Caloi Training Tips

When I was a brand-new cyclist, I’d read everything I could to try to make myself faster. If I took a ride where my legs petered out before my lungs did, I’d do some things to strengthen my legs. If I took a ride where my lungs petered out before my legs did–well, I’d come back for more later.

I used to read through the Lance Armstrong books looking for some kind of subtle tip-off about how to improve my training. I’d scan cyclingnews articles hoping for some kind of guidance as to what I should do with my next ride. I’d plug Bry, the LBS owner, for info every chance I got. And I’ve got to be honest, the best advice seemed to be obvious: just ride. I learned that if I wanted to improve, I needed to take the time to make it happen. And that first season, I really did notice some speed differences. I even once pulled a little Pantani breakaway in a group ride, and that made me feel all warm and special on the inside.

I will tell you this much: nutrition made a difference. I really need to kick soda pop. Not because of the calories, but because of the effects of carbonation on your lungs. Have you ever drunk a 7up right after taking a lung-busting ride? Hiccups, really uncomfortable ones that don’t last very long. At least that’s been my experience. Whatever makes those hiccups simply can’t be helping you ride faster. And I know I gave up soda before I picked up speed.

Carbs? Eat all you want–if you’re riding often enough, you don’t have to worry about them being stored as cellulite in your love handles. Protein? Fish–which also gives you the benefit of omega-3 fatty acids, an extremely effective antioxidant. Only trouble is that fish and pregnant women don’t mix. So if there are pregnant women in your household, you might just want to buy an omega-3 supplement.

Whether a course broke my legs or my lungs first usually just depended on the topography. And the topography for your rides should depend on what type of race you’re training for.

One last point: consistency. It will make a world of difference if you keep a regular training schedule each week, which I haven’t been doing at all this year. Sporadic training, my current program, brings its own gains, I’m sure. But I got faster so much more quickly when I was doing the exact same stuff each week–two 30-milers during the week and a 45-50 on Saturday. Don’t worry about the specifics, just know that you get there much quicker if you keep the same schedule.

Okay, enough of me trying to be useful. Here, read the official Caloi diet health hints section. It’s written in broken English, much like my blog, but their excuse is that it was translated from Portuguese.

P.S. I purchased a new jersey on eBay recently in anticipation of an upcoming mountain bike race. I was the only bidder, which I can only assume means that I got completely ripped off. Anyway, I’ll provide details when it arrives. Ooo, here’s a photo:


23 thoughts on “Caloi Training Tips

  1. Scott

    All great points.  Any advice on how to stop life from getting in the way??
    Purely by coincidence, I am also on the sporadic training regemin. 

  2. Tim D

    Most of my riding is to work and back, 6-7 miles each way.  The other day I had to go into a nearby town and my home trip was 12 miles.  Not a big difference, but I could tell I\’ve been effectively training to ride 6 miles.  I have to get some long rides in

  3. uncadan8

    Great entry! Kind of like Clif\’s Notes for bikers. Are you planning on doing more? When I was in college (the first time around), the soccer coach wouldn\’t let his players drink soda during tryouts or during the season. He also had championship teams nearly every year.

  4. Tom Stormcrowe

    Best thing I can say is block out the time you need and utilize it. Life will always try to get in the way and you need to have enough self discipline not to allow it to happen. Your regularity of training is an indicator of how much commitment you are willing to make. Psycho, how badly do you want it? If you want it badly enough you will make it high on your priority list and train regularily. If other priorities… wife and kids and work get in the way, well, that makes you a perfectly normal athelete or sports enthusiast. Just depends on what you are willing to sacrifice to train, eh?

  5. Zed

    True, and for me, cycling will never be as high a priority as my family, which is perhaps why I can\’t seem to get consistent in training. It\’s almost getting warm enough to ride in the morning before work, though, and if you can pull that off, there\’s nothing holding you back.
    Glad you guys enjoyed my little spiel. I\’m still waiting for the dissenting voices to appear.

  6. Zed

    Awesome, Tom. I\’m sure Rob will appreciate it. That should be a blast. Tell him I wish I could do it too, but it\’s right during my peak season at work.

