Observations after first race - any advice?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by almaden, Sep 25, 2011.

  1. almaden

    almaden New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2011
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello

    I participated in my first bike race today (bike relay portion of the Santa Cruz triathlon). On the one hand, I am extremely pleased, and somewhat proud at that accomplishment. However, I am also modestly disappointed in my performance. I did a few rides to prepare for this 25 mile race.

    - Bike 18 miles, with 5 miles of fairly steep up hill
    - Bike 30 miles on mostly flat terrain

    Here are a few of my observations.

    - Parts of the road were very rough. Some of then were even on a low grade down hill, but my speed seemed to be restricted by the friction. I did not realize that different roads offer different levels of roughness or smoothness. Is that really true, or am I imagining things as I might be tired?
    - I was wearing proper, padded pants, but my backside is much more sore than what it usually is after a ride of comparable distance.
    - The back of my hamstrings were very tight (almost cramped) towards the end of the ride.
    - I was out of breath fairly quickly in the race.

    I finished the race in 1 hour 38 min, with average speed of 15 mph and a high of 35 mph (downhill). I have a Cannondale bike, which is fairly new and recently tuned. I did not bike with any kind of cycling shoes - just regular sneakers.

    Is there anything obvious that I could change? I am suspecting, I have to learn more about biking performance. What might be a good book or site (other than hanging out at this forum) for me to do so? Also, is there a "recommended" biking posture?

    Thanks for reading.
     
    Tags:


  2. Brian in VA

    Brian in VA New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2011
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    3
    Full disclosure - I am not a bike racer and I'm only offering some suggestions. I've been a member here for about a month and the amount of info contained herein is remarkable, and remarkably useful.

    First a few questions. Realistically, what kind of shape are you in? How long have you been riding? How much prep / training went into this race? How varied have your training rides been? Did you scope out the course beforehand or was this the first time riding it? Have you had a bike fitting to ensure comfort and maximum performance from your bike? What did you eat before the race? During? How much did you drink? Finally, what did you learn from watching other cyclists during the race?

    Once you've answered all those, you should begin to understand some of what happened. Searching this forum will provide you with some help in how to go forward.

    FWIW, I would have ridden the course before but not at race speed, to understand all the surfaces and their impact on me. It would also have helped to understand about proper pacing and the like. I'd have had a good plan for eating/drinking prior to and during the event. Finally, I've switched to cleated shoes and pedals; the difference is quite amazing and I can't recommend them enough to help anyone.

    Keep at it! It's all about the journey!

    Brian in VA
     
  3. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,333
    Likes Received:
    90
    Am I understanding that you completed only 2 training rides before the race? If so, just get out and ride more - over time you will learn what works and what does not. If you are really motivated to become faster, there are a lot of informational resources on the web and in this forum that will help. If you can, go out a find a group to ride with as that is the quickest way to ascend the learning curve.

    I wouldn't worry about being sore or out of breath, it was a race after all and you should have went 100%. I only do a few races a year, but I often become downright ill afterward.
     
  4. MEAT WAGON

    MEAT WAGON New Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2011
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    My guess as to your lack of performance is that it is directly tied to your lack of experience. You were likely nervous about the race which means you were likely very tense (causing the soreness/cramping of which you mentioned). As for being tired really quickly, it is very common for someone who has no experience in a time trial (the bike portion of a tri) to go out way to hard way too soon and without warming up, so you you burnt up way too fast. In the future, practice racing in a solo situation like a time trial. You will learn how hard to push for the given distance. Your effort level should be fairly even for the entire race. Also, you should be thoroughly warmed up before even starting the race. Road surface does play a major factor in how fast or easily you can ride. If you were to preview the course with a few rides before the race, you'd know exactly what to expect on race day.
     
  5. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    2,432
    Likes Received:
    92
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MEAT WAGON .

    Your effort level should be fairly even for the entire race. Also, you should be thoroughly warmed up before even starting the race.


