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    Bicycle Training Plans

    How will the Altitude in Medellin Colombia Affect my Cycling

    In today's blog, I want to talk a little bit about how the elevation in Medellin Colombia will affect your performance on the bicycle.

    First of all, it will impact you if you haven't been living over 2000 feet for a period of time before. There is no question and you will not be immune to the reduction in oxygen. The degree to which it impacts you and what symptoms you have will depend on your personal body chemistry. Here are some of the Negetive Effects of altitude on the body:

    1. Your Vo2 Max will drop 7% for every 1000 meters of elevation. 
    2. Headaches prior to acclimitization
    3. Reduced power output

    Some of the positive effects of living and/or training at altitude are:

    1. Increased efficiency of the use of oxygen by the muscles
    2. Increased red blood cell count
    3. Increased performance at sea level

     

     

    How to Ride Your First Metric Century (100 KM)

    How to Ride Your First Metric Century (100 KM)

    In today's blog post, I want to talk about some tips and tricks for your first metric century.

    Tip # 1: Nutrition and Hydration

    These are probably the two most critical points in your preparation. Hydration will depend greatly upon climate. I would say that anything over 75 Degrees Fahrenheit you should be drinking one water bottle per hour. And also, make sure to drink one water bottle before leaving the house. The key here is to drink just before you're thirsty. If you're drinking in response to feeling dehydrated, it's already too late. I would recommend a very light 50/50 Gatorade blend in your favorite flavor. Your body excretes and uses electrolytes during endurance exercise and you must replace those. 

    For food before the ride, I typically eat a small meal consisting of 60% carbohydrate, 20% protein and 20% fat. While you're on the ride, it's best to consume 50-100 calories per hour. Your body will use simple carbs the easiest. 

    Tip #2: Pacing

    Pacing is probably the most critical component of a great metric century. For a seasoned rider, it takes right around 3 hours to do a solid solo metric century. Your results WILL vary and if it is your first time, I would say anything around the 4-hour mark is fantastic. If you're curious about how hard you should go, I would recommend to find a pace where you can carry on a conversation, and then go a little slower. The purpose of this ride is to build cardiovascular endurance, not to build strength or power. It is difficult to build those two simultaneously.

    Tip #3: Don't change anything the night before

    This might be a tempting rule to break but it's something that can ruin your ride. I would recommend against trying some new fad like chugging pickle juice or testing some new supplement the day or morning before this ride. You should treat it like any other ride and be sure that what you plan on doing you've tested out thoroughly and won't be hit with any surprises.

    Tip #4: Chamois cream is definitely your friend

    Any sort of saddle friction or rear end discomfort is a serious way to ruin your ride and the days to come. Chamois cream has been magical for me in the passt in so many different ways, let me tell you. Lube up that chamois lightly before your ride and you'll hopefully have a better time.

    Tip #5: Did I mention pacing?

    Oh yes, I think I did. Going too hard even for a short period of time can leave you in trouble for the rest of the ride.

    Tip #6: Build up to the distance

    Your first metric century should not be your first ride near 60 miles. Before this ride, you should have done a number of 25,30,40,50 mile rides in the weeks leading up. Keep in mind that many "Good" amateur riders are riding 15 hours a week of hardish training. There is nothing magical about you. We are all biological creatures with certain limitation.

    How to do 1 Minute Intervals on the Bicycle and get ready for a Criterium Race in 5 Steps

    How to do 1 Minute Intervals on the Bicycle and get ready for a Criterium Race in 5 Steps

    Disclaimer: before taking on this training, consult your doctor and see if riding this hard is good for you. This is high intensity and hi tension work.

    Step #1: Pick your measuring protocol

    You have 3 options to measure your effort here. The best option is power. Power will give you a reliable, precise, accurate measure of your effort that will not change over time. The second option is perceived exertion. Perceived exertion is a measurement scale from 1 to 10 but it's completely subjective. It is how you feel and rate your feeling of effort. If a 1-minute max effort is a 10, then these should be around a 7. Remember you need to do 20 of them. And the third option is really the worst and that is heart rate. I'm not saying that heart rate isn't a good measure of effort but what I am saying is that for a 1-minute interval, your heart rate will lag too far behind for it to be an accurate measure.

     

    Step #2: Pick your course

    Ideally, the best course to do these types of intervals is a closed course with about 2 miles of open road. But we don't always have that available to us. 1 Minute Intervals offer a much greater degree of flexibility in terrain because the short intervals have such a lower likelihood of being interrupted by stoplights. You also need to think about what you're trying to accomplish with these intervals. If you're trying to build the power to break away on a flat 1-mile crit course, then do these on a flat 1-mile crit course. If you're doing these to be able to power over a hill on your local group ride, do them on a hill. If there is one thing I know about training is that whatever you do and repeat you will get better at. That's how your body adapts.

     

    Step #3: Keep your cadence under 95

    The goal of this workout is to build power through tension. If your cadence goes up over 95, you'll be taxing your aerobic system more than is intended. There is a time and place for one-minute intervals at high cadence but this isn't it. This workout mimics a criterium race because you don't always have the luxury or might not be able to pick the right gear to respond to a surge or attack.

    Step 4: Lightly refuel during the ride

    As this interval session taxes your glycogen stores massively, it is very important to bring two bottles with one bottle containing an endurance drink of sorts. One light sip of the endurance drink between intervals will reduce the pain a bit. Any large amount of food consumed could come back to haunt you after 15 intervals or so.

    Step 5: Recover properly between intervals

    I believe that light pedaling is more effective at recovery than going totally off. In my time between intervals, I spend about 3 minutes at 125-150 watts going nice and easy around 80 cadence.

     

    To see how I've done mine in the past, have a look at the youtube video below. Be sure to pick the intensity that you know you can safely do repeatedly 20 times.