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  1. #1
    Big Damn Hero
    Reputation: CBRsteve's Avatar
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    Performance Comparison Question

    Hey all, I’m hoping you can help me understand my situation a little better and maybe provide some recommendations as to how to improve it. So let me start off with a little background: First off I am 31 years old, 6’3 and 175lbs. My buddy and I started mountain biking in December 2010 and really for December and January we just casually rode on the weekends and both did a little bit of biking on the trainers at the gym. In February we signed up for our first race and started training in earnest. He does a 45 minute spin class 2-3 times a week, while I just hopped on the trainer bikes and started pedaling away. Over the course of next few months I created a regimented training schedule and have stuck to it very strictly. A typical week of mine is listed below:

    Monday: 90-95 minutes on trainer: Hill climb session – increasing resistance for first 35 minutes, decreasing for next 25 minutes, then 30 minutes of steady cadence
    Tuesday: Core and upper body workout
    Wednesday: 90-95 minutes on trainer: Short interval session – 60 minutes of 1 minute intervals, then 30 minutes of steady cadence
    Thursday: OFF
    Friday: 90-95 minutes on trainer: Steady cadence session – keeping resistance the same, I spin up to my top cadence (~130-140rpms) and hold there for 1 minute and then slowly decrease back down to normal cadence (~100-102) over course of next 3 minutes. I do this ‘long interval’ once every 15 minutes.
    Saturday: Road or trail ride.
    Sunday: OFF

    I usually put in about around 31-33 miles per session depending on the type of training I’m doing. I pace around 20-21mph and my heart rate is generally around 165 – 175 bpm and during some of the more intense parts I’ll hit 185 bpm. We both have also recently purchased road bikes that we ride on the weekends to supplement the MTB training and usually we ride around 50-60 miles (only been on 5 road rides at this point but am doing my first century next weekend ). During all this time, my buddy has trained less than me in total duration and days. When we started out riding in December I was in significantly better cardiovascular shape than he was.

    So I share all this to get to this point: He is ALWAYS able to finish the rides better than me. No matter if we’re doing a 20 mile trail ride or a 50 mile road ride… the last 5-10% or so of each ride, he’s able to pull away from me and I just can’t keep up.

    I hydrate more consistently on our rides and usually eat a ‘better’ pre-ride meal. He generally has a slightly better overall diet, but I still eat pretty well (gained lots of good ideas from this forum!) I eat during our rides to keep energy, he generally doesn’t. During our rides I sweat a TON, way more than he does. After about 5 minutes into the ride, it’s just dripping off of me non-stop. I don’t know if that has something to do with it or not, but thought I’d throw that out there as well. Also, my body fat % is much lower than his. Again, not sure if this makes any difference or not though.

    I’m at a bit of a loss. It feels like I’m doing everything right, but can’t seem to reach the performance levels he does. Together as riders we’ve made great strides in our skills and endurance over the past 6 months, we’re both in much better shape and have gained leaps and bounds in our skill sets. That being said, this business of not being able to finish as strongly as I’d like very frustrating for me. Does it sound like a gap in my current training plan? Is there any sort of training style that I should be leveraging? Could he just be predispositinoed to be a better endurance athlete? I have only done 2 races thus far and was mid-pack Cat 3, but it’s been over 2 months since my last race and I’ve made significant strides in my conditioning and skill set over that time. So I have no illusions of being a ProCat racer, but would like to reach for Cat 2 in the next year or so.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, wise cracks or mocking are welcomed…

    Thanks,
    Steve

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    You need to train at a lower pace, for more time....to build base endurance.

  3. #3
    SP Singletrack rocks
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    skip the regiment

    ride more, when your buddy quits ride till you can not anymore. Repeat day after day. you dont need 2 days off in fact I could argue that with out super high intesity you could do with zero days off. Finish off with high protein foods/drinks at the end so you do not cannibalize your own muscle.

    Also get a SS and ride the hell out of it. It will make you stronger.

