how do I get good at cycling?
I've been riding my whole life and after a 12 month recovery from multiple surgeries I'm riding again and trying to get more serious about it as I realised, after all these years, I never really managed to become much of a formidable cyclist. I started talking shop with local pros and using strava and realising just how fast some of these guys are riding. Seriously. I average ~20-25kmph on some of my segments that some guys are doing at 40+.
I'll admit, I ride a SS track Pista, but I've met guys who go pretty hard on singlespeed, I feel like it shouldn't be holding it back as much as it is.
How do I get good at going fast? Do I need some souped up road bike? Do I need to be super skinny or something? I just don't get how these guys are riding so damn fast so consistently... Some of my local cycling club members log 80kmph on relatively gentle declines. Shit is crazy.
Get Friels training bible, get a power meter, get Friels training with power book.
2 long slow rides a week, 2 intense fast shorter rides a week. Get in at least 10 hours a week. Stop giving a shit about average speed, strava segments, and miles logged. Start doing club rides and some racing.
Yup, this all sounds real as hell. Thanks for answering my dumb vague question, I was just cooking out because I'm shocked at what a bad cyclist I am after a lifetime of riding.
I've been doing 20km minimum daily since recovery but I think something as simple as breaking up distance rides and fast rides might be the medicine.
Thanks for the reality check.
The problem with "ride more" is people end up going extra slow to get in more miles, because "muh mileage."
I'd like to consider myself pretty fast.
I'll admit, 90% of my riding is "just riding" and I do a shit ton of miles.
But I never throttle myself just for the sake of getting more miles. If I'm going out for a 60 mile group ride I'm not afraid to smash it for 30 miles solo before the ride and then smash the 60 mile group ride.
That's the best way to get faster in my opinion. Pushing yourself.
Most people can get pretty fit, but they never learn to fucking kill themselves on the bike. On long rides they will be like "muh bonking" and slow down or quit. On hard ass group rides they will be like "I'm blowing up, fuck" and then just sit in or get dropped. Or they'll be like "I did 30 miles before this ride, I don't need to go hard."
Just like people who get dropped at the base of a 5 minute climb because "not a climber."
Not to mention when someone goes out and does a long ride before they're fit, it's challenging, 30 or 40 miles. But they never raise above doing 30 or 40 miles. That will keep you from gaining. You have to push yourself to go longer and harder regularly to get really fit.
Making shitty excuses to avoid killing yourself on your bike stops you from getting faster.
>I just don't get how these guys are riding so damn fast so consistently
The first and obvious answer is: They're not. I think people find ways to cheat wildly on Strava. Maybe 10% of them are for real, the rest are gaming the system.
The second answer is: The guys who are for real? It's gone past the point of just being 'fun riding a bike' anymore. To put it bluntly: To get road-race-fast, you have to suffer. It stops being fun and starts being work, being a job that you have to do. Anyone can 'just ride', and left to their own devices, the vast majority of people will *not* ride so hard that it's even uncomfortable, let alone *hurts*, for more than a minute or two at a time. In order to 'get really fast' you have to do intervals of anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes or more (depending on your level of development and the intent of the intervals you're doing) at an intensity that's just not going to be comfortable. A totally abstract 'motivation' like 'I want to be faster' (which is on a par with 'going to the gym' because you want to 'be healthier') isn't going to be enough to keep you at it for the year or two you'd need to begin to see some real results to the training. Also, this is not something you can do just on the weekends, you have to train all through the week and all through the year in some way or another if you want to see real results. Will you 'get faster' if you 'just ride', though? Yes, you will, but you won't get anywhere near 'road racer fast', you'll just get a little faster. The exception to all this is if you're one of those people with a naturally high VO2max (a way of measuring your potential endurance) who don't seem to need to train much to excel at an endurance sport like cycling, but you'd know if you were one of those and it sounds like you're not. Note that I'm not saying 'you can't do it, give up', I'm saying 'it's possible, but it'll take a level of effort you're likely to not want to sustain for months and years at a time'.
Thanks for the seriously excellent answer, I think you're right and this is definitely the way I should be looking at it.
