Hills in base training

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by marcovelo125, Feb 5, 2012.

  1. marcovelo125

    marcovelo125 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    So here's my deal: I recently moved to a very hilly - some might say mountainous -- area. Most of the hills are what I would call medium length at less than 5 mins. But they are steep. I end up doing something like 350 watts at 7mph for the 3-5 min. it takes to get up them. The whole area is like this, so there is no avoiding these hills.

    My general question is does anyone have thoughts on how to accomplish base training in terrain like this? I'd like to do lots of 2hr. Tempo rides at ~ 220 w, but I can't get the power consistent enough and low enough. Half the time is super- threshold and quite a bit of it is coasting.

    Thanks,

    Marco
     
    Tags:


  2. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,380
    Likes Received:
    21
    Gears. I don't know what gearing you have but ...

    A 34/30 or 39/30 combination at 50rpm is about 4.4mph. That should get you down to 200-250w on the climbs.

    A 12-30 ( ...24, 27, 30) cogset is cheap.

    ---

    I think you are making some errors relative to your analysis.

    If you hold a constant 350w on the hills, your heart rate will start out low (from coasting down the previous hill) and rise as you climb. I suspect your heart rate will be fairly low for the first 2 minutes of each climb. As long as your heart rate is low the stress is also low. The real stress happens after the first 2 minutes when your heart rate is uncomfortably high and your breathing is labored. That seems to be a small part of your ride.

    I would pay much more attention to the average power output as an indicator of your training effort.
     
  3. marcovelo125

    marcovelo125 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    The gearing is a real possibility.

    And I think I see where you are going with the idea of focusing on the average.

    However, when I look at the power file, the ride looks like a series of 350w intervals. Normalized power is not outrageous (that is, not far off of target power for L3 tempo rides.) But the power distribution is what looks very time inefficient.

    So, for example, in a 2.5 hour ride the other day, average power was 159 (which is fine for an endurance ride), but normalized power was 222. Now, that would be almost perfect for a tempo ride. But I only spent 26% of the 2.5 hours in that power zone. Almost 30% of the ride was coasting, and the rest was either over threshold or way over threshold.

    And I think I understand your pt. about heart rate, too -- you seem to be saying that the effect of a super-threshold effort doesn't set in until after HR exceeds LTHR, which comes only in the second half of a 4 min effort, and that ends up being a relatively small part of the whole ride. (Maybe I misunderstand this.) But I'm not sure I agree that "the real stress happens after the first 2 mins." I think this may be confusing HR and power. Just because your HR hasn't (yet) reached super LT does not mean you are not putting out super-threshold power and therefore experiencing the physiological effects of a super-threshold effort right from the start. I would think any time spent at super-threshold power would count as at super threshold power in terms of physiological damage. I suppose the depletion is not instantaneous, but clearly 1 min intervals at 425w, during most of which HR does not go super LT, "hurt" more than the only the last ~20 secs during which HR is super threshold. I take it that is why 12 x 1min @ 425w is enough for a day's workout even though only, say, a total of 4 mins is spent above LTHR.

    Now clearly very different energy systems are at work in sub- and super- threshold efforts. But that seems to be just my concern. I cannot think how to keep workouts at sub-threshold levels in order to train those energy systems, even if the super threshold efforts are relatively short. They add a lot of physiological stress I don't want -- and, more importantly, the wrong kind.

    I can't be the only person who has to train in this kind of hilly terrain.
     
  4. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,380
    Likes Received:
    21
    I have a different model of heart rate and power than you do.

    Recently it has been called to my attention (and over my initial objections) that even an average 10 year can put out 500w of power.

    At first glance we should all be able to comfortably put out 500w of power for long periods of time. But we cannot. The reason we cannot is that the heart needs to move all the fuel, oxygen, and waste products around.

    The math comes down to figuring out how many heart beats are needed to get the fuel and what not needed for the climb to where it needs to be. And then allocating those heart beats to the climb. That has nothing to do with power output. In addition to the heart beats, I do need to estimate my power and heart beat relationship to get the right number of heart beats in the time it takes to make the climb - that estimate has everything to do with power output.

    I would suggest that as you do your climbs that you watch how your heart rate changes as your power output changes with the goal of reaching the top at or below some target heart rate. (If your heart rate is climbing faster than you would like, your power is too high. If your heart rate is not climbing fast enough, your power is too low. It is not rocket science.)

    ---

    I would give you a target heart rate percentage, but there are several ways that people compute percentages and you might take any number that I might suggest too seriously.

    I would like my average heart rate on a long ride to be 85% of LT, but it usually is 75%. I try to peak on hills at 94%, but I often wind up over 100% for short periods. Don't take these numbers too seriously. I am in much different condition than you are. My body reacts and recovers much differently.

    ---

    I was out riding and one of the local racers passed me. I took pace off of him for a while. 1 mile at 100% of my FTP. 1 mile at 120% of my FTP. I let him go on some turns he took faster than I needed to. A couple miles later I passed him as he was resting by a water fountain. 4 miles later I was at my turn around and he passed me as I was drinking my water (resting).

    Did my 2 hour ride at 80% FTP average. My heart rate monitor was not getting wet enough to be reliable.
     
  5. acoggan

    acoggan Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    3,047
    Likes Received:
    9
    Just make sure that you don't use up all your heart beats too early, or you'll die prematurely.../img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
     
  6. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    LOL

    Marcovelo,

    Get some smaller gears for the climbs and bigger gears for the descent. The effect will be two fold:

    1. You can climb at the level that you desire.
    2. You won't be smashed out your brains when you get to the top and will be more focused to pedal hard down the other side where possible.

    You don't have to push it on the hills if you're overgeared just turn the pedals around at whatever speed it takes to keep the power where it needs to be and get out of the saddle if needs be. It's not nice and certainly not pretty but it beats being 2 levels higher than you need to be.

    Old Guy - where do you live? I've never seen anywhere that has such an abundance of water fountains scattered around such that you can fill up bottles with clean pottable water at regular intervals. And why stop at water fountains when there seems to be a store every hour or so for you to buy chocolate milk from? Can't you just buy water from there?
     
  7. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,380
    Likes Received:
    21
    I don't tell people where I live.

    The stores around here tend to have sinks or hose spickets - sources of free clean water. But I don't like to impose unless I have to.

    ----

    I checked my map of routes. It appears the multi-purpose path (mostly used by bicyclists this time of year) has water fountains every mile near town (lots of walkers and kids) and every 4 miles towards the ends in the "suburbs" (mostly bicyclists). Every park has water fountains. Most schools have fountains.

    That appears to be true for the surrounding areas - parks and schools have fountains.
     
  8. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    1
    That's really tough. Do you have rollers or a trainer you could ride on? Can you drive your bike to an area that has more conducive terrain? Look at more roads in the area. There may be some roads that may have a flatter profile. But, you said the whole region is like this......definitely a tough situation there.
     
  9. vspa

    vspa Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    2,203
    Likes Received:
    39
    yeah, you could use your car to drive to different areas, as a youngster it was bycicle all the time, but now there are some many urban highways that i drive20 to 30 minutes and then park in a Gas Station for example, that plus higher gears and a trainer would give you more alternatives,
     
Loading...
Loading...