How far on 8 hours a week?

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by grahamspringett, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    We don't do that around here and I suspect it would be very unpopular. There would be plenty of complaining about the fastest riders having to work their way through groups of slower riders. It would definately rub a lot of people the wrong way.
     


  2. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    I really agree with this, I've had similar experiences.

    When I'm not very fast, I have gotten pretty fast on riding 20+ hours a week of "junk" miles, mostly l2 stuff.

    When I am fast, I've gotten faster by doing 20+ hours a week hard.

    I suspect a lot of it has to do with CTL-train hard to go fast.

    But then why not just ride 40 hour weeks or do crawford-esque base? Because I don't think that maximizes CTL. I think there's a range of training that maximizes TSS/day. For me, much over low 20 hour weeks and I tend to fall apart and get sick or I just can't get in enough calories, and all my rides end up with low IFs.

    Also, it's worth mentioning that this doesn't discount training at higher intensities, even outside of the competition/tapering period. When I was really fit this year, I could go out and rack up a 300+ tss day by going and doing 4-5 hours in the mountains, riding every climb at L4. But I couldn't think of doing that now. My ftp might be within 10 watts of my season best-but my CTL is 50 points lower.
     
  3. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    Can you say "sweet spot"? ;)
     
  4. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    It makes for fun racing. When the fast lads catch the next group up the road there's normally quite a speed differential and often times the riders in the first group that was sent off (the slowest) try and do "the hero" thing and attack each other from the get go. The result - the 1st cats motor past them at around 5 to 10 mph faster....

    Not as much fun as watching an Austrailian Pursuit but then there's not much in cycling that's as brutally fun to watch, other than a hill climb up Hardknott Pass or Rosedale Chimney Bank.
     
  5. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    And it can rub a lot of people the right way too ;)

    It works here for several reasons:

    - it's part of the Australian psyche to have a style of event on the program where, theoretically, everyone has a chance to win (and sometimes they do).

    - total fields for such events are usually limited to 150 riders and for many opens that's about all that enter anyway (we are not exactly a densely populated country)

    - prize money gets pooled for all riders and not split up into various grades (which makes for a larger incentive for the scratch riders to hammer). In track racing we have the same thing known as wheelraces. The highest paid events on the calendar are handicaps, so scratchies learn how to go hard, often.

    It's hard, hard racing and requires different tactics and strategies and the scratchies all know that when they line up. It usually is part of a weekend with a graded scratch race on the other day, so the normal stlye of road race is part of the weekend
     
  6. grahamspringett

    grahamspringett New Member

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    Coming from the UK where scratch races are the norm, I found a diet of handicap races very hard. There's no hiding in the bunch like you can in a scratch event, it's full gas from the gun. And when the fast boys catch you, you hang in for dear life!

    It has occurred to me that the predominance of handicap races in Oz could explain why Australian riders do so well on the continental pro circuit. They're all used to going hard over extended distances, so in effect every race is a breakaway with the same urgency to stay away.

    I've been in races in the UK where the commissaire (good ole Chas Messenger, may he rest) threatened to stop the race because everybody was dawdling.

    So if young UK riders are piddling along and young Aussie riders are going flat out, who do you think is going to develop the fitness and the drive to succeed?

    If only I knew then what I know now (and if I'd had a PowerTap then as well!)

    Thanks to Alex for explaining the intricacies of Aussie racing. Onya, mate!
     
  7. kopride

    kopride Member

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    Makes perfect sense to maximize the value of a limited number of competitors. Basically, everyone is in the game at some point. Otherwise, with a pool of only 150, you are just racing against the same ten guys you always race against and everyone else might as well stay home.

    We used to sponsor a cross country alumi race (running) called the 45. Basically, everyone estimates how far they can run in 45 minutes at race pace and it is a straight up and back course. Depending upon your distance, there are different turnaround points on an up and back course. You get assigned 1 point for every 10 seconds you are over 45 minutes, and two points for every 10 seconds you are under. (Similar to enduro points in mc racing) No watches can be worn so there is every incentive to estimate your distance properly and just go hard. Its lots of fun and everyone has a shot of winning. I never thought of doing it for a cycling event, but it could probably work as well. When web linked services start integrating with our power meters, and the technology drifts down in $$$, we are only a few years away from being able to have world wide indoor races like that. That should be the next product from power peaks. A universal software that will allow races with different PMs in real time with graphics.

    We have a donut race out in SE PA where time and donuts consumed at stations are the determining factors. I have a feeling the aussies have a similar version that invlolves shrimp or fosters.
     
  8. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    Probably a bad choice of words on my part. Rather, I should have said, "might not be popular".


    In any case, I'm not sure that it reveals anything about the psyche of people in the northeastern US* but here are some issues with handicap racing that would come up here:

    - If everyone who shows up at a "traditional" race were to show up for a handicap, it would be a major mess. We have as much as 400-700 people total in all fields in some of the road races here. Yeah, in a sparsely populated place, it's easier.

    - The people who ride in the upper categories and in upper-level masters racers (above 35 year olds) are quite happy to be in with their peers. It's fast and smooth and in the case of masters racing, we all know that everyone else that they are with has to go to work on Monday morning too, implying a certain amount of clear-headed thinking. I'm not sure that the inherent mixing of handicap racing would go over so well. Obviously mixing happens in training races but that's perhaps a different animal due to the low(er) stakes.

    - Handicap races are probably point-to-point races, yes? (Though I could see them working on a loop.) Organizing road races here can be onerous task** and as a result, around here we don't have too many point-to-point races. In fact, I can't think of any. They are all loops, somewhere between 15 and 40 km each lap (aside from cicuit races). Though I suppose arranging marshalling at a handicap race might be a little easier (just a little) if it's a point-to-point. When everybody has gone by, you’re done for the day.

