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Training: What did you learn today?

Discuss your experiences road riding, share knowledge or other general road cycling topics. A doping discussion free forum.

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Training: What did you learn today?

24 Jun 2017 20:53

We all learn something about training, or what we need to train for. Some lessons are minor while others can be a revolutionary breakthrough - though others may not think so. Other lessons have been heard over and over again but the penny has not dropped yet. Today I had a penny lesson.

My main thoughts about hill training has been about losing excess weight. Then I read today in a book about Marco Pantani, though he was already lightweight, focused on building his strength to pedal faster uphills. It never occurred to me to build strength. This shift in thinking has altered my approach to hill training. I will now focus more on torque than on endurance.

What lessons have you learnt recently, or today?
User avatar Bull
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25 Jun 2017 22:13

I learned that no matter how many times the topic is discussed and evidence to the contrary presented , the myth that more strength is required to ride up hills never dies.

Simply put, the torque/force demands, even when hill climbing, are quite low, and nowhere near what our strength is (i.e. maximal force generation capacity of a muscle/group of muscles).

What limits hill climbing speed is power and weight. What limits power is your aerobic capabilities, not strength.

As for Pantani, he used prohibited chemical and blood boosting aids to increase his aerobic capabilities.
User avatar Alex Simmons/RST
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Re:

26 Jun 2017 02:01

What did I learn today? That even in this forum there are those that suffer from contempt prior to investigation.
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:...As for Pantani, he used prohibited chemical and blood boosting aids to increase his aerobic capabilities.
So did most others in those Tours.

Pantani trained to attack up the mountain when others least expected, such as when they were engaged along the steepest part of the climb. When Pantani attacked, most could not stay on his wheel. Pantani trained to surge up the steep bits. That is how he gained extra strength. He was skinny, except his legs, so his power to weight ratio was where you would call max efficiency. It was this particular type of training that gave him the edge to win the TdF. He said so himself.
User avatar Bull
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Re: Re:

26 Jun 2017 06:06

Bull wrote:What did I learn today? That even in this forum there are those that suffer from contempt prior to investigation.
Alex Simmons/RST wrote:...As for Pantani, he used prohibited chemical and blood boosting aids to increase his aerobic capabilities.
So did most others in those Tours.

Pantani trained to attack up the mountain when others least expected, such as when they were engaged along the steepest part of the climb. When Pantani attacked, most could not stay on his wheel. Pantani trained to surge up the steep bits. That is how he gained extra strength. He was skinny, except his legs, so his power to weight ratio was where you would call max efficiency. It was this particular type of training that gave him the edge to win the TdF. He said so himself.

Pantani was not strong. Strength has nothing to do with hill climbing power. Just because some pro rider misunderstands basic exercise physiology doesn't mean you need to.
User avatar Alex Simmons/RST
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26 Jun 2017 09:31

Gee, thanks for the negative motivation (always solving problems and never aspiring to something greater).
User avatar Bull
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26 Jun 2017 09:50

I'm pretty sure Alex is trying to help you by correcting a misconception. He is worth listening to.
Vincenzo Nibali:
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Reduce your carbon footprint, ride steel.
User avatar King Boonen
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26 Jun 2017 12:18

Increasing your 'muscle strength' would be helpful if when you are 'fresh' and 'feeling your best' you don't have enough strength to pedal at the desired power level for even a short period of time.
And yes, the 'pedalling muscles' do need to be exercised and trained to develop high strength, and that can take years.

But getting back to what Alex said about 'aerobic capabilities' - I interpret that to have several aspects:
1) having good lung capacity and making the best use of it.
2) having a strong heart to pump a lot of blood thru the lungs, muscles, organs, etc.
3) having a lot of mitochondria in the muscles to give maximum energy production.

The goal of aerobic capability is to allow the muscles to extend the time they can produce high strength.

Having high 'strength' is fine, but you need to be able to produce that strength for the length of time that is required.

If you enjoy doing 'strength training' that's fine - I suggest you also train to extend the number of reps and time period for each bout, and also the the number of bouts in a session. Just make sure to not injure yourself.

Jay Kosta
Endwell NY USA
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26 Jun 2017 20:42

Thank you King Boonen for encouraging me to tolerate Alex a bit more.

And thank you JayKosta for explaining the aerobic side of climbing training. This clarified it for me.

Today I learnt to be more tolerant, how to train to develop high strength in my legs (though it may take years), and to train for greater aerobic capabilities.
User avatar Bull
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26 Jun 2017 21:26

Tolerate? No, that's not what I meant at all. Alex is an extremely knowledgable coach who gives up valuable time to post free information for people on here. You'd do well to listen to him.
Vincenzo Nibali:
"I know how to ride a bike"

Reduce your carbon footprint, ride steel.
User avatar King Boonen
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26 Jun 2017 21:27

Nothing personal Bull. It's just this misconception about training and cycling performance is very old, comes up all the time in these online fora and is a bit tiring to read it rehashed over and over. if my response sounds a bit brusque, this is what's driving it, not you personally.

As for what you should focus on for your training - focus on improving your sustainable power output for durations that matter to you (and having fun).

A focus on "torque" is kind of meaningless since torque (like cadence) is not something that's independently controllable - rather it (and cadence) is an outcome of the things you can control, one being your effort level (i.e. power output) and the other being the gear you choose, and of course the things you can't control which are the resistance forces in play, which for steeper climbs is mostly overcoming gravity but is a mix of various forces such as air resistance, rolling resistance, changes in kinetic energy and so on.

In short, do sufficient amounts of riding at an effort level suitable to help stimulate positive changes in fitness, and choose a gear suitable for the task/terrain, What torque (or cadence) you happen to be pushing is way way less important than the power output, since it is the latter that primarily dictates that nature of physiological responses to training.
User avatar Alex Simmons/RST
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26 Jun 2017 23:53

Thank you Alex Simmons for your information, especially "...focus on improving your sustainable power output for durations that matter to you (and having fun)"; and "...do sufficient amounts of riding at an effort level suitable to help stimulate positive changes in fitness, and choose a gear suitable for the task/terrain". Power output measurements is outside my budget, so I'll just have to go by logging my time taken to do the same task/terrain.

Sorry to have been any trouble.
User avatar Bull
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03 Jul 2017 09:19

Rode up a short hill yesterday, about 2 km long, in a 39 x 25. Sure is easier than a 23, and I noticed a slight increase in speed since I was turning the cranks faster (spinning).
User avatar Bull
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03 Jul 2017 09:47

It's not actual training, since it's just going to work, and it wasn't today. However, I've recently come to the (happy) realisation that I'm able to get my pulse down a lot quicker than when I "started" (as in, started riding out to my work, not started riding my bike)









I'm still terribly slow, though...
Aka The Ginger One.
User avatar RedheadDane
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10 Jul 2017 10:11

I learnt that 10 days riding mountains in the alps actually makes you slower in crit races! Although I seem faster on the ride into work.
thiscocks
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