you can sustain for 20 minutes. To work on your 20 minute power you have to train by doing short high-intensity intervals of between 3 and 8 minutes long. These intervals will give you a bigger "aerobic engine". But they take a lot of effort to do. Other intervals that are important are 2x20 minute intervals. But these intervals will dramatically increase your fitness. And if you want to do l'etape and don't want to get swept up by the broom wagon, then it is essential you do them.

    So the "new thinking" about base training appears to suggest that you should do high-intensity workouts pretty much all year round and only up the distance/volume in preparation for an event like a 140k cyclo sportive. That doesn't mean to say you shouldn't do any long easy distance, but you should perhaps do it just once a week and only do a very long ride, say, once every month or two. In fact your cyclo sportive is likely to take you, say, 6 hours then you need not ride any further than that in training. In fact you could get away with probably riding 4 or 5 hours once a month and say three or four hours once a week.

    In my opinion, the main benefit of doing a long ride is to get your body used to riding the bike for several hours, to work on pedalling speed and to get used to eating and drinking on a long ride.

    How have you set your heart-rate monitor zones? Have you done the test that Friel suggests?

    Bin
  • I forgot to mention. One other very important benefit of the long ride is group riding skills (assuming you go on a club run). This is essential if you are riding cyclo sporives and l'etape.

    Bin
  • I think Binlinus says all I woould say. DOn't get hung up on or confused by all the discussions about Power meters and heart rate monitors. If they're not your cup of tea and you don't race you don't need them (tho' quite a few people probably use HRMs) Just make sure your training is progressive - working harder longer as you get closer to your goal and enjoyable :-). I know nothing about Friels book except that it is highly regarded by some/many and derided by others/ a few. Stick to the broad picture and don't get too bogged down in the tiny details.
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    Thanks for your replies and advice guys. I think I'll just stick to my original plan then.
    I'll be riding outdoors only once or twice per week - that's when I'll do my longer miles. I'll use the turbo trainer through the week and just do shorter and more intense sessions on that. So I'll be getting a mix of long/steady and short/intense rides.
    As long as I keep cycling over the winter I'll be doing more than I did last year.
    Thanks again
  • Hi Popette.
    Why wait until 2009?
    I am pretty sure you could do it in 2008. You have already done a century.
    If you just keep getting your base miles in during the winter then gradually increase you mileage from springtime you will be fine.
    No need for "specific" training with hrm and power meter but I am sure the techies will say different :D
    You target is to complete the ride and not looking to win it so I am sure what you have done up to now would get you through no problem.
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    Hi oldwelshman
    The 2009 date ties in with my husbands 40th - it's going to be a birthday treat for us. I'm really looking forward to it - both doing the event and having a few days away on our own.
    Next year our big challenge will be Wild Wales so we'll be coming over your way. :)
  • popette wrote:
    Hi oldwelshman
    The 2009 date ties in with my husbands 40th - it's going to be a birthday treat for us. I'm really looking forward to it - both doing the event and having a few days away on our own.
    Next year our big challenge will be Wild Wales so we'll be coming over your way. :)
    My way? I am in Dunstable now :D
    I bet when you suggested a ride for his birthday he had something else in mind :oops:
    Still I am sure you will both enjoy it :D
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    oh he gets plenty of that already. I'm at my peak don't you know?
  • hi popette,

    if you can now ride a 100 thats pretty impressive going in less than 6 months by any ones standards.So well done.

    TBH i would ditch the HRM riding on feel comes with experince and the more you ride the better you become at gauging effort and how long you can maintain it.

    If your not already in a cycling club it would be good to join for there winter clubruns its alot easier going out with a group than by your self when its 5degs+ learning to wheel suck will really help you on your sportives.

    training to get faster involves monthly fitness measuring normally on a turbo at a fixed HR and recording distance, same gear etc.and importantly progressive overload which means upping your weekly ride time but also havinga rest week every 3rd week to consolidate training and recover.

    if you atre doing the etape learn to love climbs :)
  • nolfnolf Posts: 2,016
    For a big sportive the things you have to be good at is climbing and endurance.

    These 2 things have seperate training regimes.

    Endurance is based around being able to go for a long time at a lowish intensity.
    The best training for this is long rides at a lowish intensity surprisingly :)
    Do lots of group rides to get used to drafting- will save you masses of energy on the day itself- and also to get used to cruising at a faster than solo pace.
    You don't have to do century rides but to be confident and well able to do a century ride in a flattish area in 6 hours would be a good intermediate goal.

