2 weeks to prepare for hills...help!

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by AdamSean, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. AdamSean

    AdamSean New Member

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    I have a bit of a dilemma. I am 2 weeks away from my second century ride and have been following the same training plan as the first. I did ok on my first century, but not great. I have been training a little bit harder for this one, but the heat has been sapping my energy. Today I decided to look at the elevation chart for both centuries. The first one I did really wasn't that bad compared to the second one I have here soon. I have been training on some more hilly terrain than I did the first time, but not like what I will face in 2 weeks.

    Here is my question:

    Should I use the remaining time until the ride training for hills or the distance?

    What kind of workouts should I be doing?

    This is what my schedule looks like up to the big ride. Would you change anything?

    Monday: 20 mi ride @ zone 2 effort w/ 4 x 1 mi hill repeats
    Tuesday: 25 mi ride @ zone 3 effort
    Wednesday: 30 mi ride @ zone 4 w/ 4 x 1 mi hill repeats
    Thursday: off
    Friday: 20 mi ride @ zone 3 effort
    Saturday: 70 mi ride @ zone 3 effort
    Sunday: 20 mi ride @ zone 2 effort

    Monday: off
    Tuesday: 20 mi ride @ zone 3 effort w 4 x 1 mi hill repeats
    Wednesday: 10 mi ride @ zone 3 effort
    Thursday: 10 mi ride @ zone 3 effort
    Friday: off
    Saturday: Tuscaloosa Hot Hundred 103 mi ride
    Sunday: 20 mi recovery ride @ zone 2 effort

    Please be nice. I am genuinely asking for some help. Does this look good or should I do something different?
     
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  2. Dr Lodge

    Dr Lodge New Member

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    I know nothing about training so just off the top of my head...what time limitations do you have for riding during the week?

    The reason I ask is that if you're training for a 100mile ride, I would have thought 3 or 4 longer rides per week would be better than lots of short rides. 10m or 20m miles really isn't going to be as effective for building stamina as a 40-50 mile ride.

    I would try and get in a couple of 40-50 milers during the week, may be another short one in addition to the 70 miler on the Saturday. If you feel a an easy 10 mile ride is a good way to recover then follow each 40-50 miler with a 10 mile steady ride the next day (no hills) e.g.

    Monday: 40 mi ride with some hills
    Tuesday: 10 mi ride recovery ride (if needed)
    Wednesday: 50 mi ride
    Thursday: off
    Friday: 20 mi ride with some hills
    Saturday: 70 mi ride
    Sunday: 10-20 mi ride

    Just my 2p worth.
     
  3. AdamSean

    AdamSean New Member

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    I am actually following a century training plan that I downloaded from the internet. And most of the riders I have spoken with during the first century I did all say ride around 20 miles a few days a week and then 1 long ride on the weekend that you increase by a few more miles each consecutive week, followed by a recovery ride.

    The reason for the short 10 milers the final week is because you need to taper off toward the event as you prepare to conserve your energy for the big day. The short days are just to keep you loose.

    What I am really trying to find out is, should I stay with my distance training or focus on the hills with the time I have left to train?
     
  4. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Quote:Originally Posted by AdamSean . I have a bit of a dilemma. I am 2 weeks away from my second century ride and have been following the same training plan as the first. I did ok on my first century, but not great. I have been training a little bit harder for this one, but the heat has been sapping my energy. Today I decided to look at the elevation chart for both centuries. The first one I did really wasn't that bad compared to the second one I have here soon. I have been training on some more hilly terrain than I did the first time, but not like what I will face in 2 weeks.

    Please be nice. I am genuinely asking for some help. Does this look good or should I do something different?


    How steep are the anticipated inclines?

    How long are the anticipated inclines?

    What is the maximum elevation & what is the gearing on your bike?

    Due to your time constraints AND because 'I' feel that climbing is mostly what I refer to as an aerobic event, technique & gearing may be two components of your preparation that you will want to focus on ...

    [*]What chainrings & cassette does your bike currently have?
     
  5. AdamSean

    AdamSean New Member

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    I am on a triple crank with an 11 - 25 cassette. Also keep in mind I want to climb faster than 9 MPH.

