Insanity in Repeat

Insainity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Yeah, the gifted can get away with this, but we gotta coach and learn......

What will the future bring according to your history?? What's reasonable and worth your time? All things being equal maintianing smart heathly decisions...it's going to be a fab year folks. Your plan? Are you sane? If you can't plan your future, see periodization and measuring P.E. entries below.



I've really started to gain an understanding of how important fuel, as in, DIET is. Previously I leaned torward "self timed" low carb, fresh real/foods and proien for diet, you know the drill. Anyawy, reccommend the book. It does great periodizations of what and when. The book also has fab data on protien, acididy of foods, glycemic index, carb foods, and many many other tables and index data. Pretty comprehensive. Yet another baseline to start learning your best solution for performance! "The Paleo Diet for Athletes" Cordain & Friel, 2005

Periodization Graphing and Planning

I absolutley buy into measuring percieved exertion, volume and increasing loads over time. Periods of increase then recovery then more increases then recovery, repeat. I have great graphs (visual) aids from data gathering that really helps me. While I don't map out a weekly plan per-se', I loosley target a result as shown below. It's enough to keep me on-track. See what data I track? Can you tell when intensity overcame volume? Tracking your ride data is critical to learning and riding with a focus!!!!



Fuel & Hydration is one of the deal makers or breakers. I include sodium, potasium, electrolytes, carbs & all that in this category. Recovery, protien, omega's etc.. 2006 was my big learning year. Completed Leadville 100 with no cramps! Want a copy of excel tool?

TRACKING: Perceived Exertion (P.E.)

Perceived Exertion (P.E.) should be used as an independant variable then combined with TIME determine your dependant output, VOLUME.

PE means little by itself, "that was hard"..."that was easy"...comments like that mean nothing unless related to TIME. It's TIME and P.E. begin to explain what your body just did. Try this in addition to your ave heart rate to measure events.


or add in a constant to make numbers bigger. I.E
PE x TIME x 100 = VOLUME

Or multiply PE and TIME by your average heart rate instead of a constant if you wish. I wouldn't reccomend the HR factor unless your way dedicated to wearing the HR Monitor all year, all the time. Otherwise your tracking log will have data tracking inconsistancies. Keep in mind you can always track heart rate monitor indicators in separate column of your spreadsheet.

It's the VOLUME your asking of your body that matters most. You can't accuratly measure what your body is going through simply by PE alone. Measure VOLUME by event, for the week, weekly average and over many weeks. Then when you are tired or fresh, you'll start to learn how you got there. Also, there are times short high intensity is needed and times when low intensity long periods make sense per training needs. Tracking can also help alert when you need recovery or getting stronger. Heart Rate tracking on it's own can help too.

Bike training is personal to each of our our potential attributes, strenths, goals, time ect. I will admit in prior years, early in the year my PE was lower and TIME was higher. I no longer have this total approach in early season. It's mixed now to my needs and what benifits "me" personally. It vauegly resembles in linearity to my first few years training. But that's just me and my development. I garuantee you will change and require varied training than mine. So I try not to preach how to, other than, track it. We're all different, go figure. Capture and note your VOLUME as outlined above, it's the best way to baseline what your are asking of your body and to learn, over time...

Failure May Come if.....

What will make you fail in a race, ride or event?

-dehydration or overhydration
-non-water fuel isn't sufficient or you cannot digest at rate demanded
-pace is beyond your Lactate Threshold (LT) for too long, you lock up
(Lactate can come from any muscles undertrained or stressed causing failure everywhere!)
-technical ability is lacking or fail from crash
-come into race overtrained or muscles not capable of event demands

Prevent with knowledge, experience and/or training. What else?



Article by Jeremy Likness

Have you ever had a cut that 'healed' into a scar? Have you ever found that your hands or feet form calluses from friction - either after running or handling tools or moving heavy furniture? Both of these are examples of the overcompensation principle.
When applied to your health and training, overcompensation can be a powerful tool to maximize your results.

The overcompensation principle is a survival trait built into your DNA. It is the body's way of adapting to stress. The scar is the byproduct of the body's frantic attempts to heal your wound as quickly and effectively as possible. The calluses on your hands are toughened skin, overcompensated to handle the continued onslaught of friction. There are other ways that the body overcompensates that are not so obvious, but understanding these processes is important for success.

While this segment is focused primarily on training, a quick side note about nutrition is in order. Overcompensation even happens with your metabolism based on the foods that you consume! The body is constantly trying to remain in a state of balance. This is called homeostasis. When you consume fewer calories than your body requires, the body responds by slowing your metabolism. This is in an effort to expend less energy and adapt to the lower caloric intake. It is this reason why low calorie diets are doomed to failure ... because they ultimately result in your metabolism slowing and can in fact make it harder to lose fat in the long run.

