Writing this in June as a progressive planning phase to state the focus of what I want to do. I must admid things have been going well. I’m riding more, not trying to crush it in speed the whole time. I feel now that if I did, I could replicate one of my rides from this time last year and soundly be much faster. I’m thinking about next year. About cross this fall and using that for race fitness and as a platform to begin the winter training. The season ends for me the first week of December, and that’s a perfect time to really hit the weights the right way and build that strength to begin with. Whatever muscle is left after the power and speed work is what I’ll have to use for the 2016 year. I would like to see what a focused approach to the April Boulder-Roubaix race would be like. So, my thoughts move towards some sort of a plan that would work for me. I can’t afford a coach but reading is free.
First of all, I’m a big guy. Not a fatty but I have quite broad shoulders and stand a fraction below six foot three, not enough to change six-three on my drivers license. To make a fitness plan, I need to look at what problem areas I have.
- I am aerodynamically limited by how far I can lean forward. The pros like LeMond are able to be almost entirely flat over forward. If they can move their hip flexor high enough to where their knees hit their shoulders and their feet spin forward then thats awesome an they will be fast. I am not. My right hip is very tight so I am limited in how far I can set the handlebars. I cant drop all the way. I need to improve that flexibility. Yoga stuff and Danielson’s book will help me drastically in the winter.
- I am heavier than a typical cyclist because of my broad shoulder area, so I have more volume of me, not to mention my layer of hill climb robbing blubber. I could probably be a good sprinter as I might have a larger chest cavity and some strength of size. I need to lose weight and that will come from the training. What I cannot do is be an awesome climber like a 125 pound featherweight. Speed and endurance is where I can do something and perform possibly long pulls or long range attacks. I will have to seriously consider the training for such work. Time-Trial training with some sprint work?
- Age and previous injuries. Not many but I’m 41. I will never be at a 35 year olds level but I can still become impressive. Who knows. But I can’t put myself in injury for this season of training and any previous injuries will impact anything I try to do now. I might not be the best possible in some areas from that.
Pragmatism: (realistic thinking)
A look at the world cup cyclists and their training programs show years of constant training. Understandable. After all the pro rider peaks in their late late twenties and early thirties. A body builder does not achieve their incredible mass and shape from one year of lifting. It takes years to build a physical machine. The same goes for a professional cyclist. It’s the annual cycles of competition and training that eventually grow them to that peak point at 29.
Here is how they do it. December-begin weights and gym work. This also migrates over time in to base miles of spinning easy for a thousand or more miles and miles or more before zone and power meter training for power and endurance. This last part takes all year for someone who is not a pro and by the end of the summer, they will be at their best shape. The idea is to go back in to the December month with a top notch cardio system and a worked lean power system and reset the training. So whatever progress is made is on top of the previous progress. A pro has the time to train enormous volumes of work. After all they are working forty-hours a week as this is their job. Just training. 400+ miles of riding every single week. Who can do that with a regular job? They begin again in the winter, spinning easy again for the base building but hit weights again. Start big and strong and then build power from that. Many years of that cycle builds the peak athlete. Everyone needs to try that sometime but the volume won’t be anywhere close. So the result of competition won’t be close.
Fabian cancellara is an example. He is immensely strong and a big guy who can win a classic race like paris-roubaix. His big win was with huge endurance power outrunning Peter Sagan. Coming out of a dip in the road he leaned forward and time trailed him to death. Pounding out the big pace, we saw Sagan out of the saddle to try to remain in his draft but didn’t have the tempo power required. Sagan is a big sprinter with 1700 watts on tap for a 43mph sprint when he needs it but he didn’t have a slightly slower fast cruise pace to use so he was in more of an all or nothing position. But Cancellara can outlast him on a long range attack. Sagan fell back unable to match the TGV locomotive like cruise he put down. He won.
He can also dead lift 450 pounds which is a full body move for the strongest of lower backs, a part very much overlooked in the cycling mechanics. The whole core is from the neck, shoulders and down to the knees. A strong core will prevent pain and injury but also prevent cycling muscles from being used for body stability instead of powerful speed. I need to plan this. I went from 240 pounds and unable to keep up with a double hip replacement retired detective to an ability to sprint a half mile at 30mph in eight months. I know I can do much much better than that if I plan ahead. Nobody can deadlift that in only a year. Again, he trained a decade of cycles to achieve that level. Who really has that time? A pro. I’m not that.
So, what to do? Danielsens core book is the best start for me. Sticking to it will be the challenge. That will balance out the initial core work and then weights to really build the strength of the fast twitch muscles and the rest. At one point I was jumping ten reps at a time holding 30 pound free weights. I am now up to free weight squatting 50’s and will soon begin jumping with those instead over the winter to 2016. Once cross ends in the first week of December, I will begin heavy strength building and easy miles of two hours at a time during my trips.
So, the plan….can I maintain this enthusiasm? I think it depends on how work and cross interface.