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changing from MTB to road racer (long)(9 posts)

changing from MTB to road racer (long)mtber
Apr 9, 2002 10:49 AM
Hey everyone,
I am a MTB racer (just turned pro) who just did my 1st road race on Sun (Boulder Roubaix). I raced CAT3 Women and came in 13/15 but there were at least a few who DNFed and weren't counted. It was a 3hr race and there were 7 people < 10min ahead of me (5 < 5min) so I don't feel that bad.

My biggest problem was letting the pack get away from me 5 min into the race (yes 5min!). I was told that the start would be slow, so I did not warmup much, but we started with the pro,1,2s and they took off on the first little hill. OK, had I gotten in a good warmup, I might not have been blown off the back so quickly.

At the end of the 1st/3 laps a girl caught me, rode my wheel for a while, passed me, and I rode her wheel for about 15min. She then asked if I wanted to work together, we did, and I blew up after a few turns and she took off. I caught her when she slowed to drink - we traded pulls a few more times, and I blew up again. She then caught up to 2 more, started working with them and they took off. I was bummed, it was really windy, but I kept going. Fast forward to the begining of the 3rd (final) lap. I see the group (now 4) ahead of me! I apparently had started to catch them again. I spent the rest of this lap hammerring (HR up to level of 1st lap ~LT+5) and reeling them in. They had even acquired 2 more so they were a group of 6, working together and I was catching them by myself! I managed to catch one of them in the last, 10 min section of gravel and almost caught another, but sprinted too early.

My question is: Why could I not stay with that 1st girl (early in the 2nd lap) yet I was able, all by mayself, to catch up to her and up to 5 others WORKING TOGETHER in the 3rd lap?????

2nd question: I am a very steady paced rider. Whenver I would go on a road grp ride I HATE it (mostly 'cause they usually drop me) when everyone surges for hills, starts after red lights, etc. What kind of workouts should I incorpate to help me prepare for this????

BTW I have just started VO2 intervals (5 and 3 min)2 weeks ago for my MTB training.

Thanks in advance for much needed advice!
re: changing from MTB to road racer (long)mixinbeatz
Apr 9, 2002 11:36 AM
My advice is to work on some intervals, do some more intervals, and make sure that you fit in some intervals. I started training hard for the road in September and was dropped on every ride. But as soon I started incorporating intervals a couple times a week, along with low rpm fluid trainer strength training I had much improvement. In six months I can hand with the 3's in the team rides and am competitive in the 4's with top ten placing in all races I have done so far this year. I know it probably was not the smartest thing to start hard training in Sept. but at my fitness level there was no way I was going to hang in March with slow base rides due to my inability to hang in the surges. I just made sure I went hard on my interval days, and slow on my recovery days, and when my body felt weak, I rested. By going fast early in the year I understand that I may bonk as the summer goes on, but I wanted to make sure I could hang once racing started.
Thats my 2 bits from someone who doesn't get dropped as much, although I am sure you could
drop me!
re: changing from MTB to road racer (long)brider
Apr 9, 2002 12:13 PM
You're suffereing from a common problem amoungst MTBers and triathletes -- strong riders, but just don't respond well to jumps. You have good steady state strength and aerobic capacity, but you need to bring up your weaknesses to take advantage of them. Do some downhill sprints, and do some reverse paceline work (group of 6-7 in a paceline, where the person in back sprints to the front, then rests while the line drifts back). Something that can help on the jump is to use BOTH pedals -- lift on the rising pedal as well as stomping on the descending pedal. You will do much better to kill yourself to stay with the pack than to let a gap form and try to TT your way back up.
come do some rides with melonefrontranger
Apr 9, 2002 12:46 PM
or ask BipedZed for his secret formula. A lot of the stuff he told me really helped last year. I've got to really start in on the VO2MAX stuff again, since that's historically where I'm lacking. I admit it, I'm lazy and a wuss. I absolutely DESPISE doing VO2MAX workouts, because they suck and they hurt. But the payoff is well worth it.

Aside from that, yes - intervals, intervals, intervals. I've coached a bit, so if you want some free advice drop me an e-mail or give me a ring.

Cheers,

LFR
Know exactly how you feelRockyMountainRacer
Apr 9, 2002 1:09 PM
I'm not going to give much advice here (because I don't know a whole lot), but I'm going through the same thing you are. I'm a male Sport level mtb'er here in CO as well (1 year racing last summer), and I plan on upgrading to Expert some time this season depending on how things go. I've been doing a lot more road riding in preparation, and started some road racing early as well, mainly to get stronger for my mountain biking. I am able to hang with the pack on the road no problem, untill they start changing the pace and doing all those surges. Like you, that is what blows my legs out.

