Training

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Training

Postby On Your Left » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:31 am

Let me preface my comments with my excitement at this year's route announcement party! I typically sign up online, but opted to take the evening off work to attend. I won't miss another kick-off party. I even talked Jonathan into a photo with me afterwards.

Every year, the topic of training seems to foster lots of comments. I'm curious what folks do in prep. for each year's week-ride. I ride a lot of miles annually (~10,000) just because I love to ride. However, I'm a middle-of-the-pack, average speed rider (age 54). I ride year-round, outdoors. Sometimes I ride hills; others flat; some short 20-mile rides before work to weekend days you can't pry me from the saddle. I don't really follow a specific plan. I bike for the Zen of it all. None of the miles are "junk" miles as I enjoy each and every one. I've never suffered any notable injury aside from perhaps a hot foot after a long summer day of riding. To be sure, I could likely ride far fewer annual miles and do fine, however, then I wouldn't get to do what I enjoy: riding. I'd ride all the same -- with or without organized rides.

During CO week-ride I might ride with a pace line one day or spend the entire day meeting as many folks as possible. As I get older, I lean towards the latter. I rode my feather carbon bike one year, my touring bike with rack bags the next. My only goals for any lengthy organized ride are simply ensuring it's not a painful experience. Slow is fine; painful and depleted are not good partners. I've heard a range of training stories. I recall two years ago speaking with a local Portland restaurant owner who claimed he was so busy he'd barely managed 200 total miles before the week ride. He appeared to enjoy his ride and didn't struggle with climbs. I figured his relative youth provided some of that margin of forgiveness.

My typical CO day is: I rise a bit late, enjoy breakfast, ride, arrive in camp just in time to shower, eat supper, attend announcements and hit the hay. Last year, I heard tell of a rider preferring really early (4 a.m.) starts with a headlamp and said he'd usually be out there before the sign crews some days. I enjoy the CO society too much to get up so early and forsake breakfast for the solitude on the ride. Until I get to camp each day, I'm never aware that there are 2,200 of us out there. We seem to spread out well across the course.

Each year, I'm fortunate enough to ride a day or two beside Jonathan Nicholas and take time to say hello and briefly chat. I recall seeing him last year near the top of that blazing Rattlesnake grade / climb. He was still smiling and taking time to enjoy the commanding view of the lower valley, as well as taking time to speak with all of us. Perhaps we'll be lucky and Jonathan will provide us some of his training secrets. I told him tonight that so long as I continue seeing him ride the ride, I will indeed sign up for each succeding year.

So, weigh in and let me know what's the plan . . . hills, flats, spinning, long rides or short. From peloton pace lines to smelling the roses, every experience is as valid as the next.

See you on the road!
Last edited by On Your Left on Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Training

Postby Force 5 Robert » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:01 am

I am extremely excited for this years ride. I will be riding the trike this year as the scenery will be too incredible and I want the ability to gawk without the need for balance. 8) The ride looks so great that I convinced the better half to sign up. Not sure if she will take her trike or she will take the road bike... have to see how the training goes.

As far as training: lots of local hilly rides - probably not a lot of looong rides in store for me this year. The balance will be doing a lot of CrossFit, as well as Crossfit Endurance workouts.
8)
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Re: Training

Postby Chuck B. » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:47 am

Part of my training will be lots of stairs. I've found that by doing literally thousands (30,000 last year by actual count) of stairs, I can spin up huge hills in relative comfort. At least that's how it worked last year. I too am a middle-of-the-pack rider (54 yo this coming July) most of the time and building endurance gets to be more important as I get older. The stairs seem to do that for me...

Aside from the stairs, I'll be doing whatever riding I can shoehorn into my busy schedule...

Prayer helps too!
The voices tell the stories. I just record them for posterity.

And the voices have some good ideas sometimes!
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Re: Training

Postby cheneyt119 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:14 pm

I live in Longview and just did my little trainer up the Cowlitz to Headquarters Rd and the back down river for 19 miles. With the 8 mph tailwind, intervals to 26 mph on the flat.

Nice ride for February. Anybody notice how much good weather we have been getting in Februarys the last few years, It's like spring and since it's been raining about 3 ft in March April and May we might as well enjoy it now.

Do a couple century rides. RACC is good, STP is ok if you can tolerate all the neophites, Tour de Blast is as hard as any ride I've done in Colorado, but don't count on good weather in early June. I did the Red Robin Tour of Colorado in 1997 and that had 3 passes over 11,000 ft over 6 days and 430 miles. You can watch the weight come off you on rides like that.

