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I have been riding on my own pace. When I go to group rides I see people that are slower than me as well as people that are a lot faster than me. As I researched more on training, I realized that just riding two 30 mile routes every weekend will not make me a faster rider. I will have to "train" to become a faster rider - better climber and better sprinter. And what I have been doing is far from what the training articles recommend. I enjoy riding with the group and I also enjoy riding by myself. But I just started riding this spring, and I am not serious enough to think about racing yet.
If I rode hard for 5 min. and cooled down for 5 min. and so on during my routine 30 mile ride, will that help me? There is a moderate hill which is 1/2mile long in my area and I went up and down on it 4 times before completing my 15 mile route yesterday. With this kind of rides, will I improve noticeably in a year or so?:confused: How would you measure improvement? :confused: What kind of goals should I set as a beginner? :confused:
Thanks.
 

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Dude, Your best bet is to just ride as much as you can this year and enjoy doing it. Right now you just need to work on building up your base/endurance.
 

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I ride for form, fitness, and fun. I'm not training for any particular race or group ride, but I still hope to get faster. And I've been riding for many years.
If I'm alone, can I get to point xxx in less time that last weekend? If I'm in a group, can I keep up with the fast people? That's about as detailed my training gets.

As a beginner, there's no objective standard of training for you. That's your choice. Simply put in the miles and the hours on the bike. Change that 30 mile ride to a 50 mile ride. If you want to race you should join a club, & there are many books and online sources for race training regimens.
 

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edhchoe said:
I have been riding on my own pace. When I go to group rides I see people that are slower than me as well as people that are a lot faster than me. As I researched more on training, I realized that just riding two 30 mile routes every weekend will not make me a faster rider. I will have to "train" to become a faster rider - better climber and better sprinter. And what I have been doing is far from what the training articles recommend. I enjoy riding with the group and I also enjoy riding by myself. But I just started riding this spring, and I am not serious enough to think about racing yet.
If I rode hard for 5 min. and cooled down for 5 min. and so on during my routine 30 mile ride, will that help me? There is a moderate hill which is 1/2mile long in my area and I went up and down on it 4 times before completing my 15 mile route yesterday. With this kind of rides, will I improve noticeably in a year or so?:confused: How would you measure improvement? :confused: What kind of goals should I set as a beginner? :confused:
Thanks.
'Riding' is worse than 'training' only in relative terms. "Riding' can still make you faster, just not quite as soon. To get faster you need to stress your body's systems beyond what they are use to. Ride longer, ride faster.

You can do things like:
- Once a week, ride with a group that drops you.
- On an easier ride, drop back a hundred yards and sprint back to the pack a few times.
- If someone drops off the group, drop back and pick them up and "TT' back up to the pack.
- Make three of your weekly rides fast, hills and long. Fast may be the group that drops you. Hills may be your hill intervals. Long may be a weekend group ride at an easy pace.

If you are going to 'train', like the hill intervals you mentioned, get the most out of them that you can. Pick a speed where you can do 3 of them, with each one faster, and be totally spent after the last one. Also do the top third of the hill faster than the first third.

To measure performance improvement, you need to specify what you want improved. If it's just 'faster with the group', then all you can do is keep a journal of how well you do in the group and see how that changes over a time period.

TF
 

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Just my thinking but before putting any stress on the body you need to have a solid base. By that there should be at least a base of 1000 miles or better otherwise injury is just waiting to happen. In the winter months think about riding a fixed gear great for base work and to work on your pedal stroke and spinning.

Ray Still
 

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Those are a bunch of good responses IMO.

Trying to set a rigorous training program at this point in your career may be fruitless. You stand a nice chance of burning out mentally before you even achieve a nice base and good form (a few things that are nice to get prior to building a training program).

The way I look at it, for anyone to do really well in a sport, they probably should spend a bit of time simply enjoying it and learning the subtle finer points of it before putting their nose the the grindstone.

I have seen more than one guy enter a 5 race where he clearly was the strongest/fittest person in the event...yet he either DNFs or finishes back in the pack because he lacks fundamentals. Worse yet, these types sometimes select a path of training harder but never developing fundamentals so they always struggle in a pack, and/or get frustrated and quit riding completely.

