Guest Article: Race Report – “The Club Champs”

Guest Article: Race Report – “The Club Champs”

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The Velominati are proud to present the following guest article by community member Marcus, who also writes for the Squadra di Vecchi Tori blog. Here is a tale of a man who embarks in 6-man open race. Of the five starters, one drops out to make it a 5-man race, but the race still manages to become a journey deep into the darkest pits of the Pain Cave, where a podium place will still be denied to two of the contestants.

Racing is a difficult thing to get started with.  It takes courage, and it hurts.  But the various local club scenes around do provide an incredibly fun and laid-back environment for an easy way to wade into the pool.  For those of you on the brink: take the plunge, you won’t regret it.  The race itself may not be “fun” in the traditional sense, but inhaling a wasp will provide a lasting feeling of pride for The V well applied.

Provided you don’t crash and wreck your favorite bike.

So, enjoy the piece, and swing by the Squadra.

Disclaimer
I am an ordinary bike rider who would be a lot better if I devoted as much time to training as I do to internet-related bike “research”. Would be even better if I ate less crap food and drank less beer – but to my mind, I would be far less enjoyable to be around. At least that is my justification. You go get your own.

The purpose of this article is to get a few laughs at my own expense whilst I explain the goings-on of a little race over the weekend. Before I do, I need to give the game away by providing the result and some essential details – just so it is clear that I am not making any misrepresentations about my riding achievements.

The Result
I snagged 3rd against “all comers” in the 35-39 year old category at Southern Vets Road Race Club Championships. Now for a club that has regular races won by the likes of former Olympians, Australian Road & TT champs and other assorted former pros, that result sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

However, honesty dictates that I must tell you that in the 35-39 yo category, this year the “all comers” consisted of exactly 6 racers, one of whom dropped off in the second kilometre of the race. So it really was a “best of 5″. There, that feels better.

The Preparation
My warm up consisted of a 4am wake up with my 4 year old son for some cry time for a few hours. 6am and he is finally asleep on the couch with me just as my wake up alarm goes off. I think I will grab five minutes shut eye before I get up. 6:50am (FUCK) I wake up and the rush is on.

7:10am. Little fella is still asleep along with my two other kids and the darling wife (yes the one who inspired the cartoons – but she really isn’t that bad – honest). Forced to employ my Ninja Silent House Escape Technique and then I was on the road. Only running about 10 minutes late so actually not too bad but I needed to eat on the road rather than at home. No biggie.

During the 70km drive to the course, I reflected on the preparation I had given myself for this race during an extended two month taper by logging a good 150kms per week over that time with only one other race.

This lack of miles could have been attributed to one or more of the following:
i) general indolence;
ii) the wettest Melbourne winter in about 20 years;
iii) repeated preparations of lotsa beer before the weekend long ride, resulting in no ride.

I maintained this preparation by having a very heavy night on the beers/wine on Friday to wake up with a solid hangover Saturday. This somewhat damaged my pre-race nutrition as an overwhelming need for fatty foods and soft drink won out over healthy eating.


Photo taken from a training ride a while back. Turns out I wasn’t peaking in two months time.

So I wasn’t in great shape, but wasn’t too bad as I had been keeping up some sort of training program – even if it was at 150ks a week, at least it was done to a plan, as I have been using a coach for the last 10 months. I know, I know , it is embarrassing to say I have employed a coach, but I highly recommend it to anyone at any level wanting to improve their cycling. It has done heaps for me – even if I have gone nowhere near his recommended mileage for the last 4 months.

Quick aside on my coach – for you non-Aussies. He is the 1991 Aussie Road and TT champ, rode in the TTT at the Barcelona Olympics and among other races, won the Amateur Tour of Austria. Take a look at the photo below. Anyone who can pull of a GC win in a race which included some pretty serious cols against crazy and Russians has his fair share of Rule #5 credentials. Anyway, he still pretty much dominates the local crit scene down here. But enough on him, more on me.


Gratuitous insertion of a photo of a real cyclist.