    This will help. The top is my first century. The second is what I will be doing in 2 weeks. The Hot Hundred looks harder. What do you think?

    [​IMG]
     
  6. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    The "climbs" are only 2%. Not really enough to worry about.

    But even if the climbs were steep, your triple will get you put the hills.

    ---

    Speed going up hills is not what you should be concentrating on. You want to match your cadence to your power output. Keep your power output on the hills within a reasonable distance from your power output on the flats. Find a gear that gives you a good cadence at that power output on the hill.

    ---

    I would suggest that you practice finding reasonable power output and gearing on hills on your training rides.
     
  7. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Stick with the distance, you are doing some repeats which help with powering up climbs. Your triple gearing will help negate any defficiencies, I wouldn't worry about it too much, two weeks is right around the corner and nothing really substantial will come from any changes. Hopefully you have been training for the last several weeks - if you have been doing 60 and 70 mile rides on the weekend and have managed 5+ days a week of riding 25 and 30 miles you should be ok. Take the climbs in the first 50 miles a little easier, and make sure to keep a steady supply of snacks and/or gels going as it will make a big difference to enjoying the final 20 miles. Think about some sort of electrolyte supplement in your second (or third) bottle.
     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. I thought that, at first, that 'I' was mis-reading the graphics ...

    Because, I have to agree that a 2% grade is NOT something that someone who does not have emphysema & is not at altitude should worry about ... at least, for the first 3rd of the Century ride ...

    And, your problem MAY be more psychological than not ... which makes it real-enough ...

    So, as a "crutch" you may want to add a bailout cog onto your cassette (you can buy separate MICHE cogs on eBay or possibly from your LBS) OR replace your (presumably) 30t Granny with a 28t Granny.

    And, as An old guy suggested, just concentrate on maintaining your cadence AND don't create an aerobic deficit.

    OR, if you aren't in the 8% body fat range then you can try to lose ~10 lbs. of combined bike-and-rider weight as a different-or-additional "crutch."

    As far as your training regimen ... a LOT depends on your actual conditioning ...

    What 'I' could-or-would have done way-back-when is very different then what 'I' would have to do, now ...

    I guess that I agree with Dr Lodge to some extent because 'I' would try to get one 40-to-50 mile ride in ASAP ... and then, taper off with the shorter rides which you outlned ... with only an easy ride two-maybe-three days before the Hot Hundred ...

    And, the day-or-two before the Hot Hundred, I would probably just take a 4-to-5 mile WALK ...

    AND, on the day of the ride, depending on the actual temperature & humidity, I would take advantage of the feed stations. I would definitely carry at least one water bottle with plain water which (in addition to being available to drink) would allow me to splash a little water on myself (on my head) for cooling if it is really hot ... plus, some cytomax-or-equivalent in another bottle.

    But, that's me.
     
  9. AdamSean

    AdamSean New Member

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    More info for you guys. I do not use my small chainring...ever. I plan on going to a double so I act like I have a double now.

    I don't use a power meter so I can't measure power output.

    I don't have the money to go out and buy a new cassette with a different gearing.

    And riding a 21 lb bike and I weight 200 lbs, 2% grades are not that easy.
     
  10. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Unless you have bad knees, are in bad shape, or have some other issues don't sweat it. Your middle inner is a 39 at the biggest, likely a 36, possibly a 34.

    21lbs is not a heavy bike and will not be a liability but loosing a few pound before the event won't hurt - even 2-3 lbs makes a diff over 100 miles. Do yourself a favor and skip dessert till after the big ride.

    A 34 (or 36) x25 should be fine. Depending on your fitness a 39x25 may have you needing to do some concentrating to keep your redline in check on the steeper bits. It can be done. Changes to your workout at this point may not affect anything at this point. But if you are doing the 70 miler on Saturday (not sure if the others noticed this in your plan), and you complete that ok, you shouldn't have a problem with the century in 2 weeks - One long weekly ride goes a long way IF we are also riding a few shorter rides each week (which you are). My guess is you've been on this plan for 10 weeks and the long weekend ride his grown a little each week. It's not a plan to manage your personal best but it sounds like an ok plan for someone with limited hours during the week to complete a century and have some fun.
     