If you are short on time nothing builds conditioning faster than tough climbs, which are simply geographic intervals ie until you get to the top. Another thing I've been doing lately are standing hill sprints, shift two gears faster than you would use seated and sprint to the top of rollers. I can increase my heartrate from 20 to 30 bpm on even short hills. Telephone pole sprints are another one I do, that's the intervals I was using today on flats and that's fun down wind. It's funny I save the hills for cold wet days because its warm and slow and they can be short rides in Longview because we are surrounded by 900 ft hills, just like the route we will be on in southern Oregon.
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Re: Training

Postby Leedo » Wed Feb 09, 2011 3:53 pm

The key for me in '09 was regularity of both short and long rides. The short rides were easily accomplished with my daily commute (18 miles round trip, 3-5 times per week) with a long ride of 1-5 hours thrown in every week or so.

I also cross train with running and swimming the variation going. Training for Olympic distance triathlons can be just as much fun as training for a long bike ride.

To prep for CO2011 I plan to do:
Flying Wheels Summer Century, Redmond, WA: June 11
Tour de Blast, Mt. St. Helens: June 18
Federal Escape Triathlon, Federal Way, WA: July 30
Cascade Edge Triathlon, Enumclaw, WA: Aug. 6
Beaver Lake Triathlon, Sammamish, WA: Aug. 20
Image - Leedo

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Re: Training

Postby boldaddy » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:00 pm

My not so serious training program for last year:

1. commute 1 to 3x per week at 10 miles round trip
2. ride almost every Saturday with a riding club (Portland Velo) 35-50 miles
3. once every two weeks in good weather, get in a 15 mile afterwork ride near council crest.
4. Ride one century to build confidence

I did Okay on CO, but my big MISTAKE was never doing any back to back days. That would have been a big help. This year the change I'll be making is to add in a Sunday ride every other week (mtb or road) for an hour or three. Rattlesnake killed me, but I made it. by the last day I felt pretty darn strong.

If anyone is looking for a friendly club ride, come join us - portlandvelo.net

Cheers,
Glen
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Re: Training

Postby woodenidol » Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:31 pm

My training last year was almost all from my commuting, 22 miles one way, twice a week. Through the summer I rode to the coast once, up Larch MT. once and then some 50-60 mile rides with hills once a weekend or so. I had alot of miles under my belt, and my only struggle was on rattlesnake also. I made it, but I wouldnt say I enjoyed it.

I signed up this year and it appears a prettier and easier route by far on both accounts. The weather seems a bit of a crap shoot, and after riding all last winter (not riding this winter) to work, frankly, the idea of getting my butt soaked everyday is not that appealing. I may end up donating $100 and bailing out if my enthusiasm diminishes.

My training will be the same this year, with a bit less riding and a bit more tennis.
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Re: Training

Postby wayneh » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:58 am

My training goals are pretty much the same now, as I think I've got it pretty focused. In the dark, cold and wet, I'm on the indoor trainer watching cycling videos twice a day 3 times a week for at least 30 min. On off days I do light free weights and core exercises. Then some sort of ride on the roads on the weekend weather-permitting. Once the weather improves and the days get longer I start commuting into work, which is 19 miles each way, varied terrain. I also sign up for the one-day weekend rides put on by the local bike clubs, such as RACC, the Monster Cookie, etc. I always do RTB as that is my Spring Training motivator. If I stick to this I usually come into CO feeling pretty capable of surviving just about anything. This year I'm also going to try to do the Bicycle Tour of Colorado in June, but we'll see if that can be managed $$$.
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Re: Training

Postby Matt VanBuskirk » Wed Mar 02, 2011 1:43 pm

I'm with you...it's all about the ride, not how fast I can get there. I'm 56 and ride in the second half of the pack. Equally important, though is how I feel during and after the ride. I'm one of the sick ones, I actually enjoyed Rattlesnake, last year. Some parts better than others, but remember the feeling when we got to the top?!! And how about that descent on the other side? As far as training goes...I just ride. Medford area has any type of terrain I want to train on, so I try and mix it up. All that I try and do is be better than I was before. At the end of last years CO we told ourselves that next year we are gonna train harder, and be in even better shape. Each day had its own challenges, but isn't that why we ride? I'm a working guy, so ride time to train is limited to daylight left to me after work. Weekdays in winter its on the indoor trainer, with loud music, but every day off is out for a ride. By mid summer we like to be doing at least 100 miles a week, more if time off allows. I try and ride each loop just a little harder than the last time, and I am happy with that. I am excited for this year's Cycle Oregon, and all the "training" leading up to it. See you all there...at least the second half of the pack.
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Re: Training

Postby johnncarol » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:13 am

Indeed, training has always been a busy thread, in fact, as I recall, last year it even got a little nasty.

