How to start training for racing - Questions from a newbie

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How to start training for racing - Questions from a newbie

Postby Drasius » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:17 pm

Greetings BNA,

Been lurking here for a while and finally encouraged to post up after a bit oaf reading and some motivation. I'm not 100% sure what I need, or even what the right questions to ask are, but I'm reasonably sure you're the people to ask.

I saw this viewtopic.php?f=43&t=54656 thread and thought - That sounds like a challenge. Why not give it a shot?

Main question is how do I go from untrained newbie to racing E class and beyond? There's lots of info in the training section for lots of different areas, but not much of a general how to. I'm thinking time trial might be my thing, but general road racing competitions sound like fun too.

Secondary questions are if my goals are realistic? Is it worth shelling out on a power meter (I like analysing numbers so I'd be more of a case of talking me out of it rather than into it), especially one that measures left/right independently given my situation (see below)? Is it all horribly pointless seeing as I'll be stuck on a MTB for 2/3rds of the time? Is 2-3 hours every evening enough time to get the required amount of training in?

I'm assuming that I ;

1. Contact my local cycling club (Cairns Cycling Club) and join up
2. Get someone who knows what they are doing (Alex@RST for example) to give me some sort of plan to work towards with regards to amount and type of training
3. See a dietician and get some sort of eating plan together (and stick to it!)
4. Ride a whole bunch, have fun and find, push and expand my limits
5. See just how far I can get

I know I'll never be anything to write home about, but having a goal is always better than striking out blindly. C grade would be a nice target to aim for I think and then reassess if I ever manage to achieve it.

Background;

I had an incident ~8-9 years ago that left me paralysed down my left side for a while. Eventually subsided and I got movement back but I now require conscious thought to move my left side (ie walk), but still manage to get around relatively normally though with a loss of power especially on the left leg (rated at a 4/5 on their scale, but it feels like a 2/5 compared to where I was) and a handful of other issues. Eventually found a physio (Ian Wee of PIHC in Perth, awesome dude and very good at what he does) who could help me and he got me into cycling around December 2011 and I really enjoyed it.

I grabbed a Specialized Roubaix with a 105 group set and managed to get from being totally buggered after (slowly) doing 7kms to being mostly buggered after averaging ~27kph over ~35kms with a longest ride of 60km taking ~3 hours. Work got in the way a few months ago and I have plateaued, if not regressed a little. Have changed jobs and now have a bit more time available (but nothing excessive, just means I'm doing 13 hour days instead of 15). Since I'm in Vietnam for 4 weeks out of every 6 (28/14 roster, back to Cairns for the 2 week break), and the roadies skinny tires probably aren't conducive to me surviving the occasional off road adventures into rocks, potholes and deep mud (sometimes all 3 in 1) you are sometimes forced to take, I've grabbed a HT mountain bike (a KTM Toryn 1.0) to let me continue riding while I'm over here.

I'm still a big Fatty McFatFat at ~105kg and 6'0" but it's better than what I was when I started, and being over here is causing me to eat better, so the weight has started slowly coming down though when I get a bit more serious I imagine it will come down a bit quicker. It's been a long time since the first number on the scales hasn't been a 1.

Cadence has slowly been creeping up from 60ish when I started to 80 - 85 average now and max out at ~140 for short periods (not that cadence means much judging from the 10,000 times it's been discussed on here). Pedaling technique (another hotly debated topic around here) is poor at best, but coming along. The max cadence I can manage without bouncing is slowly getting there, but if I'm honest, I resort to mashing the more tired I get. :oops:

Max heart rate I've seen while really pushing myself is 195 (to the point of blowing chunks), though most rides it maxes out at around 183-186 when I push hard.

Will be 30 in July (now there's a scary thought! :shock: )

Vast majority of the time I run out of puff before the legs give out, but sometimes it's the other way around. As you'd imagine, I struggle like you wouldn't believe uphill, but descend like a demon.

TL:DR? Help a crippled fatty get fit, prove a point (or not), have fun and do science at the same time.
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by BNA » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:11 pm

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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby foo on patrol » Wed Apr 03, 2013 8:11 pm

You're over thinking things mate. Join the club start racing and all will fall into place for you. :wink:

It is really hard to say what sort of training plan you should be on from my perspective, only due to your injury and how capable you are on the bike with it. :|

Just go and join the club and get some practise with them and I would be very surprised if there was not someone there, that point direct you in the right direction. :wink:

Don't get to hung up on your weight for the moment as it will start to peel off once you start doing plenty of Ks. I'm 110kg, 180cm, 55yrs and only get to ride 1-2 times a week due to work but can still do 40Klms and be ok. :mrgreen:

The main thing is to enjoy it first and then see how you go with racing and let us know how you go and what your restrictions are with your LHS and then we can help you better and be able to set you straight with a schedule that will help you. :idea:

Foo
Last edited by foo on patrol on Thu Apr 04, 2013 5:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby Derny Driver » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:08 pm

I endorse what foo said. You will learn more in one race than in a year of training. So just join your local club and get into it. And the advice you get from half a dozen experienced club racers will be worth more than the combined ignorance of a thousand internet experts.
Mountain bike riding will make you strong and many great cyclists do it as part of their training program.
2 hours a day is heaps, i raced A grade on less than that.
Alex is a friend of mine but he wont mind me telling you to skip the paid coach at this stage and just ride your bike. Im not a fan of powermeters either, i hang out with a crew which includes multiple state national and world champions and NRS riders and only 1 or 2 bother with them.
Good luck mate you sound like you have a good handle on stuff. Re-read what foo said.
Just do it and dont overthink things.
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby brawlo » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:14 am

What Foo and Derny said x1000.

