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  1. #1
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    How do I set a realistic performance increase goal?

    As the title mentions I am trying to set a realistic goal for my cycling. I just turned 40 in october and suffering from a mini mid life crisis I decided to get back into cycling. Growing up and in my twenties i was a recreational rider and even worked as a bike courier for a year or so riding everyday for work and on the weekend for fun.

    After a 20 year hiatus I picked up a new road bike and starting riding a few times a week. On my 40th birthday I road a 36 mile 10,000 ft elevation gain ride. It is the same course for a race called "the ride to the sun" on Maui. I think the record is 2:47. My time was 5:03.

    I would like to set a realistic goal for the race next year in aug. I am planning to train as much as needed. I would like to take an our off my time. or about 20% faster. Do you think that is a realistic goal?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauiguy View Post
    As the title mentions I am trying to set a realistic goal for my cycling. I just turned 40 in october and suffering from a mini mid life crisis I decided to get back into cycling. Growing up and in my twenties i was a recreational rider and even worked as a bike courier for a year or so riding everyday for work and on the weekend for fun.

    After a 20 year hiatus I picked up a new road bike and starting riding a few times a week. On my 40th birthday I road a 36 mile 10,000 ft elevation gain ride. It is the same course for a race called "the ride to the sun" on Maui. I think the record is 2:47. My time was 5:03.

    I would like to set a realistic goal for the race next year in aug. I am planning to train as much as needed. I would like to take an our off my time. or about 20% faster. Do you think that is a realistic goal?
    20% faster on a solid hill will require about 22% higher power to weight ratio. On the flats it will require LOT more absolute power, like 60% more, or a big reduction is resistance forces (such as getting more draft/wind protection from others).

    Whether or not that is realistic for you, depends on many things.

    What I would suggest is to focus on the process of improvement, and the performance will be what it is.

    Everyone responds at different rates to training, so it's always hard to say. As well as how well you train and how hard you are prepared to work at it.

    I have seen threshold power improvements from 10% to 50% in a season. Trained riders of course will get less, and a 10% seasonal variance for racing cyclists is about normal. The under-trained can improve much more if they work at it.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the input this course is 99% uphill at a fairly steady grade. When I did my 5:03 time I had only been back on the bike for a few months and not really training. I am prepared to put in the time and effort it will take. I do have a family and work full time but my wife is suportive and I can train all year round in Hawaii. Now i have to figure out a training plan...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauiguy View Post
    Thanks for the input this course is 99% uphill at a fairly steady grade. When I did my 5:03 time I had only been back on the bike for a few months and not really training. I am prepared to put in the time and effort it will take. I do have a family and work full time but my wife is suportive and I can train all year round in Hawaii. Now i have to figure out a training plan...
    If you want help with coaching and getting training (and other stuff) right, can always drop us a line. We have many fine coaches available to help out.

  5. #5
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    The amount of improvement you can make really depends on just how untrained you were back in August, how much weight you can stand to lose, and how dedicated you are about training for next year. You rode for 5 hours so your engine is at least pretty darn good compared to an untrained person off the couch, but improving it by 20% is by no means unheard of either. And of course, if you can lose weight that will help even more.

  6. #6
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    how did the first ride look like? did you make any stops? how did you hydrate/fuel? how much gear did you carry? did you have support etc?

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    That kind of improvement is very difficult, but for someone just starting - not too unrealistic. The biggest challenge will be to find the time required to incorporate the training and maintaining the dedication required for the training load.

    Because this is an uphill course, the goal is to improve power to weight. If you have any weight to lose, it is definitely helpful, but if you are reasonably fit, you may be forced to look solely at the power side of things.

    Because your event is very much a slowtwitch muscle fibre event, focus on raising your FTP as best you can. This is what determines how hard you can go over long periods of time. Improving this by 20% is certainly do-able early on.

    Additionally, you will be able to learn how to dig yourself into a hole - so to speak - fairly early on. Coming from an untrained background you may not realize how deep you can dig your body into before it gives out. Learning to do this will vastly improve your time as you may have raced up at 65% of your FTP, but for that distance you certainly could have pushed yourself to 75-80%.

    Looking into a coach or some kind of performance management service is a great option, as well as a heart rate monitor or power meter to gauge your body's reaction to training loads.

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    Thanks for all the responses I'll try and answer the questions you all asked (did I just type you all?!?)

    I'm 5'10 and 162 pounds. at the time of the ride I was probably 167 and had only been riding casually for a couple months.

    I did have a support vehicle giving me water bottles/ Heed and gell's. I also took some endurolytes every time i stopped and some ibuprofen. I stopped for three minutes once then tried to keep the stops as short as possible. I think I may have had to stop for 30 sec to stretch my back a couple of times. I didn't carry any extra gear save for two tubes tire irons and co2's. I started really early to avoid the heat but did suffer from some extreme winds from 7500- to 10000

    this is a link for my Garmin data I think it should work:

    40 birthday ride by mauiguy99 at Garmin Connect - Details


    What is FTP? How much would I have to spend on a coach per month? Do I need a power meter or can hart rate data sufice?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauiguy View Post
    What is FTP?
    The power output you can maximally sustain for about an hour.

    Quote Originally Posted by mauiguy View Post
    How much would I have to spend on a coach per month?
    Anywhere from nothing to thousands, depending on what level of service you are after.
    Our coaching packages range from ~$160-700/month.
    I'm sure there are others that are cheaper.

    I do distinguish between working with a coach, and getting a training plan with limited or no monitoring/communication. The latter is cheaper.

    Quote Originally Posted by mauiguy View Post
    Do I need a power meter or can hart rate data sufice?
    Neither is necessary to train, but either will provide helpful guidance while training, where the most important thing is intensity of effort, which you can do by feel, HR or power.

