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  1. #1
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    Training for a 28mile race.

    I am going to sign up and do a 28mile race on April 2nd, so i have about 5 months to get ready for it.

    I am currently working on a base training program from training peaks, should I push this out until im a little closer to the race and just ride normal for the next few months?

    Any input would be great.

  2. #2
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    Find a group and join in. If you're hanging okay in that group after a few weeks or couple of months, try to find a faster one. Group rides, especially with better riders, are probably the single most important thing you can do to prepare for a race.

    Every ride you do is going to be building up a "base". None of that will likely help you do much in a race at this point (takes a bit longer than 5 months to build proper race fitness). Learning how to ride effectively and efficiently in a group, however, will pay much, much bigger dividends, and allow you to possibly survive efforts that would otherwise leave you reeling on the side of the road.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by pedalbiker View Post
    Find a group and join in. If you're hanging okay in that group after a few weeks or couple of months, try to find a faster one. Group rides, especially with better riders, are probably the single most important thing you can do to prepare for a race.

    Every ride you do is going to be building up a "base". None of that will likely help you do much in a race at this point (takes a bit longer than 5 months to build proper race fitness). Learning how to ride effectively and efficiently in a group, however, will pay much, much bigger dividends, and allow you to possibly survive efforts that would otherwise leave you reeling on the side of the road.
    Yeah, i didnt plan on the 5 months of "training" putting me at the front. Haha. But more just trying to make the best of the situation and build on it for next time. Thanks for the advice!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickGroves View Post
    Yeah, i didnt plan on the 5 months of "training" putting me at the front. Haha. But more just trying to make the best of the situation and build on it for next time. Thanks for the advice!
    I wouldn't limit yourself. If you want to get in there and help "make the race" and see where the chips fall at the end, definitely set that as a goal. One of the hard parts of racing is just the inexperience of really digging in and holding on and knowing that everyone else is also hurting and it will ease up at some point. It's usually the surges that catch people most off guard, especially at the start of a race. It's just going to go so hard and people will wonder how on earth they can hold on for the full distance... but it will ease up. It's just a matter of hiding in the pack/draft as much as possible until it eases up and then recovering.

    Being efficient in the pack, moving up out of the wind, taking corners, etc., are so much more important than fitness on its own. I've seen elite triathletes awesome mountain bikers get blown out the back of cat 3/4 fields just because they couldn't handle that pack dynamic and were wasting efforts at all the wrong times. If it were simply a time trial, they'd probably blow the doors off most the field.

    Every ride and every race are learning situations. They're not all going to well, and in fact may go terribly initially and at random times in the future, but hopefully there's something to be gained from it all. It's just a matter of accepting it and searching it out. Everyone gets dropped and everyone has bad days. It's getting back out there the next day and applying whatever lessons you've learned that separate the successful from the unsuccessful.

    And it's about having fun. Because racing can be totally intoxicating. It can be agonizingly cruel, too, but those cruel episodes make the good stuff that much more euphoric.

  5. #5
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    I am kind of curious about a 28 mile race and 5 months not being enough to prepare.

    I am not a racer and have no interest in it and I have always been a mountain biker, who rides road with his wife, as she kind of hung up her MTB the last 2 years and just wants to ride road..

    We do a lot of large charity rides and we can hang pretty good in those for what they are. If I am training for a specific event, I would think 5 months would be plenty of time.

    All that being said, I have never done a structured road training program until now and we are just doing a 20 week winter base and strength program from TP. I would think that neither my wife or I would have trouble preparing for a 28 mile race, outside of race "techniques", in a 5 month period. You could pretty much go all out on a ride of this distance and getting in the ride group would be of most benefit.

    Is the OP a new rider?

    I am sorry if this sounds disrespectful, that is not my intent, I am just curious.

    We both have always been competitive athletes and have ridden bikes forever but mainly MTBs so maybe that could make a difference in how I am looking at this. I was also a CAT 2 on MTB in my younger years but now I am old and likely drink way to many IPAs

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParadigmDawg View Post
    I am kind of curious about a 28 mile race and 5 months not being enough to prepare.

    I am not a racer and have no interest in it and I have always been a mountain biker, who rides road with his wife, as she kind of hung up her MTB the last 2 years and just wants to ride road..

    We do a lot of large charity rides and we can hang pretty good in those for what they are. If I am training for a specific event, I would think 5 months would be plenty of time.
    Right. But charity rides are not races and road races are 100% different than mtn. bike

    Maybe the op will be riding off the front with 5 months of specific training. There are always outliers. But that would be an outlier, for sure. Many people ride months and even years and still get destroyed in their first few races simply because a race is unlike any other ride that you do. When it's hard, it's really hard and people don't sit up and wait for you at the tops of hills.