  11. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Adam, you will be okay. I looked at the 2011 route on RidewithGPS done by a participant in 6.5 hours at 17.5 mph avg. which is about average for most club riders. Most important is that it appeared to have 2700 feet of gain over 100 miles. Let's say it is actually 3000 feet of gain just to round it up. That is a pretty flat route even though the profile looks intimidating.

    However, I understand your concern based on your description and not to belittle you since we are at different performances levels on this forum. Your bike and gearing are fine. There is not much you can do with just 2 weeks remaining and you might want to taper a little on the last week. IMO - heat will be a bigger issue than the hills.

    If I were to throw in my "this is what I would do" type of thoughts.

    1. consider an early roll out before the mass start in order to get more miles behind you before the Alabama heat takes effect.
    2. consider sharing the ride with good friends with the same performance level and take turns working a paceline.
    3. ride within your fitness level. Meaning don't get hooked up in a fast paceline over your ability that will burn matches. If you ride above your fitness level you will likely start cramping later in the ride.
    4. utilize the sag stops, but bypass the early ones to get further down the road. Again making the goal to reduce time in the heat. With 2 bottles you should have plenty to get to the later sag stops.
    5. the hills look like they are just 1 to 2 minute hills. drop to your lowest gear and spin easy up. Stay at your pace and ignore those racing past you.
    6. have fun by not thinking too much about this.
     
  12. AdamSean

    AdamSean New Member

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    I am actually working on dropping a few pounds before the ride. After this ride, I am planning on losing 30-40 lbs by February. I wished I would have done this sooner.
     
  13. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    In two weeks you'll do nothing meaningful training wise. You might be able to get a good 60 to 80 mile ride in ( two 35 mile loops from home if you can't carry enough food/drink) to test pacing and nutrition. That ride is essentially flat, just remember on the hills resist the urge to go hard up them - keep the pace fairly even on the flat and the uphill bits. Not using your triple fully if you need it is bordering on stupid. If Battaglin used a triple to win the Giro then you can use one on a century. You don't hear Alberto Contador coming out with superfluous rubbish about having to use 34x32 in the Giro... Have fun struggling up those 3%ers in 40xwhatever it is you have and going harder than you need to in the process. Unless you drop 10lbs or more (which isn't gonna happen) then I wouldn't sweat (pun intended) losing weight before the ride. You don't need the extra stress of doing that if the ride is going to be taxing as it is for you. On an ~7% grade, each extra pound requires and extra watt. Personally on the recent Alta Alpina Challenge (21,000ft of climbing and 198miles) I left the super light Cannondale at home and rode my old steel beast (7lbs weight difference) because it fits me better and I feel better on rides 5 hrs or longer. The weight, in terms of performance in a casual century isnt an issue. On very challenging rides like the AAC, it's a case of trade off - does losing the weight off the bike or the body so close to the event provide worthwhile benefits or unnecessary haste and stress?
     
  14. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    What he said. What I would worry about more is eating properly in the day or two before the ride and being well hydrated in the days before the ride. Remember that the average Joe or Josette walks around in a state of mild dehydration. Given the heat and humidity of your locale, getting dehydrated on your ride will seriously impact your performance and enjoyment of the ride. Also important is not stressing out about the ride. Certainly, if you have the need, use the gearing available to you. You'll have a limited amount of energy to expend over the course of the ride. Struggling in a harder gear than what is optimal will result in having to put out more power and thus spend more energy more quickly than you otherwise would have needed. Also, keep this in the front of your mind: the ride is supposed to be fun. It's not the Raid Gauloises. As you get into better shape over the next few months and years, you can look back at your upcoming century and be proud of how your condition has improved.
     
  15. AdamSean

    AdamSean New Member

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    I said to be nice when I first posted. You don't have to be a dick especially since you have no idea my plans. I was asking for training tips advice, not for your insults. I never use the first chainring, knowing that I will have a compact double on it before than to lighten the bike.

