A/B graders in Melbourne?

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A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby NeillS » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:32 pm

I'm a solid C grade road racer at the moment and want to up my performance. I have to do all my training rides solo at the moment because the guys I used to ride with socially can't keep up any more! The best way of improving is always to ride with guys who are faster than I am, so I'm keen to find some A/B grade riders around Melbourne to do big, hard training rides with on a weekend. I will contact my club (St Kilda) with the same request but if there's anyone on here who fits the bill I'd love to hear from ya.
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by BNA » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:37 pm

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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby Derny Driver » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:37 pm

NeillS wrote: The best way of improving is always to ride with guys who are faster than I am, so I'm keen to find some A/B grade riders around Melbourne to do big, hard training rides with on a weekend...

Who told you that?
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby zill » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:16 pm

NeillS wrote:I'm a solid C grade road racer at the moment and want to up my performance. I have to do all my training rides solo at the moment because the guys I used to ride with socially can't keep up any more! The best way of improving is always to ride with guys who are faster than I am, so I'm keen to find some A/B grade riders around Melbourne to do big, hard training rides with on a weekend. I will contact my club (St Kilda) with the same request but if there's anyone on here who fits the bill I'd love to hear from ya.


Just out interest what speeds do you average on Beach Rd or one lap of the Kew Boulevard?
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby NeillS » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:56 am

Speed on beach rd is too dependent on wind and external factors. I can do 300 watts for 20 minutes, I'm 61kg. Can sit around 38-40 on the flat in no wind conditions for a fair time. Have done 46 mins up Buller and 1:26 up Hotham. Haven't done a lap of kew for ages!

Derny Driver; I always improve more when riding with better riders. Is it your position that I should ride with people who are the same level, or slower than me in order to improve?
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby jules21 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:18 am

if you're looking for hard weekend rides, why not just race northern combine? that'll sort you out.

i'm not interested in riding with you as... i'll be racing northern combine ;)

46 mins up Buller is really honking.. that's not C grade
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby Derny Driver » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:48 am

NeillS wrote:Derny Driver; I always improve more when riding with better riders. Is it your position that I should ride with people who are the same level, or slower than me in order to improve?

If you want to go from C to A/B then you won't do it by choice of riding partners. If it were that easy I could just go ride with Cadel every day and become a Pro overnight. There are a lot of factors you need to consider, the main one is racing, lots of racing, and a structured training plan based around yourself, not other people.
If you can find yourself a good training partner of similar ability then that's nice, there are advantages in that but they are more along the lines of keeping each other committed to going out on the road each day and stopping each other getting lazy during the rides. Its also safer. Dick swinging between riders on supposed "training rides" might make people feel good but wont make you a better racer.
If you can train with A graders the benefit would be in chatting to them at 30kph and asking them about how they structure their training rather than trying to have some sort of a race with them. How fast guys ride in training has very little correspondence with what grade they race. One NRS rider near me trains at 26kph most days on the flat, by himself.

Im speaking in broad generalisations and not having a go at you, if you can find a good training partner then that's great. Its not easy though to find a person of similar ability with similar free time. In the end though, the good riders always end up doing their own training - alone. Its probably not as much fun as riding in groups but they have other goals to achieve. Don't be afraid to train alone with a well thought out training plan.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby Cul » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:33 pm

NeillS wrote:The best way of improving is always to ride with guys who are faster than I am, so I'm keen to find some A/B grade riders around Melbourne to do big, hard training rides with on a weekend.


There is a little truth in this statement, but Derny Driver is right, by and large training should be tailored to suit your specific needs, time, goals, address weaknesses, work on strengths, etc… Riding with others in dick swinging Saturday sessions is fun and often turns into a pseudo race which is great for adding training stress however it certainly isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to getting fast (not that I claim to be fast).

Now road racing isn’t my focus but like a few of my peers in B grade - I spend time on the trainer doing focused sessions, time on the road doing longer easy rides with mates and if I am lucky I get one dick swinging session and/or a road race / crit in a fought night. The rest of the time I try and aim for mountain bike specificity (which I don’t get nearly enough of).
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby zill » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:55 pm

I usually train alone but I like to ride on roads popular with cyclists since I love just racing strangers on the road.

Now that I am able to ride longer, the more time I spend riding on a popular road, the more likely encounters I get with other cyclists. And whenever there is a cyclist at a similar level or higher, I race them until I drop them or they drop me. After that, I continue with my usual speed. This can be viewed as random (fun) interval training I guess. Seem to work for me as I get more inspired when racing (even informaly) against others.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby zill » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:02 pm

Cul wrote:
NeillS wrote:I spend time on the trainer doing focused sessions,


Can you please give some examples of your focused sessions?

Also isn't it very boring to ride on a trainer?
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby g-boaf » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:14 pm

NeillS wrote:I'm a solid C grade road racer at the moment and want to up my performance. I have to do all my training rides solo at the moment because the guys I used to ride with socially can't keep up any more! The best way of improving is always to ride with guys who are faster than I am, so I'm keen to find some A/B grade riders around Melbourne to do big, hard training rides with on a weekend. I will contact my club (St Kilda) with the same request but if there's anyone on here who fits the bill I'd love to hear from ya.