I should probably mention that 'going fast' isn't necessarily my end game with cycling, It's a big part of my life and working up to some extreme touring (interstate, 700km+ tours etc) is really my biggest goal now that I'm trying to get more serious about it, it's just that i've started noticing how outrageously fast some pros are for the first time ever and it really boggled my mind.
As a side note, do you think there's much of an age window on when your formative years training to be a successful competitive cyclist? I know a lot of older dudes, 40, even 50+ who are very successful but they all started training to be that good before they were adults. Although I've done a lot of cycling I've never really 'trained' for it and was just curious as to what some educated/experience people have to say about this line of thought.
Once again, totally with you. I suppose as I mentioned above it's important to remember there's cycling for pleasure and then there's cycling to improve, where I guess the latter is something only a fraction of people actually do.
Thanks for the great posts guys.
No matter how fast you are at the start, if you ride more, your speed will slowly increase. You learn how your bike performs, your body becomes conditioned and you begin to ride more efficiently.
This is the thread I've been waiting for my entire lurking life. Can any serious road cyclists share briefly what their training regime is like? Hell I'll be fine with just adjectives describing each day. "Hard 60km, with a few sprints, etc etc."
To me, a good metric is your "cruising speed", which means the fastest speed you can keep "indefinitely" on a flat road in optimal conditions. The more you train, the more your "cruising speed" will improve. And you'll eventually reach a "cruising speed" of 40kph.
If you're gunna be touring.
Get your bike loaded up with 50 pounds of gear.
And get used to sitting on the bike for.
Remember there's a lot of disciplines in cycling and the training regiments to go with the specific bike discipline.
>No matter how fast you are at the start, if you ride more, your speed will slowly increase.
If you start off cycling after a few years of heavy squats, no amount of touring kilometres will increase your sprint speed.
Listen to this guy.
The gap we're talking about here doesn't have as much to do with the kind of training you're doing or your bike or hell, even the kind of sport you're doing. It's really about the mindset and the reasons why you're cycling in the first place. You could ask the same question about running or any other endurance sport, hell, all sports in general. I think there's three levels: The people do it for fun/staying in shape, the people who do it purely for competition/to show off (those are the ones with all the KOMs on strava) and then there's the serious hardcore athletes. Being one of the first two doesn't require much, being the third one requires a mindset and a motivation and drive that you either have or you don't. It's a fight against yourself first and foremost and it involves an insane amount of suffering, self discipline and time.
And you know what, being either of those three is fine, personally I just ride for fun and exercise but I don't have any obligations to become a "pro" and I think that's perfectly fine. You can easily reach an average of 30kph if you train a little more seriously and that's how fast I usually ride but 40km/h is a whole different game. If you were born the kind of person to achieve that, you wouldn't be posting on this board, you'd be out there right now mashing it until you puke, because it would come naturally to you.
But fuck it man, ride any way you want, the important thing is that you're riding. 25kph is totally fine if that feels good to you and you don't have shit to prove to anyone.
Over the years I've had several obsessions, I get obsessed all the fucking time and I guess in an existential way discovery and learning is all that gives my life purpose, but swimming, cycling, weight training and running have all come along, been an obsession and eventually been adopted into a more balanced lifestyle.
To do something just requires doing it. To get good at something requires consistent effort. To get really good at something requires consistent effort and the ability to harness either a growing or natural talent. To get exceptional usually requires some form of sacrifice, by stepping outside of your comfort zone as well as devoting time you'd rather spend elsewhere developing past the point of natural or casual ability. Sometimes this can be uncomfortable and not easy. Specialisation usually causes you to lose the ability to act as a generalist and you see this in everything around you.
Like if you want to be a fast cyclist you are going to sacrifice comfort, durability and low/average equipment cost for lower weight, greater aerodynamics and speed. You'll want to train sprints and work on your conditioning alongside your ability to pick a successful line.
You should also expect to sometimes take pleasure in the pain of feeling like your lungs are going to explode out of your body and your legs can't go on and you are really regretting that hill climb. But if you are wise enough to avoid injury and have a solid routine you can make great initial gains. The real battle starts when you get diminishing returns.
Like I used to squat 205kg which required my entire life to be structured around conditioning myself to squat heavier. My diet, rest, accessory exercises and training, even my fashion sense to some extent were all affected by my desire to squat heavier. I can't even say it made me a better/fitter/healthier person, all of it goes on hold for the personal satisfaction of hitting personal goals for whatever reasons motivate you.