    Definitely warmup before the race. After 10-15 minutes of slowly bringing your HR up, spend 2 minutes or so going very hard to open up the pipes. This will help when that first hard effort comes (probably the first of many) so the first time won't be in the race. This is the point in a race when most noobs get dropped.

    As far as effort being even for the race, maybe in a time trial. In most races I do there are periods of intense acceleration lasting one to several minutes. My HR ranges from as low as 80% of max if sitting in and we're not hammering, up to a few minutes at my redline, 92-95% maxHR. There could be 10 or 15 of those, and each one is a chance the field will drop you. Short intervals help getting used to these bursts, but honestly with so few miles in your legs I'd just get out and ride more. Ideally you should be riding a little more than the length of your races at least 3 or 4 times a week. I.e. if your races are 25 miles, you should be doing a few of 30-35 mile rides a week, for a couple of months leading up to the race. That's oversimplifying things, but in some ways training for racing is very simple... ride more.

    Get cycling shoes and clipless pedals asap! Beyond a bicycle it's the single most important thing. I would rather race in jeans and cleats than cycling shorts and sneakers. Stick with it, bike racing is hard at every level... and much, much more fun when you have some basic fitness.
     
  6. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,333
    Likes Received:
    90
    Danfoz,

    Good advice, but almaden, the OP, was asking specifically for the bike portion of a triathlon (time trial).
     
  7. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    2,432
    Likes Received:
    92
    Haha so he was. I'm usually good about reading posts so as to mitigate the "Well if you actually read my post..." response. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  8. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Messages:
    816
    Likes Received:
    20
    As some others have said a good warm up is always important. Road surface will slow you down, but the vibration and feel of the road under your wheels causes things to feel more slow than they actually are compared with a smooth surface, it is slower though. If you want to get faster you need to make an effort to train harder than you are, it is great that you had your 1st race and seemed happy with the results, but you certainly have lots of room to improve if you increase your training..
     
  9. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,380
    Likes Received:
    21
    Ride a lot. And pay attention to how you feel during your rides. And try to ride better each time you go out.

    ---

    You had a tough time finishing a 90 minute bike ride. There is no reason to warm up. You will just have a tougher time finishing. And you will get out of breath sooner.

    When you can comfortably ride 90 minutes at a hard effort you can start to worry about other things.
     
  10. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Messages:
    816
    Likes Received:
    20
    I am sorry old Guy, I had every intention of just letting some of your insane and illogical comments go, but this is the WORST advice I have EVER read on this form. For anyone reading this DO NOT follow his advice on this. A good warm up will not make it harder to finish 90 minutes at effort, and will certainly not change the way you breath, during your race effort, at least not make it more difficult. The worst thing you can do for a TT or any type of a race for that matter is to go out on cold legs and take yourself to threshold, the sudden onset of lactic acid instantly overwhelms your body and will make you feel much worse than it you did a proper warm up. Additionally a proper warm up will get things moving nice and freely, get your blood flowing and body and mind ready to work. To go out at a race effort without a warm up is just plain dumb. I am just astonished that you would even post something like this or think in your own mind that this is good advice, especially when you, yourself have said you don't race and have no intention of racing, purely training for distance and not intensity. What business do you have posting a response to someones question about racing, especially something so ill advised!!?? Unbelievable!!

    My warm up is typically as follows:
    about 20-30 minutes of easy spin to loosen the legs and get the blood flowing, this is also a good time to do one last check over the bike, shifting through all of the gears, this effort is basically just moving the legs. After my easy spin I usually slowly bring the intensity to a steady tempo and then do 3/ 30 second intervals with 30 seconds rest in between, building intensity with each interval. The last interval is not a full out sprint, but it is a hard seated effort. I then do a nice easy spin for another 5 minutes to flush the small amount of lactic acid. I time all of this out to get to the start line 10 minutes before start, top off my water, and relax as much as I can before the start. Since the OP's average pace was around 15mph for the race his easy spin may be 8-10mph, but it is still important to go out and complete a proper warmup..
     
Loading...
Loading...