OK, so maybe the reason I put in that aside about Crowe was so I could insert a photo of a real cyclist.

The Pre-Race
Whilst I was expecting decent numbers and a nasty race against some pretty good A-graders, I was surprised to find there were only 6 riders in my category. I was also a little disappointed in the unadulterated joy I felt on discovering this fact. Shouldn’t I have been wanting more competition? No fucking way. They were handing out medals today, people, and now I had a chance. And I checked – the medals didn’t say how many were in the field.

Race Tactics
Crowey has given me many good tips about when to attack – however a big problem of mine is that by nature I am an impulsive little fellow who often gets a little too excited too early. But anyway I (wrongly) distilled Crowey’s tips for the day to “when in doubt, attack” – as it makes you a better cyclist in the end. Ok, he does say a lot more than that, but I am paying for him and you aren’t so find your own coach.

The Race
The six of us were set off first with the other age groups coming behind. This was a bit of a challenge as the older age groups had more numbers and a few better riders (illogical that they would be faster, but likely to be true). From the get go, we all worked pretty evenly swapping turns. I was at my limit from the start, sitting at an average HR of about 175 (gulp!) from the start with a speed sitting on 38-42kph.

After Rider no. 6’s strategic withdrawal, Rider no. 5 (Alf) also left us after about 25ks. His exit was particularly honorable as he said, “Guys I am fucked, but I really want you to stay away from the guys behind – so I will pull at the front for as long as I can.” So he is screwed and instead of just flaying away on the back, he jumps to the front and takes it to about 44kph for a few minutes before pulling off. Chapeau Alf!

This left four of us to fight over 3 medals. I know, I know, once again 6 entrants doesn’t exactly make it that meritorious – but these are bright shiny medals folks!

So the four of us kept on at about 38-40kph. I was pretty sure that this pace was unsustainable for me for 70kms with so few riders in the bunch. However, my self-tuition, nay worship, at the Alexandre Vinokourov School of Race Tactics convinced me that surging just a little bit every time I went to the front might be a good idea even though I was tiring (WTF?). Thought it might make it a bit tougher for the guy on a Giant who was rolling over behind me. At this stage, he was just hanging on and I thought we might get rid of him. Was hoping this might see me then hang onto the two stronger riders and try my luck from there. But Mr Giant stuck tight.

At about kilometre 50 things suddenly started to get a little ropey for me and we all dropped back in pace a bit with the other two guys, Mr Big (who was friggin enormous) and a Kings Men rider (the Kings are a pretty good bunch of riders in Melbourne – if you wear a Kings Men top then odds are you can go a bit) doing a bit of work.

Then just before kilometre 60 we hit a couple of slight hills – and when I say slight, I mean slight – turns out the larger of the two was about 700m at 2.5%. I attacked on the first and they came back to me – then the pace was sustained on the second little rise – not knowing the course and finding out there was a second hill was more than a little disappointing for me after my half-arsed attack on the first.

At which point the Vinokourov Race Tactics claimed their first then second victim. Unfortunately, First Victim was me. So I tried to recover for a few ks, keeping the Giant guy (Second Victim) in sight a hundred or so metres ahead. He was looking behind pretty regularly so I thought I had a chance of getting him. Got near to him at kilometre 67 and he was slowing a bit, so I had as much of a crack as I could whilst legs were close to cramping and I was at my limit. It worked – he couldn’t latch onto me as I went past and I ground it out to the finish on my own – behind Mr Big who it turns out outfoxed the Kings Man in the sprint.

My race: 71.7kms in 1:52:14 at an average pace of 38.3kmh. But the key stat was that my average HR over that time was 174. In other words, that hurt quite a bit!

Mr Big and Kings Man said they were surprised when I was dropped as I was the one doing all the surging when we were swapping turns. I responded that I knew I was going to have trouble holding the pace for the whole race, so why not go down swinging and see if I could get rid of someone? They looked at me like I was an idiot! They may well have been right!