I'd also like to add the equipment, the fine tuning of a generally healthy diet, the adoption of specific training protocols etc all come into play more as you reach physical limits and diminishing gains. There is very little point in the lightest steel aero bladed tapered spokes when you are still carrying around 20% body fat and a pocket full of change and have never really learnt what pushing yourself means.
Obviously there are grey areas and a minimum level to start off with though. I'll also say that the level of dedication required to get above average and stay there is very difficult to sustain unless you get something from it. Often while in that moment at times in my life I've felt like this is the real me and the only me and I will always do this, but life has a habit of expanding and making these habits obviously unsustainable.
Like now I cycle approx 15km to work and back 5 days a week except when the weather is really awful and I weight train 3-4 sessions a week in the 5x10 rep range and I swim maybe twice a month for pleasure and long term shoulder health and I NEVER do HIIT sprints and hill sprints because fuck off that is why.
Like I'm 6'2" and I've been 144lb before from running. I also used to cycle 20-30km a day plus 150km twice a week at least at 180lb. I also used to squat 205kg and deadlift 247kg at 215lb. I've put my body through some extremes due to my obsessions. I used to swim 100 lengths a day as well at one point.
A common training schedule for the week is
tues: tempo ride (for me this is about 2.5 hours 35miles/3500ft gain) keep heart rate 165-178
wed: 1 hour z1/z2 heart rate
thus: 2 hours of intervals/hill repeats- usually 45 minutes warming up then 5-6 climbs that take anywhere from 3 minutes to 20 minutes at either full gas or just below full gas
fri: 1 hour z1/z2
sat: 3 hours z2/z3 40 miles 2500ft climbing
sun: 3-5 hours z2 45-65 miles 2500-5000ft climbing
I have no power meter but my best guess is that I make good cat 4 power/mediocre cat 3 power (about 3.8w/kg)- this is after about a year of pretty decent hours on the bike. Speeds on fast rides with 1k of climbing per 10 miles are around 18mph solo, 22mph flattish.
I really think the most increases in speed came when I finally started doing long slow rides. Long slow rides at z2 hr are tedious, boring and you're constantly telling yourself in your head that you should be working harder and that you're wasting time going so slow, but if you have some discipline they do pay very good dividends. Theres a reason why pros will do 25 hours out of 30 hours a week in Z2.
Hello again, >>729387 here..
There are guys in their late twenties all the way up to their early 40's who decide to make the leap from purely recreational riding to road racing and many of them do great. Age doesn't have as much to do with it as once thought, it's more a matter of how inclined you are physically towards it, how motivated you are, and how willing you are to suffer through the training required to reach a level where you're competitive. Note I'm referring to road racing here; I'm speaking from that perspective because if they can do that then you should be able to do this. If what you're interested in is more about how far you can go at a steady pace than it is how fast you can do it, then there's no reason why not. There are people in their 60's and even 70's who do what you're talking about. Most people who work at it in a purposeful and thoughtful manner can improve their overall endurance and general fitness to that point. What's difficult is raising your ability to perform for long periods of time at higher intensities (tempo and above, and especially anaerobic endurance), which of course also includes being able to get up climbs quickly. Remember though that cycling is an endurance sport at it's core; it has 'power sport' aspects to it (out-climbing someone else, sprinting, etc) but it's all got it's foundations in aerobic endurance. See the attached pic; the points of the triangle are all basic abilities associated with cycling. If you're deficient in any of these three then your overall performance will suffer. Note that in this context, 'speed' refers to things like being able to turn the cranks efficiently at a range of cadences, e.g. if you 'clunk' at the bottom of a pedal stroke, you're not pedaling very efficiently, or if you can't pedal at at least 80rpm without bouncing in the saddle, again, your pedaling isn't very efficient and needs work (i.e. you're wasting power fighting yourself that could be going to the rear wheel).
>I'd also like to add the equipment, the fine tuning of a generally healthy diet, the adoption of specific training protocols etc all come into play more as you reach physical limits and diminishing gains. There is very little point in the lightest steel aero bladed tapered spokes when you are still carrying around 20% body fat and a pocket full of change and have never really learnt what pushing yourself means.
