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WHAT'S WITH THE TRICK CANDLE SYNDROME???(25 posts)

WHAT'S WITH THE TRICK CANDLE SYNDROME???RickyRacer
Jun 30, 2001 1:02 PM
I've been battling with this for more than I can remember but I can't seem to get rid of it!!!
OK, here's my definition of the trick candle syndrome:
You're on a group ride or a race and everything is just fine and you're hanging in there with the people you know that you can race with. Then here comes the hills or the tempo picks up and you're still in there, then ALL OF A FREAK'IN SUDDEN your done! You have zero for legs and it takes everthing you've got to reach the summit. But wait, that's not it. You start going down the other side of the mountain and poof, it all comes back to you and you have to beat your brains out to catch up.
So that's it, you can blow it but it comes back.
How can I level this THING out?
my fairly non-scientific opinion:lonefrontranger
Jul 1, 2001 10:25 PM
Sounds like you are all recovery (aerobic cardio base) and no power (anaerobic / lactate tolerance). Do you do a lot of riding volume w/o any specific power training? (i.e. intervals, hill sprints or weight work)?

This is a similar problem to what the guys on this board helped me with a few weeks back. I was all top-end (sprint speed) and no power / weak recovery. My sprint wasn't helping me much because my lack of base and power meant I was getting shelled before the final anyhow.

The Weekly World Championships Bike Nazi training ride, incidentally, does not count as specific training. You spend too much time on those rides in the "dead zones" - neither slow enough to allow your system to acquire / build proper recovery between jumps, nor hard enough to really hone your power / speed systems.

Doing a lot of this type of riding is a great way to become a consistently mediocre mid-pack finisher. How do I know this? I've done it to myself, and seen countless teammates, friends, etc. struggling with it as well. It's fine to do the weekly group ride as race simulation, as long as you keep focused power training solo or with one ride partner of comparable skills elsewhere in your schedule.
but, it seems to have worked for you, huh?bill
Jul 2, 2001 2:17 PM
I've read some books, and I'm still trying to digest it. I've been trying to reconcile the axioms and resolve the tension between "train for what you want to do" (which is, go faster, longer) and the whole "dead-zone-is-worthless" thing, because it seems that the "dead zone," as you call it, is right where I'm going the fastest for the longest.
So, when you're not racing, what are you doing? When you're racing, where is your level of exertion compared to when you're doing what you're doing when you're not racing?
my schedule (results will vary):lonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2001 6:26 PM
My training schedule (roughly)=
Monday night off or easy (Zone 1 at or below 65% MHR, 45 mins max)
Tuesday night sprint/speedwork (3x5 Zone 5 100%MHR 30/30s or spinups)
Wednesday night group ride (at or below 75% MHR for 2 hours)
Thursday night VO2MAX intervals (4x4 mins at 85-95% MHR on the mag trainer)
Friday off
Saturday crit (40-45 minutes at race pace, multiple max efforts)
Sunday 3-4 hour MTB trail ride (Zone 2, aerobic base fitness)

Depending on race schedule, Sat/Sun may be reversed.

See further post for additional thoughts.
The Dead Zone clarifiedlonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2001 6:32 PM
Most of the coaching I do focuses on form/technique basics for people who've never raced before. There are lots of guys on this board who "do the math" much better than I, and can give you specs on exactly how much of exactly what you need to do to prep for any event, including periodization, which is a whole other can of worms.

You say "the 'dead zone' ... is right where I'm going the fastest for the longest". OK, but can you go FASTER however many times is necessary to make it to the end of the ride or race with the leaders, follow all the attacks, go with the crucial breakaway, THEN whip the competition like a rented mule in the bunch sprint and/or on the final climb? Although winning is an elusive combo of fitness, form, equipment, tactics and luck all conspiring, I do race to win, not finish in the field or OTB, and racing efforts like these are typically where your "consistently mediocre" riders crumble, and max output is king.

I have seen many "dead zone" issues with triathletes who cross over to road racing (was on a team full of 'em). They excel at straightforward Cat 4 road races and TTs, because they can ride 25mph and do it all day long if necessary. This is the same approach they use for the bike leg in a triathlon, hence in their former lives, they had no need for specific training. However, when you stick these folks in an ultra hilly RR, Cat them up to 3, or enter them in a criterium, suddenly your former prodigy is OTB. Why?