    *though in my travels around the world, I find that everyone (of course) has an opinion on us Yanks and some people are very good observers of very subtle things.

    ** getting approvals from town councils and police departments is a very time consuming task. When you do get approvals and do get to hold the race, people that are used to ball sports don't “get it” and they don't understand the difference between a charity ride and a bike race. So when the head of the town council gets held up (in his car) for an extra 5 minutes behind a big blob of 100 riders on the way to get his morning coffee on a Sunday morning (oh, the humanity! :eek: ), and is shocked – shocked! :eek: - to see them ride 70 kph down a hill together as one big blob (OMG! :eek: ) it can be hard to get them to approve the race again the next year. :(
     
  9. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    I can't speak for the NorthEast Steve, but I raced many Twilight crits in Oakland California that were always run on a handicap format.

    The B racers would get about a half to three quarters lap head start on a kilo or so 4 corner crit course. The A riders would have to chase and catch and or pass the B riders to be in contention. I raced B's for most of the decade or so that I did those races and once in a blue moon we actually stayed away and contested our own sprint for the win. More often than not the A's ran us down in the second half of the race often with a strong break riding right through us.

    I never witnessed any safety issues when the faster group came up on us. By then the B's were ususally pretty worked if they'd made much of an effort to stay away and passing a tired group isn't too hard.

    I only started with the A group for a couple of seasons and it was really fast off the gun as we knew we'd have to run down the B's but often was easier as it can be with fast smooth riders all taking turns at the front. Catching and passing the B group was never a problem from the perspective of the fast group either.

    Earlier in the evening the C/D race was run on the same format and even with the less experienced riders there weren't any problems related to the handicap format. It can be a great way to structure a race, particularly a training race as it encourages everyone to work hard to either stay away or to catch the lead group.

    You might try it in a club race sometime, it can be really fun and great way to encourage everyone to take their turns at the front.

    -Dave
     
  10. kopride

    kopride Member

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    Steve,

    All great points but the Univest Cyclosportif in SE PA, which still qualifies as the NE USA, is a great "citizen" race that takes place in the Northeast and mixes recreational riders and racers. You "race" the same course as the pros, and get an official time. There are informal events in Philly from Time trials to hammerfest loops that are pretty close to racing. And a handicapped race like Alex describes could be easily set up by any club on an office park loop during an early morning saturday-- lots of local unofficial criteriums that go that way weekly.
     
  11. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    That's just it. We don't have those here - handicap or otherwise.

    There are training races (several to choose from) and some spring training series on weekend mornings. That's all there are and those are open to anybody with a racing license and not handicapped.

    One of the training races and some of the spring series races are on big enough loops that they have three groups on the course at a time and the A group will start first then the B's then the C's. The A group always catches and passes the other two, sometimes multiple times. But that's not a handicap race nor is the overtaking an intentional aspect. It just happens.
     
  12. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    OK, but that's not a handicap race. All the organized century rides here end up being quasi-races at the front anyway but again, not handicapped.
     
  13. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    As were the Oakland Twilights.....

    Sorry I used "club races" to mean training races, not the typical weekend race with a substantial purse. I've never lived anywhere where we had a true "club race" limited to members of a certain team.

    -Dave
     
  14. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    Some of our handicap road races are run on loops (e.g. Ken Dinnerville Memorial, Mudgee), others on point to point courses, usually named for the towns they run between (Wagga-Albury, Coonabarabran-Gunnedah, or the old Nyngan-Dubbo race which I haven't seen for while). My previous club also used to run one or two road handicaps a season just for club members.

    I much prefer loop courses as the logistics for riders is much easier (you can do it solo whereas in P2P to you need transport support).

    The organisation of the race from an approvals POV is quite onerous here too and in some cases the Police costs alone introduced over the last few years have killed a few country opens. But the standard of pre-race organisation has improved (slowly) and like it or not, safety is probably better overall.

    Handicap crit racing is popular here. The Summer Tuesday night series at Heffron Park in Sydney is probably one of the most popular, in that case just threes grades on a tecnical 2km circuit. Many neo-pros here use it for training.

    And hence my point eariler about numbers, if we regularly had 400-500 entries for these races, they would defninitely all be graded scratch.

    It can and does sometimes happen that the course and conditions sees bunches of 100+ riders coming together in the final kilometres of such a race. That's fun, especially when you consider the wide variety of talent in the mix.

    The other thing about the track racing scene is that in race carnivals, these handicaps pit you against world class riders. I have for instance ridden in such races with riders such as Ryan Bayley, Shane Kelly, Ben Kersten, Danny Ellis, Stephen Wooldridge to name a few.

    Not many sports where a club rider can compete in the same field of play with the world's best.
     
  15. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    Is it over now? The thread is about how far one can get on 8 hours a week, and now you're all talking about handicap racing. Why not start a new thread for that and not pollute this one?
     
  16. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Yep, ended somewhere between March and December of this year before someone dug it back up.
     
  17. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

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    Now we're talking about thread drift. LOL

    It was the OP who raised handicap racing though.....
     
  18. Piotr

    Piotr New Member

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    There's already a thread about a handy cap. :D
     
  19. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    Relax. I share your interest in keeping threads on point but no one died and I don't see any blood on the pavement. Chill a bit. It's not like there's that much else going on here right now.
     
  20. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    Right...but I thought it was such a good thread. I was learning something and then it got diverted.
     
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