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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am very new to racing and had another Crit this weekend at Menlo Park. It seems that in the Cat 5 group the pace was very fast. I feel like maybe I'm not training at the right intensity. I was able to keep up with the pack for about 5 or 6 laps (1km course), but after that I got dropped and was never able to recover. My heart rate was a lot higher in the race than where I've been training. Part of that may be nerves, but I think that a lot of it has to do with how hard I am having to work.
I have been riding as a rec rider for about 5 years now and want to take it to the next level, but from what I've experienced in the few races I've done, I think I need to change some things. I am looking for a little direction on my level of training intensity. I know I have not been training as hard as I should and I need some advice regarding intervals and resistance training. Any other advice would be helpful as well. Thanks for your help.
 

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Positioning in the pack

Where are you in the pack before you get dropped? If you are on the back being yo-yo'd, you can be relatively fit and still get dropped. If this is case, try riding closer to the front.

On the other hand, if you are at the front, run out of gas, and get shot out of the back the group, you probably have a fitness issue. The only way to ride faster is to ride faster. Duh.

Interval workouts are key. Warm up well and then try 4-5 sets of 5x1 minute on/one minute off, with 3 or 4 minutes rest between sets. When you are "on" you should be going very hard-- max effort that you can sustain for the minut, seated, spinning. Soft peddle to recover. You should be smoked at the end of the workout. Do it a couple times a week, with a least one (maybe two) easy/rest day(s) before the workout. These workouts are often easier to do on a stationary trainer. Also, look for a fast group ride during the week. You'll get plenty of intensity if it is fast enough.

Have fun and keep racing.

soup
 

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Only way to get race ready is to race. It is very hard to replicate the exertion levels required to race while training. Find long fast group training rides with riders who are better than you, which means that you will have to work harder than them just to keep from being spit out the back. And most importantly keep racing, its the only way to prepare for more racing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice. As far as the intervals go, you said it may be easier to do them on a trainer. Is it just as beneficial to do them on a trainer?
 

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"Easier"

jorj54 said:
Thanks for the advice. As far as the intervals go, you said it may be easier to do them on a trainer. Is it just as beneficial to do them on a trainer?
In my experience, intervals are "easier" on the trainer because you do not have to worry about traffic, intersections, hills, etc. You just hop on, warm up, and have at it. And yes, I think a trainer workout is just as beneficial as the same workout on the road.

That said, hill repeats are also really effective. Go find a decent hill (can be long or short, depending on what you want to train) and hammer up, turn around and ride down, recover, repeat.

soup
 

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Easier?

soup67 said:
In my experience, intervals are "easier" on the trainer because you do not have to worry about traffic, intersections, hills, etc. You just hop on, warm up, and have at it. And yes, I think a trainer workout is just as beneficial as the same workout on the road.
One thing to consider is that with the advent of warmer weather, trainer sessions can become more about enduring indoor heat and humidity than about getting a good workout. If you live in a congested area, indoor workouts may be a reasonable option, but in most cases you'd bet better able to apply full effort when outdoors.
 

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jorj54 said:
I am very new to racing and had another Crit this weekend at Menlo Park. It seems that in the Cat 5 group the pace was very fast. I feel like maybe I'm not training at the right intensity. I was able to keep up with the pack for about 5 or 6 laps (1km course), but after that I got dropped and was never able to recover. My heart rate was a lot higher in the race than where I've been training. Part of that may be nerves, but I think that a lot of it has to do with how hard I am having to work.
I have been riding as a rec rider for about 5 years now and want to take it to the next level, but from what I've experienced in the few races I've done, I think I need to change some things. I am looking for a little direction on my level of training intensity. I know I have not been training as hard as I should and I need some advice regarding intervals and resistance training. Any other advice would be helpful as well. Thanks for your help.
We really do need more info... like someone else asked: front or back of the pack? Why did you blow? ie: legs gave out or did your hr/breathing hold you back?

Depending on how you answer, you can get better advice. ie: if its your leg strength that let you down, intervals and short, very hard efforts are the key. If its your HR/breathing there's other workouts to do.

Go get yourself a Friel book. (google it!) and read up on training. Its completely different than just going out riding. JRA is great, but it don't win you races.

M
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I was at the front of the pack until the first prime lap hit and then guys accelerated past me left and right and my legs couldn't keep up. BTW, I also have a Friel book on the way in the mail. Thanks for the advice.
 

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jorj54 said:
I was at the front of the pack until the first prime lap hit and then guys accelerated past me left and right and my legs couldn't keep up. BTW, I also have a Friel book on the way in the mail. Thanks for the advice.
Racing more and doing race-like group rides (I've never been in a race as hard as the local hammerfest) will fix that. There are potentially two issues. First, if you were "fine" until the prime was called then you need to improve your sprinting and recovery. Racing and especially crits are very much about the ability to go as hard as you can and then quickly recover. Secondly, if you felt like you were near your limit before the prime was called and your legs couldnt answer when they laid the hammer down, then you could use more aerobic fitness (like any of us have enough? ...maybe lance).

In extreme cases I've seen a guy capable of a low 50 40k (national calibre in his age group) get dropped in a cat 4 crit. He was one huge slow twitch muscle and just couldnt answer when repeatedly sprinting out of corners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks to everyone for your insight. This gives me some great growing points and a lot to think about.
 

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jorj54 said:
I was at the front of the pack until the first prime lap hit and then guys accelerated past me left and right and my legs couldn't keep up. BTW, I also have a Friel book on the way in the mail. Thanks for the advice.
Assuming you weren't ON THE FRONT and wasting your energy... I would think it's most likely one of two things.

1) Your legs weren't ready for that kind of effort.
Solutions: warm-up better, practice sprint intervals in training.

2) Your legs were fine and you gave up because it hurt.
Solution: Unfortunately, get used to it. Racing hurts and you have to be able to turn off the hurt and keep going.

Prime laps are often when races break up because people either can't or are not prepared to keep going after the line. Attacks often happen after the line to keep the pace high and drop as many riders as possible. Don't be one of them. Hang on at all costs!!! I promise it slows down right after, because everybody else is hurting, too.
 
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