Training to be faster.

May 9, 2021
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Hi everyone, I hope you’re doing well. I’ve been a road cyclist for twelve years. I used to ride in a peloton group and sometimes alone with an average speed of 29kmp on flats. For a few years I lived in a big city and had to take spinning classes. I moved to a rural area and started road cycling again over a year ago. I do a lot of long steep climbs because this area is really hilly mixed with flats. I was riding 170 miles per week a year ago and cut back because my adrenals went down, cortisol shot up and I was over training. I cut back to three rides per week and ride 28-30 miles per ride. The last 12 months I’ve been trying to improve my speed with no luck. I’ve tried intervals, cycling more, cycling less, resting more, resting less. My legs just seem to go at a max of 22kmp (14mph). I would like to try riding in groups again but their speed minimum is 16pmh. I’m using the same bicycle but better tires. Is this inevitable for women who hit middle age?
 
For dramatic speed improvements motorpacing is very effective. That said it can also be dangerous for even good riders w above average bike handling skills..normal routines include being behind the motor(a car can work,but needs to be head high min) you pace at 45-50 and then in the drops ,in the saddle swing out for an 8-10 second independent effort into the wind, after the effort return to the draft and recover..you need to understand your b body and ability and the driver and equally difficult finding open,clean safe roadways for the training. If you find yourself out of balance you need to shorten the long interval so that you can recuperate and get back in the draft without the driver constantly needing to slow down so you can catch..also you can do drills for chasing..chase the motor for 2-4 minutes and when you catch start drinking and recovery..
It is rare in my experience to find someone to pace you doing durney duty that doesn't understand racing..if they are not 1000% aware of you, deceleration or touching the brakes can crash you, if you don't know how to modulate your pedal pressure and unnecessa rily use your brakes you will find it difficult to draft and be too jumpy and nervous to get the training benefit..I hope you can get some of what I am saying,my description is not the best..but super important is the recovery rest component of the workouts..yes you can have the motor bring you to 45mph and then attempt to simulate a winning final sprint, but you can only do so much of that explosive training and you are toast even w long rest intervals..my preference is to stay behind the motor,jump out do a small effort slightly faster than the vehicle, and then go back and hide from the wind and start recovering and get a drink..good luck..someone else may have other methods to simulate race speeds wo a race..I am all ears..
Spinning is awesome,the lack of wind,side to side motion,no need to balance or bump other riders..and no braking or coasting make it less than ideal simulation training for racers..
If motorpacing is not your thing..short time trials kilos on a fixed or shifting bike and 3-4 kilometer ITT's will make you faster period. Also huge benefit to short TTs you can film them,see where you stop pedaling, you can see your corner set ups..could you have pedaled all the way through or deeper through the turns..all things that make you faster..do you drink and eat effectively? Do you sit up a lot?what does your position look like? Are you aerodynamic or do you look like a sailboat trying to absorb the breeze..
If you try to be better you probably will
 