Have fun for a year or two. Go out and ride with fast people once in a while. Focus on little fun things like riding in a pack, pacing, spinning a smooth pedal stroke, holding your line, etc. These are important, and most novice cyclists think they are good at these things, but usually these skills are developed over a few years time. There are lots of people out there that do not "train" but they love cycling, and become quite skilled and fast.
 

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This...

abiciriderback said:
Just my thinking but before putting any stress on the body you need to have a solid base. By that there should be at least a base of 1000 miles or better otherwise injury is just waiting to happen. In the winter months think about riding a fixed gear great for base work and to work on your pedal stroke and spinning.

Ray Still
This sense of thinking, while it still works out pretty well, is becoming more and more irrelevant. There are many pros out there now who don't do the long slow distance miles (base) any longer in the off season, because those are what have become known as garbage miles. They're fine if you like doing that sort of thing, but if you want to get faster, quicker, intervals are the key, and you can do them really at any point in time, base established or not. As someone else said, it's about stressing your bodily systems more than what you're used to. Something gets broken down through that, and then built back up, and you can get faster in a shorter amount of time really. 1000 miles means, well, nothing. You're not going to get "injured" if you go hard because you have an acceptable "base". Usually what happens is you get tired faster, and you go home.
 

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magnolialover said:
This sense of thinking, while it still works out pretty well, is becoming more and more irrelevant. There are many pros out there now who don't do the long slow distance miles (base) any longer in the off season, because those are what have become known as garbage miles.
While I agree that fear of injury is not the reason to establish a base, I hesitate to consider or even mention what a pro does for regarding this subject (I fear that novice riders put entirely too much emphasis on emulating pros...and there are numerous reasons why we should not).

For one, the OP is not a pro.
For two, most pros I know do not take months off the bike (they ride the whole year), so it could be argued that they are riding on a base at all times.

Not trying to start an argument, just pointing out that it is probably advisable for novice cyclists to put in "junk" miles. It is during those "junk" mile sessions that many of us develop the handling skills that help us through our careers.

Pros ride as a job, novices tend to ride as a hobby. A great way to ruin a hobby is to make it feel like a job...that is all I am saying.
 

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training takes fun out of riding

Training just isn't any fun. Riding is fun. I like riding. I don't like training. I'll even find an excuse not to ride just to avoid training. So I ride instead. If you ride enough, you'll get stronger and faster and will enjoy it more. Don't worry about training. Riding should never be a chore.

And that's why I don't win races.....but I very rarely get caught from behind on the road either.
 

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There is no better training than a race. And what Magnolia said is 100% true. Cycling is a low-impact sport. Injuries are more likely to happen in crashes than they are to happen because you didn't have your 'long-distance' (aka garbage) miles in. Go fast. Go hard. Or go home.
:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I did a 30 mile ride this morning. I remember completing the route in 2 hours and 10 minutes a month ago. That was after one month of riding. Today, (after two months of riding) I completed it in 1 hour 55 min. I shaved off 15 min!!! My average speed went from 14 mph to 15.5 mph. I focused on keeping the cadence up and not blowing up on a hill. If I go around the same route in the opposite direction, would I get the same time? Theoretically, I should spend the same amount of energy...
 

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edhchoe said:
I have been riding on my own pace. When I go to group rides I see people that are slower than me as well as people that are a lot faster than me. As I researched more on training, I realized that just riding two 30 mile routes every weekend will not make me a faster rider. I will have to "train" to become a faster rider - better climber and better sprinter. And what I have been doing is far from what the training articles recommend. I enjoy riding with the group and I also enjoy riding by myself. But I just started riding this spring, and I am not serious enough to think about racing yet.
If I rode hard for 5 min. and cooled down for 5 min. and so on during my routine 30 mile ride, will that help me? There is a moderate hill which is 1/2mile long in my area and I went up and down on it 4 times before completing my 15 mile route yesterday. With this kind of rides, will I improve noticeably in a year or so?:confused: How would you measure improvement? :confused: What kind of goals should I set as a beginner? :confused:
Thanks.

Well training is riding....just with a goal in mind before the ride.