  7. Jay

    "Time to find out what I am made of…."
    That is what I said to myself this morning when I left the house.  It was the first time since the first week in April I had been outside on the bike.  I was going to see what a month of easy trainer riding, 2 illnesses, lack of sleep, and less miles had done to my ability. 
    The test: The 20 mile loop. (I took out the intitial downhill part to really make it a test) 
    Winds: Mild, N to S.
    The weather: 75-80.
    Beautiful day.
    The result: I didn\’t kick my butt, I tried the maximum sustainable aerobic pace (no sprinting)  New land speed record (for me) over this course: 20.6 mph
    I am really suprised, I guess Michelle Ferrari is a genious…for all intents and purposes I should have slowed down. 
    I have been really at best maintaining for a month, why would I improve? 
    The only answer I can come up with: I have lost weight.  I have improved my strength to weight ratio.  I get why these guys (Lance et al) get so obsessed over their weight (see: "Lance Armstrongs War").
    I learned something today in a way no book can teach it…it works, a year of consistant application and I can say "it works".

  8. uncadan8

    A-Coug – If you were pushing yourself pretty hard before your layoff, your body may have been able to reap maximum benefit from the recovery time. I realize being sick is not exactly good recovery time, but there is something to be said for rest and plenty of it. Congrats on the new land speed record!

  9. uncadan8

    Caloi – I am sure some technical nerdy type could make some minor corrections, but the beautiful thing about your entry is that it was based on common sense. And there is precious little of that in the world these days.

  10. Jay

    You bring up a good point Dan…I have been (in my previous running life) a pretty intense trainer.  By way of force, I have had to train easier for longer on a bike and I have had rest in different ways. 
    That brings up the other questions again:
    Is this all some talent that I didn\’t know I had and might be worth investing in?
    If so, how good am I?  If have that talent, how should I invest in it?  Am I a TT guy?  Am I a stage racer?  Would it be worth the time and schedule investment to learn to ride in a peleton?  I am 32, I just started last year, how much life do I have in my legs?  Is it something that is worth my time to race for 10 yrs?
    None of you can answer any of these questions for me…I just ask and pick up little clues here and there.  Like Caloi said, when you are a newbie you do things like that. 🙂

  11. Zed

    Either that, or maybe you\’re just well-tapered this time. I know that usually makes a huge difference before a race. Heck, the only way to know for certain which genre works for you is to try \’em out. Better get yourself into a race, cuz. I think Botched knows about some crit races in your area. Or you could check with Revolution.

  12. Unknown

    If you are not riding full-time, you are better off getting more quality sessions in and dropping the "just get out there and ride 70km" type rides… Make every session count, have a well-thought out plan and be ready to alter it as you go along.

  13. Zed

    Mags, Lately I\’ve been doing that with hill repeats, etc., in anticipation of a low-key road hillclimb TT I\’m competing in next month (where I\’d rather not get beat too bad). That\’s kind of in the spirit of the \’making it count\’ concept, no? But with the warm weather we\’ve had lately, I can\’t help but take the bike (usually mountain) out for a pleasure ride now and again. I try to put in a good long ride once a week so my body doesn\’t get too accustomed to doing these short, intense sessions. I\’m going to need a little bit of endurance for this mtb race in June, so my plan is to spend the longer rides on the mountain bike and save the intensity sessions for the road bike–exactly the opposite of the way everybody else does it. But that\’s my plan right now.

  14. Unknown

    Sounds like you are doing good job there. Train at what you want to be good at.
    My point was that you need lots of time in order for you to take advantage of long, low intensity training. Especially on the bike. Most recreational riders don\’t have that time.
    High intensity training is, of course, very time efficent. In other words, recreational riders will see tremendous gain vs. time spent on the bike. The downside is recovery time, fatigue etc.
    If you are focusing on TTs, you are better off putting in high quality training and not much rides longer than what you will compete in. But of course, long and easy rides are great for motivation – and I\’m a huge fan of those.
    Well, it\’s back to the Champions Leauge final…. 🙂

  15. Zed

    Hey, but recovery time can be a good thing when you\’re booked the night after a training session (like I am tonight). I was debating riding for an hour after work, but I think my legs are a little pooped from yesterday.
    I\’m interested to hear how your races are going, Mags. You gotta give us the low-down.

