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slunkerslunker Posts: 346
I have started taking cycling fairly seriously this season after last year of half heated attempts at riding. Towards the tail end of last year I managed a top 20 finish in a cat4 race but would like to progress now.

I have been fit for a good 20 years (12 as pro footballer) and obviously have a good base fitness. My problem seems to be that my legs are always the first to pack in, even when my breathing/heart rate aint that high.

I have joined a club and this has helped, but when It's my turn at the front I sruggle to stay there for any length of time. I have read alot of (conflicting) information on here so I am a bit confused as what info to follow.

Basically I think it is that i need more power in my legs to help sustain big efforts, i read the hour of power but is a bit double dutch to me.

Excuse my ignorance,but as this is my first full season at this cycling malarky what are all the accronyms like FTP, HOP etc?

cheers all.

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  • Would seem to me that you're looking to improve your sustained power output... That's not the only difficulty in racing as the multiple fast twitch efforts (sprinting out of corners etc) that are required really stack up, but if you're sticking with the bunch on your races, tehn i'm assuming this isn't as bigger problem.

    You don't mention how you measure your training (HR, power, percieved effort etc), but what you may conisder is doing intervals at or above your aerobic threshold. This is the point where your body is metabolising lactic acid as quickly as it is producing it (the "oxygen debt" created by this is what makes you need to back off) so you are looking at improving your bodies efficiency at this level, whilst turning a big gear.

    Ten mile time trials, there should be something on a weekday night near to you, will help you with this. I find also the CTS dvds on Cycling for Power and Road Race simulation (even the TIme Trial one) have some useful workouts for this that you can build on. They are very good at explaining WHY you're doing the work too.

    Hope that helps!
    "In many ways, my story was that of a raging, Christ-like figure who hauled himself off the cross, looked up at the Romans with blood in his eyes and said 'My turn, sock cookers'"

    @gietvangent
  • slunkerslunker Posts: 346
    Only details I have are that my max HR is pretty low.....175 or there abouts. also I did a 10mile TT last year and did a 24.30 on a road bike with tri bars.
  • chrisw12chrisw12 Posts: 1,246
    I'll be the first to say it :roll:

    1) Buy a power meter :shock:

    or

    2) Get a coach, some good un's I believe on here. Particularly good if you're confused.com.

    3) A starting point for training ideas is probably not the ;hour of power thread' but perhaps do a search for '2x20' Lot's of good info. on these threads and doing a 2x20 is probably as basic as it gets.

    Do a search for 'Toks' imo he posts some good advice for the up and coming road racer on limited time, without getting into all the science.

    Beacon Ruth and Alex simmons are coaches that post on here regularly. Again I'd take a good look at any advice they give.


    Sorry if I've forgotten anyone. :oops:
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    slunker wrote:
    Excuse my ignorance,but as this is my first full season at this cycling malarky what are all the accronyms like FTP, HOP etc?
    We should really get a sticky thread on here with an explanation of some of the jargon that we tend to spout. Any volunteers?

    FTP = Functional Threshold Power - essentially the power output you can sustain at an even output for around 1 hour (ie typically the average power you'd output for a 25 mile time trial). Increasing your FTP (and 2x20 sessions are really good for this) is a core to improving your speed not only for time trials but road racing as well.

    HOP = Hour of Power - the workout described in DisgruntledGoat's recent thread - essentially riding just below your FTP level for 60 minutes and throwing in a 30-sec hard effort every 2 minutes. Probably not suitable for anyone without a solid base of training already as it's a VERY hard session.

    I'm not sure I'd a power meter is the way to go for you just yet. They are great if you read up on them and understand what you are trying to achieve (or have a coach that will do this for you), but otherwise it's probably going to confuse you even more.

    Getting some coaching sounds more sensible to me. Is there anyone qualified at your club that can offer coaching? If not, as Chris has said, there are a few coaches who post regularly on here.

