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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:42 pm
Posts: 94
Key points in bold if you CBA reading the rest.

Righty, I've never really managed to stick to any kind of 'plan' and my cycling's been sporadic at best this year. Mainly consisting of sporadic mid week rides, then once a month spending almost a solid weekend riding 6-8-10 hours both days. I'm ~95kg, 210lb and Strava says my power output is abysmal.
But I went out on a long mountainbike ride in the Lake District last weekend and noticed something I'd had an inkling of for a while. On the first 10 miles or so the bulk of the riding was climbing. I'm a big bloke so on the flats I was going easily whilst everyone else was probably percieveing the effort as harder, whenever the gradient kicked up I'd get flung out the back, but then I'd accelerate back into the group as the gradient flattened out, so most of the time I wasn't getting left behind between stops/gates/summits. On most of the early climbs I was pushing myself as hard as I could.

Then towards the end everyone elses pace dropped off much quicker than mine. I was still getting dropped by the guys at the front, but now it was half the group yo-yo-ing behind me (I'd pull away on flatter bits then they'd catch up on steep bits).

I've not had much chance to ride in groups this year so either:

a) I'm fitter than I think I am, but the weight's holding me back significantly.
b) What I was told was a fast group wasn't actualy that fit, but was lighter than me.

Now I realise that the biggest thing holding me back is the weight. And the usual advice to lose it is long slow base trainng rides. But the evidence would sugest that the base is already there. Will I really benifit from more long slow rides, or would I be better off doing shorter rides at higher intensities, would this burn off enough calories?

I'm moving back home next month so Sunday road club runs and twice weekly mountainbike club night rides will help shed the weight I've put on over the last 2 years, but I'm wondering what the most effective sessions would be outside of that riding. I've got a nice commute so there's the option to either go hard on that and use it for high intensity intervals or extend it and get an hours ride in before and after work which would rack up 240km per week on top of ~100 for the club run and 4 hours MTB (no point measuring miles, it's all tight, twisty technical singletrack round there where 20k could take you 3 hours on a bad day!) .


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2007 12:49 pm
Posts: 1562
Location: Near Horgen, Switzerland
Interesting observations.

I think there are a many cyclists (e.g. good runners) who have a good power to weight ratio but have either not fully developed things like muscular endurance / bike nutrition strategy / fat metabolism / ability to ride efficiently position wise / ability to ride efficiently in a group / willingness to suffer and thus will beat you up one climb but can be beaten over longer rides.

I think you could probably make some further small improvements in each of these areas to further increase your ability over long distances, so I would not ignore nutrition, bike position, descending and group riding technique if you are relatively new to cycling and have not previously road raced at a serious level.

It's difficult to say whether 95kg is too much, without knowing how tall you are, whether you are muscular or have fat to lose etc. But assuming you have fat to lose, I would recommend some long term changes to diet as many people (myself included) go on cycling holidays and do more miles but come back heavier than when they started.

The other key is consistency as more riding plus small dietary changes will reduce your weight and hopefully increase performance sustainably. I think diet here is key, as you can probably take 1% off your weight more easily than you can add 1% more power. I do not subscribe to fad diets, but I like behavioural changes:
- Eat slightly smaller portions (measure them) and use a smaller plate if possible
- Make wiser food choices, mainly by replacing energy dense foods like 'healthy' granola with less energy dense foods, e.g. by eating more fruit for breakfast. My doctor showed me a great book where the picture on each page has the same number of calories. This illustrated vividly that you can choose either a small portion of granola, large bowl of cocoa pops or a massive pile of fruit salad. Similarly the fruit salad equivalent for most desserts is frightening. Surprisingly pure sugar, no fat things like boiled sweets are a better alternative than a biscuit (from a calorific point of view at least)
- Ensure you eat low calorific density vegetables / salad / fruit as part of every meal
- Stop when you feel full
- Avoid finishing things because they're in the cupboard or on the plate
- Prepare snacks / shop regularly so that you do not have to get really hungry and eat massive amounts of whatever is in the fridge / available fast

Because your body will have less 'in the tank' for riding it's important I think to ensure you have food with you on the ride to cover part of your on-bike calorific expenditure. Otherwise you will ride more slowly and burn less calories. So I would bet you should eat / drink more here than you currently do.

