I wanna train for the tour de france...



San Remo GT

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Aug 17, 2005
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What kind of mileage should I be able to do comfortably?
Does using flat pedals put me at a disadvantage?
What speed should I be able to hold on a flat?

I currently ride a giant scr1 but will a more expensive bike be required to do the actual racing on and what other advice?
 
4000 hours of training per year is what I've heard (that's like TWO full-time jobs). The longest days of the TdF are about 150 miles, which even the slowest riders get done in under 6 hours. If you want any sort of a shot, you'll need to find a team, too. You'll need to be comfortable riding in a huge peloton, even with other using dirty tricks against you--they'll know who the rookies are, and do what they can to frustrate said rookies, even as far as causing them to crash. You'll need to be able to endure 3 weeks of intense pain. Be able to descend at 70 MPH, and make hour-long climbs up steep hills.
 
The only way to get into competitive cycling is to join a club and do it at the amateur level. USA Cycling, the national sanctioning body, has a web site that lists all the affiliated clubs. Find one in your area and give them a jingle.
 
Originally Posted by San Remo GT .

What kind of mileage should I be able to do comfortably?
Does using flat pedals put me at a disadvantage?
What speed should I be able to hold on a flat?

I currently ride a giant scr1 but will a more expensive bike be required to do the actual racing on and what other advice?
Nothing wrong with aiming for the stars but you need to get mileage and race experience.

Join your local club and start training and going for spins/race with them. You will soon be able to guage what your ability is and how much work you need to do to progress on to the next levels
to bring you to professional levels.

As regards you bike - don't worry about that for now.
I say this for two reasons.
The engine on the bike (you) is far more important than the bike.
Also you can spend any amount of money on bikes and accessories : it would be pointless spending thousands on a bike if you end up packing the sport in.

So test the water is my advice.
 
Crack 26 or 27 miles in one hour? The slowest of Pros can do it. Ride 100+ miles a day indefinitely? Some old guy around here does that. Flat pedals? You're loosing me. Joining a local club and focusing on winning a race is a good start. Jan Ulrich won the Amateur World Championship before contemplating the same question. It is an interesting question though, academically speaking.
 
"You're loosing me."

No worries! I've got a wrench to tighten you back up.
 
Originally Posted by San Remo GT .

What kind of mileage should I be able to do comfortably?
Does using flat pedals put me at a disadvantage?
What speed should I be able to hold on a flat?

I currently ride a giant scr1 but will a more expensive bike be required to do the actual racing on and what other advice?
You cannot enter the tour without being on one of the invited teams. To get on one of the teams it helps to know someone who is related to the team. If you can find a sponsor for a team - someone with lots of money. You could bring the money subject to you being on the team and riding in the tour.

That is the easy way to train for the tour.

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I guess the more recent way to train is to find a good doctor. Have him help you out. That tends to be discouraged.

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Before you actually spend too much time or money on this goal you might go out and ride on some local rides. Either sit in the wind off the back and watch how the riders ride. That is a really bad way to learn to ride in a group, but it does let you see who is strong at various aspects of riding. Or sit at the front and do all the work. With your goal there is no sense in sitting in the middle on a local ride. Sitting at the front is hard. There will be guys who want to go faster. And guys who are stronger than you. They are not going to the tour. Sit at the front or sit in the wind.

Around here there used to be 6-8 hour rides on Saturday and Sunday. A fair number of people rode on both. Then there were the regular Tuesday and Thursday after work rides. 3-4 hours usually hard. I allways sat at teh front or in the wind. That leaves 3 days to put in some useful training.

If you don't have time for that much riding, you will not get to professional level. No one wants to pay a guy to ride a bicycle if the guy puts other things ahead of training.

If you are doing your training right, you will be working hard to keep your weight up.
 
One ex-pro I know said he had to do 10,000 kms to get in shape for the spring races. He then chose which races to ride to peak for the TDF.
 
Originally Posted by jhuskey .

One ex-pro I know said he had to do 10,000 kms to get in shape for the spring races. He then chose which races to ride to peak for the TDF.
6,000 miles in real currency.
It sounds a little bit on the light side to me, JH.
 