  4. #4
    Formerly of Kent
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    Stop riding a gym trainer inside. Those things are notoriously inaccurate, and you should not use that as a gauge of fitness, other than determining whether or not you are improving (assuming you ride the same trainer EVERY time).

    And about the sweating: I sweat more than just about everyone I know, yet manage to kick the tar out of damn near all of them. Don't worry about it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
    skip the regiment

    ride more, when your buddy quits ride till you can not anymore. Repeat day after day. you dont need 2 days off in fact I could argue that with out super high intesity you could do with zero days off. Finish off with high protein foods/drinks at the end so you do not cannibalize your own muscle.

    Also get a SS and ride the hell out of it. It will make you stronger.
    Agree, need to ride more. Skip the days off and the Tuesday work out. SS helps but keep your program changing. Rode 2-3 days a week last year on my SS and had some nice gains. This year the SS has not helped as much and switched those days to doing TT road efforts on a road bike and now again seeing some gain.

  6. #6
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    educate yourself on training.

    http://www.lydiardfoundation.org/training.aspx

    i believe heavily in Lydiard methodology as it works well for me.

    in my experience, gym work is counter productive. better to ride your bike.

    agree with those above. don't measure your workouts in miles. measure them in hours. 8 hours a week is a decent starting point. longer, easier rides, though counter intuitive to those who don't know better, will make you faster.
    My wife's website....
    Allison Mann

  7. #7
    Drop in?... Anyone?
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    Nothing beats time in the saddle... outside... years of it!

    ...then a good program.

    Ride road... ride the flats... for 40 50 60 miles... often!!!

    ...and Hard days are harder than you think... and easy days are easier than you think whe your training.

  8. #8
    Big Damn Hero
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    Thanks for all the feedback guys, I appreciate it. As much as I would love to ride the road more frequently, unfortunately due to my location (smack dab in suburbia hell) and where I work (downtown Houston) riding the road prior to work really isn't a viable option for me. I get up at 4:15am just so that I can get time in on the trainer and still be in the office by 7:45. I'm sure it's a broken record that you've all heard a million times by now on this forum but that's the situation I'm in.

    That being said, would I be better off buying a stationary trainer, hooking my bike up to it and riding that instead of the spin bikes at the gym?

    Also, in regards to the comments about increasing the days that I ride... that I can do. But during most of my training now, I get some real good leg burn going. I was under the impression that it's good to take a day off when burning like that. Assuming I eat a high protein diet, is it ok to do 4, 5, or 6 consecutive days? If so, should some of those days be days spent just at a steady and easy cadence for more of an active recovery type ride?

    Thanks again for all the feedback and responses here!

  9. #9
    is turning a big gear
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    Because you seem to have limited time M-F due to work, plan big rides on both Sat and Sun.

  10. #10
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    Would suggest you invest in a coaching session to determine what is a good program for YOU. From what i know (enough to be dangerous) you have no adaptation weeks. You don't say what type of events you are riding - enduros or short track sprints? You don't appear to have any strength or speed training sessions built in.

    You don't say what hydration you are using. No matter how much you sweat you need GOOD hydration. You eat during rides - could be a mistake - I know of many elite riders that wont eat solids during training and events (depending on length) if you are riding. You need about 1 g/min or 30-60 g/hour of carbs (look this up on the web try http://www.ausport.gov.au/ais/nutrit...rate__how_much) though there are some variations on this recommendation. DON T use gatorade or similar such drinks! Use something like Balance Endurance Restore Energy or something similar. Try also something like Metasalt tablets to replace electrolytes.

    Suggest traing for a week: recovery ride; Strength work+gym work; Aerobic ride; Intesive aerobic ride+gym work; Rest day; Road Bike aerobic ride +Gym work; MTB Aerobic ride (4hr and increase each time). With stretching three to four times a week. Do this for two weeks then have an adaptive week. Every time up the ante in time and strength work you do. Strength is high gear/low revs or steep hills in a uphill-recover-uphill-recover series.
    If you search the web you will find many such programs and suggestions - a little $ may get you a specific program.

    HTH.

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