New to cycling (from rowing)

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by add30, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. add30

    add30 New Member

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    Hi there,

    This is my first post on this forum, I am new to cycling, but would like to improve.

    My background is in rowing, which I have now been doing seriously for 2yrs (cross country and weight training before that). My rowing usually comprises 4 water sessions (1.5-2hrs each), 2 weights sessions and 2 erg sessions (usually 1x30'@AT, and 2x20'@UT1) per week. As such I am quite familiar with the rowing forums on the net e.g. concept2, and I *thought* I knew a fair amount about sport physiology, but a quick browse of this forum assures me I have long way to go, at least in the context of cycling!

    A few personal details to assist (I dont know which if any will be relevant):
    Age: 19
    Height: 169cm
    Weight: 65kg (approx 6% body fat)
    HRmax: 202
    RHR: 52

    Last summer I purchased a second hand road bike (Trek 1200, 52cm) to use for cross training. I used it 2-3 times per week over summer but have had to return to focusing on water training for rowing since then.

    I mostly did 60min rides, on comparatively flat roads. I usually held about an average of 32kmph, though I also did a 90min ride at 30kmph. All my rides were UT1 (av168bpm) which felt fairly comfortable. In context, on a tough erg, 30' @AT, I would tend to average 194bpm, so I imagine there would be a fair amount of scope to go faster, but for cross training purposes that was not my goal when I set those paces. I was probably pedalling at completely the wrong cadence, in the wrong gear etc, though hopefully my position over the handle bars was okay.

    In rowing it is fairly unhelpful to be my size, most competitive athletes are 190cm/85kg+, and though my power:weight is comparatively good, fluid dynamics are not in my favour. I am really too light even to be a lightweight rower (usually 72kg)! Are the same problems true of cycling? Is there a commonly accepted optimum profile of a cyclist?

    In short, how do those times sound for a beginner, and what should I do to improve my cycling? What can I do to improve my technique?

    Any comments or advice much appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Andy
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Cycling is fairly forgiving for body types but if there's an ideal set of prortions you're damn near it at 169 cm and 65 kg!

    I don't know nearly enough about rowing to comment on your future there but if you enjoy cycling you should probably give it a go as you've got the body proportions of world class cyclists. I suspect you'd need to redistribute some of your upper and lower body strengths and there's a ton of specific fitness, skills and tactics to develop but you're in a much better position to start than most.

    Good luck,
    Dave
     
  3. vadiver

    vadiver New Member

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    This is not meant to be flipent. To improve, cycle more, read these fourms. Try what people say is working for them. It may or may not work for you and they type of riding you do.

    Set goals for yourself and work towards those goals. Retorical question, do you want to improve your cycling to help with your rowing, or do you want to be a competitve cyclist and race on a team? And other such goals.

    If I was 19, and wanting to get into cycling as a competitive sport, I would save my money and buy a good power meter. My cyclocomputer has a power function on it but it is worthless. Get a real PM that provides the functionality you want/need.

    I would also look into getting a coach to help me at some level. I assume you have a rowing coach. How much have they helped you improve your rowing compared to not having one.
     
  4. add30

    add30 New Member

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    Thanks both for your advice.

    To answer your rhetorical question :) (probably should have made my purpose clear in my original post) I currently want to improve my rowing, and cycling is an excellent tool for doing that, because I enjoy it and can sustain longer sessions than I could do on a rowing ergo, when I dont have access to the water. After Henley this year though (early July), I would probably like to switch to cycling for cycling's sake and become competitive in that, my main reason being that with my phisique as it is, the cap that I have on what I can acheive in rowing will not be there in cycling.

    There seems to be a lot of focus on power metres on this forum - all this "FTP" is quite an alien concept to me though. On rowing ergs, you can convert your pace/500m to power(w), which is how we calculate our power:weight ratios. Are the two comparable? My 30' erg PB is 7848m, which is 232W - when you talk about FTP (which from what I have read seems to range between 200-350W depending on the calibre of the cyclist??), how long is that power sustained for?

    Similarly, how do the L1-6 zones relate to UT2/UT1/AT/TR/AN? Are L a reflection of power output whereas UT2 etc reflects HR zone? Apologies if I have completely misunderstood it!