I've been racing for 3 years now on both road and track. Right now I still sit at 120kg, so you're a lightweight from my perspective. Too many people seem to think they need to be a great rider before they can even contemplate racing. Just get out there and have a go. There's more to racing than just being able to put in 40km. You will learn a lot more about yourself and your abilities when racing, and you will also get a better focus of how to train to get better.

JUST DO IT
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby Derny Driver » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:58 am

brawlo r u racing southern divisions Sunday?
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby Xplora » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:46 am

I've been reading Joe Freil's books over the past fortnight. Don't waste your time with a power meter or even a heart rate monitor until you have been in a couple races and have some idea of what is going wrong for you. You could be up for 1500 bucks for the sensors and brain and programs to monitor it all, and you will be a while just developing basic lungs and legs.

As far as I understand (unschooled in this area), part of the reason you get put in the bottom grades is to help you learn race craft with a bunch of other people who are in a similar situation. If you are fast, with crappy race craft, you won't win in a higher grade, and may even be a danger to the peleton. If you are slow, with great race craft, you'll be safer to ride with, and may be able to stay competitive despite your poor speed.

If you like riding and have cash, spend it on a trainer and get time on the bike whereever you are. Not ideal. But better than nothing! :D and you'll build the base to get quicker and move up those grades.

And if you stay in E grade forever, you'll still be a part of the club and have a great time anyway. Win. Win.
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby brawlo » Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:37 pm

Derny Driver wrote:brawlo r u racing southern divisions Sunday?


Nah Derny, there's a few of those hill things in there that cramp my track style. I'll be doing traffic control or something similar somewhere on the course though.

Will you be racing? I'll be the massive bloke out there holding a big lollipop. Bit hard to miss me!
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby Derny Driver » Fri Apr 05, 2013 2:26 pm

brawlo wrote:
Derny Driver wrote:brawlo r u racing southern divisions Sunday?


Nah Derny, there's a few of those hill things in there that cramp my track style. I'll be doing traffic control or something similar somewhere on the course though.

Will you be racing? I'll be the massive bloke out there holding a big lollipop. Bit hard to miss me!

Mate if you are a trackie you should be in Perth. Actually my track crew boycotted perth but thats another story ...
No I wont be racing, I retired hurt a few years ago, DDJnr and my brother and niece and nephew and all my Illawarra CC friends and even my ex-wife are racing (grrr). I should be lead car for Mens A grade (DDJnr is U/19A) so look for a white VW van ..gimme a wave or come and say gidday. Its a great event. After the race I will be attacking the coffee and cake stall with gusto.
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby brawlo » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:23 pm

No doubt I'll see you around then. Hopefully the weather holds out!
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby Drasius » Sat Apr 06, 2013 9:05 am

Thanks for the advice guys, will give the local club a buzz and see what they recommend.

Cheers
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby you cannot be sirrus » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:22 pm

I was in a similar boat to you Drasius in Jan 2012. My experiences for what they are worth.
1 Your first race will be called off for rain (the only race called off in about 6 years)
2 Race 2 you'll be feeling really good mixing it with everyone else until the first hill where they all drop you.
3 Race 3 you get lost and DNF
4 Race 4 you get a silly handicap and win without even realising it.
5 You realise that this is addictive stuff and you can't get enough of it, you start getting up early and doing training rides, you watch your diet more closely, you sleep a lot and 18 months later your still in E grade but now they aren't dropping you on the hills and you won the club KOM series. Don't over think it, it's just like riding a bike, as they say, join a club and it all falls into place.
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby trek52 » Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:23 pm

Just go and race. If you like it train more often and u will get better.

Racing becomes the motivation if you want help with a basic training plan send me or i am sure derny a message but in all honesty ride a few times a week sprint to some telegraph poles do a few 5 min efforts and race as much as u can. Fitness is only 50% of a lot of races.
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby Xplora » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:47 am

you cannot be sirrus wrote:I was in a similar boat to you Drasius in Jan 2012. My experiences for what they are worth.
1 Your first race will be called off for rain (the only race called off in about 6 years)
2 Race 2 you'll be feeling really good mixing it with everyone else until the first hill where they all drop you.
3 Race 3 you get lost and DNF
4 Race 4 you get a silly handicap and win without even realising it.
5 You realise that this is addictive stuff and you can't get enough of it, you start getting up early and doing training rides, you watch your diet more closely, you sleep a lot and 18 months later your still in E grade but now they aren't dropping you on the hills and you won the club KOM series. Don't over think it, it's just like riding a bike, as they say, join a club and it all falls into place.