Over a post-race beer, Mr Giant said he had to apologise for the 50+ mental obscenities that he directed my way whilst I was surging in the group and another 20 or so after I passed him near the end. I said that’s ok, as I kept on saying to myself one more effort and we will drop the prick on the Giant. All good fun.

Highlight for me was at the presentation seeing how you can still have a go no matter how old you are – there was a winner of the 80+ category! You are never too old to race!

For those of you thinking about it, I highly recommend you get yourselves into gear and have a crack at racing. Unless you live in an area inhabited by arseholes, club racing is particularly welcoming and remember – everyone had their first race once. The beers afterward are the best you’ll drink all week!

// Guest Article // Racing

  1. Thanks for the great read and intro to racing, Marcus. I’ve got my first race coming up in a few weeks – I’m having mixed feelings about my preparation; clearly, I need to drink more beer…but seriously, it’s exciting and it’s great to read stories like yours…inspiring…I am, dare I admit, also hoping that attendance in my category is not too substantial!

  2. If levity can inspire, this did it for me. I’m in the same boat. Big race coming up in a month and I’m already half-way through my two-month taper. I’ll never know what, if any, difference it would’ve made, but dammit if this race wouldn’t have happened in July instead. The schedule mandates I back away from the V trough for a while but my chalice never sits empty for too long. Thanks for the article.

  3. It also warrants saying: I’m pretty damn jealous that you manage ONLY 150k a week in the winter (never mind also having three kids in the coop, though mine have the decency not to wake up at 4:00). Up here, snow, ice, and salt keep me off the road bike for at least three or four months.

    And I think the proper response when your opponents are surprised you got dropped is to tell them about the Vino school and confess that Vino was on your radio through the race and he’s as crazy as he looks.

  4. Thanks for the article Marcus, it brought back memories of Aussie racing for me.

    We really need to see some more pics of your Baum though… my dream bike, if I ever get to build one, would be an Espresso or a Speedvagen, with the Aussie connection tipping the scales slightly.

    I used to frequent the Bikemag.com forums, and a fella from Melbourne who went by the moniker of Eek was looking for a custom mtb, and was mentioning Indy Fab, Seven etc. I told him he should check out Baum. Turned out they were not far from him, and he got the bike, then a road bike too. Was kinda cool to have had a bit of influence in his decision, and to get someone on a bike I could only dream of owning.

    This wouldn’t be you would it? Or maybe you know him? Actually, I think his name may have been Andrew?

  5. @Brett
    not me – I am mates with one of the fellas who started up the biz (but is no longer involved). I got my Baum (Espresso w/ Chorus) in 2003 in what was relatively early days for the biz. Still rides great although am probably going to get a new bike soon (tossing between a BMC and a Cervelo right now), simply because 7 years is a long time on one bike (but probably shows how much I love it).
    And there is one error in my article – the oldest guy racing was in the 80+ category!

  6. @Marcus

    Corrected the age. What a stud, I hope I’m still around, let alone racing, at 80!

    You can’t go from a Baum to a BMC or one of those other things… no no no no no no no no… NO! That’s regression. What size do you ride?

  7. @Marcus
    One word: Cervelo. Don’t let Brett sway you, mate! Roar like Thor!!

  8. @Brett
    52 or 54 – I never know as my one is a custom with a bit of a sloping top tube so have never measured the “virtual” and my drawings are long gone!

  9. @Marcus

    Damnit, too small…

  10. Love it Marcus! Makes me want to get out there and race after a long cold winter!

  11. @Wade

    Welcome, Wade! It sounds like you guys have had the same sort of winter as us here in Wellington, it’s been pretty wet, but relatively mild temperature wise (or maybe I am just acclimatised now). Makes riding all these MTB’s I have to test a bitch!

  12. @Brett
    If its the Wade I am thinking of (how many Wade’s would there be in Melbourne for crying out loud), here is his blog and he is a proper cyclist!

