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How do you stage racers do it?

I did an 84 mile ride with 8400' of climbing on Saturday, and a 61 mile ride with 3800' of climbing on Sunday. Monday I did a flat 14 mph softpedal ride for an hour an a half. Tuesday I did my normal Tuesday night circuit series: couple mile loop with a short, reasonably steep climb. My legs felt like lead. I cracked OTB of cats 4/5 on the 2nd lap and played catch up with 5 or 6 stragglers after that, and cracked OTB of them, too. Ended up finishing almost exactly one lap (6 or 7 minutes) behind the field. This was my first time falling OTB in a race.

So how do you stage racer types train to feel fresh when going hard (however that may be defined in your personal perception) for several days in a row with minimal or no recovery between rides?

Normally, I race on Tuesday, do a hill or interval workout on Thursday, and a long or hard ride or race on Saturday or Sunday. So three hard rides per week, the rest is softpedal or off the bike completely. I have a feeling my Thursday workouts are keeping me from being fresh on Saturday races/rides, and my Sunday rides (when I do them in addition to or instead of Saturday rides) are keeping me from being fresh for Tuesday races.

Advice?
 

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It might not be the best thing for your health, but try to do hard rides for a few days straight (4-6). Try doing a hard ride the first day, then a medium ride, then one a bit harder than the previous day, or sustaining. If you can start ramping up the rates of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th days it will slowly condition you to riding repeatedly hard days. I am no stage racer but this has seemed to make me acclamated to riding hard days everyday except sunday. Usually we do a few days of hard rides, monday wednesday and friday are 40 mile rides with a 30 mile an hour group, and then on tuesdays and thursdays we ride anywhere from 40-70 miles with just four or five of us (so we are all pulling) at about 23-25 most of the time. This was hell at first, but I had (until my knees became injured) accustomed to doing this and had begun to be able to hold my pulls at the pace for just under an equal amount of time for all of us. See if you can get some guys to ride with you who can help you step up, because there is no way you could do this alone, due to psychological constraints. The only thing that kept me from breaking many times was the shame of having the group have to stop and wait for me, and even a few times that was not enough, being with guys much stronger than you is psychologically intimidating but works wonders for training. Again you may already be doing and this may be too much, this is just my 2 cents.
Matt
P.s. I am nowhere near pulling on the 30 mph rides, but I am confident that once I resume riding I will reach that level
 

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Your stage race versus a real stage race

BenWA said:
How do you stage racers do it?

I did an 84 mile ride with 8400' of climbing on Saturday, and a 61 mile ride with 3800' of climbing on Sunday. Monday I did a flat 14 mph softpedal ride for an hour an a half. Tuesday I did my normal Tuesday night circuit series: couple mile loop with a short, reasonably steep climb. My legs felt like lead. I cracked OTB of cats 4/5 on the 2nd lap and played catch up with 5 or 6 stragglers after that, and cracked OTB of them, too. Ended up finishing almost exactly one lap (6 or 7 minutes) behind the field. This was my first time falling OTB in a race.

So how do you stage racer types train to feel fresh when going hard (however that may be defined in your personal perception) for several days in a row with minimal or no recovery between rides?

Normally, I race on Tuesday, do a hill or interval workout on Thursday, and a long or hard ride or race on Saturday or Sunday. So three hard rides per week, the rest is softpedal or off the bike completely. I have a feeling my Thursday workouts are keeping me from being fresh on Saturday races/rides, and my Sunday rides (when I do them in addition to or instead of Saturday rides) are keeping me from being fresh for Tuesday races.

Advice?
The difference between what you experienced and what goes on in a stage race: In a stage race everyone is doing the same race every day. If it is a stage race on time then everyone is actually riding the same distance. In your case, probably there were guys in your Tuesday night race who only rode half of what you did on the weekend and were therefore feeling much fresher during the race (and making you pay). This is very different than stage racing. There are riders who can race superbly on a single day, and then there are riders who race superbly (relative to the competition) as a stage race progresses.

