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  1. #1
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    Singlespeed Race Training?

    With winter heading rapidly towards us here in the UK I'm starting to look towards next years races and I've got my eye on a singlespeed race I'm going to go for.
    The race isn't until March but I'm thinking about what training to do for the race during the winter.

    I'm still going to be getting one or two rides in a week off-road during the wet and cold months, most probably on the singlespeed bike, butI was wondering if there's any more specific training to be looking at for when I can't get out?
    I've currently got a set of rollers and a turbo for indoor use which is handy for when I can't get out to ride due to work. I normally ride a road bike on the indoor trainers.

    The race in question is pretty much flat but with plenty of technical singletrack and a few fire road sections to join it together. Going by past experience from the last two years it's usually very cold, wet and muddy and the course gets pretty torn up as the race goes on. It's usually 5 laps of a 3.5-4 mile circuit.

    I'm currently trying some spinning sessions on the rollers to try and get my cadence up and I'm also thinking about some 2x20 intervals.

    Any suggestions for training sessions to try?

  2. #2
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    Cadence sessions will be good. What kind of gear do you run - masher or spinner on the SS? ~20 mile race won't include that much standing if it's flat so really any training you'd do for a geared ride would work for overall fitness. I'd probably focus on handling drills when outside to get ready for a sloppy mess where you'll have issues with traction on an SS.

  3. #3
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    I would think that it would be good to do both fast spinning low resistance intervals mixed with stand mash high resistance intervals. So maybe on the trainer do a fast spin, tempo, then a slow grind. Adjust the times and the efforts based on the race that you are planning on doing.

    With a SS you are rarely geared just right and you just have to use your legs/cadence to make up the difference. It's amazing how quickly the body adapts though.

  4. #4
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    I'm currently running 34:18 with a Goldtec oval chainring. I've got spare rear cogs in 16 & 17t as well so I can play with the ratios if needed.
    It's on a 29er and once the new frame arrives I'll have the option of running a Rabbit Hole and Knard on the front. Hopefully the Dirt Wizard will be available by then for better mud handling duties.

    Race time overall should be just under 2 hours so I really need to be able to go flat out for 2h without blowing up.

    Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    mnoutain bkie rdier
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    Typically with SS, you are either spun out at high cadence or grinding up a hill barely able to pedal.

    Try to replicate these situations as much as possible in your training. Work on creating a smooth and efficient pedal stroke..especially at higher cadence.

    Also, if you tend to stand during climbs during races, then stand during training too. You will target the appropriate muscles and also dial in your weight distribution to maximize traction while out of saddle.

    .02

  6. #6
    CB2
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    When I have a flatter race I'll often commute to work on my mtb. I'll run what I consider a big gear for offroad, but is smaller than my usual commuter gear. This will give me a low cadence power workout on the hills, and a high cadence aerobic workout on the flats.

    On the trainer a good workout for both low and high cadence is what I call a stair step workout. With a geared bike, after you warm up, start in a gear 5 cogs down from your hardest cog and go all out for 1 minute, recovery for 3 minutes, shift to the next hardest gear and get used to it for a minute, then go all out for a minute, etc. until you get to the hardest gear, then do the opposite until you get back down to the gear you started in.

  7. #7
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    Singlespeed Race Training?

    Quote Originally Posted by CB2 View Post
    When I have a flatter race I'll often commute to work on my mtb. I'll run what I consider a big gear for offroad, but is smaller than my usual commuter gear. This will give me a low cadence power workout on the hills, and a high cadence aerobic workout on the flats.

    On the trainer a good workout for both low and high cadence is what I call a stair step workout. With a geared bike, after you warm up, start in a gear 5 cogs down from your hardest cog and go all out for 1 minute, recovery for 3 minutes, shift to the next hardest gear and get used to it for a minute, then go all out for a minute, etc. until you get to the hardest gear, then do the opposite until you get back down to the gear you started in.
    That sounds like a pretty interesting training session, I'll have to give it a try. I could see it working on both the rollers or turbo, using the 1 minute intervals to either spin a high cadence on the rollers or just max power on the turbo. It would work either way I'd imagine.

    I'm thinking about starting to use the MTB to commute on once the weather turns and save ruining the road bike. The commute is only short at about 6 mikes each way and is also flat so it'll be a good cadence workout!

  8. #8
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    Huh, I do a similar trainer workout to CB2.