  13. Yeah, that is the Wade, if you click on his name it links to his (cool) blog…

  14. @Brett
    Oh. My. God. I followed the links to Wade’s posts on MAMILs. Got me down to a T. I am a MAMIL. This what gay adolescents must feel like when they come out and realize that there are thousands more just like them – relief, camaraderie, delight, excitement … and just a touch of perplexity and a tinge of regret that they are not unique after all. (I’m not the only MAMIL in the village.) thanks, Wade and Brett.

  15. Avg HR 174 for nearly 2hrs?? That is absolute hurt basket gold! Congrats on a quality performance.

  16. Two things: Has it occurred to any of you geniuses that it is SUMMER? The season the Tour happens in is SUMMER, and Christmas happens in WINTER. I don’t care what the weather says or what side of the planet you’re on!

    Welcome, Wade. Even as a non-Aussie, I read your blog. Great stuff.

    Regarding the heartrate, this is why you should unstrap your chest strap and wristband, walk over to the trash bin, make a little horn sound, and drop that fucker in. A HR monitor will only do two things: first, it will cause you to obsess on numbers and lose the glory of the ride for the numbers of the ride. Second, it will tell you how fucked you are and cause you to lose your mind and back off when ignoring those numbers would have you droppin’ The V like Voigt.

  17. great article Marcus. I also have taken up racing again and it is great. For a 40 y.o. who is married and juggling life, its alot. But, its fun.

    Tactic in racing for me is hard to sift. I also have that tendency you mentioned of wanting to go early, maybe too early. This weekend we were at hotter-than-hell, did a 100k race, and w/~2k to go, the pack of ~70 were still together, so I jumped like i stole a loaf of bread, didn’t look at a single number but rather went through the corners 1-2-3-4 into town hard and fast as i could holding a spinning +90rpm in my 53×13, after the last corner and ~600m out, i looked back and a small 6 man group was all i saw coming around the corner w/heat, and it was me and the line….i pushed til my eyes were bleeding and I couldn’t breath and they got me with 20 yds…but hey..it was good. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. So, was it early? I don’t know.

    keep up the good work!

  18. frank
    Regarding the heartrate, this is why you should unstrap your chest strap and wristband, walk over to the trash bin, make a little horn sound, and drop that fucker in. A HR monitor will only do two things: first, it will cause you to obsess on numbers and lose the glory of the ride for the numbers of the ride. Second, it will tell you how fucked you are and cause you to lose your mind and back off when ignoring those numbers would have you droppin’ The V like Voigt.

    I’ve been riding with my HRM less and less these days. That (un)cinches it for me. No more HRM. Shag off Carmichael.

  19. As a bit of a lurker on your site I thought it was about time I popped my velominati cherry so to speak. By way of intro I’First off, It is with increasing concern that I’ve seen Marcus contribute to the site – he’s meant to be playing over at the squadra site and we want him back! He’s just trying to go ‘international’ and hasn’t been the same since those movies he made (think Thelma and Vincent) went viral.
    On a serious note though, we are pretty damn lucky in Melbourne as we can race all year – indoor track racing is run three times a week with three different clubs hosting plus there is regular training slots available Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, the winter road racing runs rain hail or shine plus there is the odd crit going, and we have just embraced cyclocross as per my recent blog post through a 3 race series held in a couple of city parks over the last 3 months. The way I look at it (as someone who would race tricycles if they were raced) I struggle to understand why you wouldn’t want to race in our town, regardless of age or ability.

  20. @frank
    Damn! I clearly need decals on my bike. Is it just me or are you drifting ever closer to the Cognoscenti way?

  21. @Steampunk
    That’s always been the disconnect between the Cognoscenti and Rule Holism. A Holist still values Rule #5 above all else; it’s just that we make sure we look fucking good doing it!

  22. @frank
    I get that, but your tone has been more irreverently Rule #5ish recently…

  23. @frank: Regarding the heartrate, this is why you should unstrap your chest strap and wristband, walk over to the trash bin, make a little horn sound, and drop that fucker in

    That is distinctly Cogonoscetia, because its implied: ‘Rule #5′ it man, don’t stinking look at your HR cause your not going to slow up…are you?