    In regards to fitness, it can get pretty specific unless you're just head and shoulders above everyone else. Maybe you're strong enough to survive the surges and be in there at the end (no small feat), but to get a result, you then have to go harder (and probably longer) in the last couple of minutes than you have all race. And you have to do that while holding a position and negotiating turns and other riders. It can be a potent combination when you're actually going for a result.

    And to reiterate, it's not always because they don't have the fitness to hang, it's about not knowing how to effectively and efficiently use the fitness they do have. It's a big learning curve. You go 30 seconds too early at the end of the race and that can be the difference between a top 3 and a top 30. And that's just something you have to experience and learn. We all do it. Makes for fun stories in the parking lot.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParadigmDawg View Post
    I am kind of curious about a 28 mile race and 5 months not being enough to prepare.

    I am not a racer and have no interest in it and I have always been a mountain biker, who rides road with his wife, as she kind of hung up her MTB the last 2 years and just wants to ride road..

    We do a lot of large charity rides and we can hang pretty good in those for what they are. If I am training for a specific event, I would think 5 months would be plenty of time.

    All that being said, I have never done a structured road training program until now and we are just doing a 20 week winter base and strength program from TP. I would think that neither my wife or I would have trouble preparing for a 28 mile race, outside of race "techniques", in a 5 month period. You could pretty much go all out on a ride of this distance and getting in the ride group would be of most benefit.

    Is the OP a new rider?

    I am sorry if this sounds disrespectful, that is not my intent, I am just curious.

    We both have always been competitive athletes and have ridden bikes forever but mainly MTBs so maybe that could make a difference in how I am looking at this. I was also a CAT 2 on MTB in my younger years but now I am old and likely drink way to many IPAs
    Nope. Not if that event is a road race. The only real way to be ready is to do some road racing. It is such a different beast than any other type of riding. Group rides will certainly help, but since they tend to lack the "dog eat dog" element, you still won't be fully prepared.

    That's not to say that the OP can't be ready for a 28 mile fast ride in five months. But if he is like most in their first few races, it'll be a huge slap in the face and he'll be riding much of that 28 miles alone and many minutes behind the winner.

    To be fully prepared, you need to have excellent pack skills, be very assertive, have above average fitness and the ability to withstand severe pain for much longer than you would prefer. Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to find these conditions anywhere but in a race.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickGroves View Post
    I am going to sign up and do a 28mile race on April 2nd, so i have about 5 months to get ready for it.

    I am currently working on a base training program from training peaks, should I push this out until im a little closer to the race and just ride normal for the next few months?

    Any input would be great.
    I will second the advice of pedalbiker. Pack riding skills and surges are probably what get most in their first few races. What is your riding history? How many years, how many hours per week currently? Any previous racing?

  9. #9
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    It really depends where you are now. For example, I know for me and a lot of guys on this forum who ride hard all summer the best thing to do right now for a race in April would probably be to stop cycling for a few weeks if not longer to re-charge. From the tone of your comments I'm guessing that's not the case with you but we don't know.
    If you're completely starting from scratch I'd suggest targeting another race later in the year unless you're just a natural. There's no shame in getting smoked but you want to start the right way too and cramming a years worth of training into a few months will backfire in the long term.

  10. #10
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    Well, ive only been cycling for about 3 months (road bike for about 1 month) i am working towards loosing some weight (currenty 220ish depending on the day). While im still new to the whole thing, i feel like im capable of pushing myself and holding a higher heart rate for long periods of time. Here are a couple of my pack rides. Not a ton of climbing, but i am trying to add more into my roding. (Pretty flat in my area.)

    Training for a 28mile race.-screenshot_2015-10-17-14-01-32.jpg

    Training for a 28mile race.-screenshot_2015-09-22-19-31-33.jpg

  11. #11
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    28 miles is a long way to ride on your own..... Why 28 miles? Why not a shorter race?
    If this is a real race... Reality check... your going to get smoked. They are going to warm up @ 20mph.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    28 miles is a long way to ride on your own..... Why 28 miles? Why not a shorter race?
    If this is a real race... Reality check... your going to get smoked. They are going to warm up @ 20mph.
    I guess there always has to be that one negative Nancy.. i must have missed in my post where i said i was expecting to be up front banging it out for the win. Im a realistic person and understand what will probably happen. Will i give it hell? Hell yeah! Fastest guy finished the 28 miles in 1:15 (overall and not sure about classes).