Also post-ride I found that a recovery drink helps a lot on rides of 3 hours - Although it's energy dense and stuffed with calories it avoided me eating everything not nailed down. Also try preparing food before you go, or even putting lunch in the oven on a timer.


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Posted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:19 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:42 pm
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Assuming the scales are correct there's about 65kg of muscle and 30kg of fat so plenty to lose!

I've experimented quite a bit with pre/during/post ride food and think I've reached a good comprimise between keeping the calories to a miniumum where possible and maximising recovery where nececary, split rides at the weekend for example I'll drink ~400calories of homade recovery drink after the morning ride, if I'm not going out again that day I'll just have a couple of gells in the last hour to start topping up the glycogen stores while I'm still moving then try and eat a normal meal soon after stopping. Evening rides I'll have a handfull of harribo/jelly babies half hour from the end. Basicly I think I've got riding nutrition sorted, but normal meals have been harder work this last year working away from home. Meals will probably vastly improve once I'm back home with the missus (I cook to show off, doing it for myself I find boring).

I'm not new to cycling but have always been a mountainbiker rather than riding road bikes, so my bike handling is pretty good, and my group riding isn't bad, struggling on hills means I've learnt to do what Caverndish does and move upto the front on the flats and fall back as the gradient gets steep and sitting on others wheels as much as possible on climbs and saving my turns for the flats.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:05 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:16 pm
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If you need to drop weight changing your diet is for sure the easiest way to go about it. Steamed fish or fish in the oven with a salad (no oil or dressing on the salad) is quick and healthy food, along with skipping all sorts of chips, candy and sugar soft drinks, you can reduce the calorie intake a lot.
Lunch eaten out tends to contain a lot of extra energy, so that is one thing to look out for.

Consider if commuting by bike or getting of earlier of the train, car whatever and doing a run is possible. The energy spent does add up, 30 min*2 spent on commuting exercise each day, that is above 20 h per month, more than twice what you get from weekend riding and no recovery food is needed.
The downside of commuting exercise, at least on a bike is that you cant go as hard due to traffic safety reasons.

You may be able to cut down a little bit on the gels etc when riding, you won't ride as well but you'll drop weight more easily. 30 kg of fat stores can provide plenty of energy and the need for recovery sugar is less than for a rider with say 10 kg of bodyfat.
If you do have 30 kg of bodyfat you can probably loose 1 kg per week with little negative effects (except being a bit hungry). Once you've lost 10 kg or so, I'd go slower on the weight loss if you want to continue.
No fancy bathroom scale is going to be able to tell your percentage of body fat though you can get a reasonable idea from comparing yourself with internet pics.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:42 pm
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Quote:
If you need to drop weight changing your diet is for sure the easiest way to go about it. Steamed fish or fish in the oven with a salad (no oil or dressing on the salad) is quick and healthy food, along with skipping all sorts of chips, candy and sugar soft drinks, you can reduce the calorie intake a lot.
Lunch eaten out tends to contain a lot of extra energy, so that is one thing to look out for.


Yep, diet will change hugely for the better once I'm back home, I'm already weening myself off cabs by swapping breakfast and dinner for ommlets or fish/chicken with salad, lunch is a PITA though being on site, the options are pie or sandwiches.

Quote:
Consider if commuting by bike or getting of earlier of the train, car whatever and doing a run is possible. The energy spent does add up, 30 min*2 spent on commuting exercise each day, that is above 20 h per month, more than twice what you get from weekend riding and no recovery food is needed.
The downside of commuting exercise, at least on a bike is that you cant go as hard due to traffic safety reasons.


I've got quite a nice commute to go back to, 6 miles on reasnobly rural roads and showers int he office, it's possible to double or even trebel it taking in some back roads and small hills. Are you saying go for a run and cycle into work or run then get the train?

And I reckon just on group rides I'll be upto ~8-10 hours a week, commuting too at say an hour each way 3 days a week (i.e. taking the long 15-18mile route 3 days a week and using the car on group ride days) and I'll be upto a reasnoble 14-16hours a week on the bike. I was just wondering how those ~6 hours of commuting could be best spent, just sit in zone 2 and treat them as more base training? Or do something more structured?

