Building form/'form'

Something that JM Beaushrimp mentioned in the Girona thread, about people missing key moments of the season being suspicious, and how training will never replace racing in terms of preparation, made me wonder about something I don't know that has bugged me for awhile. I know there are people here who used to race at a high level, so I hope for some kind of informative discussion.

With regards to building form (in the legit way), would you say that racing but not giving it 100% is probably better than training? I'm just thinking of someone like Andy Schleck, who races a decent amount of races but only really 'races' most of them in the sense that he genuinely seems to only give it so much and then stop caring about anything but the Ardennes and the Tour. How would you compare that, on a level of suspiciousness, to someone like Sastre, who only raced 8 days leading up to the Tour one year, for example? And how would that compare to someone like Evans (or even Valverde for that matter, to make it interesting), who races a lot at a high level all the time? Is how much you race really a huge factor in determining who dopes, or do people just have different enough physiologies that you could argue that anyone might be 'clean' or doping regardless of their schedule?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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I tend to think that the notion that training is no substitute for racing is outdated. I am tempted to say that you can get nearly all the benefit from riding on the road from a trainer in your house. With power meters and such you can concentrate on hitting the numbers in a controlled environment with no distractions.

I know triathletes who do 90% of the riding on a trainer. They will do five hours on a trainer with a program that simulates the course they are training for. They will also do their intervals on the trainer. They are smokin' fast.

I am old school, and even if I could force myself to do five hours on a trainer it seems like heresy to think that you don't have to train much on the road. But I think it is probably true--at least it is probably true at an amateur level.
 
Apr 13, 2010
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Skidmark, I'm not a rider at any level, but as I see it a part of what you describe can also have to do with rider mentality. You specifically mention AS and CS for example and in my mind Andy might be a rider who has no problem riding a race purely for training purposes and not to compete. On the other hand Carlos to me seems to be a character who would always want to be competitive in the races he does. So Carlos might choose fewer races and even cancel shortly before if he feels he's not in form, while Andy might choose to ride anyway. That would fit my general image of both of these guys.

Either way - racing a little/racing a lot - is no indicator in my book for anything to with dope. Neither is racing at a varying level throughout the year nor riding at a more consistent level.

When riders talk about needing race training I think it's also got to do with getting into the state of mind of the peloton - a competitive group of around 200 riders move differently than a handful of riders in your training group and even more so than the furniture in your living room if using equipment as described by Bro above.

I know it's not directly the commentary you were looking for, but things worth taking into consideration all the same I think...

ADDED:
I think Bro's and my answers your question "is racing without competing better than regular training?" is "it depends on what you want to achieve". Oops, I know none of us actually touched on the doping issue - but it seems your question wasn't wholly directed at that either...
 
Apr 28, 2010
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BroDeal said:
I tend to think that the notion that training is no substitute for racing is outdated. I am tempted to say that you can get nearly all the benefit from riding on the road from a trainer in your house. With power meters and such you can concentrate on hitting the numbers in a controlled environment with no distractions.
+1. It depends on what stage you are at, but for base or sweet-spot training you're much better off doing it in a controlled environment with a power meter. In a race you're at the mercy of how the peloton decides to ride. Look at the Giro last year and Evans/Wiggins/Basso et al's comments.
 
May 14, 2010
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I think you can train for an "out and back," i.e. a time trial, on the trainer at home, as it's a matter of a sustained effort and intervals. As I understand it, that's pretty much all the tri guys have to worry about, bike training wise.

Training for a road race, though, is another matter entirely. In my opinion, you're not going to get anywhere near the intensity you need on the trainer, no matter how disciplined you are. And then there's the whole question of interaction with other riders. I think Eddy Merckx's advice is still the best. How to train for racing? "Race," he said, "a lot."

I'm not sure there's any reliable correlation between how much one trains by racing and doping, but I'd tend to think that many doping riders (though not all or even most) would rely on dope in lieu of training races.
 
If someone like Andy Schleck can be very competitive in every race, why isn't he? These riders who do 4-5 weeks a year are maybe not more suspicious (I think full season riders and the targeters both dope more or less equally). But, I think it reveals their ability to perform when they are not at the peak of their doping program (i.e. Transfusions).
 
Jun 16, 2009
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skidmark said:
Something that JM Beaushrimp mentioned in the Girona thread, about people missing key moments of the season being suspicious, and how training will never replace racing in terms of preparation, made me wonder about something I don't know that has bugged me for awhile. I know there are people here who used to race at a high level, so I hope for some kind of informative discussion.