The way to summarize this in a few words is 'Upgrade the engine, not the bike'.
Only competitive riders at or nearing the top of their abilities need worry about shaving grams off the weight of the bike, or having the most aerodynamic bike, or the lightest and most aerodynamic equipment on themselves. These things will shave *seconds* off activities like long climbs or time trials, but for the majority of riders (especially non-competitive riders) it's just throwing money away.
5 days of riding a week
3 days of mileage in z2
2 days of tempo+threshold work (that is z3-4)
1 day of blowing up on the bike (ride til you die).
5 days a week
3 days tempo-threshold
2 days ride til ya die
I'd like to point out for the benefit of the rest of the people reading this thread, that if you're not training for competition and you haven't already been training for at least a couple seasons, trying to do a week of riding like this would probably damned near kill you, especially the Tuesday ride. Anyone not already highly conditioned attempting to keep their heart rate that high for 2.5 hours, assuming they somehow through sheer force of will managed it, would likely do some damage to themselves in the process.
Being "good at cycling," at least in a competitive sense, isn't really about average speed or whatever. Depending on the discipline, your goals are the following:
Time Trial - Suffer more for longer than anyone else (this is the only discipline in which a better average speed matters)
Road -- suffer more at the correct times, reserve energy for these moments
CX: suffer most, cause others to suffer more than they desire until they give up
MTB -- live on the edge of suffering, just a touch under disastrous collar-bone-shattering suffering
Track -- suffer smart
touring/endurance racing -- suffer for days, weeks, or months
bmx -- break things
if you're not training for competition, don't train.
The times are relative to the event. That's why pros ride for 8 hrs in z2 and kill themselves for 1 hour of it. It matches their targets, i.e. grand tours or 1 days.
>Can any serious road cyclists share briefly what their training regime is like?
Oh boy, you're really opening a can of worms with a question like that because there are several different schools of thought on the subject and people tend to get very upset and indignant when someone suggests that any way other than Their Way could possibly be effective.
The only method I can personally vouch for is 'periodized training', and rather than spend several posts trying to describe it, I recommend you go to a book store and find a copy of "The Cyclists Training Bible", and sit there and skim through some of it until you get an idea of how this sort of training works. I will say that it's not just 'do this for a few weeks and you're ready for Le Tour', it's a year-round process with lots of structure to it that requires some real personal discipline and dedication to make it work. It can be fun (if you've got the right personality and attitude) but it's also work and is sometimes very much not fun. Whether it's worth it to you or not to do is entirely your decision.
You're assuming you know what those heart rates feel like. Heart rate is very individual and is not very comparable. 165-178 might be tempo for one person and be above threshold for another. I don't notice an uptick in breathing until about 150bpm. There is plenty of rest in that week, with one day off and two recovery days (wed/fri.
That's all well and good, but you're obviously been doing training of some sort of some time now, the average rider on /n/ 'just rides', doesn't know what goes into a training program, and more to the point doesn't understand that training programs are individualized, so if they're averaging 15mph right now and tried your 'schedule' you posted, they'd fucking kill themselves trying to do it.
You don't know what 165-178 heart rate feels like to the individual. What you feel at 165-178 is different than what someone else feels if they have different HR zones/max HR. Maybe your max HR is 180 so 165-178 would feel very hard, to someone with a max HR of 200 165-178 feels much less intense. Riding at tempo for 2.5 hours is taxing but not super hard.
my 30 minute HR test was 188
tempo is 169-177 with this calculator
not my problem ur a fuckin pussy that can't do a 2.5 hour tempo ride
most people who ride bikes can do one of those a week
>not my problem ur a fuckin pussy that can't do a 2.5 hour tempo ride
>most people who ride bikes can do one of those a week
..and with those two sentences you just blew any credibility you might have had with me or with anyone with at least two working brain cells. Gotta hand it to you, you almost had me convinced you were legit there for a few minutes, but then you blew it.
you prolly have your bike fit wrong, 0,5cm not optimal seat height can reduce your power per calorie output more than 20% etc..
second thing is that you prolly train too hard, try lower your riding heart rate for few months at least
People who average 40+ for more than a really short ride (i.e. like 10 minutes) are pro racers.