I think a lot of it is mental, because as mtb'ers we are used to setting our own pace and cruising through the woods as we see fit. Also, drafting doesn't matter except on the fireroads, so we can pace ourselves however we want, drop back early and reel people in or vice versa. Responding to other peoples' efforts on the road thus becomes a real chore. I hate it when the pace is dictated by others, and of course you are better off trying to kill yourself to stay with the pack than tt'ing after it like the last poster said. The thing I'm still getting used to is that if you lose the pack you are pretty much screwed (in crits anyway, that's all I've done). We need to get used to sucking it up and taking the pain to hold on to that pack for dear life.

One thing that is helping me is lactate tolerance intervals from the Friel book. You do a couple of sets of stuff like this:

30 seconds on (absolutely all out sprinting), 15 seconds off, done 4 times.

That's one set, then you recover completely and do it again, ussually three or 4 times depending on how strong you are. As a Pro, you can probably do longer "on" periods than 30 seconds. The idea is that the recovery period is much shorter than the jump, so your legs are still burning with acid each time you start the next sprint and you have more and more lactate to grit your teeth through as the set goes on. This helps your legs get used to the constant accelerations of the roadies.

Then try a crit: basically 40 minutes or so of non-stop lactate tolerance intervals. They are EVIL! Keep it up, and good luck with your Pro Mtb'ing, that is awesome for you! (Do you still have to work other than ride your bike as a pro mtb'er in CO?)
Thanks for the advice everyonemtber
Apr 9, 2002 2:38 PM
Yes, I figured intervals was the key. Unfortunately, my coach has me peaking later in the summer so I have just started on the shorter, more intense intervals.

I will try the DH sprints and reverse paceline that Brider suggested. My coach mentioned that Lactate Clearing ints will be coming in the future, but maybe I will get a head start and try some. Mostly, I will try to take group road rides more seriously and REALLY try not to get dropped.

Finally, to answer RMR, I, unfortunately work full time, and commute ~1.5hr/day. I JUST turned pro (did one pro Winter Park race last year) so I am more of a semi-pro, except that there are not enough women to have a semi-pro class.

Thanks again for the great advice.
Why you got dropped...Kyle
Apr 10, 2002 8:13 AM
I'm in the same boat as you, but I began my transition to the road a year ago. I made a lot of mistakes and got crushed by weaker riders often. Here's what I learned.

1: Mountain bikers pull too hard at the front of the paceline. We feel it's our duty to go 100% while the rest of the group glides happily along behind us. Then after a few pulls, we drift back, the group surges, and we're gone. This leaves us to do what we're good at: settle into an even time trial pace and hope there's a big hill ahead where we can catch up. Shave a good 5% off your effort when you're leading--no one else is going as hard as you are.

2: Those stupid surges still terrify me. If you're going to be successfull on the road, you're going to need a sprint--something that doesn't really come up in the dirt. 30 second all out intervals (HR is irrelevant here) should help. I also spent the off season in the weight room doing squats (a first for me) that will probably do nothing for my MTBing but will hopefully keep me from getting gapped too easily on the road.

Good luck.
Another mtbrk mand
Apr 10, 2002 11:13 AM
It's a humbleing experience, but will bring about future rewards. I had similiar problems last year and made significant gains by club rides and interval training, pushing myself beyond lactate threshold. I've now incorporated that in my training (cruise intervals, pyramids, 30 second sprints) and it will help on race day. You realize when the group goes you have to hang with them or your finished. I've noticed other mtb racers (no one pro) have similar problems, so I am really looking forward to the race season. You realize why a guy like Roland Green does most of his training on the road and does a few road races. If you're already a pro level mtb racer, look forward to how much stronger you will be. Good luck.
re: changing from MTB to road racer (long)skip work to ride
Apr 10, 2002 5:04 PM
Everyone has made some great points. I too am like you and have no problem on the dirt but the road is murder and demoralizing. It is actually very helpful to hear I am not the only one. I did a weekly training race last night I pulled hard on the front a couple of times but lost the group 15 minutes into the ride.

Drafting and working within the pack to stay on is key. I noticed that I go forward and backward in the pack a lot during a race. More so than other riders. The roadies seem to hover in areas until the end, when everything is hell's bells.

Tempo riding is another that can help with riding at this intensity. Ride at a 10 beats below LT and you should egt the fell for the racing.

Now, if we didn't have to shave our legs like roadies...