    I have always thought HR monitors are for pussies. The only time I have ever heard them quoted during a ride is for a ‘slow up’….my HR is too high guys…

    Do you think Merckx gave a rats ass what his HR was when he was driving it over the pave’? Sure, I can hear him now…woops, my HR hit 165, better back down….right. The hardmen only measured their HR when they threw their hearts up, then they counted it as their heart laid out on the ground beating…but it didn’t matter, they still kept riding.

  24. @Steampunk,

    @Souleur
    I think it’s a coincidence, perhaps a reaction to all the kids heading into town, ready to get back to college and seeing how much these pussies need to Obey Rule #5 entirely, not to mention the Rules. If I see one more hipster on a fixie with unnecessarily heavy-rimmed glasses, I’m going to have a fit.

  25. @frank
    Just think how I feel: I now have to put up with them in classrooms (I almost put Rule #5 in my syllabus). I’ve had the campus to myself for the past three months, and now I have to share. At least I keep my bike in my office rather than outside with the rest of the common folk.

  26. @frank @Souleur

    I have to ask, though: doesn’t a HR monitor help you to train properly?

  27. @Steampunk
    It’s acceptable to use a HR monitor for a short while to help you learn to read your body, and the same can be said for cadence. After that, go back to your roots, and ride by feel.

    Unless you’re a Pro and it’s your job.

  28. @frank
    This is precisely why I keep coming back for guidance. Because the wisdom is, well, so wise. Got home from work and a “Steampunk” decal was waiting for me. Christmas come early, and it’s staggering how such a little thing can so significantly improve the overall appearance of my bike. Thanks muchly””for wisdom and decals.

  29. @frank
    Can smell heart rate monitor rule coming on… which I will completely disregard. On your logic Frank you shouldn’t use a speedo either as it might “tell” you to slow down or stop because you are going too fast or have gone too far. And then maybe you shouldn’t look at the conditions outside either, because you may be dissuaded from riding because you think it might rain.

    My point is that these things only bring your inner pussy to the surface if you are already a pussy to begin with. So the HR monitor isn’t the problem – you are. On the other hand, if you use HR information to help you train properly (maybe even revel in how hard you are going), then they can be a useful tool and even make riding more enjoyable and effective.

  30. On your logic Frank you shouldn’t use a speedo either as it might “tell” you to slow down or stop because you are going too fast or have gone too far.

    Exactly…

    And then maybe you shouldn’t look at the conditions outside either, because you may be dissuaded from riding because you think it might rain.

    Uh-huh. Right. You should just go ride your bike. Those things are all examples of the Anti-V and should be avoided.

    My point is if you need a HR to measure your effort, you need to learn to read your body better. I used one for 18 years and when I stopped, I started going faster and having more fun. Really the problem is when you start fixating on the numbers, you lose the forest for the trees. (This is basically what Rule #74 is talking about.)

    On the other hand, on the 174, what’s your max, your resting, and your lactic acid threshold, so we can all be appropriately impressed?

  31. @frank
    OK – will give sans-HRM a go.
    Bike max is 196, think threshold about 177?

  32. @Steampunk
    You got a Steampunk/Velominati name badge decal? Fuckin rule. I’m digging my Marko one.

  33. @Marko
    I’m loving it already. In black. Very cool.

    For the gear page, one word: Velominati cycling caps. Okay, that’s three. But picture it: off-center orange and black stripes on white cap going from front to back; V logo; and personalized name stitched into the back-right. For post-ride espresso only, of course.

  34. @Marcus

    Bike max is 196, think threshold about 177?

    Well, then, to average 174 pretty much means you rode at your limit, well done, mate! A smarter race might have got a better result, but not riding harder!

    (For the HR to really be meaningful, I think you should be able to know your threshold without the question mark?)

    To elaborate a bit more, when I really, really got into my HR, I was training by it, racing by it, I would periodically wear it around the house to make sure my heartrate wasn’t doing funny things which might indicate illness or overtraining.

