Your training routes: is there anybody training on short loops?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by dot, Apr 5, 2010.

  1. dot

    dot New Member

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    I live in a very busy city quite far from city borders and our roads outside the city are real gas chambers for the first 10-20 km. I don't have time to get to cleaner places so I'm choosing to train using loops around blocks near my block of flats (the furthest is about 8 km from home), moreover I mostly ride them late in the night when traffic abates to reasonable level. I've invented loads of loops from 2.27 km to 12km avoiding suffocating major streets. Initially I often got bored with riding lap after lap on the same course but I'm getting more and more used to it. Some are flat, some are hilly (for the place where I live) thus I can vary load and degree of boredom. I wonder if I'm the only one using such training tactics or there are other straggling riders and if so what length are you loops and how do you feel riding them? Fun, joy, self-pity? :D
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Nope you're not the only one. Last fall I did almost all my 20 to 30 minute interval efforts around and around non-technical grassy fields on my cyclocross bike and on rainy days this winter I did those sustained efforts by riding around and around the flat asphalt warmup lane at the local velodrome. Yep, it's mind numbing but provides a very consistent venue without traffic hazards and interruptions which is nice when visibility is low, the roads are slick and the weather basically sucks. As fun as this approach isn't, it still beats the heck out of riding a trainer which I also did a lot of when the days got short or the roads were icy.

    If I just wanted to get out and 'get some miles' I don't think I could tolerate those short loops or the trainer for that matter, but if you're training on a plan and doing focused VO2 Max, Threshold, Tabata's or even Tempo work the time passes quickly and reliable venues without a lot of interruptions are useful.

    -Dave
     
  3. roadhouse

    roadhouse New Member

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    I'm in Houston and I pretty much just ride. will not suffocate myself to any backyard loops at all as I find that more suffocating than anything else. I couldn't imagine having to do that. Sometimes I ride from town to town, straight out and straight back in on the same route or one 50 -100 mile loop, finding new routes/roads along the way.

    Wherever I may roam is pretty much it.
     
  4. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

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    This would drive me nuts I think (and aren't there stop signs/traffic lights?). Also, you and Dave should do this ride next year (it's already full for this year): Fat Cyclist Blog Archive Register Now for the 3rd Annual 100 Miles of Nowhere
     
  5. rikdee

    rikdee New Member

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    For the past 10+ years I have ridden more than 40,000 miles on a five mile loop located within my residential community (south Florida). I ride for fitness only but have a very focused routine of tempo, SST, threshold, and other work, much as prescribed by Dave Ryan.
    The loop is two minutes from the end of my driveway, safe, private access, low volume residential traffic; works good for me. I go out, complete my ride, and come home. I have been able to achieve a more than sufficient level of fitness with safety, privacy, and convenience far exceeding any perceived downside some might ascribe to such a venue. Yet, cycling is but one of many interests and activities for me. Five or six hours per week and I'm good to go.
     
  6. CalicoCat

    CalicoCat Member

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    Same here. Have an ~1mi loop with low traffic that we (my team and I) use for interval training. Can spend about 1.5hrs there before getting bored (partly because the workouts are challenging enough that I can't even think about being bored) and it definitely beats the computrainer. Any ride longer than 1.5 hours, and mentally I need to be covering ground rather than going in circles!!
     
