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Best way to build horsepower?(9 posts)

Best way to build horsepower?David Ho
Jan 1, 2002 6:34 PM
I have begun my training for next year and one of my goals is to increase overall power.I am a good sprinter and crit rider and am generally more comfortable pushing a big gear,but i suck pretty bad at climbing.My endurance is OK.

I am 5'11'' and @193 but not fat,another goal is to lose 10 more lbs(I've already lost 37).It seems in races and hard training rides that I dont have the power to keep up, but Im not winded, if that makes any sense.I should say that I ride with a lot of guys that are a level or Cat above me but I think that is OK most of the time.

I race mountain mostly but am planning on moving up to Cat4 this year as a crit racer as I did well in a couple of crits last year and I love the action in a crit!

Last year I rode 5500 miles and raced 17 times.I would love any info and training tips I could get on horsepower.I would have posted this on the racing forum but it seems that this forum gets more traffic.Thanks!
re: Best way to build horsepower?John-d
Jan 2, 2002 3:29 AM
This is my opinion from the info given.

I assume that the 5,500 miles includes all racing and training. I guess you already do interval training and the usual hard riding. You say that sprinting is OK, how is it after say 2 hours or so? If this is so then possibly you are riding on Carbohydrates which tend to run out after about 90 minutes, faster in the hills.

My suggestion is that keep the 5,500 as it is, assuming you do the intervals but add another 3,000 of steady riding, this means around 120 heart rate. This will encourage the body to use some of the fat when riding, when racing this will save the carbo and leave it available for later in the race. That will be a big benefit and should help prevent you running out of power and getting dropped.

Other points of consideration are do you hydrate before riding and when riding keep up the fluids and do you eat to keep away the bonk and do you eat within say an hour or so of riding?

Rule of thumb, IMHO, more miles = higher Cat.
I largely agree...Leisure
Jan 2, 2002 4:44 AM
It sounds like either a blood sugar issue or trying to push hard gears too much. You could try spinning lower gears a bit, but if you find youself feeling lightheaded, really fatigued, or just generally ill than it's most likely a matter of getting more carbs and fluids.
I largely agree...morey
Jan 2, 2002 5:15 AM
I experience basically the same thing. I am quite strong, use the big chain ring almost exclusively. I am a good sprinter, and good on flats, terrible on hills. I find that my legs tire, yet I am in no way winded. It feels like lactic acid buildup. What do you think?
I largely agree...John-d
Jan 2, 2002 5:26 AM
with you, the tired leg feeling probably is lactic build up. I really do think that the answer is to maximise on the low intensity riding. This keeps the waste disposal system running well and assists with fat useage.

The only problem is finding the time to do all this low intensity riding in addition to the hard training sessions.

Perhaps an 8 day week with 3 at the week end.
I'm torn...Leisure
Jan 3, 2002 4:03 AM
On the one hand I want to strongly advise trying spinning, but at the same time don't want to over-emphasize it; try it out, it could be a quick solution to hone down your racing strategy, and if it is, great. But at the same time, if low blood sugar ends up being the central issue, spinning will still seem to help initially but at the same time will more quickly and thoroughly deplete your energy reserves, resulting in a quicker, harder bonk. So try, but pay attention to how you're feeling and bring your energy bars.
And along what JohnD is saying, the majority of my riding is low-intensity, and it's been a long time since I've bonked on one of my high-intensity rides, even when I don't carb-up the way I should.
get a horse! (serious answer included)Duane Gran
Jan 2, 2002 6:17 AM
Your stated goal is to increase sustained climbing power. From that I assume that you tend to fade on climbs or struggle to keep attached to the mountain goats, but you also tend to blow away these same folks on flat lands and sprints? If so, you are genetically favored for sprinting, but that doesn't mean you can't be a climber.

You can generate power by pushing hard gears at a low cadence (mashing) or by pushing easy gears a high cadence (spinning). There is no real difference in terms of power output, but physiologically they are different. Mashing creates more muscle fatigue and spinning taxes your cardio system more. Spinning has come into fashion with Armstrong's feats at the Tour de France, but only experimentation reveals your optimal cadence.

Sustained climbing is a lot like a time trial. It is done near your anaerobic (lactate) threshold. As you know, if you go over for too long your legs burn and you "blow up" and fade really quick. The trick is to keep aerobic for as long as possible.

That said, the best workouts are sustained efforts near LT. This is usually 80% or so of your max HR. Some dedicated time trialists I know routinely do 10-20 minute intervals near LT in order to build sustained power. This is good for seasoned time trial folks, but I would start with 5 minute intervals, doing about 3-5 of them with recovery in between and building up where you increase time and decrease the number of intervals. These shouldn't be done more than twice a week and definitely not on days where you do weight lifting or other strenous activities.
Build Powerallervite
Jan 2, 2002 10:34 PM
Do 5 to 10 minute hill intervals in a gear that after a few minutes does not let you maintain a cadence of more than 70 rpms. Of course build up slowly. Your power will increase dramaticly, and your climbing will improve also. Big guys tend to do better pushing big gears on climbs (i.e. Jan Ullrich)

Next time post in the Racing Section. You might not get as many answers, but they will be better ones.
re: Best way to build horsepower?Spox
Jan 3, 2002 2:37 AM
5500 miles is way too low for 17 mountain and crit races. It needs at least 2000 miles more to have even moderate basic endurance. If competive BMI is 21-22 and yours is +27, it's much too much even if it is low fat best quality...With those miles you just don't have ability to use oxygen well.