FWIW, I experienced the same as you. I had a big weekend of training, coming at the end of a big week of training. I took Monday off, but did not really use the time for total recovery either. Tuesday, I missed every move that mattered and felt like crap the whole race. I can at least say that I expected to be flat after a hard week.

With respect to recovery, as you age you definitely do not recover as well. I am 37 and I don't recover even as well as I did 5 years ago and definitely not as well as 10 years ago. On the flipside, I do have years of miles in my legs and I also have a better understanding of how I respond to training and racing than 10 years ago. I too suspect that your Thursday might compromise Saturday and then if Sunday is also hard it will compound into compromising Tuesday. You might want to try a schedule of hard Saturday ride/race Tuesday and keep the other rides easy and/or short for a few weeks to see if you race better.
 

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Every little counts...
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Train for it. Build into the efforts slowly in base with 3-4-5 days micro-cycles of training.

You won't be able to do maximal workouts everyday. Try a long easy day in between hard days. After the microcycle (a crash) recover COMPLETELY even if it takes 3-4 days of soft pedalling to get your mojo back.

Read Friel's chapters on stage racing and make a plan.
 

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1) Train for it
2) Keep it moving. -- there's a reason Tour riders don't like rest days, and still ride on them.

I rode a stage race last weekend with 80 miles Friday, a TT (23 minutes-ish plus 45-min warmup) plus a crit (45 mins + 30 min warmup) on Saturday, and 102 miles on Sunday, plus a 17-mile ride back to town!

Monday, I felt pretty much okay, even though I'd given EVERYTHING to the last stage. However, I made the mistake of not riding, since I had to catch up on work, and Tuesday I felt like junk, but went out and rode a couple hours easy anyway. Yesterday I did 4 hours with 2 sets of hill sprints, and today I feel pretty good. Crit this evening...
 

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Like the other posters stated, you have to train for it. Your body needs to know that you are demanding energy consumption day after day. I typically race/train on Sat and Sun., Mon recover, then train Tues, Wed, Thur, Fri is recover. Wed is a lesser intensity day to get some recoverery while putting in some hard efforts. My strength is stage racing and I train that way all year.
 

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you silly boy. you increased your volume by how many times within two days, you threw in a couple of miles of vertical elevation, and you wonder why you cracked?
you did nothing to train for that.
but if that isn't going to be your target event or events, there is no need to train for it. just suffer through it and expect to get dropped on tuesday.
as for recovery, the fitter you are, the younger you are, the less recovery you need. so. get the recovery you need, and train by what you're trying to accomplish.
specificity. that's it. specificity. you cannot beat the laws of nature.
 

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It's all ball bearings
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
bill said:
you silly boy. you increased your volume by how many times within two days, you threw in a couple of miles of vertical elevation, and you wonder why you cracked?
you did nothing to train for that.
but if that isn't going to be your target event or events, there is no need to train for it. just suffer through it and expect to get dropped on tuesday.
as for recovery, the fitter you are, the younger you are, the less recovery you need. so. get the recovery you need, and train by what you're trying to accomplish.
specificity. that's it. specificity. you cannot beat the laws of nature.
You're completely right, I realized how silly the question was after I posted it...I admit that I didn't organize my thoughts very well when I posted this. :eek:

Mainly, it just got me thinking (out of curiosity moreso than for my own application) about stage racers and how they are able to ride huge volumes at high intensities for many days in a row, and it got me wondering how they train for that without seriously overtraining in the process.
 

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Do you ever get a chance to watch the pro races on OLN ? A few times throughout the race they'll show one of the riders heartrate. For the most part till they get to the last 20 or so kilo their only around 50% mhr. Not including the guy pulling the peloton at the time. Ride your next endurance ride @ 50% and see how fresh you feel. It's like a walk in the park. Heck today I did 63 miles @ 60-65% and It was nothing. According to Chris Carmichael Lance does 5-6 hour endurance ride and his HR is avg of 108-118 with a max HR of 201. Read that in a book of his.
 
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