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Slowly adding strength

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Slowly adding strength

Old 07-19-22, 08:50 AM
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Slowly adding strength

Psyching myself up for this next 4 week training block...or procrastinating before getting on today's intervals.

My training story: After 40 years of ZERO exercise, started retirement and cycling last November which got my cardio off the couch and weight down from 202 to 175 lbs. Then I wanted to ride with my very good friend Chris, a strong rider who's encouraged me all along the way. Like many of you he stayed fit during his career and has racing and serious Gran Fondos in his toolkit.

I began this year with 2 entry level 4-week blocks while wearing winter kit, and now starting my second strength block (using the free CTS 60 Minute Hill Climb block from Strava). I did this block in May but have been free riding since then, well-spent family time but I'm ready for more self-indulgence.

Since I'm oversharing, I'll state my pitiful FTP and goals. After 2 of the starter training blocks my FTP was 160, after May's block it was 181 (Zwift short tests). I'm hoping for 200ish after this block. I assume the percentage increase in FTP will get harder, but my goal of keeping up with Chris probably means I need an FTP around 250.

I'm all out of blather and bull so it's basement time.

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Old 07-19-22, 09:29 AM
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Good work, BTinNYC . And welcome to the Old Guys Training Club, your t-shirt is in the mail.

I'm on a similar track, because I got talked into signing up for the Huntsman Senior Games in October. The hill climb. 75 days to go.

Oh boy.
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Old 07-19-22, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post

...got talked into signing up for the Huntsman Senior Games in October. The hill climb. 75 days to go.
Very very cool.
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Old 07-19-22, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I got talked into signing up for the Huntsman Senior Games in October.
Originally Posted by BTinNYC View Post
Very very cool.
I don't know about that. At this point, entering the Huntsman Games is seeming very foolhardy.

So much fitness to build, so little time.

On that note, it's time for a training ride. Like every day.
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Old 07-20-22, 07:45 AM
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Sure to give yourself some rest days rather than training every single day. Rest days are essential for your muscles to build. Constant daily training can lead to overtraining, a serious medical problem.
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Old 07-20-22, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by gobicycling View Post
Sure to give yourself some rest days rather than training every single day. Rest days are essential for your muscles to build. Constant daily training can lead to overtraining, a serious medical problem.
What's the consensus on what to do on "rest days"?

Does it mean "don't do anything, just relax", or is going for an easy ride better?

I like doing short and easy spins on "rest" days to keep the legs moving. They seem to feel less heavy when I ride at least a little bit.
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Old 07-21-22, 12:11 PM
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OP.....what you are doing is exemplary. If you are consistent and patient with yourself there's nothing but progress and good times ahead.
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Old 07-21-22, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I got talked into signing up for the Huntsman Senior Games in October.
And just in case I feel like slacking off on the training, my phone reminds me daily that the clock is ticking.

A long way to go, and a short time to get there.


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Old 07-21-22, 09:53 PM
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Check out Dylan Johnson’s YouTube channel for all sorts of good training and marginal gains advice. He interviews excellent guests and the discussions can become really detailed.

And rest days can involve slow spins at or below Zone 1 to get blood flowing to refresh the muscles.
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Old 07-21-22, 10:35 PM
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I find the whole "training for a specific event" thing slightly nerve-wracking, even though I've been doing it for decades. Every year something's different, me, Covid, course, minor injuries, sickness, etc. Just doing the same thing again often doesn't work. A couple weeks ago I did a weekend I've done before in the same time frame, except that this time it put me so far in the hole I thought I'd have to skip the event. But no, somehow I nailed the recovery and feel just fine 1 week out. Drives me nuts.
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Old 07-22-22, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I find the whole "training for a specific event" thing slightly nerve-wracking, even though I've been doing it for decades.
My buddy is encouraging me to sign up for a serious ride, any serious ride. He says it will push my training. I'm sure he's right but I can see the nerve-wracking part very clearly.
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Old 07-22-22, 06:59 AM
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Most riders don't know their power data and FTP. Your 180 FTP sounds good to me. It seems that "everyone" online is 250+, does that match with real life?

I ride with some 60-75 age riders, the 4000 to 6000 mile per year serious riders. I think there's two groups: 150-190 FTP, and 250+ FTP. A lot of the difference is "genetics" and perhaps "competitive spirit".

Before I retired, I liked the local Tuesday evening club ride. 3 or 4 speed groups, reasonably flat courses. I would head out with the group that was just a little too fast for me. I'd go much harder at times to not get dropped, a higher effort than I'd do solo -- "just 30 more seconds to the top of the climb, keep going!" I liked it.

Event ride and/or group rides
Training for that event with longer distances or lots more climbing is good. And events have rest stops and even SAG support, so I don't worry about food and water refills and getting stuck by mechanicals way out in the country. I'll do events that I'd never try as a solo rider on the same route.

Now, I have enough motivation with just riding with my weekday groups. I need to ride at least twice a week, preferably 3-4 times a week, just to be able to keep up comfortably.

