Showing posts tagged training

Riding In Sickness And In Health

Sorry about my absence in posts yesterday. I’ve been fighting this nasty cold all week and it got the better of me yesterday so I was pretty out of it.

I may have been bed-ridden yesterday but this morning I decided to get on my bike and ride despite the sore throat and stuffed nose. Of course, I feel so much better once I’m pedaling. Everything clears right up. It feels like the activity in my body and increased metabolic rate helps to fight the cold quicker. Or maybe I’m sweating it out, I don’t know — but now there’s no denying that riding helps make you feel better.

According to a study done at the University Of Wales Institute in Cardiff, statistics show a significant decrease in sickness-related absences with both students and faculty since they started heavily encouraging cycling as a form of transportation a few years ago. So if you’re feeling sick, try getting on your wheels. Rest and recovery is great and all but wouldn’t you rather be riding than laying in bed?

Read the full article at Bike World News.

WINTER TRAINING: Base Miles

DISCLAIMER: I am not a coach, a doctor, a physiologist or a pro racer. These tips come from what I’ve read and what I’ve experienced. If you don’t get the results you desired from following my advice, well that’s what you get for listening to a blogger.

Winter is here and many velodromes around the country are locking up the gates until the season starts again. This means a lot of trackies have little to do but to leave the safe little confines of the enclosed oval and ride out into the world for some off-season training.

Around this time of year, everyone starts talking about base miles this and base miles that. For some, it’s the best part of training. For others base miles are what burn you out on your cycling before the season even starts. Base miles are important for pretty much all cyclists (or athletes for that matter) because as the name implies — they build an endurance base upon which you can build other areas of fitness.

When you talk to coaches or read the training guides, some think base miles should be done all alone or all on flat terrain or even all in the small chainring. Personally, just thinking about that kind of riding makes me bored. Total yawnfest. Let’s face it, the reason we’re doing all this riding is because we enjoy it — so let’s try to make it enjoyable. There’s plenty of time to torture ourselves later in the training year.

Want to make the base miles a little bit less mundane? This is probably the easiest riding advice you will ever read…

SOLO OR GROUP?
While I love riding alone, usually it’s just more fun to ride with a friend — or a few friends. Riding base miles with a group should be fine so long as you’re able to pace yourself. Don’t get caught up in the dick-measuring races that always happen during group rides. You don’t need to be in the front. On the other hand, you don’t necessarily need to ride as slow as the rest of the group does. Just ride your own pace and if that means that you’ll be riding solo, then save the socializing for the regroup spots.

FAST OR SLOW?
Speaking of socializing, most base miles should be ridden at a pace where you can hold a normal conversation with whoever is riding next to you. Riding at a pace that keeps you out of breath or your teeth clenched shut really doesn’t do much for your base endurance. But that doesn’t mean you gotta ride slow. Let’s get some blood flowing through the capillaries here. It feels great to be tired at the end of every ride, exhausted even. So for those base mile rides, try to focus on how long you’re riding rather than how fast you’re riding and gauge your efforts accordingly.

FLATS OR HILLS?
A lot of trackies act like they’re allergic to hills. If you’re one of those, I hope you have fun getting all your base miles in on the Yawnsville Flats. For me, hills can be like heroin — an addictively torturous love affair. I’ve heard people say that base miles should be flat but where’s the fun in that? Like I said, we should be enjoying our base miles. While it might be a different story in a location with lots of expansive backcountry roads, here in Los Angeles things don’t even start to look nice until you’ve hit at least 1000 feet above sea level. If you want to climb, I say climb. But for base mile riding, keep your butt on the saddle.

BIG RING OR LITTLE RING?
This is the old school philosophy: the base mile training period is 1,000 miles of riding in the little ring. I also read an old training book for track cyclists (I think circa 1950) which stated that all winter base riding should be at 15 mph. Pretty hilarious. While I admittedly love things that are old school, it’s just no fun to subscribe to that mentality or anything that sounds like it. This period of training doesn’t need to be so regimented by the numbers like speed or distance. However, it’s important to keep a comfortable cadence of at least 90 rpm during base miles. This is especially helpful for us trackies because we need to be building leg speed during this period.

TIME OR DISTANCE?
Plan for and keep track of the hours, not the miles. This makes it easier to prevent burning out. When we think of miles, we tend to think of how far we can make ourselves go. When you think about it in the context of time spent in the saddle, the perspective changes to how much time you actually want to spend riding today. In regards to base miles, the worst situation to find yourself in is that you just don’t want to be in the saddle when the race season starts up again.

For more expert (and probably somewhat contradictory) advice on base training, check out Joe Friel’s blog.

All photos taken by John Maniquis last Sunday at GMR.

Tags: training, road,

Read This Blog: The Fixed Gear

Kean and Anna are two physical therapists living in New Zealand who’ve started a blog focussing mostly on the physiological aspects of track racing. Really great stuff including lots of coverage on international track racing athletes.

Start reading now at The Fixed Gear.

Tags: training,
1 note /

Sometimes I hear people asking what they can do to become a better sprinter. You could try one of Robert Foerstemann's workouts.

220 kg. 8 reps.

What a beast.

The 10 Commandments

…of sprinting (all 14 of them).