    And for your information, I find it extremely easy to drop 10 lbs in just over a week's time. I have been doing this since high school for state championships in Track and Field where we won indoor and outdoor track 4 years in a row.

    This may be easy for some of you, but this is only my second century. For such a small sport that takes a lot of passion and dedication, I would think the lot of you would encourage people and try to build up the sport. Not insult and act superior. Remember, there is always someone better than you at this. It is always people like you giving this sport a dark shadow over it.
     
  16. el gato

    el gato New Member

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    OP, there is a lot of good advise here. I think we can get too scientific when it comes to training regimens for centuries. The idea is to train on similar terrain as the century ride. If it's hilly then do training rides on hills with a little more intensity than you plan on riding the century. You need to get the mileage in your legs so 150-175 miles a week with some long rides thrown in will get you in shape. Get a 70 miler in a week before the ride then taper off to easy. As FeltRider said, don't try to keep up with faster riders. Go a little easy the first 50 miles then if feeling good, hammer the last 50. I don't think you can do much different at this point with 2 weeks to go but riding distance is as much mental as physical. If you've already done a century then you should be able to do it again. Have fun.
     
  17. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    If you're going to interpret statements that way, perhaps you shouldn't participate in online forums. Certainly, saying "be nice" doesn't accomplish anything nor should it. With that said, the responses have all been fine. Swampy gave you good advice. Certainly is advice to use all of the gears you need is excellent advice. It makes no sense whatsoever to pedal an event--one about which you are worried about performance--and refuse to use certain gears. Such a decision is non-sensical. Your track and field championships really prove nothing. Certainly it proves nothing about weight loss. After all, if you could lose weight that quickly, why do you have weight issues now? The reason is likely that losing weight that quickly is not healthy or sustainable. Moreover, it would likely have a negative impact on your performance on your bike. Not a single person that has responded has acted "superior." No one in here cast a "dark shadow" over the sport. If you want help, perhaps you shouldn't be so judgement toward people that were actually offering you helpful advice.
     
  18. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    I have to agree with Alienator and Swampy on this one.

    -Dropping 10 lbs. in two weeks is not healthy and will only hurt your energy reserves during the ride. If you lost 2-4 lbs. during that time as a result of your training rides, that would be fine and probably wouldn't hurt you.

    -Going from a triple to a compact double is minimal weight savings on the bike. If you're worried about the hills that 3rd chain ring is great to have as a bailout on a hill to conserve energy or keep you from over-doing it (and possibly going into heat exhaustion or heat stroke). If you want to avoid the small ring on short training rides, go right ahead, but on the big day, use it. There's more shame in riding back in a SAG vehicle than riding up a hill in a 30x25 combo.

    -If you're going to do short training rides, hit them hard. Then, on the long ride, back off a gear or two and pace yourself. A bunch of easy-pedaling 20-mile rides won't do much for you right now.

    Also, the responses here have been fairly cordial. It can be much worse at times, so don't look this gift horse in the mouth or bite the hand that feeds you.
     
  19. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Just an informed FYI:

    Nearly all triples come with a middle ring that's significantly bigger than the inner ring of a compact double. Typically it's a 40 tooth ring Vs a 34 or a 36 found on a compact. This fact alone chucks your theory of sticking to the middle ring for bizarre reasons into the weeds.

    My racing weight used to be 145lbs at 26... At 35 I was 230 and lovin' the beer and bbq - I've done mountainous events at 210lbs, events such as the Markleeville Death Ride that features plenty of 6 to 8% constant grades for miles on end at altitude, so I've been at both ends of the spectrum - 1st Cat roadie to fat recreational bloke seeing double at 8,000ft. The bike used was my old trusty steel 653 that weighed in at 23lbs complete with a triple with a 26 inner (26x25 bottom gear). When I was racing fit I'd probably use 39x25 for the Death Ride. I still have that trusty Maillard 7 speed block in the junk box...

    Losing 10lbs in water weight might work for some sports, although I'll let the likes of Andy C chime in on that one, but it doesn't work at all in endurance cycling events. In fact it ranks up there with not eating for days, pouring cayenne pepper in your eyes and drinking two 1.5L 'handles' of vodka before a long event.