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Old 07-22-22, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC View Post
My buddy is encouraging me to sign up for a serious ride, any serious ride. He says it will push my training. I'm sure he's right but I can see the nerve-wracking part very clearly.
Yeah, but you'll learn a lot. As it is said, the reason so many riders race is so they have to train. Goals are a whole 'nother world.
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Old 07-22-22, 10:13 AM
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I'm training for a specific event. The week of Cycle Oregon starting the weekend after Labor Day. 400+ miles. 32,000' of climbing. I'll do it on my fix gear (using cogs and ratios I can change at the roadside; I qualified for this forum almost 20 years ago).

I have a lot of other interests going on this summer as well so I only get on the bike usually 3 times per week and one is just the 9 mile run to the farmers market with gears. Sundays are my hard days. (Last three, an easy century, 75 miles with some tough hills and last Sunday 33 miles in the Portland west hills.) Mid-week is flat, 25-60 miles, gradually moving up the gear and pace. August, that mid-week ride will be a 40 mile loop to Bald Peak, 2000' of climbing and Cycle Oregon-like roadside gear changes done fast. Both clockwise; the easy way and counter clockwise where the 1600' elevation difference is done in 5 miles.

I want above all to be strong enough that I can enjoy the steepest climbs at CO. I want to ride injury free, even if I decide to blow over a small rise in the gear I've been using for the flat or even downhill. (I'll have and use a top gear around 95". Makes long CO descents in stunning country MUCH more fun! But sometimes I have to climb in that gear or do two gear changes.)

Yes, I am a fix gear fanatic. But this thread is BTinNYC asking about gaining strength. There is no faster way to gain pure strength while riding a bike than riding a fix gear in hills. And not just legs. There are two entire chains of muscles from hands to quads and hands to hams (pushing and pulling. Trust me. Do some fix gear hills that are hard and you will feel those muscles later.
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Old 07-22-22, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
There is no faster way to gain pure strength while riding a bike than riding a fix gear in hills. And not just legs. There are two entire chains of muscles from hands to quads and hands to hams (pushing and pulling. Trust me. Do some fix gear hills that are hard and you will feel those muscles later.
I do believe, but like so much of my faith I can't completely commit...to the fixie afterlife. 😉

Once a week I do hills in a single high gear (slow tension intervals) and it causes mucho pain, and as you say, in different places than the other workouts.
I'll hammer on this more - makes sense the most painful workout is A Good One. Ack.

2 Hrs at endurace pace today in the heat. Easy peasy.

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Old 07-22-22, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post

There is no faster way to gain pure strength while riding a bike than riding a fix gear in hills. And not just legs. There are two entire chains of muscles from hands to quads and hands to hams (pushing and pulling. Trust me. Do some fix gear hills that are hard and you will feel those muscles later.
Hmm. I’ve found the fastest way to get strong climbing is to go up a lot of hills, very fast.

While climbing with a fixie is a good workout, nothing compares with going fast up a hill on your climbing bike.
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Old 07-22-22, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC View Post
Psyching myself up for this next 4 week training block...or procrastinating before getting on today's intervals.

My training story: After 40 years of ZERO exercise, started retirement and cycling last November which got my cardio off the couch and weight down from 202 to 175 lbs. Then I wanted to ride with my very good friend Chris, a strong rider who's encouraged me all along the way. Like many of you he stayed fit during his career and has racing and serious Gran Fondos in his toolkit.

I began this year with 2 entry level 4-week blocks while wearing winter kit, and now starting my second strength block (using the free CTS 60 Minute Hill Climb block from Strava). I did this block in May but have been free riding since then, well-spent family time but I'm ready for more self-indulgence.

Since I'm oversharing, I'll state my pitiful FTP and goals. After 2 of the starter training blocks my FTP was 160, after May's block it was 181 (Zwift short tests). I'm hoping for 200ish after this block. I assume the percentage increase in FTP will get harder, but my goal of keeping up with Chris probably means I need an FTP around 250.
I'm all out of blather and bull so it's basement time.
You mean, after 40 years of Nothing, you have some 6 months of mostly early season riding under your belt (winter in the Northeast is not exactly riding weather, and 'indoor' is 'torcha'...)
and you're FTP is 181 ??? Awesome!
you're doin Great!
Patience, is a great attribute the older more seasoned we get... I had figured, on retirement, I'd have a bunch of time to everything I wanted to do... Funny, how 'life' changes the rules of the game...
Just keep the riding 'fun' at every level, thank each day. Goals are great and keep up in the 'game' (...of life).
Glad you rode back into the Peloton...
Ride On
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Old 07-22-22, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Hmm. I’ve found the fastest way to get strong climbing is to go up a lot of hills, very fast.

