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  1. #1
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    Winter base building ?

    So last year I made the jump up to cat1, didn't really do much mountain bike racing last year. The few I did I didn't have good results. I was doing most of my training on rollers last winter and apparently the lack of resistance did me no good. I have since picked up a powermeter I use on my cross/road bike.


    My question is as far as base goes, is it just dependent on how much time you have to devot to training? I can't imagine someone with 6 hours a week to train would gain anything from doing 4 hour L2 rides. Think focusing more on SST would make a lot more sense 3 days a week, 2x20s and longer intervals. Then work in the shorter stuff closer to spring, 8x1m, Tabitas, 7x3m and such. More intensity versus long slow stuff?

    I used a coach for cyclocross this year, podiumed in 2 4/5 races and moved up to 3/4 where I am finishing around 20th place out of 60-80 races in the Mid-Atlantic. Debating staying with the coach though the winter but money is kind of tight for that.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    The base training vs intensity question has definitely been beaten to death on this forum over the years.

    I believe there are a few considerations:
    1. Previous history of base training. You may want to step it up from what you've done before.
    2. Do you have enough hours to stress your aerobic system. That will vary by the individual. 10 hours a week may be difficult for one person, but easy for another. Also, once you get used to 10 hours a week, you should do a little bit more to further adaptations.
    3. How many seasonal matches you got in ya? That seems to vary with the individuals as well. A lot of people who do intervals all winter (ssts, threshold, etc.) are fast in spring and fried (and not improving any more) by early summer. I see it all the time.

    If you want a nice long season (from MTB to road to CX) with continual improvement, I just don't see any other way to do it without integrating base training.

    This year I base trained March, April, May for a mid-summer peak (it doesn't take a lot of intensity to get to a peak). And based again in late summer (late-July, August, Sept) for October-November CX. Still improving (won my first CX race 2 weeks ago and upgraded) and not fried yet. Now I'm counting on improving a bit more, while others in my group (who overloaded on intensity early on; or rode hard all summer) stop improving or start going backwards.
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  3. #3
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    Yup, that all makes sense to me. I have done endurance racing in the past so I am well aware on long rides. Done the Shenandoah 100 a few times now, no real plans for it this coming year. I will do longer rides on the weekends, during the week SST/Tempo/Threshold work. Depends on races, but a break mid season is always nice. Doing a mid-season base is a great idea.

    Still to early in the year no dates up aside from an iffy MASS series that isn't 100% yet.

  4. #4
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    With only 6 hours to train, I would agree that base training will be very difficult and you are better off with the high intensity stuff. I used that approach for years without huge disadvantages.

    But last year I went for a big base (12-16 hours per week) with good results. I now recognize the value of base training, but damn, does it ever take dedication, especially if it is all indoors - as is the case for me.
    My rides:
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  5. #5
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    If you are limited to 6-10 hours a week you are going to be much better off focusing on intensity.

    I would highly recommend you check out Chris Carmichaels "The Time Crunch Cyclist" which really gets into how that type of training can work and benefit you.

    Personally, I followed a very similar training plan this past year but using The Sufferfest videos as guides for my training. My overall endurance didn't go up much, but the level of effort I could sustain for longer periods of time went through the roof. I went from rear pack Cat 2 to top 5 results. That was the only real change I made.
    When I'm not riding I help beginner mountain bikers learn new skills at Texas Mountain Bike Trails.

  6. #6
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    I think 12 hour weeks is doable depending on what happens with work. I'd like to get hours in this winter. It'll pay off in the long run. The sufferfest looks solid, I have them on my computer for when the weather isn't so friendly. I can do cold, cold and wet not so much.

  7. #7
    Always pushing harder!!!
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    I'm currently finishing my 2nd week of Base 1, and doing 12 hours a week is no biggie. I work from 8 to 5 with an extra hour of commute every day, so that only leaves me with a couple of hours a day during the week, and I'm currently managing it great!!! On weekends I'm doing 3 and 4 hour rides, and somehow, I'm feeling like when I was at my Build last season. With lots of power and endurance. When I wondered why, I finished with 550 hours last season, so taking 3 full weeks without doing anything, did not put me in that big of a hole.

    My guess is that what I did for last season, is paying dividends right now...and now, thet trainer is my best friend. I look for races on YouTube and Red Bull TV, but with music on the background to pump me up. For that, try Ultimate Workout Music Service...it has a couple of great tunes!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by carlostruco View Post
    For that, try Ultimate Workout Music Service...it has a couple of great tunes!!!
    Great suggestion, will check it out! Sorely need that.
    When I'm not riding I help beginner mountain bikers learn new skills at Texas Mountain Bike Trails.