    This is for Nordic ski racing, where bunch tactics are much less important and generally the strongest/fittest rider wins or at least podiums (very differnt cardiovascularly from cycling in that sense), but it got to where I would race by the numbers, sitting a beat below my threshold the whole time. I would let attacks go, I’d come back to them (or not). Just steady as she goes. How fucking boring is that? I stopped taking chances, I stopped gambling, I stopped battling with the competition.

    Your racing here, in the Vino style, that is gambling. That is fun. Fuckin’ right, brother.

    I had a lot of good results, but it stopped being a fun game. Got rid of it, and started rolling the dice and having a blast. Best results I ever had came after that because – guess what – racing isn’t a science, there’s a lot of art, too.

  35. @Steampunk

    For the gear page, one word: Velominati cycling caps. Okay, that’s three. But picture it: off-center orange and black stripes on white cap going from front to back; V logo; and personalized name stitched into the back-right. For post-ride espresso only, of course.

    Dude, I hear you LOUD AND CLEAR. Castelli has really high minimum orders, and I’m not sure we can move the number of caps we would have to buy. But absolutely, we need them. Now that you’ve said it, I’m making this a top priority.

    Thoughts: Velominati on the visor, Obey the Rules on the flipside of the visor.

    TIGHT. I bet I can even find someone who would embroider the names, too. Because I suck at sewing.

  36. @frank

    Frank, you sir are a freakin’ genius. After work I went for a ride sans HRM. I decided to do our local big climb. It is a 9.65km climb that averages around 5-6% and hits 12% in spots. W/O the HRM telling me to back off I just Rule #5’d it and knocked out a personal best – just a tick under 31 minutes. This is a full minute faster than my previous PB. To put things in perspective – the first time I did this climb three seasons ago it took me over 42 minutes. Last year I could do it in around 37 minutes (it took me 37 minutes to do it a week ago when it was 95 degrees out).

    I just want to say that being assimilated in to the Veloinatus has been a game changer for me. I never used to ride alone and never trained. I started training this season and things improved markedly but then a bunch of local riding politics broke out with all the attendant crying and name calling, I (alledgedly) caused a crash in a crit, and the local scene has sort of deteriorated and I was getting bummed-out about riding. Then I stumbled upon “The Rules” and the Velominatus and I have a new motivation. Being true to the V is what drives me now. I really like training by myself now and my new mantra is to keep my mouth shut, hammer (as hard as a 49 yo Cat IV can hammer), and do the V proud.

    Next year’s goals are to drop another 4-5kg (that would put me under 73kg), get under 30 minutes up the aforementioned climb, and attack, attack, attack!

  37. I meant Cat V. Oops.

  38. @frank
    Thanks Frank – 177 is my exact threshold – just didn’t want to sound like too much of an HR nerd after you bagged them! Got all my zones dialled in by Crowey and using HR zones for training has actually made me do a lot more “easy” riding when training (rather than “half hard” training rides). This has improved my cycling a bucketload.

  39. and made it more enjoyable to boot!

  40. @Cyclops
    Is your real name Rene Haselbacher?

  41. Marcus :@Cyclops
    Is your real name Rene Haselbacher?

    Please explain.

  42. @Cyclops
    Haselbacher is a noted crash-causing pro – here is a little assessment of Rene from Our Little Bogan, Robbie McEwen:

    “It was pretty dangerous. That Austrian [Haselbacher] wanted to dive into a hole that wasn’t there. Before that he also bumped Zabel’s wheel twice. Haselbacher is a wringer, a kamikaze. Everyone can go for their own chance, but that man is confused, mistakes his ambitions for his abilities. He will never win a mass sprint in the Tour. I am especially disappointed because I was in the middle of the perfect sprint: I was nicely on Petacchi’s wheel.’

  43. @Cyclops

    Chapeau mate, we’re honoured that the Velominati has had such a positive effect on your outlook on riding. You are indeed a valued Velominatus. (Even if you are getting the terms ass-about-face! Velominatus=singular, Velominati=plural.)