With regards to building form (in the legit way), would you say that racing but not giving it 100% is probably better than training? I'm just thinking of someone like Andy Schleck, who races a decent amount of races but only really 'races' most of them in the sense that he genuinely seems to only give it so much and then stop caring about anything but the Ardennes and the Tour. How would you compare that, on a level of suspiciousness, to someone like Sastre, who only raced 8 days leading up to the Tour one year, for example? And how would that compare to someone like Evans (or even Valverde for that matter, to make it interesting), who races a lot at a high level all the time? Is how much you race really a huge factor in determining who dopes, or do people just have different enough physiologies that you could argue that anyone might be 'clean' or doping regardless of their schedule?
A guy who can come into form from little to no racing is a more likely doper than a rider who rides at a higher level more often. That doesn't mean that the "consistently high level rider" isn't a doper.

For any big race you need some sort of form but for GT's you don't want to be going into the event feeling at peak fitness. You want to be around about peak fitness.
 
Sep 25, 2009
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i think we often overlook an important factor...that riders differ in how well they can motivate themselves.

motivation is largely a psychological quality and depending on how much of it you have, you may or may not prefer to train by racing or indoors/by yourself.


i firmly believe that certain riders need racing for training to get into the rhythm. certain don't. dope or not.
 
May 14, 2010
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hrotha said:
I don't think riders in the 70s were particularly good at training. You can't compare the methods of riders who would do over 120 days in a season to those who will ride 60-85 days.
Lots of things have changed since the stone age (the 70s) - no more polyester leisure suits, no more eight-tracks, no more public smoking-; but some things haven't. You might be right, but every trainer I've talked to here in Northern California seems to agree that racing is really the best training for racing. For what it's worth. (Doping optional :rolleyes:.)
 
all the sports have had that transformation, in which preparation takes more emphasis than the act of competing.& cycling isn't the exception-I think the improvements in training, nutrition & equipment have made that accommodation possible-but the trade off isn't that rewarding in terms of the skills development-- most purists/old school observers disagree with the current approach, since it tends to take away that human value of improvisation, self thinking, reaction, instincts, tactics and many other qualities than a mere training camp or a home trainer can offer.
 
Aug 3, 2010
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I think Python summed it up best with the comment about an individual's motivation. If one is disiplined enough to train on one's own, then he or she can control the atmosphere of an individual workout. All group activities become unstructured and unproductive at some level and group training rides and racing are most always controlled by someone other than yourself.
I am a couple years removed from elite racing, and I believe the thing that my generation 1990-2006 learned the most from, was how important it is to control and measure your training. This has become easier and easier as technology has allowed it to trickle down to the weekend club rider's budget. The least amount of the most specific activity that can be measured and shown to provide the change you are looking for is the most effective training method.
Train your mind to act upon those things that most understand intellectually but cannot control emotionally and you will get the most out of your efforts in regards to training.
To contradict myself though, if you are not fortunate enough to spend quality time behind your significant other on a motor scooter, you better find some way to learn to spin those big gears fast, because on race day someone will be fit enough to do it, and it really sucks to be sitting 100th wheel and wondering who the hell is up there pulling so damn hard.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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I can say this... Having once been coached by the same man as Mr Armstrong... The more control you can bring to the situation, the better. That's if winning a certain event is your goal.

In my own racing days, "doing the racing circuit" week after week never produced anything close to the kind of results I'd be able to realize from backing away from the racing and doing periodization "blocks". But this meant I sometimes had to resist the urge to do local training races, local events, and above all else, I had to resist the usual routine of riding my favorite club rides with my friends (especially if my schedule called for easy riding that day). The biggest obstacle to improvement is often other people and the races you ride.

But I had far more enjoyment from racing when I got into early season fitness and raced for many months to my heart's content. You have to make a choice between being the best you can be and actually enjoying bike racing. Glad I never rode as a pro.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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BotanyBay said:
I can say this... Having once been coached by the same man as Mr Armstrong...
How much did Dr. Ferrari cost you?

I sure hope that post did not refer to Chris Comical.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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BroDeal said:
How much did Dr. Ferrari cost you?

I sure hope that post did not refer to Chris Comical.
I'm sorry to admit that I was once a "believer". Please forgive me.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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What is "form" anyway I have searched all the training books and asked several Top coaches and sport phisicians but I get no straight answer.

They all tell us how to get fit but mention form and no answer.

What is it that one morning after months of training and racing we jump on the bike and whoo that feels good turn the pedals and again it feels so good.

It comes liks something out of the blue and in about 6 weeks its gone again.

Some say its a peak but none of the coaches can manage it properly untill they know what it is.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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brianf7 said:
What is "form" anyway I have searched all the training books and asked several Top coaches and sport phisicians but I get no straight answer.

They all tell us how to get fit but mention form and no answer.

What is it that one morning after months of training and racing we jump on the bike and whoo that feels good turn the pedals and again it feels so good.

It comes liks something out of the blue and in about 6 weeks its gone again.

Some say its a peak but none of the coaches can manage it properly untill they know what it is.
What would life be without contrast? Some things can never be managed. If they could, the Yankees would always win the World Series each year.
 

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