Riding twice a week isn't going to do a whole lot for you toward getting faster, but some structure to your rides will help a little. Basically either add in some 5 minute intervals, or some short 20-30 second sprints would help. If you have a hill during your regular ride you could do a few hill repeats (go up, then turn around and go down...do it 3-5 times hard).

The simple fact though is twice a week is just too little to really get much faster.

If you want to measure your improvement there is really only one way to do so and that's with baseline numbers. Go out and do a 3 mile Time Trial on a flat course. Get in a good warm up then do a standing start 3 mile TT...write down your time, then go out a month later with similar conditions and do it again (same course)...are you faster or slower? Then go out a month later and give it another shot (same course)...are you faster or slower? Etc....

If you want to see how you compare against others the only way to do so is to enter a race. A group ride is not a good way to find out whether you are faster or slower than others because not everybody treats them like a race. In a group ride I may be hanging back on the flats and pushing the hills...or pushing the flats and hanging back on the hills or just hitting everything hard or taking it easy the whole day...So you never know what the others are doing around you.

In a race, everybody is trying to do their best and win if possible...this is where you find out how you stack up against others...there really is no other way to tell because there are too many variables when it comes to racing or comparing average speeds.
 

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unit said:
Those are a bunch of good responses IMO.

Trying to set a rigorous training program at this point in your career may be fruitless. You stand a nice chance of burning out mentally before you even achieve a nice base and good form (a few things that are nice to get prior to building a training program).

The way I look at it, for anyone to do really well in a sport, they probably should spend a bit of time simply enjoying it and learning the subtle finer points of it before putting their nose the the grindstone.

I have seen more than one guy enter a 5 race where he clearly was the strongest/fittest person in the event...yet he either DNFs or finishes back in the pack because he lacks fundamentals. Worse yet, these types sometimes select a path of training harder but never developing fundamentals so they always struggle in a pack, and/or get frustrated and quit riding completely.

Have fun for a year or two. Go out and ride with fast people once in a while. Focus on little fun things like riding in a pack, pacing, spinning a smooth pedal stroke, holding your line, etc. These are important, and most novice cyclists think they are good at these things, but usually these skills are developed over a few years time. There are lots of people out there that do not "train" but they love cycling, and become quite skilled and fast.
Original poster, listen to Mr Unit and read his posts 3x. Magnolialover's claim that base miles are junk miles is not true for Newb riders. It's true for pro riders as they're never unfit. Start doing Intervals without a background (base miles and fitness) is a sure way to burn out and quit the sport.

I've been in this sport for 46 years. I've formed two clubs and been a member of others. I've trained and raced. I've seen SO many people come into the sport and get too keen and ride too hard too quickly and burn out and/or get injured just as fast.

The people who lasted the longest are the people who first developed a love for just riding - group rides and solo rides that were fun. Riding for pleasure has to become addictive. I started with day long group rides (Sundays, 9am until dark) in my native UK. Those long, easy rides gave me a base and memories that are with me now at age 60. My love for the sport never wavered - I just got a new custom Dirt Road Bike last week and I'm as keen as ever.

Original Poster - ride lots, but within yourself and rest just as much. To do otherwise, until you're ready, will lead to burnout. You'll only get faster if you ride faster than your "norm". This means doing Intervals of some form. But doing too much, too many, and not allowing the body to recover (we only get stronger as the body adapts to the overload during rest) leads to "overtraining" (it should be re-named "under-resting") and you will probably quit the sport in frustration.

Without the base love of the sport just for the sake of riding, there can be no long-term improvement.
 

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Mike T. said:
Original poster, listen to Mr Unit and read his posts 3x. Magnolialover's claim that base miles are junk miles is not true for Newb riders. It's true for pro riders as they're never unfit. Start doing Intervals without a background (base miles and fitness) is a sure way to burn out and quit the sport.

I've been in this sport for 46 years. I've formed two clubs and been a member of others. I've trained and raced. I've seen SO many people come into the sport and get too keen and ride too hard too quickly and burn out and/or get injured just as fast.

The people who lasted the longest are the people who first developed a love for just riding - group rides and solo rides that were fun. Riding for pleasure has to become addictive. I started with day long group rides (Sundays, 9am until dark) in my native UK. Those long, easy rides gave me a base and memories that are with me now at age 60. My love for the sport never wavered - I just got a new custom Dirt Road Bike last week and I'm as keen as ever.

