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Training for stage bike race.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I was hoping to have some suggestions from people who have done stage bike races regarding training.

 

I signed up to ride the four day solo portion of the TransRockies this year, which is a little out of my comfort zone.  The four stages will total 240k with 6450 meters elevation gain (143 miles and 21,161 feet elevation) all mountain and mostly single track in the Rockies.

 

I was able to build/maintain my base this winter by ski skating about one to three days per week, wind training one to three days per week and occasional BC skiing, in addition to a lot of DH skiing.  Started to increase training volume in early March.  

 

My training schedule now is:  two days per week distance (6 to 8 hours) at 75% perceived exertion either on road or mountain bike; two days intensity (hard riding on mountain (hills and fartleks) or road intervals (e.g., 10 x 90 sec or over-unders); two days easy ride with additional flexibility/strength/core focus; and one complete rest day.  Total time per week will be about 14 hours a week for a three week period, but will reduce a bit on the fourth week of each period.  I have about 11 weeks until the race.

 

Kind of a late start on the bike because of too much fun skiing and poor riding conditions (studs work great, but not in deep snow).

 

My goal for the race is mostly just to have fun.  I'm 54 and have been riding for years.

 

Thanks


Edited by canadianskier - 4/30/12 at 10:21pm
post #2 of 9

Looks pretty good to me.  I'm a road biker, so not really sure about the MTB specific training you need.  I've trained for 2 weeklong stage rides (not races) that cover over 440 miles in 6 days of riding with at least 35k of climbing.  How much of a base do you already have?  If you haven't been riding 10-12 hours a week for three weeks, then it is too soon to do interval training -- you need to build a bit more of a base before doing so.

 

My training schedule goes something like this:

 

Base 1

 

2 weekday endurance rides of 1-1.5 hours

2 weekend rides of 2-3 hours building by the 3rd week to 3-4 hours on one day followed by a 2-3 hour ride

 

Build 1

 

1 weekday ride of Tempo (zone 3) riding for 30 minutes; fillout 1-1.5 hours in zone 2

1 weekday endurance ride

2 weekend rides of 3-4 hours -- in week 3, make one of those rides 5+ hours

 

Build 2

 

1 weekday ride of threshold riding; first 2 weeks 3 10 minute blocks separated by at least 5 minutes of zone 2, 3rd week 2 20 minute blocks separated by at least 10 minutes of zone 2, fill out rest of an 1-1.5 hour ride with zone 2 riding

1 weekday endurance ride mainly in zone 2

1 weekend ride of 5+ hours

1 weekend ride of 3-4 hours; transition to week 3 of 5+ hours

 

Build 3

 

1 weekday ride of threshold 2x20 minute blocks separated by at least 10 minutes of zone 2 riding; fill out 1-1.5 hour ride with zone 2 riding

1 weekday endurance ride

2 weekend rides of 5+hours

 

At the end of each mezzo cycle, you have a rest week were one of the weekday rides is eliminated, all weekday rides are reduced to zone 1-2 easy on the legs riding, one of the weekend rides is reduced to zone 1-2 riding for 1-1.5 hours, and the other is a 3-4 hour endurance ride.  Dont forget strength training.

 

Mike

post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by canadianskier View Post

I was hoping to have some suggestions from people who have done stage bike races regarding training.

 

I signed up to ride the four day solo portion of the TransRockies this year, which is a little out of my comfort zone.  The four stages will total 240k with 6450 meters elevation gain (143 miles and 21,161 feet elevation) all mountain and mostly single track in the Rockies.

 

I was able to build/maintain my base this winter by ski skating about one to three days per week, wind training one to three days per week and occasional BC skiing, in addition to a lot of DH skiing.  Started to increase training volume in early March.  

 

My training schedule now is:  two days per week distance (6 to 8 hours) at 75% perceived exertion either on road or mountain bike; two days intensity (hard riding on mountain (hills and fartleks) or road intervals (e.g., 10 x 90 sec or over-unders); two days easy ride with additional flexibility/strength/core focus; and one complete rest day.  Total time per week will be about 14 hours a week for a three week period, but will reduce a bit on the fourth week of each period.  I have about 11 weeks until the race.

 

Kind of a late start on the bike because of too much fun skiing and poor riding conditions (studs work great, but not in deep snow).

 

My goal for the race is mostly just to have fun.  I'm 54 and have been riding for years.

 

Thanks

 

 

If your goal is to mostly have fun and finish...then this sounds like you are right on track.  14 hours a week x 3 weeks followed by a rest week...

 

What does the 4th week / rest week look like as far as hours go?

 

Then I assume after this 4th rest week, you will pick it back up for anothe 3 week cycle of 14 hours per week?, etc?

 

Also, what category are you entering and have you looked at the finishing times of those in your age group / class?

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyrone Shoelaces View Post

thanks Tyrone

 

If your goal is to mostly have fun and finish...then this sounds like you are right on track.  14 hours a week x 3 weeks followed by a rest week...

 

What does the 4th week / rest week look like as far as hours go?

 

The rest week will reduce intensity and time - time by two to three hours - will probably do more road

 

Then I assume after this 4th rest week, you will pick it back up for anothe 3 week cycle of 14 hours per week?, etc?

 

yes

 

Also, what category are you entering and have you looked at the finishing times of those in your age group / class?

 

I don't know about finishing times - the distance ranges from 45 to 72 k.  finish times will range from 4 hours to 7 hours - at least 7 on the hardest day (45 miles and 6700 ft climb).  Mountain is much slower than road.  

