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I have been training with a heart rate monitor over the past few months. When I do a three hour hard group ride or race I will spend about 40 minutes out of 3 hours in 185-195 zone (~90% of max) and 10 minutes at 195+ (95%-100%) and average around 165 for the entire race. I am now trying to train these zones for racing but I have a dilemma.

I live in a flat area with short climbs of 100-300 feet. In general I am a stronger climber on these types of hills than my peers. However, when I train on a flat course it is almost impossible for me to hit 185-195 (90%) for more than one minute as I begin to die and build lactic acid. (the strange thing is that I seem to be able to maintain this effort on the hills with less problems). When I race a flat course I seem to suffer quite a bit compared to others even though I can hang on. When we get to the hills i generally push the pace.

Does anyone have experience with this and can someone give any specific training ideas that would help me develop my speed and efficiency on the flats? I have thought about doing intervals in my largest gear, just training to push a big gear and develop more power on the flats.
 

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Sounds like you are a smaller rider and don't put out as much overall power as other riders/racers in your area....but you have a better power to weight ratio, hence the better climbing.

Intervals are always a good way to go, and some big gear work will help.

I would also check your position on the bike and or try and get as low and narrow on the bike as possible while on the flats. The flats are all about power, which is why bigger riders "Tend" to do better there....but they are also about aerodynamics (look no further than Time Trials) and putting as small of a frontal area as possible out there will help a lot on the flats.

Also make sure you are wearing tighter clothing so it's not being caught in the wind, slowing you down compared to others around you.

Just a few suggestions....I'm sure others will provide more information.
 

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f*ck the big gear thing. the only thing you might need to train big gears for is (a) going really, really fast on the flats, which you obiously aren't ready for, or (b) going uphill on an incline so steep that your lowest gear is still keeping you in a slow cadence.
big gear, little gear, it's all the same -- you need to train your endurance at threshold. You're probably putting out decent power; you just can't put it out for very long.
This is what you do -- at that power where you punk out quickly -- kick it back a little, and do THAT power for twenty minutes x two. or ten, or whatever you can hold for at least ten minutes. Then build it up to twenty. Kick it back a little more and do forty.
you'll get there. it's a power to weight ratio issue, yes, in the sense that you have good power to weight, but you don't have the endurance at a high enough power to maintain your speed on the flats. you don't build endurance with cadence. you build endurance by extending the amount of time you can hold a given effort.
you are what you train to be. there really is no trick to it.
 

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iliveonnitro said:
Raise your HRmax.
How?

iliveonnitro said:
I don't know anyone who can spend 10min in a 3hr ride at 95-100% of your max. You would probably go into cardiac arrest.
I imagine it is possible to accumulate such time over the course of 3 hours, esp if the ride had lots of small/short rolling hills where you smacked it hard for short periods, got the HR right up there and recovered over the top. Each of these 30-60 second efforts with a high HR could easily accumulate to 10-min worth in total.

The fact that the measurement of such accumulated time in "zone" has pretty limited value is another issue altogether.
 

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bill said:
f*ck the big gear thing. the only thing you might need to train big gears for is (a) going really, really fast on the flats, which you obiously aren't ready for, or (b) going uphill on an incline so steep that your lowest gear is still keeping you in a slow cadence.
big gear, little gear, it's all the same -- you need to train your endurance at threshold. You're probably putting out decent power; you just can't put it out for very long.
This is what you do -- at that power where you punk out quickly -- kick it back a little, and do THAT power for twenty minutes x two. or ten, or whatever you can hold for at least ten minutes. Then build it up to twenty. Kick it back a little more and do forty.
you'll get there. it's a power to weight ratio issue, yes, in the sense that you have good power to weight, but you don't have the endurance at a high enough power to maintain your speed on the flats. you don't build endurance with cadence. you build endurance by extending the amount of time you can hold a given effort.
you are what you train to be. there really is no trick to it.
While the language is colourful, this is essentially it.

Training for extended contiguous efforts (10-60 minutes) at and around the effort/pace/power you would ride a time trial (16-40km TT), mixed up with plenty of longer rides at intensities just below that and a little of shorter efforts at intensities above that, are the best ways of lifting your sustainable power output.

Agree - forget cadence - focus on power/level of effort.
 
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