If you understand overcompensation, you can use it to your advantage. Instead of lowering your calories, you can employ a technique known as zigzagging them. If your goal, for example, is 1800 calories, instead of consuming exactly 1800 calories per day, you would consume 1600 one day and 2000 the next. Your average intake is the same, but by varying your daily intake, you prevent your metabolism from overcompensating and slowing down too much as the result.

In training, you want overcompensation to take place. This is how you will grow and develop stronger, bigger, leaner, faster muscles. Let's look at a few of the ways that your body will overcompensate as they relate to training.


Muscles must be stretched to improve flexibility. If overcompensation did not occur, you would always have the same level of flexibility. Fortunately, when you stretch your muscle, your body overcompensates by increasing the flexibility of this muscle. This is why consistent stretching sessions will improve your overall flexibility, because overcompensation allows the muscles to become increasingly more flexible.

The body is simply adapting to the stress of the muscle being stretched and responding by improving the flexibility to so it can better handle the stretch. Performing stretches in a controlled fashion will create a healthy insurance policy against those unexpected incidents that may force your muscles to stretch, such as a fall or collision.


Whether you are lifting a heavy weight or throwing a fast punch, your muscles are forced to exert power. Strength is really a function of neuromuscular efficiency. In other words, to gain strength, you don't necessarily need to gain muscle size - instead, you must train your body to use your muscle more effectively and efficiently.

Forcing the muscle to handle a heavy load or to accelerate rapidly doesn't just stress your physical systems, but your central nervous system (CNS) as well. The body overcompensates for this by improving the way it coordinates your muscular contractions. It becomes more efficient to expend less energy and subject the tissue to less damage, and the end result is improved strength.

Muscle Mass

Hypertrophy, or muscle growth, occurs as another response to training. When you train for hypertrophy, you essentially damage your muscle fibers. This micro-trauma is what leads to soreness after an intense workout and is also the reason why you must rest between workouts so that the muscle has time to recover. If you recover adequately and supply the appropriate nutrition, the body will overcompensate by increasing the size of the muscle.


One of the most studied effects of overcompensation is related to endurance. I am currently training for a 50-mile (80km) race in 2007. My training right now is about 30 kilometers per week. Each week, however, I slowly increase the distance, and will eventually run well over 100km per week.

It will take me about a year to prepare for the race because I will give my body sufficient time to overcompensate. As I increase the volume of my runs my body will respond in several ways. It will increase the number mitochondria in my cells, little powerhouses that help use oxygen as energy.

It will increase the volume of myoglobin, a protein that helps transport oxygen, available to my muscle cells. As I increase my distance, I'll ultimately run long enough that my body will run out of its preferred source of stored fuel: glycogen (carbohydrate stored within muscle cells). It will have to turn to fat for fuel, and in the process I will become more efficient at both burning fat and utilizing fat as a fuel source, making my long runs more bearable as my body overcompensates to handle the stress.

As you can see, overcompensation is perhaps the most important principles of training. It is the reason why our bodies respond to training. All of the other principles we will discuss relate to overcompensation in one way or another.

In fact, the remaining laws really dictate how to manage your training to continue to take advantage of overcompensation without 'burning out.' It is about learning how to maximize overcompensation without going too far - because the body can only overcompensate so much before it becomes exhausted.

Core & Gym Work

CORE: Must have strong mid-section. Your middle is your crowbar. Leverage to pedals requires strong mid regardless if you got gears or not.

STRENGTH THROUGH WEIGHTS or BIKE: I use the weight room at work and do odd home reps, not buying a gym membership ever!!!

To ensure weight room transfer to bike, bike often and be careful of overtraining.

UPDATE: "weights article" web link on right has on-bike or off-bike tips. I find single speed seated climbs and standing a great way to tweak you butt, back, arms, shoulders and core. No SS, put a heavey pack on. Be careful not to tweak, get out of your comfort zone....when ready, baby steps!

Who's fat again?

2009: I'm 5lbs heavier than I like at race season start, in two months. But this year< i'm just going to keep on eating fruit, veggies and protien as much as I want! I'm not talking heavey foods, just eat when I want, and eat lot's. I know it will come off. Aerobic and an-aerobic, feed the fire!!

Family, holidays, then late 2006 hernia surgery makes a guy soft. Weak or balanced? Finished 2007 riding and having fun in the snow. 600=160, 500=150, 550=155, 490=149.

Dress for Success

Who cares how you look. Are you prepared with tools, warm gear & essentials? I often do long training rides with a back pack full of goodies and water. Nothing is better than heading out on a 4 hour ride knowing you have all the tools, fuels & layers you need. I may wear flashy colors when I race but looks are for movie stars. I'm just a joe on a bike.

Recovery, Overtraining and Sickness

Note to self.... As I write hope it sticks. If I write, I will follow it. Don't overdo it too much or I'll pay. Recovery is key! Remember the ultimate goal of staying healthy, not getting hurt...