While climbing with a fixie is a good workout, nothing compares with going fast up a hill on your climbing bike.
I"m actually talking real strength. The strength to be able to muscle a big gear from a standstill uphill and not pull muscles. (As a near 70 yo.) On a bike where simple gear changes take minutes, not a flick of the finger. To be able to ride CO on the fix gear down roads I've never seen and not need to visit the medical tent. (A few years ago a fire prompted a route change. Rest day was moved up, the day of one huge climb eliminated and the option ride was over a relentless series of hills. I started by stopping and flipping the wheel but that got old and I resorted to just muscling my way up to get the ride done sooner and back to camp. TG I'd been doing my fix gear hill work!

Nice thing is that strength swaps over to useful strength doing yard work, swimming, sailing ... All much better than upper body strength from riding gears.
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Old 07-23-22, 03:44 AM
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Never! I will never turn to the Fixie Side. I am a Gear Changer like my father before me.

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Old 08-13-22, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Hmm. I’ve found the fastest way to get strong climbing is to go up a lot of hills, very fast.

While climbing with a fixie is a good workout, nothing compares with going fast up a hill on your climbing bike.
when I hammer 8% grades my heart rate goes way up to the 170-180 range and after two plus minutes start gasping for more air. So how do you moderate the attack versus not getting enough air? Or is it just me?
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Old 08-13-22, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
when I hammer 8% grades my heart rate goes way up to the 170-180 range and after two plus minutes start gasping for more air. So how do you moderate the attack versus not getting enough air? Or is it just me?
Seems like you're going too hard to sustain, since you've gone anaerobic.

Can you try easing into the climb, ramping up the effort until you're just at the point that you start breathing heavily, then backing off a little?
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Old 08-14-22, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
when I hammer 8% grades my heart rate goes way up to the 170-180 range and after two plus minutes start gasping for more air. So how do you moderate the attack versus not getting enough air? Or is it just me?

Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Seems like you're going too hard to sustain, since you've gone anaerobic.
Can you try easing into the climb, ramping up the effort until you're just at the point that you start breathing heavily, then backing off a little?
Yeah, really easy to go anaerobic on steeper pitches...
one thing I might add - many riders, if they know a steep uphill is ahead, tend to slow down enough to get their heart rate down ... if you do that too early, the oxgenation of the blood falls also, and then the extreme of the pitch causes a major jump in heart rate - to load the blood with O2 again. But it doesn;t catch up quick enough to bring the blood O2 to the level needed, so you go anaerobic...
I was reminded this morning... Our Sunday ride is a combo of rolling and ALWAYS a load of some of the tastier tough climbs in our area. Group usually breaks up into 2 or 3 smaller groups.
Today I told myself to ride the 2nd group rather than trying to hold the wheels of Group 1 (and eventually get shelled... LOL!). The ride went up to one of the nastier climbs, 1 1/2 mi with stair step pitches of 9 to 12 % with 5-6% in between to 'recover'...
So riding in Group 2 had the pace very mellow - 18-19 mph for the miles leading up, instead of 23-24... My HR was low also for those lead-up miles (110-118). The 1st pitch is 12%... We hit that and by the time we were at the crest of the pitch, I went to 185 HR ! Crazy ! I hadn't been that high in 5 yrs. AND, I was very anaerobic and legs about 2x normal size. The rest of the climb, which had another 4 pitches of 8 to 11% and remaining at 6%, was brutal.
Normally, when I'm hanging on to Group 1, I'm at 135-almost 140 at the start of the climb/pitch, and never go over 165, and recover well before the next pitch...
Don't 'Baby' into climbs - on the approach keep the heart pumping and into your High Zone 2, low Zone 3 - you'll climb Moe Beta.. maybe not Pantani style, but still better...
Ride On
Yuri (definitely NOT Pantani...)
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Old 08-14-22, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen View Post
many riders, if they know a steep uphill is ahead, tend to slow down enough to get their heart rate down ... if you do that too early, the oxgenation of the blood falls also, and then the extreme of the pitch causes a major jump in heart rate - to load the blood with O2 again. But it doesn;t catch up quick enough to bring the blood O2 to the level needed, so you go anaerobic...
I'm no expert in physiology, but I don't think blood oxygenation rises and falls in that manner.

What I've read says O2 saturation of the blood remains rather steady, until you go anaerobic (oxygen debt).
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Old 08-14-22, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I'm no expert in physiology, but I don't think blood oxygenation rises and falls in that manner.

What I've read says O2 saturation of the blood remains rather steady, until you go anaerobic (oxygen debt).
OK, yes... mis-spoken/written - Blood O2 is regulated by Blood chemistry, within a small range.
What does happen is the blood flow affects how much O2 is made available over time. Higher HR, more flow, more available O2 to diffuse into the cell.
Ride On
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Old 08-15-22, 09:17 AM
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After this 4 week block, a 5% increase in FTP to 191. First week ramp up, 2 weeks hard work, 1 week ramp down. I was hoping for closer to 10%, but it's improvement.

An irrelevant but fun milestone; passed 2000 miles for the year during the test.


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