Strong riders average more like 30. Just keep riding and ride with a good cadence (gear ratio not too high or too low) and pace yourself and push yourself. And take good care of yourself in general, live a healthy lifestyle. Get enough rest and water before rides. Keep going and you'll get there, it takes a lot of dedication to be a strong cyclist. You can't just go out and ride two hours once or twice a week, you have to go out and ride a lot if you want to be a strong cyclist.
No, you dumb shit. What you said is equivalent to saying supra-maximal effort might be hard for you, but others may find it easy. Tempo fits the earlier description by definition.
Protip: what you described is not racing.
Your post makes no sense. Please state your units.
these kind of posts make no sense. Pros don't go on 10 minute rides at 40km/h. Saying a certain level of rider does X speed makes no sense because terrain varies so much and you ride at a different ride pace for different parts of training.
A tempo ride is a fast-ish ride where you are working fairly hard, your breathing is noticeable but its not killing yourself and huffing like crazy. It's a hard pace that you can sustain for a 1-4 hours. Basically the 'fun' ride where you get to ring it out a bit but your not coming close to redlining at any point.
Rephrasing his post
>People who average 40km/h for a sustained duration are likely advanced riders
>Basically only PROs are able to do 40km/h for more than about 10 minutes
I don't really agree with that exactly, if I was hammering solo I could probably average 38-40km/h for a good 1:30.
A top level PRO could do 40km/h for quite a while, and at a much lower exertion level than me.
40k/hr is only about 25mph
I can do 30mph for 10 minutes, I could probably hold 25mph on flat ground for an hour or two and I'm not very fast compared to the thousands and thousands of riders with cat 1/domestic pro power.
Bradley Wiggins just won the UCI World Championship TT race at an average of just over 31mph for 56 minutes.
Pros can do more like 27mph solo for hours on hard training rides on flat ground and around 22mph on hard training rides with a lot of climbing.
TdF averages under 30mph on the flattest stages with less than 3,000ft over 100+miles with 10+ riders working together to keep the pace up. It's really unlikely someone with an ftp of under 600 could average 27mph for hours solo, even on flat. An hour, maybe 2, for top level TTers.
27mph on flat ground takes roughly 350w
Thats pretty much tempo power for classics guys like Cancellara, Boonen, Terpstra.
Cancellara averaged 285w for 6.5 hours in the 2010 Tour of Flanders@25mph ave, average HR 145 with a max of 190, I think those dudes would be able to do 27mph for at least 2 hours.
>A tempo ride is a fast-ish ride..
You sure you're not including warmup time and cooldown time in that 2.5 hours? "Cyclists Training Bible" talks about Tempo rides up to 90 minutes, but not any 150 minutes.`
>40k/hr is only about 25mph
>I can do 30mph for 10 minutes, I could probably hold 25mph on flat ground for an hour or two
The first statement is implied by the second: why did you feel the need to state it explicitly?
>Bradley Wiggins just won the UCI World Championship TT race at an average of just over 31mph for 56 minutes.
He actually went over a thousand times faster than that.
>Pros can do more like 27mph solo for hours on hard training rides on flat ground and around 22mph on hard training rides with a lot of climbing.
I've never known a pro cyclist of any discipline to be so accomplished. Chris Hoy and other trackies are pretty good, but even they would struggle to go for ten minutes.
>TdF averages under 30mph
It's misleading to take data points from stages featuring rider protests. Those stages were nullified anyway.
>Mixing unit systems
>It's really unlikely someone with an ftp of under 600 could average 27mph for hours solo
Endurance in that kind of speed is a function of balance and coordination, rather than power. '600' is not a measurement of power in any case.
>An hour, maybe 2, for top level TTers
Top level athletes don't have the time to waste with exploring such distractions as speed in the 20 m/h range.
Motorpacing is used to achieve higher speeds, not low ones.
>27mph on flat ground takes roughly 350w
>No space between the quantity and the unit symbol
>Meaningless unit symbol
Please try again.
That can't be true. Even the slowest stage of this year's tour was about a thousand times faster than that.
dud ur really fuckin butthurt that you have laughable fitness that you can't tempo for a couple hours. instead of bein such a little bitch why don't you go out on a bike and do some work instead of bitching about how if you can't ride tempo for 2.5 hours no one can.