    Joe Friel's "Cyclists Training Bible" is a good place to start if you want to self-coach. Whilst it may be a bit old-fashioned now (training by heart rate not power), it will help you understand how to write your own training programme and tailor your training to peak for certain races.
    slunker wrote:
    Only details I have are that my max HR is pretty low.....175 or there abouts. also I did a 10mile TT last year and did a 24.30 on a road bike with tri bars
    If you mean "your max heart rate is low if you use the 220 - age formula" then forget about it. Your max HR is what it is. You can't read any more into it than you can your shoe size. As long as your max HR is reasonably accurate and based on actual measurement of your heart rate (ie the highest you've recorded when you are absolutely at your limit during a race) it will suffice for setting HR training zones.

    Your 10 time is certainly quite respectable for a one-off effort so it sounds to me that with the right training you could progress well.
  • Hi slunker,
    Your history sounds similar to mine although I played football at a reasonable amateur level, not pro from 16 until 32. When I packed the footie in I started cycling seriously having always ridden in the off season to tick over. I started racing at 33 and can recall very similar experiences to yourself, it took me a while to learn the best place to sit in the group both on a club run and racing. I also took it upon myself to really work on my climbing as in the north east it is pretty hilly and most races that include hills will split on them.

    To move from a novice to one of the strongest in the club I do a lot of riding with people who are higher cat than me, to push myself, also the sessions like the 2*20, and shorter more intense intervals e.g. I will do 3 sets of 5 reps of a minute on, minute off at around 90-93% max heart rate.

    Good luck with it, I loved my time playing footie but I don't half wish I'd been bike racing in my late teens and twenties though.
  • slunkerslunker Posts: 346
    Yep, wish i had ruptured my cruciate years ago. :roll:

    I seem to do well on the hills, my problems lie on flat or rollong roads where I am really hanging on to a wheel. If I can hang in I also have a decnt sprint as well but if the hammer is down for a long time I usually get dropped.

    The frustrating thing is that my HR and breathing are not the problem, it's the burning/wooden legs.
  • If you only started riding last year then that is basicaly the reason you might not be as competitive as you hope at the moment. It just takes practice at getting the cycling leg muscles better basically. Just try do 3 rides a week minimum, don't over do it and you will gradually improve. Although I don't play football, I know the muscles you use in your legs are a different set to what you mainly use on th bike...
  • If you're a former pro football player I assume you're used to training on an almost daily basis? Just a couple of hours a day on your own on flat routes (if that's where you struggle) could help?

    Also, just take your turn on the front for as long as you can last, you'll usually have a good while to recover while the other lads go through. Try not to let the pace drop, and if this means your turn is only for 200 metres then it doesn't matter.
    "A cyclist has nothing to lose but his chain"

    PTP Runner Up 2015
  • ToksToks Posts: 1,143
    slunker wrote:
    Yep, wish i had ruptured my cruciate years ago. :roll:

    I seem to do well on the hills, my problems lie on flat or rollong roads where I am really hanging on to a wheel. If I can hang in I also have a decnt sprint as well but if the hammer is down for a long time I usually get dropped.

    The frustrating thing is that my HR and breathing are not the problem, it's the burning/wooden legs.
    Mate, all your heart rate does is tell you how fast your heart is beating. And yes in general terms the more intense effort will typically result in a higher heart rate. But that won't always be the case and your heart rate does not determine how fast you can ride. It may beat faster or slower in response to- stress, excitement, illness, dehydration, lack of sleep, heat, nervousenes, fatigue etc. It doesn't mean that because yours hrt is low and someone else's is high that you're better than them or they're better than you.

    Having a decent sprint is a good thing. But its not much use if you've been dropped before the finish line approaches. So seeing that your an endurance cyclist your main goal should be to increase "sustainable power"./ "threshold power" . Now the question is how do you do that? Simply lots of riding. If you've got lots of training hours available you can do the bulk of it at a steadish pace. If you haven't then brisk (friendly fast) pace is arguably a more effective way to train.

    Football was my first love but now I love cycling just as much. With you already having sporty genes I reckon you could get to a pretty high competitive standard with some dedicated training hours. So keep at it :D In 1 - 5 years time perhaps we'll be reading about you in Cycling Weekly results pages. Enjoy
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