First time Century

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Powderfinger, Jul 6, 2005.

  1. Powderfinger

    Powderfinger New Member

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    Hey everyone...

    I know this thread has been started elsewhere, but I have a slightly different situation...

    I am interested in riding a century (perhaps metric depending on how I feel) in Novemeber. I have about 15 weeks to train.

    I'm starting from scratch, with the added "bonus" that I had test. cancer four years ago -- spent a year sitting on my ass, lost a lot of circulatory & respiratory booyah, flexibility, etc.

    I've been riding on and off for a year, but I've never gone further than 20 miles. I also seem prone to cramps, and even when I'm working out quite a bit, I still get winded going up the subway stairs in New York on a daily basis.

    So my question is this: does it sound realistic to try the Solvang, CA century in mid-November, and if so, what kind of training regimen would you recommend. I've got a solid 6 weeks of not much to do this summer, so I have some time.

    I'm pretty out of shape, probably 10 lbs overweight (6'3" 190 lbs.), and when I ride the 3 mile loop at Brooklyn's Prospect Park with a hill at the end, I'm ready to call it quits after two trips around, though on totally flat surfaces I can go about 12 - 18 miles before pooping out.

    I'm thinking of getting a serious diet going and doing one ride and one circuit weights workout per day for about the fist month just to get into better shape and lose a few lbs, but I don't really know what I'm doing.

    I've seen Ric say over and over that weights don't work unless you're out of shape, but given that I am woefully out of shape, what kind of weight workouts should I do, or would it be better to just do two rides per day? Or yoga?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    First, my hat's off to you for wanting to get in shape and attempt a century. Of course, you're joining some good company -- cyclists who have had testicular cancer and have gone on to be pretty good riders. Now, for your specific questions.

    I don't think it's unrealistic to ride a century in November, depending on how your body responds to increased training. But, you've made the training task about 3x harder by choosing a century with 5K feet of climbing. Especially the Solvang, with a major climb close to the end of the course! Unless you have some specific reason for riding the Solvang Century, I'd recommend that you find a century that is absolutely board flat and likely to be non-windy. Now, while you can't be certain that a century will be non-windy, you can at least find out what the average wind speed is in that month here http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/online/ccd/avgwind.html. Actually, the Santa Barbara area looks like a good spot if you can get someone to cut down those hills.

    As to a training regimen, if your Doctor doesn't have a problem with it I'd say ride every day. This will toughen up your seat and will help you drop some weight. If your schedule permits, ride for at least an hour a day, more if you can handle it. If you ride at an easy pace (see below) and you ride a pretty flat route, this should be non-stressful and you shouldn't need to take days off. Once a week, go on a "long ride." You say you're doing up to 20 miles now without a problem on a flat course. Take that as a base and add about 3-4 miles/week to your ride. That'll get you up to more than 75 miles for your weekly long ride by November.

    As to pace, this is really key to your master plan and, because of its importance to your success, I'd strongly recommend that you get a power meter if you can afford it. A power meter will enable you to very precisely control the intensity of your effort, regardless of wind or hills or how much caffeine you had before your ride. I don't know if there is any research yet on this question, but I personally think that one can ride much further with a very consistent intensity (e.g., +/-25w) as compared with a yo-yo intensity.

    Finally, I think there is a way of riding that is no more effort than walking. I call this a "gravity drop pedaling style." At your height and weight, your leg weight alone will apply about 25-30 pounds of weight to the crank at the midpoint of the downstroke (3 o'clock position). The gravity drop pedaling style involves just lifting your leg to the top of the stroke and then dropping it on the downstroke with the weight of your leg alone. This is how we walk -- when you walk, you lift your leg up and forward and drop it; you don't "push" it down. I generate about 100w with this pedaling style, which is enough to move me along at about 16mph on the flat. A little push from the top of the downstroke raises your power to 125w-150w pretty easily and certainly doesn't require any sort of leg strength that calls for weight work. So, I'd say forget the weights and just ride.

    This ended up being kind of long, but your post asks some pretty challenging questions. I hope any or all of this helps. Good luck.
     
  3. Powderfinger

    Powderfinger New Member

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    Thanks for the info! Yeah, I didn't know whether 5K of climb was a lot or not. I'll def. avoid that mofo for now!
     
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