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You guys are better.... small ring theory of base....(10 posts)

You guys are better.... small ring theory of base....funknuggets
Jan 12, 2004 12:59 PM
I tried to post this over at cycling forums and have gotten no help. Sorry everyone for straying over there... much more active and knowledgeable members on this board.

I have a question for anyone that cares to help me with. Back in "the day", several of my serious cycling comrades would have some sort of unwritten rule around early season training where they would not use their big ring until some said goal. Some would not jump up to their big ring until... say March... others would not jump to their big ring until they have a mileage goal of 500 or even 1000 miles in the small ring. What is the rational justification to this and do you subscribe to this school of thought? The reason that I ask is that since I was imprinted with this mentality I have always just done it, and it seems not to work with a structured HR based training plan, like that of Friel or Carmicheal. Im frustrated because with such ultra high cadence, I tend to bounce out of target zones... more so than in the big ring, cause Im a borderline masher (80-90). I just want to know if any of you follow this school of thought and let me know what the supposed reasoning is behind it. I can see just two things:

1. Increasing Cadence
2. Increasing strength and connective tissue strength after a layoff or down period before putting heavy loads or stress on muscles and joints.

However... ... this seems to go against the principles of periodization, where the max strength phase in the weight room would do exactly that. So... as I said... it seems to conflict with the current popular training philosophies. I struggled with this over the last two weeks and finally decided to put the pedal to the metal this weekend.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance
check out the new book by David Morrisshawndoggy
Jan 12, 2004 1:16 PM
He'd have you doing sprint intervals in conjunction with your early season max strength phase in an effort to convert gym strength to on-the-bike strength.

Amazon's got it. Under $15 IIRC.
Ask the Friel ganghrv
Jan 12, 2004 1:23 PM
I've had subscriptions to TrainingBible.Com in the past and have asked questions and got answers chock full of relevant information. Was well worth it.

I do remember reading where one of the coaches said he did just that: small ring training until Feb. or so, and he ranked 2nd in Nationals TT and Cyclocross. Definitely didn't hold back his big gear ability. Must fit into the overal periodization plan as well as why stress the body now when you'll be doing plenty of it (many, many races) throughout the season?
but thats the whole thing....funknuggets
Jan 12, 2004 2:31 PM
you are taxing your body like that doing the max phase and doing heavy maintenance for reps in the Friel's plan for weight training. Im thinking that doing 320 in squats for sets of 10 and 700 on the leg press is far more taxing than pushing along within target zone in the big ring with an acceptable cadence...

right? or am I missing something. It is the fact that I AM on Friel that is confusing me.

Yes, that is the whole thing....hence my answer!hrv
Jan 12, 2004 2:42 PM
You're asking a detailed question that maybe only Friel, et al can answer. Go into and check the fees for subscriptions. I think you can just sign up for 1 month at a time.

Yeah, after the 'MS' phase the normal plan is to do big gear work, cadence 50 - 60. That's how you go from gym strength to bike strength. Far from small chainring stuff.

My "schedule"...PsyDoc
Jan 12, 2004 1:53 PM to keep it in the little ring until the weather starts to warm up (say above 70). I did this last winter to "protect" my aging knees and I was pleased with my summer riding.
I do much better keeping intensity up year roundDougSloan
Jan 12, 2004 2:44 PM
One winter I tried the "base training," equivalent of the small ring, approach, and managed to get into the worst shape in 5 years. I hated it. I do much, much better maintaining some intensity over the winter, even so much as climbing mountains in the fixed gear.

I can see some merit to not doing hard intervals and burning out, but laying off intensity (assuming the large ring means intensity) just does not work for me. I like a more constant build approach.

This works for those of us where we can ride year round. Some of these theories may have developed in places where you can't ride much in the winter, anyway.

I absolutely agreeThe Human G-Nome
Jan 12, 2004 4:20 PM
So many racers out here in California are moving right from high intensity racing at the end of the season in September right into 8-12 weeks of basemiles (at least). If you already have a base, what's the point? I can understand if you're puting in 250 miles a week with mostly high intensity workouts, but what's wrong with a high intensity workout 1 day a week in the off-season supplemented by the easy stuff for the rest of the week? It's not like you're going to burn yourself out doing this and lose everything in July and August.

If you don't have a base or if you're coming off a month layoff or more then it seems to make more sense. Honestly, I don't think a few hot efforts on a Saturday group ride is going to be a detriment to your season if you already have a good base.
Just go slower. Used to ride 50 hours in 42X17, no questions.nmSpunout
Jan 12, 2004 3:15 PM
Small thoughtschar
Jan 12, 2004 7:39 PM
I ride the occasional master's race and somewhat subscribe to this methodology. I use low gears, high cadence in fall, switch out the gears to 14-25 or 16-26 with 26/36/46 up front. My reasoning:

Don't need to work on the top end speed with wet pavement, leaves and assorted debris on the road.

It's fall/winter, its dark when I ride, don't need to go that fast.

Work on leg speed during the weekend group rides, typically 100-120 rpm, following a fast tandem does take some effort in a 46-14, gotta pay attention on the downhills. Your heart rate will be way up.

I can use the all of the gears.

Its kind of like "If you want to ride more, sell your car." I use low gears to force myself to ride at a higher cadence.

I don't follow Friel or Carmichael.

Good luck.