    Continental climbing is about continued high power output for 1 or 2 hours.
    Unlike the shorter climbs we have in the UK these are a lot more similar to a Time Trial than a UK hill climb. Practice going on rides that have 1 hour at high intensity- for example going into a headwind on a flat road or pushing hard on an undulating road.
    Or find a long and shallow hill (5-10%) and go up and down that a few times. You could add in 25 mile time trials if you like competition, but don't avoid local hills- get used to finding a rhythm for long climbs and learn what gears you need.

    This practice of long high intensities will prepare you mentally for the climbs that can go on for hours.

    Interval training can be useful to get you used to travelling with a group at high speed- but continued power output is more important than 2 minute boosts.
    You could try doing the 2x20 minute intervals to build power.

    Try doing a few other sportives and Audaxes over the next year.

    Enjoy + Good Luck :P
    "I hold it true, what'er befall;
    I feel it, when I sorrow most;
    'Tis better to have loved and lost;
    Than never to have loved at all."

    Alfred Tennyson
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    Hi Popette.
    Why wait until 2009?
    I am pretty sure you could do it in 2008. You have already done a century.
    If you just keep getting your base miles in during the winter then gradually increase you mileage from springtime you will be fine.
    No need for "specific" training with hrm and power meter but I am sure the techies will say different :D
    You target is to complete the ride and not looking to win it so I am sure what you have done up to now would get you through no problem.

    change of plan - I'M DOING IT next year!!!!!!
    Better get myself up that cat and fiddle a few times
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    popette wrote:
    change of plan - I'M DOING IT next year!!!!!!

    Good for you!! :) With a steady build-up of training, you will be able to complete the Etape in the time limits next year I'm sure.

    The UK Etape guide site is a very good place to start with regard to what training you should be aiming at http://www.etape.org.uk/ as well as all the helpful bods on here of course!
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    popette wrote:
    Hi Popette.
    Why wait until 2009?
    I am pretty sure you could do it in 2008. You have already done a century.
    If you just keep getting your base miles in during the winter then gradually increase you mileage from springtime you will be fine.
    No need for "specific" training with hrm and power meter but I am sure the techies will say different :D
    You target is to complete the ride and not looking to win it so I am sure what you have done up to now would get you through no problem.

    change of plan - I'M DOING IT next year!!!!!!
    Better get myself up that cat and fiddle a few times

    Closest UK sportive to the Eurpoean ones is the North Wales Super Fondo in May. It has 4300m of climbing with several long climbs. It is not like some of the silly UK ones where they pack in as many steep hills as possible.
    It would be good Idea to do this as you could build up to this, then have a good ride on this before the Etape.
    I am doing it again this year and hopefully it will be drier and warmer than last years !!!
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    Thanks guys,

    I've looked on cyclosport but I don't think the North Wales supert fondo is listed yet. I'll google it to see if something comes up. I've seen the Dave Lloyd Mega challenge - that really does look mega mega. They're not the same thing are they?
    I was also planning to do etape du dales, cheshire cat sportive and polka dot challenge. I do enjoy the pain of climbing but I really need to get lots better at it because it's usually there where I get passed. I'm also censored on descents so lots of skills to brush up on all round really.

    Thanks for the link Bronzie.

    Have you both done an etape before?
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    durrrrr
    just seen it right there in front of me all the time.
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    Those three events are one weekend after the other dales then wales then polka dot and are 5-7 weeks before the etape.

    I know that some people recommend overloading about 6 weeks before an event but would that be a bit much overload? Perhaps two of the three events would be sufficient?
  • Ride all of them, it will give you a feel for whats is to come with the etape which will be much harder than any UK sportive.
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    I havent seen the Dave Llloyd challenge but heard its a long one in North Wales.
    As he is from that area and trained there for years I suspect it will be a very picturesques but extrememly hard route :D
    I would not do all those rides you suggested, maybe one every other week as you need some time to recover, I think Steve is trying to kill you before Etape :-)
    You could do them and try to take it steady but thats easier said than done once you start riding.
  • David, are you doing the CGF again next year? I am planning to, and will do the super fondo even if its raining again. Will be at the velodrome Friday night - see you there?
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    I havent seen the Dave Llloyd challenge but heard its a long one in North Wales.
    As he is from that area and trained there for years I suspect it will be a very picturesques but extrememly hard route :D
    I would not do all those rides you suggested, maybe one every other week as you need some time to recover, I think Steve is trying to kill you before Etape :-)
    You could do them and try to take it steady but thats easier said than done once you start riding.