    Cheers,
    Andy
     
  5. Velo Steve

    Velo Steve New Member

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    Indeed. I'm one certainly one to watch numbers, graph relationships, and so on. That said, it may not be the place to start. Rather than riding alone focused on maintaining a given power or speed, ride with others. Observe how they handle various terrain and situations. Learn how to cooperate in a group and ONLY THEN how to compete against them. Be quick to learn from the suggestions of others, even if some ideas turn out not to be right for you. Rather than holding a fixed power level, find a group whose typical speeds are close to what you need.

    In other words, learn the technique, tactics, and culture of cycling. You'll still be getting a workout and when you start to race that will pay off as much as power.

    Again, I'm not at all against training with power. It's valuable, but not all you need if you want to compete in cycling.
     
  6. EoinC

    EoinC New Member

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    Andy - As you are probably aware, there are many different forms of competitive cycling. Aside from physique, you already have the key ingredient - competitiveness. Your physique plays a rĂ´le in how effective you are in your chosen arena, but chosing your arena comes down to personal preference, and (naturally) gravitating towards the event-types that you show profficiency in.
    Before spending any money on a power meter, etc, I would look to entering in some events to see what I liked (or even 'if' I liked). For myself, I was useless at time-trials (tended to daydream instead of getting on with it), and at short road races (I'd just be getting warmed up when the race was over), but had an affinity for hills and longer road races. The only way you are going to know, is to give it a go.
    Riding in a bunch is very differrent to riding solo. I'm one of those who rides better when mixing it up - others are the reverse. Give it a try - You'll either like it, or you won't. You'll get to see that racing is not a matter of physique alone.
    Contact your local bike club and see what programmes they have. Usually there will be enough of a mix in there for you to get a good rounding. Other alternatives are track, mountain bike racing or triathlon, depending upon your location and natural affinities.
    Regards,
    Eoin
     
  7. existence

    existence New Member

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    Sounds to me like you want to 'be' somebody. If that is the case then get the hell out of rowing. Fast.[​IMG]
     
  8. K50

    K50 New Member

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    FTP is your functional threshold power. Either theoretical or measured, it is the power you can sustain for 1 hour. It is a key element to being a successful cyclist, and probably the most important fitness factor.

    I don't know what UT2, UT1 and that stuff is...in cycling if you're training with a heart rate monitor, you train at your aerobic threshold, anearobic threshold, and do some hard sub 5 minute VO2 intervals.

    Oh yeah, the power you mentioned most likely is not comparable to cycling. On a bike, you'll be much more powerful. You use your quads alot more, which are probably the most powerful muscles you have, and less lower back and upper body. Your core strength will greatly assist you though, especially if you do XC riding.
     
  9. sculler

    sculler New Member

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    I was a lightweight rower and successfully managed to convert to cycle racing.

    Dont expect to do well if you are just going to try racing after Henley. You need a full winter of specific cycle training and going out on club runs.
     
  10. aimeebear

    aimeebear New Member

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    Howdy [​IMG]

    I am an ex rower turned cyclist as well. I rowed for 4 years competively but work(shift work actually!) did not allow me to continue at the level that I wanted to...hence the shift to cycling. I have been riding now for almost a year and i'd love to get back into a boat and see how I go! I thought that I was fit and strong before I started, but was proven wrong. Endurance rides were the hardest for me at first, but after 3 months I noticed a considerable drop in my resting HR and was sitting quite happily around 70-85% on long rides. Personally, a key to improving my fitness has been time trials and strength is climbing hill after hill after hill!! I am not the ideal size for a female rower either (175cm/75kg) but was always stronger than everyone..and this has been far more beneficial in cycling than it ever was in rowing!! I never got right into the nitty gritty of HR zones and wattage etc, and probably should have so cant really give u comparison of any data that shows difference other than what I feel [​IMG] Nothing can replace the feeling of gliding through the water on a beautiful crisp morning though .. [​IMG] good luck & enjoy!
     
  11. vadiver

    vadiver New Member

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    Brings back memoires of a perfectly ballenced eight at full power on a sheet of glass.
     
  12. vadiver

    vadiver New Member

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    They serve the same purpose. To be able to get a general idea of the performance of an individual on a common base.

