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Base/Race(5 posts)

Dec 9, 2001 8:39 AM
Started road biking a couple of months ago and have ridden about 500 miles. Looks like I'll be doing the zone program and will be getting a heart monitor (it's in the mail). Started from almost no aerobic base (riding a life cycle at local sports club once a week didn't do much), just non-aerobic stuff like windsurf, snowboard. Questions:

1. Trying to get a base in at 65% or 75%, whatever, is almost impossible around here: there is nothing but hills. The only group I know of , esp. this time of year, keeps me at LT for many parts of the rides. I do feel stronger with each successive ride, but from what I read I'm hurting myself in the long term by not going easier. But like I said, whether it's because of being woefully out of shape (not weight wise: 5'11, 170) or the hilly terrain here (hood river, oregon), I can't find a place to ride any kind of distance and keep it at base (by the way I'm 47 yrs. old). Just checking my pulse/looking at my watch for now.

2. I think about racing , starting with time trials; my handling skills aren't good in groups yet. The first one is at the end of Feb., a 12 miler. Would I really be hurting myself by trying that? My goals would be to bring my riding up a notch, and not have to drop out, and know that I gave it my best effort. In my mind I'll have to ride hard/do intervals/ etc. beforehand; would this really jeopardize my future by going this hard this soon? I'll barely have 600-700 miles under me before this time trial comes. I guess I could do the trial without killing myself just to get an idea of what a race is about to see if I want to continue.

re: Base/RaceJon
Dec 9, 2001 10:31 AM
I'd do a couple of things under your circumstances. First of all install wide gearing on your bike, either
a triple crankset or a rear cogset in the range of 13/27. That'll allow you to really gear down in the
hills. Do most of your base work by yourself so you don't get caught up in the group hammerfest
mode all the time. Second, go buy yourself a set of rollers and spin indoors. This is the best possible
skill builder there is and is conducive to base work.

Going on group rides, doing time trials, etc. is not going to hurt you. Just don't overdo it. When we're
talking about base work in a periodized program, building peripheral aerobic capacity (capillarity,
a greater cellular capacity for aerobic respiration, etc.) is necessary to maximize gains in VO2 max
and lactate threshold later on in the more intense periods of the training cycle. So for now you'll
make great gains as a result of time trialling and group rides, but these gains will be limited by
your current lack of base. Don't despair! You'll be building aerobic capacity for the next ten years.
And at this point I seriously doubt that you're in danger of overtraining. You have to take all this training
stuff with a little grain of salt and use some common sense as well. For instance, when you get
tired rest! Take a day off. But all in all try to ride consistently, five days a week or so. Do one or at the
most two days of hard work per week. A ten or twelve mile time trial is an enormous fitness builder!
Start of by doing time trial intensity intervals once per week, starting with 3 x 10 min. with 3 or 4 min.
recoveries. Gradually, over a period of a couple of months build up to 2 x 15 min. intervals, going
at about 90% of your maximum effort. Then taper for a week or so prior to your time trial. Learning to
do time trials is an art in itself and will take time. So have fun. Don't kill yourself on the TTs. Just go
reasonably hard and learn from experience what your capabilities are. Hope this helps. Good luck.
re: Base/Racehrv
Dec 9, 2001 9:12 PM
Your reply contains some great info. Thanks Jon! Will use these ideas to train for the TT. Thanks again.

Excellent advice Jon (nm)allervite
Dec 11, 2001 12:00 PM
Go spinningshirt
Dec 12, 2001 8:08 PM
The guys here will kill me for saying this, but a spinning class at a gym is a good way to get a base if you don't have flats to ride on. That being said, here are my caveats:

1. Never do what the instructor tells you to. Warm up slowly, put your HR where you want it and leave it there. Stand up every ten minutes for 30 secs to get the kinks out and relieve your Boys (don't worry if your HR climbs 10 bmp or so.)

2. One hour is barely enough. My min time on this type of workout is 80 minutes. And I'm a critter. (lingo alert, sorry. A "critter" is a criterium specialist; most of these races are between 40 min and 1.5 hours. Considered short.) All spinning classes I know of max out at 60 minutes. You'll just have to remain in the room like the stud that you are when everyone leaves.

3. You can ride rollers at home, too, but it's easier to get yourself to do the workout when it's scheduled and there are a bunch of fatties you can look at to improve your own self image. Plus, every 50th song they play isn't heinous.

good luck, hrv