About 25% of this performance is dependent on technique and pack skills, but 75% of the trouble is simply that they spent so much time training the "time trial" zone, (Zone 4 in the books, BTW) that when they are asked to up their speed to 30, or 35 in a "Zone 5" max effort situation, they're not physically capable of that output. Same goes if they are asked to up the wattage to do 23 in an uphill attack for 8 laps of a circuit race, or sprint out of every corner for a bajillion laps in a crit. To add insult to injury, they also haven't spent time training rapid shifts from Zone 5 back to Zone 1 to teach their system to recover rapidly so as to be spry for the next outrage. Thus, their systems aren't primed to respond accordingly to the unique stresses introduced in the road racing environment, ergo, they got dropped.

This is where interval training comes into play, and can make that already super-fit, ultra-disciplined triathlete into an elite road racing Godzilla, i.e. Lance Armstrong for example. One or two days a week can still be reserved for group hammer-fests, but constantly doing this type of riding is the best way to be consistently flat and even overtrained and sick.

The schedule that works best for you depends on the type of event you're targeting, and what your greatest strengths/weaknesses are. IOW, there is no one answer for everyone, and many questions to be answered before setting up a program tailored for your needs. Does this help, or just further complicate matters?
Actually, that helps a lot. I think. Are you saying,bill
Jul 2, 2001 8:29 PM
if I want to go 23 all day on the flats, without the explosions necessary for racing and without particular climbing ability, fine. Do what I'm doing, being careful not to hurt myself through constant straining joints and muscles. Give it a rest once in awhile (which is not the part that eludes me, btw.) But, for the "amp that goes to 11," I'll need to do the hard stuff, with an added emphasis on learning mid-ride recovery. So, there really is no conflict between "practice what you want to do" and the whole intervals vs. "dead zone" thing, they're just different skills. Is that about right?
Yes, that is the case.lonefrontranger
Jul 2, 2001 11:27 PM
If what you enjoy is fast group rides and/or time trialling, but you don't need an "amp that goes to 11" (nice Spinal Tap reference), then you can do that, and train it consistently so long as you keep track of your form. By this, I mean pay very close attention to fatigue ("dead legs" are a good clue), and ride accordingly. Many riders think they have a handle on this, but actually don't know how easy "recovery rides" really should be.

Constantly and consistently riding hard without enough recovery leads to burnout, lethargy, chronic illness (6-week bouts of bronchitis anyone?) and often injury - and beginner riders are actually far more prone to this than elite racers, because they're not as in tune with what their body is trying to tell them. When you ride at or above anaerobic levels, i.e. Zone 4, you are actually burning off some muscle tissue, and your body needs time (at least 48 hours between sessions I'm told) to rebuild it, or fatigue quickly sets in, hence the term "dead zone". My triathlete teammates took at least a couple days per week completely off, and more when they felt fatigued. This brings up periodization of training, which I'm sure you've read about in other programs.

If I read your inquiry correctly on the "General" forum, you are not interested in racing now, just being able to push a little harder, and your time is somewhat limited by mitigating factors (family, job, etc.), so by all means then, do the riding that fits your schedule best, and more importantly, enjoy it. If you don't need targeted training, then don't do it - it sucks, it's boring beyond belief, and it's best left to lunatics like myself who enjoy peeling our scabs, sticking needles under our fingernails and hitting ourselves in the kneecaps with hammers.

I'd still like to say that your group rides should be the shorter, more intense efforts. If you have days when you can ride 3-4 hours, try (and it is very hard to do this) to keep to an aerobic level, which will feel extremely easy to you (Zone 2, which I seem to recall is 65-70% of MHR). This will help your system recover, flush the lactic acid out of your muscles, and make you better able to hit it hard again.

I'm sure there's someone else here with better advice to this situation?
thanks, this is my problem, tooDog
Jul 3, 2001 7:56 AM
I have the same problem. I can literally go all day, even with repeated hills, but when the going gets really fast up a hill, my rev limiter kicks in and I get dropped, only to recover nicely in a few minutes. It's that "speed endurance" that's missing.

I do intervals, but maybe not doing them right. To prepare for 30-45 minute long hills, how long of intervals do you recommend? I usually do the 2-5 minute intervals, but then that seems to be my limit for going hard in an event, too. Do 30 minute intervals work?

Thanks.