    On paper a person with a Power:Weight ration of 5 should be better than a person with a P:W of 4.5 but that only works on paper because there are other factors. I may be able to pull a 30' erg of 8000m (I cannot) but if I cannot set up the shell you, at your 7850, will leave me in your wake.

    I think you will do well in the transition if you want to. You know what is needed to train, you have the competive mindset, you have the leg strength, etc.

    You will use different muscles but given you current level of fitness you should adapt well. The hardest thing is to get your body able to compete for more then 8 min (that is the time in a 5000m race?). You will figure that out.

    I would also suggest again trying to find a local coach. Explain your goals and have them help you. It is really a cheep investment $100 or so.
     
  13. dc.cyclocross

    dc.cyclocross New Member

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    Andy- cycling and rowing are a great mix. I have a lot of experience in both and IU find they help each other.

    a few notes..

    The power on the Concept2 significantly unestimates the energy you are expending. For one thing, you use a lot of power just going back and forth on the slide- this power is not reflected on the monitor, which only reacts to effects on the flywheel. Cycling is a bit more efficient, but the major difference is the under-reporting of effort on a static erg. An erg on slides shoudl give a higher power reading, though I really haven't used those.

    I think size is more important in cycling than in rowing, especially on the hills. BTW, dividing ways per kg is sort of a crude way to correct for weight. In cycling it makes sense on extended hill climbing. On a flat or rolling course it over-estimates the effect of weight. Similairly in rowing, drag is not proportional to weight but scales at something like to the 2/3rds power. Bigger does tend to be better in rowing- but at the elite level the difference between hwt and lwt is pretty small compared to a 200 vs 155 lb cyclist- only few percent.

    your size is great for cyling nad not really bad for rowing, especially since you are young. I say do what is fun! I've known some very good 145 lb rowers.

    as for the training zones- there is more than one numbered system that you will see in cycling. but what seems to be pretty standard I would lay out like this.
    1= active recovery
    2= endurance= U2
    3= tempo = U1
    4= theshold = AT
    5= VO2 max
    6= anerobic, high intensity

    Power training is great and fun. but the decent devices are fairly expensive. If you do get a meter, you will have to determine training zones independently on the erg vs bike. Heart rates will be similar, but may vary a few beats from sport to sport.

    Erging 30' at 96% of your max at AT would seem to be impossible. Well trained athletes will have an AT at about 88-92%. So, either that value is above AT or your max is higher than you think.

    There are various ways to find AT- one I like is to erg/row an all-out 50-60 minute piece. your HR with about 10 minutes to go should be near AT. or- take the middle 30 minute or so of that effort and use the average. your HR will be below AT in the beginning and above AT if you take it up at the end.

    Good Luck!

    marc

     
  14. sculler

    sculler New Member

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    To be a successful lightweight rower (National Championships Medal), you need to be able to put out approx 300w for 30 mins.
     
  15. GettingFaster

    GettingFaster New Member

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    erm, 300W is about a 1.45 split. Most nationally competitive lightweights could pull 1.45 for an hour without too much trouble. I know I could- but then maybe my technique in the boat was just shit :)
     
  16. sculler

    sculler New Member

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    If you can pull 300w for 1/2 hour, you can win the Nat Champs.
     
  17. GettingFaster

    GettingFaster New Member

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    Sorry but this is incorrect. You may have won Nat Champs and only been able to pull 300W for 30 mins (and if so I take my hat off to you) but I know plenty of lwts who could go faster than that on the erg and yet have never managed to win Nat Champs.
     
  18. sculler

    sculler New Member

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    I have won the Nat Champs a few times and could not maintain 1.45 for an hour.

    A lot of "lightweights" pull their big ergs over the winter at 78kg but are no good when down to weight. If they can maintain that power and still not win then their technique or racing mentality is very poor.
     
  19. GettingFaster

    GettingFaster New Member

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    Well I would argue that your technique (I assume we're talking about the 1x?) is unusually good rather than others' being very poor, but the difference is semantic :) I've never raced the LM1x at Nat Champs but I could definitely go <1.45 for an hour at under 75kg and while I was useful in a 1x there were plenty in the country who could beat me.
     
  20. typ993

    typ993 New Member

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    As well as being out on the Charles with icicles hanging off the oars...
     
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