  7. Sillyoldtwit

    Sillyoldtwit New Member

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    If you have read the 'Killing me" thread you will know that I now live within a stones throw of the mountains here in japan and have a variety of courses, some over 100 km long and for the most part virtually free of traffic. Sometimes I don't see a single vehicle for an hour or so. (bit lonely at times).
    Having said this, a few weeks ago I thought why am I doing this? If I have an accident or damage the bike beyond ridability, here I am stuck in the bloody middle of nowhere. Then it struck me; where I live now is very hilly, so I found a nice loop which takes roughly 20 minutes and has a 2km climb. I go all out even on the very fast long downhill country road with speeds up to 60kph, overtaking farm pickup trucks, motor scooters and the occasional car.:D
    After reaching the bottom of the above I have about 400 metres before I start climbing through a quite residential area pushing it all the way in and out of the saddle. At the moment I only do 3 loops and treat them as 20 minute intervals stopping at the end of each circuit for 30 secs to have a drink. There are 2 sets of traffic lights on this root which I mainly ignore if red. (quiet roads)
    From today I intend to do 4 loops building up to 8 loops or more by the summer. I can if I wish incorporate a 100 metre 25% gradient hill into the above, but it means turning around at the top to come back down. It's impossible to walk up that hill with torso erect - a real killer on the shopping bike on the way to the station.:eek:
    I don't get bored because the thrill of hairing down the long narrow winding downhill at a high rate of knots is almost but not quite as good as sex.:rolleyes: Tyson
     
  8. grahamspringett

    grahamspringett New Member

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    I often use the local 400m velodrome but I use a powermeter and my iPod to keep me amused. I never get bored because I have specific goals and objectives for every ride.

    If I were to just rock up and plan to do 90 minutes steady I'd go mad. But if I break it up into warm-up, effort, recovery, effort and so on, I never get bored.

    I can see how many laps I do when I download the data because the track is slightly uphill/downhill and there are speed spikes on each lap. I must've done thousands of laps by now, but I'm still up for more.

    No junctions, no traffic, I can use music without problems, I can ride whatever time of day suits (apart from when they use sprinklers on the cricket/football field in the track centre) and the track is more or less pancake-flat so holding steady power outputs is straightforward.

    Otherwise it's the indoor trainer which can drive me nuts for longer efforts.

    If you have an objective for your ride and a way to measure what you're doing, very short circuits are not a problem at all.
     
  9. Sillyoldtwit

    Sillyoldtwit New Member

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    +1 for that. Yesterday I did 4 circuits of the aforementioned course. That's roughly 4x20minutes - never managed 4x20 on the CompuTrainer!

    Actual time for the 4 laps was 1 hour 19 minutes dead. When I first started this course it took me 23 minutes a lap for 2 laps. As the weight comes down, I expect the above time to look like 'snails pace'. :D

    The advantage of this short course over the long rides in the mountains, is I now know every inch of the course and there's no slacking/freewheeling, it's go go from start to finish.
     
  10. dot

    dot New Member

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    that's a good point! After 20-30 laps you know every crack and pothole and best trajectory, though we usually say that "asphalt comes off with the snow" :D cracks, patches and potholes are always new every spring.
     
  11. Bigbananabike

    Bigbananabike Member

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    Hopefully I won’t have to do it this year…but probably will have to…but last year at this time for 4/5 months I was getting up at 4.15AM for most mornings a week and doing a 5.3kms circuit in my neighbourhood.

    I would usually do it 9 times to give me 43kms.

    It had two small climbs in it and two gradual downhills so I didn’t run out of lights – just two commuter lights (a pretty well lit area).

    I got to know every pothole etc and where most cars (very few that early) would come from. It only has one traffic light (and train tracks with the occasional train to stop for) that I usually ignored;)

    I have a little FM radio that I used and still use for some rides during the day.

    It wasn’t the best training(it did give me some reasonable/consistent miles for our races) as I need more hills to really get my legs going but as I did it on my SingleSpeed the little climbs were a small challenge.

    BBB:)
     
  12. dave1987

    dave1987 New Member

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    no your not the only one who goes in loops as i find they can be very good for speed training.
     
  13. Ade Merckx

    Ade Merckx New Member

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    Nope you're not alone!. For the last five years 90% of my training has taken place on a very popular 2.7mil loop in Central London (Regent's Park). Generally I spend no longer than 90mins (sometimes 120mins) of either sweet spot, or a mix of threshold and Vo2max efforts. Its perfect in the morning (before 10am) because the traffic level is minimal. I may ride there 4 times per week mixed in with longer commutes (20-60 miles). As Graham alluded it's about having a plan, being focused and getting the job done! It's not very exciting but it gets me in good 'competitive' shape for races, fast group rides and sportives, that's really all that matter. :)
     
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