  16. uncadan8

    A-Coug – Biking may very well be a new-found talent! My experience is similar to yours in that I also am 30, just started riding a year ago, practiced other intense sports that are completely different than cycling, and have no idea what my best abilities are. I am thinking because of my power base, that doing TT\’s would be interesting to pursue, but I also seem to get into a groove after 30-40 miles where I can just roll at a pretty steady and fast (to me!) speed. My primary goal, of course, is to lose weight first. As that goal is accomplished, it will make my next goals more clear.

  17. Unknown

    ACoug, everybody starts in Cat 5. 
    It sounds like you are getting pretty fit on the bike.  I\’d heartily recommend you find a local velo club and train with them a little bit.  Recreational riding in a pack with others is a good start, but it doesn\’t prepare you for bike handling when you are in zone 5c, seeing spots, and elbow-to-elbow with 20 of your closest friends.  Good hard group rides with men & women who race every week will inflict some skills training on you.  Not to say that riding in a pack in a race is difficult, just that doing it safely takes some practice, and if you want to try road or circuit racing, or criteriums, you need to work on group riding skills and bike handling.  Criteriums in particular, which are defined by short courses, high speed and very technical corners, demand good bike handling skills, best learned at the elbow of other racers. 
    On the pure training portion, whether you are looking at mass start racing, TTs, track, or hill climbs (hill climbs being an odd little subset of roadracing and not really a recognized discipline, no offense Calooi) you benefit from periodizing your training, and mixing in higher and lower intensity work.  If you want to TT better, you need to do sprints.  Max effort hill intervals will improve your climbing, but also give you amazing leg strength that helps countering surges.  Various kinds of intervals will improve your overall racing ability.  You need a blend of physical training, not just the same ol\’ 25 mile, 20 MPH loop.  Get guidance. 
    The easiest guide to all things road racing, the one that reallly will give you an overview of the field, training, race prep, and everything, just tell you enough basics so that you can made educated choices, is "Wenzel\’s Bike Racing 101."  Note the reviews.  You can also pick up a lot of tips from experienced racers you ride with, and a good velo club should have a coach or somebody who works expressly on rider development. 
    The thing to remember, however, is that racing is going to kick your @ss, expect to be sorely challenged, and if you don\’t feel like you know what you\’re doing… don\’t worry about it.  Nobody does at first, just stick with it and everything will work out after a few races.  
    Physically speaking, races aren\’t smooth experiences.  They are typically packed with surges after corners, attacks and counterattacks where the field needs to make up tiime on a break.  There\’s never enough time to recover from that last all-out effort, the speed is always just uncomfortably high, and you have no idea how you\’ll make it up this hill with those tiny maniacs at the front of the pack leading the charge.  The magic is that the peleton has a mind of its own, individuals comprise it but it reacts like a huge amoeba, and you get carried along in it as well as swept up by it.  In a race where the average pace is 22 or 23, you might spend long minutes down in the drops doing 35, countering an attack, making time on a slightly downhill straight, or in a "selection" on dead flat ground spitting weaker riders out the rear, culling the herd to make the finishing sprinters a small, select group.  You\’ll probably never have a chance to climb a hill in a race where you can take it easy – the pace even among the sprinters, off the back, is painfully fast  So you have to be prepared, when you try it, to hear that last year\’s race, same Cat, same course, averaged 23 – and to not expect it to be a constant pace.  You can go 23, for sure… but then you\’re going 13 up this hill and you want to barf… and then you\’re out on the flat and going 35… And then some idiot attacks just before the next hill, and you haven\’t recovered from the last counterattack the peleton made…  That\’s just racing.  It\’s totally different, and the only thing you can count on is that it will throw things at you that you didn\’t count on.   
    Mass start racing, crits and road races, are harder and more rewarding than any other sport I\’ve done.  Give \’em a chance.  You might like it. 

  18. Zed

    No offense taken. Though, I admit, I wish hillclimbs were a recognized discipline. Heck, the Dauphine has a mountain climb TT almost every year, so it\’s not like it\’s a foreign concept to the pros.
    ACoug, if you have any trouble finding a TT to participate in, there\’s still one more flat TT in our local series on May 30 (a Tuesday, which means you\’d probably have to take a halfday off work). It\’s pretty low-key, but if Thatchmo and Bry show up, you\’ll still get a pretty good idea of what it takes to make it in the TT world.

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