May 9, 2021
2
0
10
For dramatic speed improvements motorpacing is very effective. That said it can also be dangerous for even good riders w above average bike handling skills..normal routines include being behind the motor(a car can work,but needs to be head high min) you pace at 45-50 and then in the drops ,in the saddle swing out for an 8-10 second independent effort into the wind, after the effort return to the draft and recover..you need to understand your b body and ability and the driver and equally difficult finding open,clean safe roadways for the training. If you find yourself out of balance you need to shorten the long interval so that you can recuperate and get back in the draft without the driver constantly needing to slow down so you can catch..also you can do drills for chasing..chase the motor for 2-4 minutes and when you catch start drinking and recovery..
It is rare in my experience to find someone to pace you doing durney duty that doesn't understand racing..if they are not 1000% aware of you, deceleration or touching the brakes can crash you, if you don't know how to modulate your pedal pressure and unnecessa rily use your brakes you will find it difficult to draft and be too jumpy and nervous to get the training benefit..I hope you can get some of what I am saying,my description is not the best..but super important is the recovery rest component of the workouts..yes you can have the motor bring you to 45mph and then attempt to simulate a winning final sprint, but you can only do so much of that explosive training and you are toast even w long rest intervals..my preference is to stay behind the motor,jump out do a small effort slightly faster than the vehicle, and then go back and hide from the wind and start recovering and get a drink..good luck..someone else may have other methods to simulate race speeds wo a race..I am all ears..
Spinning is awesome,the lack of wind,side to side motion,no need to balance or bump other riders..and no braking or coasting make it less than ideal simulation training for racers..
If motorpacing is not your thing..short time trials kilos on a fixed or shifting bike and 3-4 kilometer ITT's will make you faster period. Also huge benefit to short TTs you can film them,see where you stop pedaling, you can see your corner set ups..could you have pedaled all the way through or deeper through the turns..all things that make you faster..do you drink and eat effectively? Do you sit up a lot?what does your position look like? Are you aerodynamic or do you look like a sailboat trying to absorb the breeze..
If you try to be better you probably will
Thank you for taking the time to reply with your advice. I appreciate it. I spin indoors to stay active in the winter and in the summer I do it once per week because I don’t have time to cycle outdoors four times a week. I use it as a recovery to get the lactic acid out of my muscles. I don’t sit straight up on my bicycle or it will slow me down. I wouldn’t feel safe riding behind a motor but I’ll definitely look into times trials in my area.
 
... My legs just seem to go at a max of 22kmp (14mph). I would like to try riding in groups again but their speed minimum is 16pmh. I’m using the same bicycle but better tires. Is this inevitable for women who hit middle age?
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If not already done, you should have a complete medical exam and the usual blood tests. And explain to your doctor about the speed/endurance changes you have mentioned.

For indoor exercise, I use a Nordic Track Ski machine - it is a very good 'whole body' exercise. Many people don't like them because they do require a fairly high amount of mental concentration and physical coordination to be used effectively. That's why they can often be bought 'used' (not much use) for little money.
 
As JayKosta said, a medical check up is a great idea if you've had health issues, especially those related to overtraining.

If you're looking to do sportives/fondos or even racing then I'd recommend finding a good training group of people around a similar level, with similar goals, or even a coach. If you do go down the coach path make sure that you choose someone who understands your age, lifestyle, health concerns, workload etc and not someone who will just load you up with the same program as the rest of their riders.

Alternatively, if you want to learn more about how to build your fitness with a training program by yourself try to get a copy of "The Cyclist's Training Bible" by Joe Friel. It's very dry reading, but an amazing resource for anybody looking to learn how to develop their own training program. This is a wonderful resource when used correctly.
 
I will post a few things that I have personally seen to be effective. This involves spray paint..if you can find a route..either straight or out and back..mark the street..modestly..not tagger graffiti style,mark the starting line,the turn around..usually 10k is a good start..marking every kilometer is not critical but it can help. You start to divide the course into time split sections. Depending on your experience and fitness 99% of most racers find out you get too jacked at the beginning and go out too fast..I have seen people close to anaerobic before or right after rolling out..in any type of racing that is almost always wasted calories -watts.
once you get some baseline times, you can start to make specific improvements..finding places of mistakes..drinking,shifting,standing,sitting in the wrong place at the wrong time..costing time and energy. The big,huge advantage of TT training is the clock..it's absolute..unlike a crit or road race were the winning time is relative..in a TT against yourself,you always lose unless you best your time. But that doesn't mean that is good, but consistent fast times and the post effort feelings you have can really really indicate your fitness and readiness..
Group riding is much easier because you only need to respond to relative pain and in my experience,it's way way easier to be motivated in a group,of other racers,and or friends.. Punishing yourself is difficult,but it's super important about the depth of your ability and training results.
In my experience I have seen really good racers, road specialists, get a rude surprise from accomplished mountain bike racers, cross country runners,swimmers or snow shoers that mostly suffer alone and know how to push themselves wo cheerleading or other outside motivation..
You see it in high level racers of all types..either they have an extra gene, or are missing the gene that signals pain..if you can successfully train yourself in TTs to ignore or enjoy pain it crosses over into mass start events..
Couple of books out there w titles similar...Time Crunched Bike Racer..or similar..
Also some online resources about TT improvements
Good luck
 

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