    I'm probably not going to do any of them!! I've booked a week in france for first week of june - bourg d'oisan (sp?) so that I can train on alpe d'huez and the galibier! Next year is going to be a really exciting year :D
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,267
    popette wrote:
    I'm probably not going to do any of them!! I've booked a week in france for first week of june - bourg d'oisan (sp?) so that I can train on alpe d'huez and the galibier! Next year is going to be a really exciting year :D
    You should plan to do the Croix de Fer, Telegraphe and Galibier loop, starting and finishing in Bourg d'Oisans if you can. If you can do that in a day then the Etape will be a stroll in the park in comparison.

    The trouble with Bourg is that the route national that runs through it can get very busy. I'd definitely avoid the Galibier via the Lauterat as you'll spend all morning being passed by enormous trucks.

    A great ride, that's not well known, is up the dead end road to a little village called La Berade. It's quite a stiff climb but the scenery is stunning and it is very, very quiet. Beautiful. :D
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    Thanks for the tips Andyp. I've been looking on bikely.com but I think I'll need to buy an alps package for my memory map if such a thing exists.

    Have you cycled there without a guide? How did you plan your routes? I definitely don't want to be on roads with huge trucks.

    thanks again
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    Andyp is right that the Lauteret road is busyish but I rode it in June this year (from La grave which makes a good centre - for us anyway) and we weren't bothered by the traffic at all, except on the way down when a glider container being towed got 'stuck' on a corner :shock: and stopped loads of cars(but not us) before freeing itself!
    It is a long and not terribly exciting drag tho' :D
    Its easy to plan your own routes. Get a map, sketch out a few ideas. find the climbs on the internet to see the %s. Do'em! (remeber teh changeble weather bit too.. :)
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    popette wrote:
    Have you cycled there without a guide? How did you plan your routes? I definitely don't want to be on roads with huge trucks.
    He cycled there with MEEEEEEE!

    There's really no need for a guide - there aren't all that many options from Bourg d'Oisans. Don't go over the Croix de Fer unless you're confident you can get over the Telegraphe and the Galibier too (or back over the Croix de Fer again!), but there are other easier options for climbing practice. You could go up the Col d'Ornon, or there's a nice little road through Villard Reculas (IIRC) along a narrow shelf overlooking the main Alp d'Huez climb, and there's a circular loop you can do beyond the Alp d'Huez resort which brings you back down to the reservoir above Bourg d'Oisans on the main road........forgotten what that col or place is called........... Andy, help me out?

    Ruth
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    HI Ruth,
    At this moment, I'm definitely not confident about the Galibier but I'm hoping that my next June I'd be ok to tackle it. What about Alpe D'huez - going up those hairpins in the inside of the road? Is it a nightmare?
    I've got my blog set up now - link below. Boring to everyone but me.
    Thanks
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    David, are you doing the CGF again next year? I am planning to, and will do the super fondo even if its raining again. Will be at the velodrome Friday night - see you there?
    Yes I am doing GFC super again and hope it is above minus 5 on the Bwlch this year !!
    I might take a tent and camp next to lake :D
    Can't make the track this week, car needs fixing :cry: Ask them if winter league has started and if not when?
    I havent decided if I am doing Etape or Pinarello this year. The Etape is a bit of rip off as it is difficult to organise yourself and is geared up to go via G.Baxter !!
    The Italian rides are very well organised and easier to register and travel to, will have to see.
  • I am not planning an etape until 2009. Next year will be doing the white horse again which was easily the best organised sportive of 07 for me. Also the CGF, the dragon and the Dave Lloyd mega. That and the welsh points and BAR. and thats it.
  • BeaconRuthBeaconRuth Posts: 2,086
    popette wrote:
    What about Alpe D'huez - going up those hairpins in the inside of the road? Is it a nightmare?
    I don't remember Alp d'Huez being anything particularly special TBH. The hairpins are no different from those on other alpine climbs, it's no steeper, and certainly not as scenic as many others. It's not a nightmare at all. Have some nice low gears, take it steady, pace yourself and you'll get to the top, no problem. :D

    Ruth
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    BeaconRuth wrote:
    popette wrote:
    What about Alpe D'huez - going up those hairpins in the inside of the road? Is it a nightmare?
    I don't remember Alp d'Huez being anything particularly special TBH. The hairpins are no different from those on other alpine climbs, it's no steeper, and certainly not as scenic as many others. It's not a nightmare at all. Have some nice low gears, take it steady, pace yourself and you'll get to the top, no problem. :D

    Ruth

    Thanks Ruth. It sounds like you've got lots of experience of cycling abroad - where's your favourite place to go?
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