Original Poster - ride lots, but within yourself and rest just as much. To do otherwise, until you're ready, will lead to burnout. You'll only get faster if you ride faster than your "norm". This means doing Intervals of some form. But doing too much, too many, and not allowing the body to recover (we only get stronger as the body adapts to the overload during rest) leads to "overtraining" (it should be re-named "under-resting") and you will probably quit the sport in frustration.

Without the base love of the sport just for the sake of riding, there can be no long-term improvement.


I disagree. Magnolia's claim that huge amounts of base miles are junk is right on. The assumption that the majority of pros ride through the winter is totally false. I've known pros to tell the mags one thing and do another. I firmly believe that the majority of pros get their so-called base miles in, during the early part of RACING season. Yep, that's right. Even pros take a long two month break away from the bike for a good part of those two months. Sure, they don't sit on the couch and get lazy... actually some do.

Anyway, base miles are old tradition junk miles. For anyone. Period. You want to not get dropped in the first 20 miles of a race? Hahah! It has nothing to do with doing more junk miles. Train harder. Less miles. Scroll back up to the post that Magnolia wrote about earlier. Read it. If you want to keep doing the long miles and act like your preserving yourself from injury, you're smoking crack.
 

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barbedwire said:
Train harder. Less miles
I agree. It's an old saw about "fast receational" group rides for an aspiring racer, but bears repeating anyway: recreational riders don't go fast enough on their fast days, and not nearly slow enough on their slow days.

If you want to improve, intensity-rest-intensity is the key. If you don't want to improve past a certain plateau, it's fine to ride with people who do 6,000 miles a year all at the same speed.
 

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barbedwire said:
I disagree. Magnolia's claim that huge amounts of base miles are junk is right on.
What's huge? 20k miles? It's all relative. For a newb to start doing intervals or stressful riding with no fitness base to get muscles, tendons, cartilage, ligaments and other systems acclimated to the work ahead is cycling suicide. I've seen it happen.

After a few weeks of hard intervals that produces aches and pains and not the blinding speed that was expected we have ourselves another golfer or bowler in the making. The ones with longevity learn to love cycling for the sake of cycling first.
 

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Mike T. said:
What's huge? 20k miles? It's all relative. For a newb to start doing intervals or stressful riding with no fitness base to get muscles, tendons, cartilage, ligaments and other systems acclimated to the work ahead is cycling suicide. I've seen it happen.
I disagree...I've been in and out of competitive athletics pretty much my entire life, I also have a background in coaching as well as intercollegiate athletics.

When I started to get back in shape I hadn't ridden a bike or done any physical activity for 2-3 years and I was doing short interval work during the first week of my riding. It wasn't harmful, didn't cause any undue stress on my body and I definitely didn't commit cycling suicide...if anything it got me prepared for hard work much, much faster than LSD work ever would have.

In a sport like cycling there is no really harm in jumping into intervals from the start unless the individual has a heart condition or other similar serious condition that might limit what they can do.

If we were talking lifting weights, serious contact sports, etc...I'd probably agree with you. However we are talking cycling an non contact sport that uses a bike that has gears that limit the stress on the body. There is no more harm in doing intervals than going hard on a hill during an early ride. There is much more harm with an ill fitted bike than doing hard intervals early on.

Many people are stuck in the 60's and 70's when it comes to training and one of the big problems with base miles for the new rider who was a non athlete before is it teaches them how "not" to go hard and it makes it that much harder for them to learn what their body can and can't do and how hard they can push themselves.

Honestly....Getting advice from a web forum on how to train is the real act of suicide when it comes to training for a newbie. Training has changed, yet old ways of thinking stay ingrained in peoples minds and some habits are tough to break.

The other thing to remember is most people don't have time to do the "Junk/Base" miles. They have lives, jobs, family, etc...that prevent them from spending 20 hours a week of slow miles on a bike to build up to that "Interval" level the base mile advocates suggest. They have 5-10 hours a week to spend on the bike and they are much, much better using those hours wisely with a fair amount of intensity over slow useless miles.
 
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