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Looks pretty good to me.  I'm a road biker, so not really sure about the MTB specific training you need.  I've trained for 2 weeklong stage rides (not races) that cover over 440 miles in 6 days of riding with at least 35k of climbing.  How much of a base do you already have?  If you haven't been riding 10-12 hours a week for three weeks, then it is too soon to do interval training -- you need to build a bit more of a base before doing so.

 

thanks for sharing your training schedule -- sort of similar to what I am thinking, but you flesh out building across periods a bit more - will include some of your ideas  - thanks

 

I think my base is pretty good with fairly consistent spinning over the winter and a fair amount of ski skating with a few BC days - However, other than the BC days and some long snowshoe days, I have not had many endurance days over 2 to 3 hoursBut judging by my longest ride this year (70 miles on road last week with about 3000 feet climbing and an avg speed of 17,5 mph) the base is not too bad - felt very good after the ride and strong throughout.

 

Here is the elevation profile of one of the days 

 

http://transrockies.com/trc/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Screen-shot-2010-11-15-at-3.45.52-PM.png 

post #6 of 9
Sounds like you have a good start. The issue of a base is not so much fitness per se, but rather training your body to preferentially but fat as opposed to glycogen. Your body has limited glycogen stores but virtually unlimited fat stores -- even an uber fit athlete with a 4% body fat has enough fat stores to ride from Seattle to Chicago. So the idea of the early base training is to ride well within yourself (zone 2) to train the body systems to burn fat. That gives you a much better chance of not burning through your glycogen stores and bonking.

It's also why the back to back long rides are important. It's not about your ability to go out and ride the big day of the tour even if it is 75k with 6k of climbing. Rather, the limiter is going to be your ability to recover and be ready to ride the next day. This is partly an issue of sufficient training volume, but also an issue of fueling. It is really important that you eat in the first 30 minutes after getting off the bike. This is the window where the body is most receptive to replenishing glycogen stores. Orient your fueling towards carbs (from fruits and vegetables preferably) during this window.

Perhaps you know this already, but it's been so key to my training and ability to ride hard back to back days on a stage ride I thought it worth saying.

Best of luck,

Mike
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

Sounds like you have a good start. The issue of a base is not so much fitness per se, but rather training your body to preferentially but fat as opposed to glycogen. Your body has limited glycogen stores but virtually unlimited fat stores -- even an uber fit athlete with a 4% body fat has enough fat stores to ride from Seattle to Chicago. So the idea of the early base training is to ride well within yourself (zone 2) to train the body systems to burn fat. That gives you a much better chance of not burning through your glycogen stores and bonking.

It's also why the back to back long rides are important. It's not about your ability to go out and ride the big day of the tour even if it is 75k with 6k of climbing. Rather, the limiter is going to be your ability to recover and be ready to ride the next day. This is partly an issue of sufficient training volume, but also an issue of fueling. It is really important that you eat in the first 30 minutes after getting off the bike. This is the window where the body is most receptive to replenishing glycogen stores. Orient your fueling towards carbs (from fruits and vegetables preferably) during this window.
Perhaps you know this already, but it's been so key to my training and ability to ride hard back to back days on a stage ride I thought it worth saying.
Best of luck,
Mike

 

Thanks Mike.  Part of the issue this year might turn out to be weather -related.  My window for long rides (greater than 2 to 3 hours) will be on weekends; however, the weather here is not cooperating (we have 10 cm of snow predicted on Sa), so I will have to adjust, do what I can and probably resort to indoor riding on occasion.  I agree with back to back long rides - that is in the schedule - long ride on SA and SU.

 

John

 

I also agree with fueling correctly


Edited by canadianskier - 5/2/12 at 10:09pm
post #8 of 9
Condition-wise I think this routine is fine. What I miss is any training on technique. One very useful exercise is clipping out one foot and cycling with just one foot (do this on a low traffic flat road). This helps to get a even cycling action all around the crank. Another thing which is worth working on is getting up smoothly out of the saddle. Some very experienced cyclists are surprisingly poor at that.

I also am a road cyclist and one thing that's important for road cycling is riding regularly in a group, but I guess the whole group riding concept is less of an issue in a mountain event? Just wondering whether any of your training is in a group.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hyperkub View Post

Condition-wise I think this routine is fine. What I miss is any training on technique. One very useful exercise is clipping out one foot and cycling with just one foot (do this on a low traffic flat road). This helps to get a even cycling action all around the crank. Another thing which is worth working on is getting up smoothly out of the saddle. Some very experienced cyclists are surprisingly poor at that.
I also am a road cyclist and one thing that's important for road cycling is riding regularly in a group, but I guess the whole group riding concept is less of an issue in a mountain event? Just wondering whether any of your training is in a group.


Thanks Hyperkub.  I have been doing single leg riding off and on when riding the wind trainer - often on days when I do intervals.  Now that the roads are swept and free of gravel, ice and snow, I'll be road riding more often, and I will have to remember to do some single leg work.  Will be doing group road rides regularly.  I'll be training on road bike because it is easier to avoid going above zone 2 on long spin days.  Not much flat MTBing in this area (not much flat road riding either).  You are right about group riding in the sense of MTBing not doing pace lines, large groups, etc.  But there are other group skills such as passing, maintaining speed, anticipating what others will do on changing terrain, etc that I should think about and get some practice in.  Passing on single track, for example, is something that is not often done when riding with friends, but the skill will be handy in races,

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