Doug
thanks, this is my problem, tooJon Billheimer
Jul 3, 2001 10:30 AM
Doug,

Pete Penseyres has a hill interval progression that consists of 10-20 min. with an equal recovery period. He starts with 2-3 intervals and over 8 wks. progresses to 7-8. Workouts are done right at, but not above, LT and can be done 1 or 2 times per week. In my opinion, these are ideal for the ultra work you're doing, but as LFR points out wouldn't be good for RR or Crit training. BTW, LFR, your description of training demands for crits is excellent. Pretty much echoes Friel's training systems, with respect to specificity.
Doug & Jon:lonefrontranger
Jul 3, 2001 12:42 PM
10-20 minute lactate threshold intervals are what my first coach used to give me to prep me for district TT champs., back before I lost my mind and became a crit specialist. I started out as an ultramarathoner, BTW.

These long LT intervals are awesome for learning how to tempo on long gradual climbs, since a long climb is essentially a TT for skinny guys.

For anyone else who really wants to learn how to suffer and up their max output, just go race cyclo-cross this fall ;-)
Specific interval workoutsBipedZed
Jul 3, 2001 1:48 PM
Since working with a coach I have several types of interval workouts - the most common being Z4 LT intervals which vary from 2-5 minutes in length. I do these 2-3 times a week where I hold my LT heart rate (170bpm) and they are painful, but not excruciating. Closer to "A" priority races I'll only do one set of 2 minute intervals, on non-race weekends these get to 5 minutes with 4 minute recovery, 3 reps, 3 sets. Ouch.

Depending on where I am in the periodization schedule, I also do Z5 intervals twice a month on a stationary trainer where I do 2 minutes MAX effort (I'm frequently screaming for the first minute until I run out of breath) with 5 minutes recovery, 3 reps, 2 sets. These make me want to lay down and die.

Also once a week I'll do a Z5 sprint interval usually on top of a Z4 workout where I take about a minute to get to my LT heartrate and then sprint all out for 15 sec.

These intervals allow me to easily stay close to the front of a pack on relatively flat circuit races or criteriums. On RRs with long climbs (rare in CO, except for the State Championship RR) I can hang for most of the race, but I'm not a gifted climber, and if there are too many laps, I'll get dropped.
I'm printing this out. In a few blurbs, you have madebill
Jul 3, 2001 11:40 AM
this stuff more clear than anything else I've read, including the books (well, browsed, really, I guess, which may be part of the problem -- but I don't mean to take anything away from you, because you've really explained it well).
You're a goddess. Thanks. Will you bear my children? My wife and two daughters won't mind at all; they'll understand. Well, no they won't. Okay, we'll skip that part.
:-)lonefrontranger
Jul 3, 2001 1:44 PM
ROFL - Glad to be of service! (tho perhaps not in the biblical sense -my SO is a mellow guy but you never know about Texans)

"...including the books..." Someone once told me that women are often better at explaining things in a way that helps people connect. Personally, I'm lousy with specific science thingies - VO2MAX percentages and periodization tracking forms, etc... make my eyes cross. Being a dyed-to-the-roots blonde doesn't help a bit. For myself, I just want to go ride the bike, daggone it - tell me what to do and save the nerdy details for the engineering degrees. Heaven knows there's enough of 'em in bike racing.

The good news (for you) about this approach is that over the past decade I've had the dubious honor of racking up just about every training and racing mistake you can possibly imagine - I've made 'em all. So if I can help someone else avoid doing the same thing, all the better.

Cheers - Beth
Speaking of...Lazy
Jul 3, 2001 1:47 PM
I seem to remember you saying your hair was "Dario Frigo blonde". Just curious if you've changed the name of your hair or if you've gone on to a different name. lol ;-)

Are you disgraced by your hair? Have you kicked your hair off the team?
No,lonefrontranger
Jul 3, 2001 1:59 PM
haven't changed the color or shaved my head yet. Although if it doesn't cool off soon I just might (102 degrees in Boulder, for the love of Mike - I thought this was a TEMPERATE climate...)

DF yellow is still a good description of the rather unnatural color IMO - because at least you know exactly the shade I'm talking about. If you can't be famous, might as well be infamous, right?