    Given you've outlined the event you want to ride and the training that you think is a good idea for said ride, I have a very good idea about your short term plans at least. Personally, I don't think that any of those training sessions amount to much for the event you want to do and miss the mark by a country mile. Doing a mix of long sessions of 2 to 4 hours at the weekend, throwing in some fun hard efforts on short hills and sprints for boundary lines and faster, shorter work midweek provides a happy mix that'll serve you well.

    What you really should do, IMHO:

    Get a ride or two in that's longer than 3 hours, preferably with some part of that ride in the heat. Heat not only makes you sweat more - it also kills the appetite if you're not used to riding in the heat. The training effect of the rides themselves won't be great but it will allow you to test to some degree what you can tolerate with regards to food/drink.

    Use all your gears to keep a steady effort throughout the course. Try not to waste too much time by freewheeling downhills - use those for picking up some speed for a moderate effort. Keep the effort on the flat and the uphills about the same. Pick the right effort and the ride will be much easier. Since the ride seems to have plenty of rolling hills, avoid the temptation to hammer up them as this tactic requires a fair amount of fitness to keep doing that for 100 miles. Avoid pacelines that hammer up hills. There'll be someone in the ride that will ride about the same pace that you should be riding at, go say hi, have a chat and enjoy the day - it'll seem to go much faster that way.

    As someone mentioned already - start early if you fear the heat and/or not being able to finish in time.

    I'd forgo any attempt at weight loss, concentrating on plenty of rest, a couple of longish rides and good diet.

    If you don't have a track pump (aka floor pump) with a good gauge, get one and inflate your tires correctly. 110psi would be a good ballpark range.

    If it's going to be extremely hot - a top with a full length zip, preferably light colored is a significant plus. Consider riding without gloves/mitts if it gets really hot. If rest stops have a water spray available, take a light dousing down but not so much you end up with soaked shorts, especially if you've suffered from chaffing in the shorts you'll be wearing when riding in the rain. Full length zip tops are a plus at rest stops if you wear bib shorts and used the 'facilities' at rest stops often - which you should. If you know ahead of time that the ride is going to be 100+F and high humidity, consider adding an extra bottle cage and taking an extra bottle for just plain water only to be used for either drinking or pouring over your sweaty noggin'. If it is going to be that hot for most of the day, consider the mini $2 travel bottles of SPF1,000,000 you can get from your local supermarket as a welcome addition to your cycling jersey. Some rides have sun cream - some don't. I haven't found a sun cream that'll take the 100+F NorCal heat for more than a couple of hours on the bike - even creams that seem to be fine with riding for hours at 85 to 95F.

    If you have aero bars (aka tri bars) use them - if you're familiar with riding with them and plan on riding alone. Not only do they offer "free speed" but they also take the weight of your hands and if you ride mitt less you can get a nice bit of extra cooling by riding 'open handed' instead of grabbing the bars. Profile T2's are great for this. Personally I think the T2's are the finest two bills you could spend on bike gear - ranking up there with Conti's GP4000S tires.

    Rest stops - after you've seen one, you'll have some idea what the rest of them on course has to offer. Avoid wasting time because even an extra 5 minutes at each stop adds up quickly - think about what you want before you get there... If you use Speedplay cleats and pedals avoid overly damp sections of grass/dirt like the plague
     
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  20. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    After thinking about the timeframes (2 weeks) my initial advice to loose a few lbs is probably unwise. If it comes of during the course of things that's fine, but a concerted effort this late in the game, unless it were a competitive hill climb, would as others have indicated likely be a liability for a recreational century. Cutting weight for a fight (wrestling, boxing, or mma) is a lot diff than prepping for 6 hours on the bike.

    All of the posts so far seem to have been helpful. Most folks around here know how "spirited" and "passionate" the conversations can get.

    And Swampy you are correct, my exp with triples is mostly in the MTB world and those gears are a lot shorter. Furthermore stomping up Bear Mountain's 6% on a 42x18 probably disqualifies me as a resource on recreational century gearing but since the OP mentioned swapping out his triple for a compact before the event he's probably going to be ok with a 34x25 on the gradients mentioned.
     
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