Training to keep up with the bunch

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Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby ICU812 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:52 am

Hi guys, I'm doing a bug bunch ride on Sat morning - freezing already and only to get colder - yikes! I am not fit enough to keep up with the others, they move quickly. One of the guys is teaching me how to use the gears properly and I need to use the big gears on the flat and drop down from there up hills. I was pushed hard on Sat and I hurt from my chest down to my but, legs and calves. My problem is not cadence it is strength to pull that big gear. My first goal is to keep up with the bunch. I was told that I will have an advantage when I'm trained because I am small, weigh around 55kg and a light bike. I've read in a book that it should take around 6 weeks for improvement. How far and for how long and times per week will help me get to my goal of keeping up with the group??? Thanks
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by BNA » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:29 pm

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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby ajmit3 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:29 pm

Well first - well done for keeping going out, even though you are getting dropped. IMO it sounds like more like a strength issue than a cardio issue , but i'm not a qualified coach. If you want people to help you out you'll prob need to provide more details like :

how fast do they go ?

what gearing do you have ? - when you say 'big gear' what gear are you talking about ?

how long have you been riding etc?

IMO - 6 weeks is a relatively short period of time unless youre doing 300km + a weekend ?

I personally, after doing 6000km in a year have seen a steady improvmeent in my fitness. When I first started I was prob averaging 23-24km/hr.

By about 3000km - I could do a 40km (AT) 30 km/hr pretty easy on the flats.

By about 6000 km - I did 145km (AT) 29 km/hr at a pretty low HR.

Now I'm working on intensity and strength.
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby ICU812 » Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:02 pm

Ok I'll have a stab at this
They go about 25km/hr - it is not a race training group although we do have race riders who come - we are a serious social group
My bike has 30 gears. I ride a Scott Contessa Speedster - women's specific . I don't tend to use granny gears ie. the last 10 gears - my small gear unless it is a nasty hill
I have the middle gear cog and then my 1st big gear cog each having 10 gears on the cassette - Shimano 105
I have been slack at riding lately, but sometimes unavoidable due to kids around and husband at work
The group go for around 40km on undulating terrain - some nasty hills out here in the country - altitude on the flat is 635m
My average is probably around 18km/hr atm.
I have a renewed burst of energy and want to aim this year sometime to keep up with these guys and do the gong ride
If I can manage to do these things I'll be really happy. I did train and do the spring cycle 45km last year
I have an excellent polar HRM which may be useful. I dislike hills but hope to train to do them better.
I hope that answers some of your questions.
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby Ross » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:18 pm

Try doing some hill repeats in a big gear. Find a hill that's say under 10% and takes you normally about 10-15 mins to get up at tempo pace. Put your bike in the big chain ring and say 4th smallest cog on rear and sit down and ride up the hill. Starting out do it twice (same session). Come back the next week and do it again and then three times the next week. As you get fitter/stronger you can increase the reps.
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby ozrider » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:31 pm

It's pretty basic, the more you ride the fitter and stronger you'll get.

Riding with a group that is faster / stronger than you will give you a lot of pain but will also give you great gains fairly quickly.
Some people are like Slinkies, they're really good for nothing..

..But they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down the stairs!
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby you cannot be sirrus » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:58 pm

Good on you for having a go ICU812. My thoughts, if it's a social group ride then the stronger riders probably should be riding back to you and helping you along with drafting and/or encouragement. If you are considerably slower than the bunch you shouldn't be trying too hard, too quickly to catch up. It takes time to increase speed and distance, trying to do too much too quickly will probably end in tears, try and increase you pace/endurance slowly with regular riding until you are at a similar pace to the bunch. If that means a few weeks before you join in so be it unless they are happy to nurse you along.
I'm not sure about the cadence/strength issue, some people are spinners, others mashers. Again if you need to build strength do it slowly over many weeks/months. Pushing too hard in a high gear will lead to muscle or joint damage if you aren't up to it.
Good luck with your goals, I'm sure you'll get there.
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby ICU812 » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:45 pm

Thanks for your encouragement. The leader of our group stayed behind and was very helpful teaching me how to pace properly. I found it hard and I hurt a lot the next day. I went out today for a short ride using the big cog gear. It was horrible 15 degrees out there and a nasty cold wind, I made it, not too frozen - nor did I see anyone else on the road - probably too sensible. Now I know I am capable which is an encouragement. Thanks for your ideas. More always welcome.
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby Nate » Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:53 pm

yeah more riding...

ask what the other guys do in terms of riding - if you do what they do, chances are you'll be with them in no time ;)
Ride more!
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby BarryTas » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:21 pm

ride ride ride


if you have a weakness, ie hills, then ride more hills

every 4th or 5th week should be a recovery week - thus drop your load by 30-60%

then after your recovery week pick up your original work load by 10%
when do we stop for coffee???