    The race is ether 28 miles, or 70 miles... so i guess the 28 miles will do.
    Last edited by NickGroves; 10-17-2015 at 03:14 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    28 miles is a long way to ride on your own..... Why 28 miles? Why not a shorter race?
    If this is a real race... Reality check... your going to get smoked. They are going to warm up @ 20mph.
    I don't know about that. I won my first ever race and if I remember correctly I'd never done 33 miles at 21.2 prior to the race like this guy. Granted it's pretty hilly where I ride so it's hard to compare but.....

  14. #14
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    Ok. You may be able to hang with them. Is this the state champ race? Who is in the race? Tell us about the course, where are the hills, what is the elev change.

    I would do a high speed tempo with a lot of sprints one day a week, maybe 20 miles or so. Then the rest just do Z2 for some really long rides, as much as you can.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickGroves View Post
    Well, ive only been cycling for about 3 months (road bike for about 1 month) i am working towards loosing some weight (currenty 220ish depending on the day). While im still new to the whole thing, i feel like im capable of pushing myself and holding a higher heart rate for long periods of time. Here are a couple of my pack rides. Not a ton of climbing, but i am trying to add more into my roding. (Pretty flat in my area.)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Since you have only been riding for a short period, there are other things to consider. The number of hours required to be a successful racer are pretty high, and racer types tend to be highly motivated. This is a recipe for overtraining and burnout. If you "target" this race (and presumably others next spring) and start a structured workout schedule, you may find that your body is not prepared for the workload. But, being a new and highly motivated rider, it is actually very easy to ignore your body and push through until you reach an overtrained state (been there myself). And the overtrained state is closer than most think for newer riders.

    I'm not suggesting that you don't race (in fact I think you should, it's tons of fun), but maybe don't start w too much structure at this point. I'm a firm believer that new riders should just ride and ignore their HR monitors and power meters for 6-12 months. New riders make huge improvements in the first year just by riding around consistently and the chances of burnout with this approach are much less.

    The other thing to consider are you pack riding skills. At only six months of riding, which is where you will be at race time, some are ok in a pack, but many are not. Talk to the more experienced riders on your group rides (especially those who race a lot) for tips and feedback. They'll let you know where you stand at this point. You won't be very popular at the race if your skills aren't up to snuff or you cause a crash.

    Having said all that, go out and race, be open to learning and have fun. The chips will fall where they fall.

    Cheers
    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickGroves View Post
    I guess there always has to be that one negative Nancy.. i must have missed in my post where i said i was expecting to be up front banging it out for the win. Im a realistic person and understand what will probably happen. Will i give it hell? Hell yeah! Fastest guy finished the 28 miles in 1:15 (overall and not sure about classes).

    The race is ether 28 miles, or 70 miles... so i guess the 28 miles will do.
    That doesn't sound like a "race", more like a "ride". Is this the event? El Tour de Mesa. The fastest 28 mile finisher averaged 22.5 mph (which is kind of slow for an actual race). But the last few riders did 9 mph. You'll be able to find some riders that are riding at your pace, either fast or slow. It should be fun. Then, next year, try the longer distance event rides.

    You'll probably find that the 28 miles goes by faster than you expect. It's partly due to the motivation to keep up with the others, and partly the conversation with the others.

    Group Rides
    I really like group rides for my weekly riding. A group that's just a little too fast for me is great motivation. On the other hand, I don't like to be "that guy" that the group needs to wait for. Start with an easy paced group, and see how you do there. Then move up to faster groups later.

    I want to be able to keep up, so it's good motivation to ride regularly every week. On my own, I tend to put off a ride until later or skip them.

    You can get comfortable riding with other riders, which will help on these big event rides.

    Racing
    Races attract strong riders that do serious training. From a "new to racing" thread on another forum:

    1. Find some group rides, fast group rides. Sit in the back.
    2. Don't get discouraged if/when you get dropped from those group rides.
    3. Go back the following week and do the fast group ride again.
    4. If you're dropped a 2nd time, repeat steps 2 & 3
    5. Once you're comfortable with the group and pace (and vice versa), take some pulls.
    6. Once you're comfortable taking pulls, try some attacks (if it's that kind of group ride).
    7. Once you're comfortable with steps 5 & 6, it's time to enter a race.
    8. At your first race, repeat steps 1-6, but substitute 'race' for 'group ride'.
    Last edited by rm -rf; 10-18-2015 at 05:42 AM.

  17. #17
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    Yep, I didn't realize we were talking about 5 months for an inexperienced racer/rider.