    Another killer workout I do on the trainer is to simulate a race by watching a POV of a race and pretending I'm doing it on a SS -- shift into harder gears and stand during the climbs, and spin fast on the flats and downs. I even get off the saddle and move my weight around through rocky parts. You get so into it that you lean into turns and almost fall off the trainer, lol.

    I'm lucky in that a local elite guy has youtubed a bunch of the local-ish races. So after a 10 min warmup, I stream the race on my iPhone (attached to my bars), and off I go, for intervals of 10-15 minutes (or as much as I can take). I might do 2-3 intervals in a session.

    Warning: the racer is in the local elite class, so trying to "keep up" with him and his competitors is really taxing. It's also really fun, so you don't realize how hard you've worked, but I've overdone it a couple times and had to rest for 2-3 days. Don't try them on day one of training - more like in week 5 or 6 maybe.

    Here's one of a local race that is as you described your race - flattish and with some fire roads (though this race is not very technical).
    2012 Massasoit Lung Opener part 1 - YouTube
    Misfit diSSent ALC SS
    2014 Cdale F29 Team

  9. #9
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    Singlespeed Race Training?

    A bit if an update if anyone's interested.

    I raced at the weekend at the park where the singlespeed race will be held in March. Similar type of circuit, plenty of technical singletrack and a couple of fire road sections and due to our recent rain it was plenty wet and muddy to boot!

    Saturdays race was only 3 laps rather than the 5 that the March race will be but I decided to ride it singlespeed to see how I got on. My final result was 2nd place, 19 seconds behind the winner, I think I could've been closer and possibly won if I'd dealt better with the traffic on the first lap. I was pretty happy with the result being my first ever podium finish :-)
    I think the bike and the gearing were about perfect for the course and conditions, I just need to work on some endurance to ensure that I can keep my pace up for an extra two laps.

    With the advice from here so far and some other bits of reading, I've got an idea of some workouts to be keeping myself busy for the indoor sessions. Now the wet weather has firmly set in here in the UK, I'll be getting plenty of miles in on the singlespeed as the geared bike won't be out much in these conditions!

  10. #10
    LW Coaching
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    30 min Rap 'n Coast

    To build SS race speed I like a 30 min Rap 'n Coast interval.

    Ride SS with a gear ratio designed to spend most of the ride on the high end to spun out range of cadences when you are riding in heart rate zone 2 (power guidelines are not applicable to pace this workout). Warm up then ride a 30 minute interval with heart rate in zone 2. During this 30 min interval repeatedly rap cadence up until you are spun out, coast for a few seconds then rap again. Rap 'n coast continuously in heart rate zone 2 for 30 minutes without a break. Cool down.

  11. #11
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    Go to walmart and purchase a 40 lbs weighted vest. Put it on and simply ride the trails. Ride them like you are racing.

    Do that once a week for several weeks. The weighted vest really works the core muscles and the heart.

    It will make you faster and stronger on the SS.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wjphillips View Post
    Go to walmart and purchase a 40 lbs weighted vest. Put it on and simply ride the trails. Ride them like you are racing.

    Do that once a week for several weeks. The weighted vest really works the core muscles and the heart.

    It will make you faster and stronger on the SS.
    If one can put out 500 watts for 2 minutes, both with a weight vest and without, what will the difference be, aside from speed?
    www.seanhannity.com <=not what you think it is.

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  13. #13
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    Yea, I never really thought about using a weight vest to strengthen your core, I guess it makes sense.

    However, there is the argument that adding weight will make you a stronger rider. The physics behind it shows that it will just make you go slower.

    It's all about the effort you put into the pedals. Maybe more weight would make the climbs take longer and effectively be longer/steeper climbs.....or you could just find a bigger climb.

  14. #14
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    I just thought I'd revisit this thread after this weekends racing.

    I entered a local race at the weekend which was on a similar circuit to the singlespeed race I'm planning for in June. This weekends race had some pretty muddy and slow sections separated by grassy field sections. I decided to ride it singlespeed to see how I'd compare to the faster riders.

    I managed 14th place out of the 52 in my category which I was pretty happy with, I was beaten in a sprint finish by half a wheel and I reckon I must've been spinning at about 140rpm in the sprint which was interesting

    I've been thinking about my training for the upcoming singlespeed race and was thinking about swapping the gearing on the bike for training. I currently run 34:18 with an oval chainring but was thinking of dropping the gearing to 34:17 for training then depending on how I'm getting on before the race I could either stick with the 17t or swap back to 18t.
    Would training in a bigger gear help from a fitness point of view?

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