  9. #9
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    Yup, UCI races on youtube are nice to. I'm on my 3rd day of a 3 week break and so far I am liking it. Get a few rides in after this break and put in an FTP test hoping for still solid numbers......

  10. #10
    ITL
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    I'm new to racing, this season being my first season so take this for what it's worth. Like many, I fall into that "time crunched" category of rider/racer so I use a trainer for all my mid week training.

    I have to wonder if using the trainer makes for more efficient use of time, if time is an issue. For one, you pedal constantly which may not be the case on the road/trail. There is constant resistance...no tail wind or downhills to "assist" you. Also, for interval type training you can be very precise in your effort level. It seems to me that 1 hour of trainer time is equal to 1X hours of road time...that X factor is an unknown to me, but I think you get the idea. Maybe to the seasoned racer this is a "no duh" type of thing, but just offering my thoughts.

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    I read somewhere that you need to spend about 20% more time on road, then trainer, to make up for unexpected stops, downhills, etc

  12. #12
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    Re: Winter base building ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ITL View Post
    I'm new to racing, this season being my first season so take this for what it's worth. Like many, I fall into that "time crunched" category of rider/racer so I use a trainer for all my mid week training.

    I have to wonder if using the trainer makes for more efficient use of time, if time is an issue. For one, you pedal constantly which may not be the case on the road/trail. There is constant resistance...no tail wind or downhills to "assist" you. Also, for interval type training you can be very precise in your effort level. It seems to me that 1 hour of trainer time is equal to 1X hours of road time...that X factor is an unknown to me, but I think you get the idea. Maybe to the seasoned racer this is a "no duh" type of thing, but just offering my thoughts.
    Careful though, too much time on the trainer can lead to burnout.

    Disregard if you live in a climate where its your only option in winter. But if you can, try to ride outside as much as possible. Its good for the psychological aspect of training, for me at least

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    Quote Originally Posted by ITL View Post
    I have to wonder if using the trainer makes for more efficient use of time, if time is an issue.
    Yes, its the most time effective training for power, acceleration and sustained efforts.

    Just make sure you get several hours of trail time in and really work on your bike handling skills. Otherwise you'll only be good as a roadie...

    When I'm not riding I help beginner mountain bikers learn new skills at Texas Mountain Bike Trails.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ITL View Post
    It seems to me that 1 hour of trainer time is equal to 1X hours of road time...that X factor is an unknown to me,
    Carmichael quoted a conversion of 50 minutes trainer = 1 hour bike outside for road bike.
    Head Coach, Ben Lomond HS MTB Team
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  15. #15
    ITL
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    Quote Originally Posted by 8iking VIIking View Post
    Careful though, too much time on the trainer can lead to burnout.

    Disregard if you live in a climate where its your only option in winter. But if you can, try to ride outside as much as possible. Its good for the psychological aspect of training, for me at least
    Definitely agree with that. The trainer is not exactly what you call fun! I'd much rather be out on my bike, and do so as much as possible.

  16. #16
    ITL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawnskee22 View Post
    Yes, its the most time effective training for power, acceleration and sustained efforts.

    Just make sure you get several hours of trail time in and really work on your bike handling skills. Otherwise you'll only be good as a roadie...

    LOL @ roadie.

    I do as much as I can on the trails. I think bike handling is my weak point right now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 8iking VIIking View Post
    Careful though, too much time on the trainer can lead to burnout.
    Tripe. What leads to burnout is systemic overload, failure to recover and lack of neural stimulus.


    Whenever there are questions about "base", I like to fire back with this:- What is base?

    When you've answered that then the answers become clear.

    Most people don't know or have a warped view of "base" and hence the training suggestion from that point too are warped.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ITL View Post
    Definitely agree with that. The trainer is not exactly what you call fun! I'd much rather be out on my bike, and do so as much as possible.
    Trainer workouts are as fun as you make them. I did most (off top of my head it was ~90%) of my base last season on my trainer. There are a ton of products out there that make riding indoors tolerable (and measurable if you don't have a "powermeter").

  19. #19
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    My gut tells me that trainer is 2 to 1 the effort of the road, but that's just me I suppose. My main goal over the winter is to do a 2+ hour trail ride every weekend, and a couple rides during the week, the trainer when the weather is really bad. Our smaller mtb series starts in February, the races are a little shorter and not in the mountains so no long hills, I should be ok.
    I think the best thing I'm doing for C1 in the spring is racing cyclocross now, which goes through Dec 15th around here. I'll take a month 'off' (just fun slightly easier rides) and start tuning up mid January.

  20. #20
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    Winter base building ?

    I find that trainer time is about 1.25 of road time. So 2 hours on the trainer is like 2.5 hours on the road.


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