    I agree, do the race but use it as a motivator to train hard and reach your own goals. Don't burn yourself out with overtraining. This is supposed to be fun(I keep telling myself that a lot lately...lol)

  18. #18
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    The tour de Mesa is a ride, not a race. A race is much faster and far more intense.

    Since you're a beginner you don't need to do structured training. Anything you do on the bike will result in an improvement. Save the structured training for later when just riding around isn't enough. Doing it as a beginner is a good way to make yourself hate cycling.

    Go out and have fun on the bike. All you need for the ride is to be comfortable riding the distance. Being comfortable riding among other cyclists and in pace lines would be a bonus.

  19. #19
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    Ride lots.
    Ride all sorts of terrain at all sorts of intensities. Do long rides. Do short rides. Do intervals. Ride easy. Lose weight. Eat well.

    Don't base your riding around this one event, because the chances of being discouraged are too great. A fast group, a flat tire, a bad day... it doesn't take much for everything to go south and for you to lose motivation for the future. Rather, use the event as a waypoint towards a bigger goal. Longer rides. Racing. A century. Healthier living. Whatever.

    Enjoy riding the bike. Enjoy the hard efforts that make you want to puke, but take time to notice stuff when you're out there too.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    The tour de Mesa is a ride, not a race. A race is much faster and far more intense.
    .
    Well then, the hardest part will be avoiding all the people who don't have a clue how to ride in a group.

    Honestly large group rides are a blast as you usually have great traffic control and great rest stops. You can try to hammer with the Paceline which is similar to racing if the group is large enough. We will have 40-50 people start on the paceline and it gets pretty nasty. I would say our average event has ~3,000 riders in total and our Hotter n Hell has 15,000.

    Or you can just do your own ride but maybe find a group just a little faster than you, ask if you can ride with them and you will likely meet new friends plus set a personal record for 28 miles.

  21. #21
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    I haven't seen the OP post what type of race he is planning on doing. He could be doing a CAT 5 USAC road race that is 25 mile but not a 73 mile option. That makes me think that it is more of a timed grand fondo type ride.

    If it is a grand fondo type ride, then my advice would be to do a lot of group rides. Find people and expect to get dropped in the beginning. It will help you to learn how a group moves together and feel how a group can surge. Plan on hanging on as long as you can and always trying to catch up. Find a group with an out and back type route so that if you get dropped you can turn around earlier and then get back into the pack and push yourself again.

    If it is a USAC CAT 5 race then: When I started racing I could average 22mph on a solo ride and got dropped from my first three races. The best thing that I did was started going to practice races during the week. You can push yourself hard, get dropped, catch back on, and talk to people.

    A few tips for a first race (once again if it is an actual race not a grand fondo): 1. Do not take a saddle bag. 2. Do not carry a frame pump, they can be dangerous to other rides it they come off during a race. 3. Don't expect people to share the workload of the group. If you go to the front, don't expect someone to come around and let you recover in the group. Expect someone to attack you if you sit in the wind to long. 4. Have lots of fun. You will have a big surge of adrenaline at the start but try to remain calm and sit in the group to get a feel for things. 6. Remember to drink while you are riding. The first few races when you are all excited and nervous you can forget to drink regularly. Find a place where it is safe to drink on the course (nice flat spot or long consistent grade) and take at least one drink every 10-15 minutes. Do not plan on drinking immediately after a turn or on a long hill because the pack will likely surge in those places and you will either get dropped holding your water bottle or have to ditch the water to sprint up and pay for not having water later.

    Good luck at your event and remember to have fun.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    The tour de Mesa is a ride, not a race. A race is much faster and far more intense.

    Since you're a beginner you don't need to do structured training. Anything you do on the bike will result in an improvement. Save the structured training for later when just riding around isn't enough. Doing it as a beginner is a good way to make yourself hate cycling.

    Go out and have fun on the bike. All you need for the ride is to be comfortable riding the distance. Being comfortable riding among other cyclists and in pace lines would be a bonus.
    I was under the impression it was more of a race, like tour de scottsdale, but being my first time looking at it, i could have read it wrong. Do you live in the valley?

  23. #23
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    Thank you guys for your input. I will just ride and enjoy the bike and pick up on as many weekend group rides as i can!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickGroves View Post
    I was under the impression it was more of a race, like tour de scottsdale, but being my first time looking at it, i could have read it wrong. Do you live in the valley?
    The Tour de Scottsdale is not a race, it is a ride.
    The Tour of Colorado & Tour of CA is a race. BIG difference.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    The Tour de Scottsdale is not a race, it is a ride.
    The Tour of Colorado & Tour of CA is a race. BIG difference.
    Huh, then why the timing system if its not a race?

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