  44. @frank
    Or maybe “Obey the Rules” embroidered on the back instead of names. When it comes to caps, I like simplicity; nothing too cluttered, especially on the visor.

  45. Marcus :@Cyclops
    Haselbacher is a noted crash-causing pro – here is a little assessment of Rene from Our Little Bogan, Robbie McEwen:
    “It was pretty dangerous. That Austrian [Haselbacher] wanted to dive into a hole that wasn’t there. Before that he also bumped Zabel’s wheel twice. Haselbacher is a wringer, a kamikaze. Everyone can go for their own chance, but that man is confused, mistakes his ambitions for his abilities. He will never win a mass sprint in the Tour. I am especially disappointed because I was in the middle of the perfect sprint: I was nicely on Petacchi’s wheel.’

    Ouch. I think I ride pretty smoothly. Besides doing stupid things when I was young I’ve never crashed a road bike. Even in the above mentioned incident I didn’t go down because I was hit from behind.

  46. @ steampunk: sorry for the delay on what you mentioned.

    on the HRM, when I was racing before, the HRM was like the big thing. in general, I am not a numbers kind of guy. I simply ride. When I ride hard, I ride hard. My overall avg speed may not reflect effort, but if I am honest with myself, it is a 10/10 effort and nothing is left in the tank. Will I ride less if a my HRM is ding-ding-dinging?? Hell no, theres gas left in the tank.

    Same thing on hard rides and races. I have literally found the numbers distracting, including speed. I ride to win. I ride safely in the peloton. When they slow up, I slow up. When they gas it, I gas it. It’s not going to change if the speed hits 50kph, I am going to do the same.

    I am saying all that to say this. Numbers must be relevant. Relevant to warrant a change in action. If then it is, then you may need that number. If however your riding like an incindiary dog, there is only one number that matters and that is where you finish.

    So, maybe what numbers are helpful. I do find HRM helpful on the first few rides of the year when you don’t know yourself yet, when you feel like tempo is good, but its not. Or over a distance, when you need to watch yourself, HRM is good. On the long base training and riding however, it is different than the riding I am doing now.

    So, I hope it helps. I will say, now that I know myself and laid down a good base, I haven’t used a HRM for 3 years. I find a most useful number is my leg speed/cadence. Truthfully, that single number means more to me in my ride than anything else, speed included. When my leg speed starts to fall, i can tell i better be coming to the end, or i better consciously spin a bit more to make it.

  47. @Cyclops

    Ouch. I think I ride pretty smoothly. Besides doing stupid things when I was young I’ve never crashed a road bike. Even in the above mentioned incident I didn’t go down because I was hit from behind.

    I remember you had that account on your site before you took it down. I read it as maybe the move wasn’t 100% clean, but well within the bounds of racing and you should be conscious-clean.

    @Marcus

    Got all my zones dialled in by Crowey and using HR zones for training has actually made me do a lot more “easy” riding when training (rather than “half hard” training rides). This has improved my cycling a bucketload.

    OK, so not to get all preachy and start talking about training too much, but that’s exactly what a HR monitor is good for. So many people don’t know how to Train Properly. You need tools like HR monitors and cadence kits to learn your body and understand what everything feels like. What is my ‘eady ride” tempo? What is riding “hard”? Most riders don’t train easy enough on easy days, and not hard enough on hard days. Until you know what those zones are, you won’t do it right.

    But, you should learn to read that stuff to learn your body – not become dependent on it to tell you what to do. Once you get all that dialed in and learn to read the signals, you’ll have more fun and be much better. In my opinion, anyway. I think Brett had a similar account somewhere on here, I remember him say the same thing in training for a marathon mtb race.

    @Souleur
    Yeah. What you said.

  48. “Easy days” are for pussies.

  49. @Cyclops
    While you want to avoiding being a Recovery Ride Specialist, you also do need to know how to Train Properly.

  50. @Cyclops
    Sorry – am sure you do ride smooth. There is only one Haselbacher! But never crashed? There are only two sorts of cyclists – those who have crashed and those who are going to crash!

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