I guess part of the problem is I've not got any goals other than get fit (most likely judged against 'can I beat other people up the climbs on a group ride'). Which leaves the question a bit open ended. Is "get fit enough to ride compettatively in cat4 races" attainable from where I am now over a winter's training? Or should I stick to more simplistic goals like "ride 100miles in under 5h30m"? I've not raced before so have no idea how fast cat4 actualy is!

Quote:
No fancy bathroom scale is going to be able to tell your percentage of body fat though you can get a reasonable idea from comparing yourself with internet pics.


Odly, I tried that and I estimated it almost 10% less than the fancy bathroom scales. Which seems counter intuitive as you'd expect that cyclist = muscle on legs = lower bf% reading when the scales are essentialy just looking at your legs. ~30% seems more realistic as that would give me ~65kg of lean mass and my power figures (about as accurate as the bathroom scales as they're from STRAVA, ~350W @5min, 275W at 10min) wouldn't seem too unreasnoble for a skinny guy doing my level of training.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:37 pm 
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Dont let the diet overtake your life .Eat sensible try not to eat crap between meals . If you do indulge a bit on one day just ease off the next and no damage will be done, don't make a big deal out of it. Look in the mirror and you can see if you are getting in shape . You don't need scales . If you want to put more muscle on then eat more protein if not then stay balanced with your food. Pick a few spots on your ride route and time yourself between them . Try and go quicker or use a harder gear. I usually have a day where I just eat what I want. If you lack energy then you are not eating enough to fuel your body . I found that just drinking water on rides was beneficial . Its to easy to stuff yourself on a ride. I know a few of the pro riders just take a bottle of water and fill it up when needed even on long rides. Ive been on 4 hour rides with just water and been fine .


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:44 am
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i dunno if long slow rides are indicative of weight loss (maybe they are?)

but before racing/training to race, i started life 162lbs and dropped 20lbs in 2 months , simply by attempting to hammer all the time. i would coast down hills and just hammer flats and hills til exhaustion and high hear rates. not scientific at all , but just my observations and experience. I actually eat more (understandably so) now than prior because of the introduction of exercise and metabolism is more fired up (i think).


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:42 pm
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Quote:
i dunno if long slow rides are indicative of weight loss (maybe they are?)


I think the theory is that slow rides burn fat in preference to carbs, going too quick shifts the body onto burning carbs and it can take quite a while to switch that off and back to fat, on the other hand a calorie's a calorie and a hard sessions going to burn more calories in the hours afterwards, mainly fat, what the ballance betweent he two is I've no idea, maybe the best workout would be a long easy ride ending with some really hard intervals to prolong the fat burning after the session's ended. Secondly slow rides don't tax the muscles, meaning you don't need calories and protein to repair them, going quick damages the muscles and if you're on a diet there's little chance for their repair so fast/hard sessions whilst restricting calories can be counter productive?

I'm good at knowing this stuff, useless at putting it into practice.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:52 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:28 pm
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I'm confused what "problem" there is. You weigh 210 pounds yet get beat uphill. If you want to go faster uphill either lose some weight or gain some power. If you want power, long slow rides aren't going to help you because, as you said the base is already there. Go lift some weights or do some intervals. Or buy a lighter bike


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Posted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:52 pm 


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 7:57 am 
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Sounds like you'll be getting more hours of exercise in which should help with the weight loss. Remember that there is nothing wrong with carbohydrates, as you said a calorie is a calorie. Exercise will burn glycogen as well as fat and I see no real reason to hold back on carbohydrates more than say fat, as long as you have a long term calorie deficiency on a level which will lead to the desired weight loss.
Once you run low on glycogen your body may break down more fat but it may also break down more muscle and tissue which is not beneficial.

What I meant with the commuting was that even if you have a commute that is too long to do running or cycling you can always get within a reasonable distance through car bus or train and run or cycle the last bit. I seems this is not a problem for you.

It sounds like you are on the right path, loosing the extra weight will help on the hills and in the long run be beneficial to your health (as long as you stay at reasonable body fat percentages). You'll also look better which is always a plus.


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