I agree in large part with your comments but would add the following.

How you train depends on a number of factors, your age, your general condition, the route, and what kind of ride you want to have. Obviously if you want to be in a pace line every day you train different than if you want to smell the roses. Frankly, we prefer to smell the roses. We ride a tandem and I ride with a club three times a week, year round. We are definitely in the senior group with a combined age of 145 years. My wife rides on an occasional Friday and Saturday plus the gym and Pilates three times a week. This time of year we keep our rides to 30 or 35 miles and modest hills through the winter. We do believe in having a training plan simpley because we train better with a plan than without one and our goal is to be in good enough condition that we can really enjoy the ride with no sags and no walking. We did stop a couple of times last year on Rattlesnake to take pictures and get a drink. It is a bit difficult to drink on the tandem when climbing at slow speeds. We didn't sag and we didn't walk.

The 1st of April we will begin to train for real, starting with base building rides, gradually increasing distance, from 30 up to 70 miles, to build endurance. Then we will start some serious climbing interspersed with base building. In July or August we will start putting in some intervals, continue to do some climbing and do recovery rides in between. If we do this year like we have done others, we will complete 2/3 to 3/4 of our plan, even though every year we say it is the year we are going to do the whole plan. From April until we leave for Oregon we will probably ride 2,000 to 2,500 on the tandem and I will do another 100 miles per week with the club. That said, when riding becomes an obligation instead of an enjoyment, it is time to back off, and we do.

A few other things we have learned over the years doing 7 day rides. Learning to stay positive when you are having a tough day or on a tough climb is essential. Knowing the route as well as you can so you know what to expect and don't have any nasty surprises helps. Doing some two or preferably three back to back riding days are essential to getting ready. Learn what you optimum pace and cadence is for long climbs so you don't get exhausted.

We are fortunate to live in a great riding area with good roads and great scenery. We have good friends to ride with and have great bikes (life is too short to not ride a good bike). It seems like every year for the past few years we have talked about going on a different ride. In fact, after the ride last year I said it was probably time for us to do something a bit easier. But then I log in to the web site on opening day and before the evening is over, we have signed up again for CO.

We will see you on the road. Look for the tandem with Green Bay Packers colors. Last year some called it the John Deere but that is OK too. I like tractors and that is why I put an 11/36 cassette on the new bike.
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Re: Training

Postby Force 5 Robert » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:37 am

johnncarol wrote:...when riding becomes an obligation instead of an enjoyment, it is time to back off...


Amen! Absolute best advice!
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Re: Training

Postby mytrot » Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:46 pm

JC,
WOW, I wish I had the time for those kind of miles. Hope to have 3k between Jan 1 and CO. But my age is about 100 less than your combined so I train hard and manage to keep a good pace.

As for enjoy vs obligation. Mostly I enjoy. A great unwind after a day at the computer. Occassionally it feels like an obligation, mostly before I get on the bike. But luckily once I settle in to the whir and wind, I get back to enjoy!

I'll be looking for you on the JD Tandem!

Ed T
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Re: Training

Postby johnncarol » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:00 am

The good news and the bad news of retirement. We have lots of time to ride and enjoy but it also means we are getting to the age where it gets tougher and tougher. My plan is to continue to ride and ski until age 80, assuming the body holds out.
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Re: Training

Postby cheneyt119 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:26 pm

Did a cool ride yesterday April 12th. It's ride 136 in the Mountaineers Bicycling the back roads of SW Washington. You climb Headquarters Rd a 1053 ft hill in 2 1/4 miles (climb took 22 minutes) but that's over 10% grade. Then out Spirit Lake Hwy and back along the Toutle River on Tower Rd and through Castle Rock, 37 miles in the guide book and 20 extra to get back and forth from Longview to HQ Rd so 57 total. It was sunny but kinda cold, I didn't take off my the helmet liner that covers my entire neck, burrrr! Carried my shoe covers but didn't wear them. I'm riding 34-26 on the low gear and I did ok on the climb with that gear. Had to stand once in a while to stretch my legs. I wonder what others are doing for big rides in this weather? I'm spending too much time sweating on the treadmill.
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Re: Training

Postby Chuck B. » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:19 am

Due to lack of cooperation by the weather I've done all of my riding indoors, unfortunately. I've got a little over 400 miles on the trainer, and my stair count is now almost 11000 since January 1. I've found that stairs help immensely on endurance for long climbs. I'm more Clydesdale than whippet, and climb accordingly, and anything that lets me sit and spin comfortably for mega miles (like Rattlesnake last year) is a plus...
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