1) thou shall not give up without your best fight.
2) thou shall not put everyone to sleep by going slow without a reason.
3) thou shall enjoy a good loss just as much as a good win.
4) your trash talk should be funny!
5) winning with better equipment than your opponent is a humiliation.
6) thou shall strive to do the unexpected and learn new tactics.
7) always congratulate a good opponent (who follows these rules).
8) always thank a good official and good promoter and a good crowd of spectators.
9) your racing will happen on the track.. not on Facebook.
10) to be a sprinter you must SPRINT!!! this is not a fantasy game.
11) thou shall take ALL challengers and accept your fate with no fear of losing.
12) healthy living and hard work are the only methods. drugs and all other secret advantages are for assholes.
13) thou shall train harder, smarter, and longer.
14) thou shall always rest on mondays (and party on sunday night after the race).


Read the history of these ancient words on Gio Rey’s blog.
“Intro To Track Racing" is a six-week course where each week we focus on a different type of race (pursuit, points race, match sprint, etc).  The program is perfect for riders who are relatively new to the track and want to become more comfortable in racing situations as well as more experienced racers who want the practice.  Most of all, it’s just fun.

All six sessions will be on Wednesday nights from 7:00pm to 10:00pm starting on October 6th.  It’s $60 for the full course and if you miss a night, you can make it up the next time we run the course.  Space is limited so please pre-register — hit the Paypal button below and bring your receipt to the first session.

If you haven’t ridden on a velodrome before, you must complete the Encino Velodrome Beginner’s Class prior to taking this course (there’s a Beginner’s Class being held on Saturday, September 18th).  All riders are welcome to stop by on Sept 29th at 7:00pm for a little prep/evaluation session to determine rider skill levels — nothing serious, just some fun races and such.

For more info please send me an e-mail.  Again, space is limited so hit the Paypal button to pre-register and guarantee your spot.
“Intro To Track Racing" is a six-week course where each week we focus on a different type of race (pursuit, points race, match sprint, etc).  The program is perfect for riders who are relatively new to the track and want to become more comfortable in racing situations as well as more experienced racers who want the practice.  Most of all, it’s just fun.

All six sessions will be on Wednesday nights from 7:00pm to 10:00pm starting on October 6th.  It’s $60 for the full course and if you miss a night, you can make it up the next time we run the course.  Space is limited so please pre-register — hit the Paypal button below and bring your receipt to the first session.

If you haven’t ridden on a velodrome before, you must complete the Encino Velodrome Beginner’s Class prior to taking this course (there’s a Beginner’s Class being held on Saturday, September 18th).  All riders are welcome to stop by on Sept 29th at 7:00pm for a little prep/evaluation session to determine rider skill levels — nothing serious, just some fun races and such.

For more info please send me an e-mail.  Again, space is limited so hit the Paypal button to pre-register and guarantee your spot.

Intro To Track Racing" is a six-week course where each week we focus on a different type of race (pursuit, points race, match sprint, etc). The program is perfect for riders who are relatively new to the track and want to become more comfortable in racing situations as well as more experienced racers who want the practice. Most of all, it’s just fun.

All six sessions will be on Wednesday nights from 7:00pm to 10:00pm starting on October 6th. It’s $60 for the full course and if you miss a night, you can make it up the next time we run the course. Space is limited so please pre-register — hit the Paypal button below and bring your receipt to the first session.

If you haven’t ridden on a velodrome before, you must complete the Encino Velodrome Beginner’s Class prior to taking this course (there’s a Beginner’s Class being held on Saturday, September 18th). All riders are welcome to stop by on Sept 29th at 7:00pm for a little prep/evaluation session to determine rider skill levels — nothing serious, just some fun races and such.

For more info please send me an e-mail. Again, space is limited so hit the Paypal button to pre-register and guarantee your spot.

It was 100 degrees at Encino Velodrome last night.  Warming up was the only way to stay cool.

Photo by Beaver.
It was 100 degrees at Encino Velodrome last night.  Warming up was the only way to stay cool.

Photo by Beaver.

It was 100 degrees at Encino Velodrome last night. Warming up was the only way to stay cool.

Photo by Beaver.

Cleat Placement -- A How-To

OLY-2008-CYCLING-TRACK-GBR-TRAINING

Looking to set up your cleats? Aram Goganian of Predator Cycling wrote a great article on Bicycle.net about proper cleat placement.

Read the article here. And if you’re looking to get a bike fitting in the Los Angeles area, I highly recommend giving Aram a call at Predator Cycling.

Tags: training, gear,
Just a friendly reminder that the 6-week Intro To Track Racing course begins tonight at Encino Velodrome!

Don’t miss it…  especially if you pre-registered — that would be a damn shame.  Warm-up starts at 7:30pm SHARP.  See you there.
Just a friendly reminder that the 6-week Intro To Track Racing course begins tonight at Encino Velodrome!

Don’t miss it…  especially if you pre-registered — that would be a damn shame.  Warm-up starts at 7:30pm SHARP.  See you there.

Just a friendly reminder that the 6-week Intro To Track Racing course begins tonight at Encino Velodrome!

Don’t miss it… especially if you pre-registered — that would be a damn shame. Warm-up starts at 7:30pm SHARP. See you there.


A website dedicated to the support and growth of grassroots track cycling, the comradery and heritage of the worldwide velodrome circuit and the roots and culture of fixed gear bicycle racing.

If you have any news, stories, photos, videos, questions or comments to share I would love to hear from you so please contact me.