some piece of science - high intensity vs countless miles

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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by Jugi

Vermu wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:36 pm
Now I’m far from expert but read intresting article about Finnish xc skier. Now it isn’t the same sport but cycling and skiing have similarities.
He found his peak when he increased base training (won olympic gold same year). What applies to some do not apply to everyone. Doing HIIT and intervals will increase your speed but one should not forget the base.
An olympic athlete probably trains 700 hours / year or more (including or not including racing) and arranges rest of their life around that. Cumulative training load will be high in any case. Generally they are not ”time crunched”, they are more or less always walking a tight rope over the swamp of over training.

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by dim

bm0p700f wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:28 pm
Dim this is what I do. Also time crunched training misses the point of cycling to me. No time to savour nature, clear your mind or get to work. With intense training you don't relax properly. My mind certainly does clearwhen training.
and most important .... ride the hills
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by jeanjacques

Tabata protocol is based on this, 4min of intensity give the same or better result than one hour of standard training.
That apply to a lot of commuter who are way stronger than the guy who do one or two longer ride per week.

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by bm0p700f

Or Dutch mountains. Nothing like riding up a drag at 18 mph into a wall of wind.
Plenty of that and a few (Suffolk) climbs on todays reliability trial. If you can make it next week dim to bury st Edmunds, the west Suffolk wheelers have the hardest RT in the region, the Suffolk punch. 75 mile hilly route, normally windy and if your not on the floor at the end you have done the shorter route.

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by NickJHP

One not uncommon outcome from life-long high intensity training is heart problems - Leonard Zinn wrote an article about it here:

I've noticed this in the local veterans cycling club of which I am a member. Half a dozen of my friends have needed heart operations of various sorts after a lifetime of hard training and racing.

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by AJS914

tymon_tm wrote:
Fri Sep 28, 2018 2:24 pm
some might find this one interesting: ... -activity/

Has anyone here that is super time crunched ever tried a 100% HIIT training plan? It would be interesting to see how much fitness one could maintain by say doing 30 minutes on the trainer 4 days a week. Maybe you do 5 30 second intervals every session for a total of 10 minutes of HIIT work. I wonder how much shape one would keep and how they'd do on that 3 hour Saturday group ride once spring rolls around.

I ride 6 to 10 hours a week right now and many of those hours are just for fun and because I just want to be on the bike and clear my mind. Today was an hour of Z1/Z2. You could call it a countless or pointless hour on the bike but it was enjoyable.

I've studied up a lot on LSD and polarized training this year. One thing that often isn't said is that pros who train 20+ hours a week are already near their physiological limits. There isn't a lot they can do to increase their FTP but the LSD riding increases their stamina so they can be strong at the end of long races like Paris Roubaix or grand tour stages. The very long rides at Z1/2 fatigue the slow twitch fibers and cause beneficial mitochondrial changes.

Medium intensity rides don't give those same benefits. Amateurs and time crunched athletes who are not near their physiological limits though do get more bang for the buck by mixing in the higher intenstity stuff.

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by bm0p700f

That's the benefit I get from LSD rides. LSD used to mean something different once upon a time.

20hrs a week is what I try and do. 16hrs is what I normally manage. My ftp can't improve much. It peaked last year at 350w. What has improved is my ability to ride for long periods while being able to sustain repeated hard efforts. The recovery from those efforts has got shorter. Also my recovery time from long rides is not that long.

Time crunched training may work for those wanting to race 1hr ctits or shorter TT's and do well in them. Time crunched training though dies not get me to work. The bike is transport first sport second.

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by iheartbianchi

I posted more on this here:


Generally, unless you have a strong aerobic base (lots of slow miles), you will hit a plateau on HIIT very quickly, after which improvement will be impossible because on a physiological level, you lack the capillarization or energy efficiency and instead are relying on moving your lactate threshold higher, closer to your Vo2Max. But your Vo2Max isn't increasing by much, and you can only move your lactate threshold so far.

You need mitochondria and capillaries to increase your Vo2Max, and to decrease the rate at which you approach your lactate threshold. This can only be achieved through long, slow miles.

So in short, no serious endurance athlete relies on HIIT. No serious amateur relies on HIIT. If you are just bang average, are pressed for time and just want to quickly improve (but plateau) and be somewhat better on your very amateur grouprides, yes, HIIT alone is fine.

This is why you see so many cyclists who have been riding at the same pace year after year after year. They only do a few group rides each week, and they are probably going too fast on each of them. Hence, they stop improving after their first year or two of riding.

Unless you are riding more than 300-500 miles a week, you will probably see the best long-term gains by doing more miles, than by doing short/fast miles. Whereas lactate/Vo2Max will be largely constant, the capillaries and mitochondria you build by doing long slow efforts actually stack up and accumulate over time. So 5 years of LSD will net you a steadily increasing aerobic condition, whereas you will max out on HIIT within a few months and see no more benefit.
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