The only way to improve there is to get a training plan and build up from there.

zill wrote:Also isn't it very boring to ride on a trainer?


Um, yeah - it is, but it's also necessary as a lot of times, it's not possible or safe to do this out on the road. Have a movie going or some music blasting away. I just did a quick Google search and found this:

http://www.bicycling.com/training-nutri ... uild-power
http://www.bicycling.com/training-nutri ... -threshold

It might give you some ideas on what to do, or indeed to come up with your own plans. It depends on where you are deficient at the moment, that will guide what you need to do. That's all I will really say about this - I'm not an expert on the subject and others here like DD are a wealth of knowledge and experience. I'm just going through the training at the moment. It's not just training, it's learning too.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby NeillS » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:21 pm

I do structured training already - under the guidance of a very good coach. I have no problem doing big interval sessions etc, what I'm actually chasing is a once-a-week hitout of RANDOM efforts (both short and long) at high intensity to mimic race conditions. I am great with intervals - I specifically want to do a randomised, high intensity weekend ride with other people of similar or higher level to me to mimic race conditions. I am a big believer in training like you race - which is a bunch of randomised efforts - some short, some long. People don't do 8x4 min intervals at 115% FTP during a race. There are surges, breaks, hills, descents, you name it - I need high intensity randomisation once a week and the best way I can think of to do that is to ride with really good, really fast guys with a similar mindset who will push me harder than normal.
Last edited by NeillS on Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby jules21 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:25 pm

at 60 kg i dare say you don't need an A/B grade rider to stretch you out on the flats, but probably on the longer hills.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby Cul » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:47 pm

zill wrote:
Cul wrote:
NeillS wrote:I spend time on the trainer doing focused sessions,


Can you please give some examples of your focused sessions?

Also isn't it very boring to ride on a trainer?


Yes the trainer is quite boring, however for me it’s used out of necessity more than anything else as we’ve just had a baby so getting out on the road is difficult. That said in the future I will be keeping 2 or 3 training sessions a week on the trainer; in the past 6 weeks I’ve reduced my riding from 13hrs per week to about 8hrs per week since having bubs during this period I’ve made significant increases in performance across the board!.. I too have a coach, whom has pointed me in the right direction here but at the same time has refrained from using the “time crunched” approach but rather giving me key workouts, with opportunity to increase volume as time permits. [/end OT]

As for focussed workouts, there are many sets of intervals that can be done, dependant on what zones you want to work – you couch should be able to point you in the right direction here dependant on what energy systems / phase of training he has you working on at the time.

Generally the intervals I am doing at the time will depend on the above; however a few good ones that I like:

Ride Tempo zone for 1hr to 2hrs, with 30sec seated sprints every 5mins or 10mins returning to tempo as quick as possible (stand and hammer the sprints if done on the road).
2 x 20min Threshold intervals, with seated sprints every 5mins, retuning to threshold as quick as possible.
Over / Under intervals – with mixed durations, I will usually mix it up with 10mins (AT) 1min under/1min over then the next set 30sec/30sec and repeat.
3 or 4 x 8min Vo2 Max Intervals – these hurt, that is all!
Threshold Ladders, 1min (AT) 100% MHR, 3mins @95% MHR, 6mins (AT) 90% MHR.
I also like to mix up the intervals from time to time, usually Vo2 Max intervals with alternating durations and rest periods i.e. 1min/2min/3min/4min/3min/2min/1min.


You are correct in saying using the trainer lacks specificity when it comes to racing; unfortunately you will only find this on the road in a bunch keen for a good hit out or a race. I too face the same issue with people keeping up from time to time, particularly if the other hitters aren’t in our local bunch. Do Melbourne clubs run Crits during the winter months? These are a great way to get a dose of intensity once a week – some of the Northern Combine races look good too!
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby Pravda » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:23 pm

Find your local smashfest bunch ride and see how ya go. We have a few here in Perth that'll average high 30s or low 40s over 50-70km. Im sure Melbourne has something similar

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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:29 pm

You edited your post... but I thought I saw 5w per kg for 20min 8) ... very solid C grader indeed!.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby NeillS » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:26 am

Yeah I can do 3x20 min intervals at 5w/kg average over all three (305 watts to be precise), give me a fresh set of legs and a single big hit and I've average 310 for 20 mins up a hill. Can't win a race though - I keep cramping halfway through but that's another story for another thread.

I was hoping I'd find a few more serious racers on here popping up but I might just have to keep training solo, such is the nature of this beautiful sport I guess :)
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:34 pm

Ride an hour to a race... do a 1 hour bread and butter aussie crit.... ride another hour or so after. Voila, Saturday or Sunday training race.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby thearthurdog » Fri Apr 25, 2014 5:49 am

5 w/kg over 20 minutes is 'ball parking' an FTP of 4.75 w/kg - how are you not destroying C grade races?
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby mjd » Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:29 am

thearthurdog wrote:5 w/kg over 20 minutes is 'ball parking' an FTP of 4.75 w/kg - how are you not destroying C grade races?