Of course they gave you a huge handicap, your first two races imply you were lucky to even find the finish line! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby winstonw » Tue Apr 16, 2013 1:30 pm

Hi Dras....congrats on getting as far as you have with the motivation thing. You're over the hump believe it or not.

OK, here's m2cw:

- before taking the cavalier route, a little more info re your 'incident' would be noice. i.e. were any of your special senses compromised, or spine? Is stiffness stiffness or lack of coordination an issue? I ask these things just as much to keep you safe, as your racing competitors.

- before ramping up your intensity, I'd suggest you discuss your intentions with your GP, along the lines of getting a stress ECG completed beforehand, esp if you have been clincally obese (BMI>30) for some time, and/or making poor diet and alcohol choices. A med checkup of BP, chest, basic bloods, would be wise too. I say all this because I've seen guys as young as you have accidents that ended their cycling interest, that may have been avoided by ramping their workload up more in line with their health limitations. i.e. going too hard in the early days can lead to fatigue and lapses of concentration that can put you under a car or flat on the tarmac with broken bones, real quick.

- ensuring a good bike fit is wise. many people who ramp up their volume stir up their butt, back, neck, or hands. good to get some advice on avoiding this.

- suggest you build your fitness moderately and bikecraft, solo but under guidance, before riding in a tighter pack.
i.e. braking, steering, take offs, corners, up/down hills, cleating in/out if using them, hand signals, traffic regulations.

- re building your fitness, you could start by riding at a comfortable pace for up to 6hrs a week (talking pace), then start adding some efforts where you can only talk in short phrases, for 3 minutes, and build to 10 minute efforts over a couple of weeks. then start stringing a few of these intervals together with shorter recovery periods in between. start with recovery twice as long as effort, then gradually decrease to same time length as interval before starting another interval.

hth
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Re: How to start training for racing - Questions from a newb

Postby Drasius » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:35 pm

winstonw wrote:Hi Dras....congrats on getting as far as you have with the motivation thing. You're over the hump believe it or not.

OK, here's m2cw:

- before taking the cavalier route, a little more info re your 'incident' would be noice. i.e. were any of your special senses compromised, or spine? Is stiffness stiffness or lack of coordination an issue? I ask these things just as much to keep you safe, as your racing competitors.

- before ramping up your intensity, I'd suggest you discuss your intentions with your GP, along the lines of getting a stress ECG completed beforehand, esp if you have been clincally obese (BMI>30) for some time, and/or making poor diet and alcohol choices. A med checkup of BP, chest, basic bloods, would be wise too. I say all this because I've seen guys as young as you have accidents that ended their cycling interest, that may have been avoided by ramping their workload up more in line with their health limitations. i.e. going too hard in the early days can lead to fatigue and lapses of concentration that can put you under a car or flat on the tarmac with broken bones, real quick.

- ensuring a good bike fit is wise. many people who ramp up their volume stir up their butt, back, neck, or hands. good to get some advice on avoiding this.

- suggest you build your fitness moderately and bikecraft, solo but under guidance, before riding in a tighter pack.
i.e. braking, steering, take offs, corners, up/down hills, cleating in/out if using them, hand signals, traffic regulations.

- re building your fitness, you could start by riding at a comfortable pace for up to 6hrs a week (talking pace), then start adding some efforts where you can only talk in short phrases, for 3 minutes, and build to 10 minute efforts over a couple of weeks. then start stringing a few of these intervals together with shorter recovery periods in between. start with recovery twice as long as effort, then gradually decrease to same time length as interval before starting another interval.

hth


Cheers.

I can't help but notice n+1 is as strong with pushies as it is with motorbikes.

Massive back pain most days, no pain/heat/cold/wetness sensation and minor power loss down the vast majority of my right side from about T5 down, no subconcious control over the vast majority of my left side from T5 down. Stiffness is stiffness and reduction in co-ordination. Yoga has helped with both, but still below where I was, especially since I have dropped off how often I do yoga these days.

I have been clinically obese for many years, have had regular check up and have always been fine. My diet choice combined with lack of exercise in the last 8 or so years since my incident is what's let me down IMHO. Blood pressure is on the high side of normal and the only things out of the ordinary is that my cholesterol and blood sugar are both on the low side of normal, especially for someone with my diet. I asked about with my GP and specialist before I started cycling and they both said it was a great idea and heavily encouraged it. As for accidents, I ride sportsbikes, I'm OK with a bit of risk.

I've had a couple of bike fits from my cycling based physio, all good on that front.

Bikecraft was already reasonably from riding motorbikes, but have done some group riding courses for about 4 months, so I've got the basics I think. Still lots to learn, but I'd like to think I'm reasonably safe.

Cheers for the advice on the fitness building, that's the sort of thing I was after.

Thanks also to everyone else in the thread for their feedback. Flying home for 2 weeks today and get to pick up a new bike and a whole bunch of goodies when I get back. Will try and corner my local club some time next week too and see what they have to say.
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