    The power meter is superior in many other respects though as a means to track actual performance and workload (amongst other things it enables). For instance, power output is the only objective measure of fitness on the bike.

    If working with a coach, having power means you both have objectivity in progression but it is not necessary to train well. It does make it easier though to know you are training well.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ghost234 View Post
    Additionally, you will be able to learn how to dig yourself into a hole - so to speak - fairly early on. Coming from an untrained background you may not realize how deep you can dig your body into before it gives out. Learning to do this will vastly improve your time as you may have raced up at 65% of your FTP, but for that distance you certainly could have pushed yourself to 75-80%.

    ^^^^^^^This part is a big deal. The positive mental aspects of training are often overlooked. As you train, and move into intense efforts, you will also be training your mind and learning to suffer and hurt but keep up the effort. You've got a lot more in you than you think and learning to tap that physical potential is a big part of improving as an endurance athlete. If you were not accustomed to tough efforts when you did the ride this first time, I'll bet with a year of quality training you will shave an hour off your time. It is probably a reasonable goal.

  11. #11
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    impressive stuff... unfortunately it seems to me that taking 1h off is a pretty aggressive goal given that you seem to have picked up all the low hanging fruit (start early to avoid heat, hydrate and fuel properly; have support to bring carry your stuff etc)... and the fact you were running ~175 HR most of the way...That being said that is probably the best thing you can do to give your training great purpose and direction.

  12. #12
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    Doing that in 5 hours is about 162w average @ 167 lbs. Doing it in 4 hours would require an output of 210 watts average. That's a big jump. But 210w for 4 hours is not that hard for someone who is a lean fit trained 162 lbs. If you're average or better in capabilities and train well you could do it. Doing it next year vs two or three years from now depends on how dedicated you are to training.

    BTW it's only 204 watts if you're 162 lbs instead of 167. Obviously losing fat will help a lot.

    (I used the calculator at kreuzotter.de/english)

  13. #13
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    Of course, once you have a training program of some sort that you've applied yourself to for a little while, you'll want to periodically re-test yourself on the climb. Did you shave 5 min./10 min./15 min. off your previous time? If so, now you're on your way to your goal. Judging by how much you reduced your time, you could extrapolate out to race day and see if you stand a chance of meeting your goal given the time you still have left to train. If you hit a wall or you're not improving fast enough, you may want to look into a coach/power meter/change up your training program.
    Just a thought...good luck!

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    some thoughts

    seems very obtainable with your attitude and committment to train enough.

    agree on whats been said about training with power. you can find good, used power tap wheels on ebay for around $500. you should be able to increase your power enough to get you there. be sure to incorporate box jumps and squats to build up strength over the winter.

    before you put on too many miles, get a comprehensive fit done. A good fit on the bike is very important and usually includes a spin scan on a computrainer. This will show you how even your legs are applying power to the pedals and at what part of the stroke you might need more work.

    many racers have a set of racing wheels. in your case, buying a set of light weight, climbing specific wheels like the tubular Zipp 202. if you can not afford another set of wheels, ultra light tires and tubes are the best bang for the buck.

    experiment with different cassettes to find where you spin most efficiently.

    enjoy the process of making yourself faster on the bike! update the thread with progress.

  15. #15
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    Getting your fit nailed down is probably more important than people might think. If you're going to invest the hours, your knees, back, hind end, feet, etc. will thank you. I finally broke down and got my fit tweaked due to some knee pain which was the result of a considerable leg length discrepancy.

    Finding the right saddle is a little more trial and error, but so damn important.

  16. #16
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    I read once a long time ago that you can only improve your aerobic capacity by about 20% with training; most of what you can do is genetically predetermined. Can anyone comment on that?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmak View Post
    I read once a long time ago that you can only improve your aerobic capacity by about 20% with training; most of what you can do is genetically predetermined. Can anyone comment on that?
    I don't know what that means. If that refers to FTP, that's nonsense--an untrained person might see that kind of growth in a month with targeted work. If it's VO2, that sounds more plausible but I don't know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hrumpole View Post
    I don't know what that means. If that refers to FTP, that's nonsense--an untrained person might see that kind of growth in a month with targeted work. If it's VO2, that sounds more plausible but I don't know.
    I believe it was VO2.

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    a little update. It's been 4 months and I have been riding approx 10 hours or so a week, some more some less. My weight has dropped to 155-158 and yes I have got faster. While I havn't timed myself up the whole climb I have done large chunks of it at a 4 hour pace. I managed the last, and hardest 80% from 2000 to 10,000 at an average pace of 8.9 miles an hour which puts me right on schedule.

  20. #20
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    congratulations. keep up the good work.
    My cycle tour blog; raymoorerides.blogspot.com

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    I did a run up the crater yesterday and managed to come in under 4 hours! I'm really happy to have achieved my goal and I still have 4 months to get even faster before the race. Lots of long rides and investing in a coach for the last month really helped. Under the advice of my coach I went easy for the first 2/3rds of the climb. After grabbing 2 more water bottles I pushed hard for the last 1/3rd. My hart rate was pretty much pegged at 180 to 185 for the last hour. My wattage was down but the perceived exertion was high. I should have had some more gells. Here is a link for the garmin file if you are interested:

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/170435201

    I did loose about 10 lbs and am now at 152. last month after a 20 min test I had a FTP of 253 and a WPK of approx 3.62. I aslo picked up a Tarmac SL3 with some fairly light wheels which wieged right at 15 lbs without watter bottles or seat bag.
    Last edited by mauiguy; 04-22-2012 at 09:45 PM.

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