Originally Posted by jhuskey .

One ex-pro I know said he had to do 10,000 kms to get in shape for the spring races. He then chose which races to ride to peak for the TDF.
The one ex-pro I know, who apparently rode on the Irish Olympic squad and then did some racing in Europe mentioned his first base ride of the year last season was 85 miles, after being off the bike for 2 months. My early season rides under the same circumstances start at around 30-35 miles.
 
You have to train thousands of hours. You have to be intense, basically if tears aren't flowing down your face, and you don't feel like vomiting after a training session, then you aren't serious about reaching tour de france fitness levels. Be warned that you could reach your absolute maximum genetic potential, and still not have enough in you to compete at that level. Many world class cyclists have oversized hearts that can maintain 200bpm, and vo2maxs that us mortals can never obtain. And even if you managed to reach a maximum genetic potential above all other maximum potentials, you will then need a good doctor to administered your drugs, and a consultation with Lance Armstrong on how to not get caught.
 
Originally Posted by enfyre .

You have to train thousands of hours. You have to be intense, basically if tears aren't flowing down your face, and you don't feel like vomiting after a training session, then you aren't serious about reaching tour de france fitness levels.
Be warned that you could reach your absolute maximum genetic potential, and still not have enough in you to compete at that level. Many world class cyclists have oversized hearts that can maintain 200bpm, and vo2maxs that us mortals can never obtain.
+1.

I think most ordinary folks haven't a clue as to the levels of ability and commitment that is needed to pursue not only a professional career but to race at the professional level.

I've known several guys who have gone off to seek their fortune in the professional ranks. Some fared well and some fared not too well.

What I have managed to divine is that the guy who had the dedication that you speak of, more often than not, fared better.
Each of the guys I know had the physical capacity and genetic potential but for different reasons they didn't have the mental strength required (and this isn't a criticism of them).

It takes a very special individual to have the physical and mental qualities needed to race, and succeed, at the highest level of our sport.
In fact I would say that the level of commitment is unequalled throughout professional sport.

Separately, I know a man who cycled the grand tours and is now retired and working for minimum wage.
This man was a respected professional rider.
The last time we spoke he reflected that at least he could live on the memories of having raced at the very top against the very best, instead of feeling sorry for himself now.
That's the measure of the man
 
Originally Posted by limerickman .


It takes a very special individual to have the physical and mental qualities needed to race, and succeed, at the highest level of our sport.
In fact I would say that the level of commitment is unequalled throughout professional sport.
Agree, and that makes the doping even sadder. These guys who are the best, who've dedicated and given everything to the sport. Yet they make that stupid, unethical choice to cheat themselves and their fellow riders out of fair and honest competition. When they win and stand on the podium, the doping nullifies all of their gifts and hard work....they are standing there as nothing more than cheats and bums.
 
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Originally Posted by dhk2 .

Agree, and that makes the doping even sadder. These guys who are the best, who've dedicated and given everything to the sport. Yet they make that stupid, unethical choice to cheat themselves and their fellow riders out of fair and honest competition. When they win and stand on the podium, the doping nullifies all of their gifts and hard work....they are standing there as nothing more than cheats and bums.
Exactly.

I don't think any of us minds being beaten by the rider who has more ability, more luck in a race or who trained harder than we did.
I was that soldier many a time.
But if I thought I was beaten by someone who had taken a prohibited drug then I'd be angry
 
Originally Posted by danfoz .

Crack 26 or 27 miles in one hour? The slowest of Pros can do it. Ride 100+ miles a day indefinitely? Some old guy around here does that. Flat pedals? You're loosing me. Joining a local club and focusing on winning a race is a good start. Jan Ulrich won the Amateur World Championship before contemplating the same question. It is an interesting question though, academically speaking.
If I stray much above 20mph I get out of breath very quickly. I had a lung test once and they reckon its lower than average so I dont know if I can work around this. I obviously wanna get fitter but I often find my legs have got the strength but I just use up more air than I can maintain if you see what mean. I think my cardiovascular system is a bit ****ed. Any advice on sorting that out as this is my priority before I can work on outright performance.