Paola Pezzo is a bottle-blonde as well, and I can't stand the wench.
Well, I suppose you have the chemically enhanced thing in commonLazy
Jul 4, 2001 12:56 PM
On the hair anyhow. :-)

It's been hot down in Denver too. I saw an unofficial temp (on a bank) at about 5:30 Tuesday that said 99. The good thing about CO heat is no humidity.
So that's what's wrong with me!!!Marlon
Jul 3, 2001 10:40 AM
Shoot. Coming from doing triathlons, what you described is EXACTLY how I feel doing crits. For the first half of laps on the latest short-course criterium, I was doing ok, but I could feel my heartrate climbing higher and higher and I just wasn't feeling rested even though I tried to duck into the pack and rest. By the time the final few laps came, I just didn't have anything left in me - no more speed. And yes, I have a LOT of trouble doing an ultra-high speed, although I can maintain a good pace for a long time.

I guess it's time for specific interval training...
you are not alonelonefrontranger
Jul 3, 2001 3:04 PM
"I guess it's time for specific interval training... "

You know, that's exactly what I said at the beginning of this season.

I moved to Boulder from Cincinnati last December. At the end of last season, I had 3 wins in a row in all-categories women's races and was feeling pretty cocky. Colorado racing will fix that attitude, and how! The beginning of this year, after riding more than ever over the winter, I STILL got my head handed to me in the Women's 4 races.

Prior to this year, I merely "raced into shape", but the quality and depth of the fields out here forced me to bite the bullet.

The good news is that as a triathlete (read: disciplined trainer) you're already way ahead of lazy old me in terms of motivation. I imagine you'll see quite a bit of improvement when you start doing specific training.

I have never seen anyone who can work, train or schedule on a more exacting basis than a triathlete with a goal in sight. 3 of the former triathlete gals (2 former IronWomen) on our team upgraded from Cat 4 to Cat 1-2 in their second season once we got their focus switched over from basic skills stuff to speed and intensity. They gleefully ripped everyone else's legs off for the rest of that year at our local events, then got scarfed by elite regional teams. Not to mention the fact that these are all 35+ moms/wives with full-time jobs.
my fairly non-scientific opinion:Woof the dog
Jul 4, 2001 1:32 AM
That goes on to support my theory that you should train by most part alone. Sucking wheel all the time just bothers you to learn how to recover after jumps and another jump again and recovery, etc. etc. etc. Yeah. In your face byatch... thats to someone I know. Too bad they don't even know about this forum.
Woof, the b!tch-slap dog.
So, let me get this straight....RickyRacer
Jul 3, 2001 11:33 AM
I need to start doing LONGER intervals and/or longer HILL repeats to increase my speed indurance?
So, let me get this straight....Jon Billheimer
Jul 3, 2001 11:56 AM
To train speed endurance, do short, VERY high intensity intervals. To train repeatability, progressively shorten recovery times so that you're still swimming in lactic acid when you start the next interval. But you'd better be really fit before you start these. They're killers!
Thanks Jon,lonefrontranger
Jul 3, 2001 1:05 PM
I want to add a disclaimer here: Intense interval training is NOT something you just jump right into unless you've got good fitness to start with. Build up slowly and track your form carefully. Shoot for an end-of-season (September) event, rest well afterwards and take your leftover fitness from that into next season's base mileage. And BTW, don't get all fired up and do craploads of intervals on the trainer in January / February - you'll just end up sore, sick and burned out by the end of April.

The schedule I posted higher up in the thread is the culmination of a LONG season (since 1 January) of progressive base miles, gym work (ugh!), running (grrr!), buildup, 3 weeks off in March for bronchitis (overtrained), 2 months of training races, speedwork, minor peak in late April, then tapering and rebuild to major peak / max intensity late June / early July to coincide with our State crit champs which were on Sunday, and came out better than expected considering I probably peaked a tad early.

Now I get 3 weeks off to ride MTBs and gaze at the wildflowers, then I start all over again with base and running to prep for 'cross season, woo-hoo!
Oh, sure, thank him. I prostrate myself before you, callbill
Jul 3, 2001 1:35 PM
you a goddess, offer in thanks my progeny, but it's "Thanks, Jon."
I'm crushed.
Hang on there!lonefrontranger
Jul 3, 2001 1:51 PM
I wanted to make sure my reply to you was more considered and timely!

"call you a goddess" You're too sweet, but then you've never caught me on the wrong end of a race day! Most guys in those instances merely call me a b*** on roller skates (if they're brave) or just run away (if they're smart).
well, I'll worship at a comfortable distance, then. nmbill
Jul 3, 2001 10:09 PM
nm