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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby goneriding » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:23 pm

The first few bunch rides I went on were the same for me and I got spat out the back early in the ride. It took me a month to be able to hang to the back of the bunch (with weekly commuting of ~200 km's).

+1 to more km's.

If you are time poor then try some intervals/hill climbing as previously mentioned.

You mentioned learning the gears. One thing I found that helped was finding my "go to" gear when the going got tough (still do). This is the gear that feels the most comfortable in terms of cadence and power. You'll tend to find this naturally over time but initially try different combo's on the flat to find one that feels right.
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby foo on patrol » Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:48 pm

No substitute for Ks and mixing up you training speeds! :mrgreen:

(this should be in the training thread for better answers)
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby Xplora » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:19 pm

Flats = big gear, no exceptions.
Hills = middle or second gear, do not go below it.

It's all cadence, and letting your lungs adapt. You must not push yourself too hard at the beginning of the climb, or on the flats, just gotta spin it out at 100rpm to ensure the lactic acid doesn't build up and wipe you out. Lungs are the only thing that should hurt. I would strongly recommend doing a couple training runs in the week, warmup at your ideal cadence (lets say big gear, 5th at the back), then spend 60 seconds in the 4th gear, back to 5th for a minute, and just keep working with those intervals until your lungs can handle it. You have to maintain the same cadence, and at the beginning it will HURT. If it doesn't hurt your lungs, harder gears. Just remember, the key is always maintaining a mad cadence, because you are fighting your legs as well as your lungs if you don't spin fast. I find that 95-105 rpm is ideal for me, lungs don't hurt and my legs are fine, it's only the hills that hurt, but if I get into it, no problems :)
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby ICU812 » Fri Apr 29, 2011 7:26 pm

Xplora wrote:Flats = big gear, no exceptions.
Hills = middle or second gear, do not go below it.

It's all cadence, and letting your lungs adapt. You must not push yourself too hard at the beginning of the climb, or on the flats, just gotta spin it out at 100rpm to ensure the lactic acid doesn't build up and wipe you out. Lungs are the only thing that should hurt. I would strongly recommend doing a couple training runs in the week, warmup at your ideal cadence (lets say big gear, 5th at the back), then spend 60 seconds in the 4th gear, back to 5th for a minute, and just keep working with those intervals until your lungs can handle it. You have to maintain the same cadence, and at the beginning it will HURT. If it doesn't hurt your lungs, harder gears. Just remember, the key is always maintaining a mad cadence, because you are fighting your legs as well as your lungs if you don't spin fast. I find that 95-105 rpm is ideal for me, lungs don't hurt and my legs are fine, it's only the hills that hurt, but if I get into it, no problems :)


OMGosh!!! Are you really serious?
I don't think I'm quite capable yet of doing that yet, but getting there. Today was not nice outside, cold wind of 30km/hr, felt like I was going nowhere. Kept in Big gear but 2 or 3 at the back. The wind was a killer. Cadence about 80 average. HR 125 -130. Managed to keep in big gear up small hills. Didn't go far this time as my back tyre was slowly going down - 20km. BUT my average is creeping up, it has gone from 17km/hr to now 19km/hr. Slowly does it, but I'm not going kill myself too much and enjoy it a bit. My legs go before my lungs hurt.
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby Xplora » Sat Apr 30, 2011 10:48 am

ICU, I honestly think you'll find it is MUCH better to get some big cadence and let your lungs catch up a bit. I spin like crazy and I never have any sore legs. If you can't do big gear on the flats at 100rpm, then pick a high middle gear and do 100rpm at that. The key is getting to 100, then going up a gear for an interval. My goal right now is to try and hit this 3% hill and maintain 100 in my flat gear. I don't get to train, just my short commute. But it's a goal :)

The main thing to remember is that you will DIE on the hills if you are pushing too hard on the flats. Get down the gears, and spin spin spin. If you can't handle 100rpm, keep riding till you can.

I rode 80rpm for months, and always had poor cardio response and even worse climbing, because the body likes 100rpm of lungs much more than 80rpm of muscles. I ride 100rpm and FLY up the hills faster than I ever did before.
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby gururug » Tue May 03, 2011 10:37 pm

If your fitness is "good"

-1 x long ride per week ( over 50km ) at 65 - 75%
-1 x intervals per week ( 6 x 2mins (AT) 95% )
-More bunch riding

A couple of weeks of this an you'll be cranking in a couple of weeks.
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Re: Training to keep up with the bunch

Postby PeterG » Tue May 10, 2011 8:26 am

ICU812, there is no specific gear or cadence you should be riding at, that will come with continued fitness.

What I suggest to people starting out is to ride at a pace they feel comfortable maintaining, then kick it up a notch to a pace where they feel slightly uncomfortable but manageable and to hold it there.
Basically, if you find yourself enjoying the scenery, flick it down a gear. :lol:

Intervals and super hard sessions will come later once you build some quality miles in your legs.
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