Wondering the same thing. Image
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby toolonglegs » Fri Apr 25, 2014 5:06 pm

Depends on the type of racing your doing... flat short inner city crits are always going to suit a certain type of rider.
Need to come over here :wink: ... you can find a dozen 120km long hilly races every weekend, 5 w/kg would come in handy!. Saying that I have a mate who was over near me racing as a junior, he is putting out over 6w/kg on 10-15 minute climbs and he wasn't winning anything.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby cerb » Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:49 pm

NeillS wrote:what I'm actually chasing is a once-a-week hitout of RANDOM efforts (both short and long) at high intensity to mimic race conditions.


North Road Ride Tuesday and Thursday - 6am group. Departs side road next to BP CNR Nepean Hwy. and North Rd. Brighton 6am sharp.

Average speed to Mordi along Nepean Hwy. is usually 41kph, average speed back along Beach Rd. is 44kph. Top speeds usually around 60 if you don't do the sprint at BP (not recommended unless you're skilled, confident and ride aware & in control).

Wednesday NRR ride is slower on the way out, but some people continue on at Mordi to do a two bays loop (Mt. Eliza) if you want some hills and some extra k's.


Plenty of NRS / A and B grade rides on NRR - Get to know some people on these rides and see if you can join them on longer training rides at other times.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby NeillS » Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:04 am

cerb wrote:
NeillS wrote:what I'm actually chasing is a once-a-week hitout of RANDOM efforts (both short and long) at high intensity to mimic race conditions.


North Road Ride Tuesday and Thursday - 6am group. Departs side road next to BP CNR Nepean Hwy. and North Rd. Brighton 6am sharp.

Average speed to Mordi along Nepean Hwy. is usually 41kph, average speed back along Beach Rd. is 44kph. Top speeds usually around 60 if you don't do the sprint at BP (not recommended unless you're skilled, confident and ride aware & in control).

Wednesday NRR ride is slower on the way out, but some people continue on at Mordi to do a two bays loop (Mt. Eliza) if you want some hills and some extra k's.


Plenty of NRS / A and B grade rides on NRR - Get to know some people on these rides and see if you can join them on longer training rides at other times.



Good advice, cheers! The tuesday one I can do - I have tuesday mornings off work at the moment so that is a go-er. Thanks!

As to how I'm not winning anything - it's my first season of racing and I'm still learning a lot about tactics and energy conservation etc. I get smashed in flat races because anyone who is 80kg and has an FTP of 350 watts kills me on the flats. Anything with some sizeable hills in it helps me out a lot, but I find my short intense efforts need a lot of work - I can do 300 for 20 minutes but can only do 340 for 5 minutes, I need to get the short VO2max efforts up near 400 watts before I can make a break stick. Plus I only have a 700 watt sprint so I'll never win a bunch finish unless I can get away and stay away. Hence why I'm thinking of super fast small bunch rides to help my short efforts out. Crit races are handy as well for this stuff. I have also had a lot of problems with cramping in my first three races, these never happen in training because I haven't been doing enough Z6 and Z7 burst efforts to replicate racing conditions. Working on that now. If I can stop myself cramping I'll do a lot better.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby jules21 » Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:09 am

NeillS wrote:Plus I only have a 700 watt sprint so I'll never win a bunch finish unless I can get away and stay away. Hence why I'm thinking of super fast small bunch rides to help my short efforts out. Crit races are handy as well for this stuff. I have also had a lot of problems with cramping in my first three races, these never happen in training because I haven't been doing enough Z6 and Z7 burst efforts to replicate racing conditions. Working on that now. If I can stop myself cramping I'll do a lot better.

you are obviously suited to longer, hillier races. why are you targeting training and racing that are not your strength? you don't need to make huge, intense efforts to break away in really tough road races - you will just gradually leave the bigger riders behind on the hills. there are plenty of northern combine road races with decent hills that will work to your advantage. also the VRS series races would be good (although most of the harder ones are gone for this year - i think warburton road race entry is closed). look up Preston Mountain Classic and Three Day Tour.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby NeillS » Tue Apr 29, 2014 12:30 pm

It doesn't work that way in real life. Racing is full of brief bursts of extreme intensity interspersed with low efforts. I can maintain good wattage for a long time at a static state up a hill, but need to train for the anaerobic, Z6 and Z7 intervals that regularly occur as a bunch rolls along. Attacks, short pinches in the course, the concertina effect of bunch riding - these are my main problems at the moment.

Train your weaknesses, race your strengths. I can't always race up 20-40 minute hills to win (not many big climbs in VIC really aside from the Tour of Bright, Buller and BawBaw races) so I have to train like I have to race.
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Re: A/B graders in Melbourne?

Postby jules21 » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:04 pm

fair enough. short, intense intervals would be just as effective though. crits are fantastic for that, but obviously crit season has just finished.
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