Long Steady Speed-O???

So does long steady, less than max workouts really work. I'll say this......for 4 years I rode hard....on crazy steep dirt trails, the stiffest, craggiest MTB trails I could find. For 4 years thinking short hard benifited my XC race effort. HOWEVER, finally in 2005 I spent many hours on road doing steady work. OK, forget distance, it was 1-2 hrs on my mountian bike, on road. I threw away my speedo & went steady. The effort in 2005 took 40 minutes off my best 40 mile Chequamegon race time.

You need a base to last, once you have that you can do intesity work. It may take more than one month or year to get a base (endurance and circulation capability). Yep, screw craggy steeps, screw speedo's. I use Pereceived exertion & time on bike, period.....HR pre season to stay in zone. Only you will know how much time each ride needs to be, and when to do intesity work vs. longer base work. Go figure!

Heart Rate (numbers motivate)

After reading all the articles you may notice Heart Rate is needed. Since you can't afford a watt meter you'll need to estimate "your" zones. There are many ways to do this, here's one. CALULATOR However, HR is a lagging, fluxuating, measure. In fact everyone's heart is different, and acts different pehaps daily. Investigate you, learn.

Update: see "e-tips" link on right side of page for more


Intensity Training Menu

This is mainly taken from Joel Friel's Mtn Bike Training Bible. I altered for me. You need to go buy book and digest, and learn your zones. It's key to learn how to cater to your needs and always ride with focus. If a season goal is a race over 30 miles, you may have a tricky balance between longer and shorter intensity training rides. These are more for shorter XC races than enurance but helpful either way non-the-less!

First thing before doing these
build a solid base, ease up over months to longer rides. WARNING: you may want to see your Doctor before doing any of these. Seriously. Since these are sort of progressional, getting to the high levels straight away is not realistic. Some areas may be harder than others for you. This being my 3rd year race training I'll now, finally, hope to have a realistic chance at upper items. Tough stuff. CAUTION: Don't overtrain! Back off or recover often to get feel of your body & mental needs.


(Z1<138) (Z2-140/152) (Z3-152/160) (Z4-158/170) (Z5a-169/172) (Z5b-173/178) (Z5c-179+)

E1: RECOVERY: - (Z1) - 15-30min not on excel all periods

E2: ENDURANCE: - (Z2) - seated on uphills, high norm cad, all periods

F1: HILLY ENDURANCE: - (Z4/5a) - several minute climbs, 60 rpm, E&F all periods

F2: B GEAR CLIMBS: - (Z5a/5b) - Steep 1-2m climbs, 50-60rpm stop if knee issues, 6-30min total, F, Bs3-B1

S1: SPIN UPS- (Zn/a): - downhill or tailwind lighter resistance, gradual inc of rpm over 30 sec to max w/o bounce, all non-build

S2: ISOLATED LEG: - (Zna) - all non-build

S3: FIXED GEAR: - (Z2-Z3) - road bike, 90 rpm or higher, flat no wind, E,F,S, all non-build

S4: FORM SPRINTS: - (Zna) - 6-10 sprints of 10 seconds, normal sprint gear, focus on form, do alone, Bs2- Bs3

S5: OFF ROAD HANDLE: - (lowZ or low power) – work on skills in park then trail, Bs1-Bs2- Bs3

M1: TEMPO: - (Z3) - flat road, 20-60min, avoid traffic stop areas, stay aerodynamic body, Bs2- Bs3

M2: CRIUSE INTs: - (Z4-Z5a) - flat, 3-5 ints 6-12m ea. (start 4x6), TT rpm, 2-3m recover easy, listen2body, Bs3, B1, B2, P, R

M3: HILL CRIUSE INTs: - (Z4-Z5a) - “do 2-3 M2 first………TT rpm or lower” listen2body, Bs3, B1, B2, P, R

M4: CRISS-CROSS THRESHOLD: - (lowZ4 to highZ5a) – ride 20-40m alt btwn zones every 3-5m, TT/aero, B2, P

M5: THRESHOLD: - (Z4-Z5a) - 20-40m TT, listen2body, relax, aero, monitor rpe, do3x M2’s before attempt, B2, P

M6: SHIFTING CRIUSE INTs: - (z4z5a 60sec then z5b 30sec) cruise int. but shift btwn gears. TT rpm, max 30min tl., B2, P, R

A1: ANAEROBIC ENDURANCE INTs: - (Z5b) – flat no stops, 4-6 ints 5min ea., high rpm race like, ease spin recover, B1, B2, P, R

A2: PYRAMID INTERVALS: - (z5b) – A1 but 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1 min. long, recover equal to previous/easy spin, flat road, B1, B2, P, R

A3: HILL INTERVALS: - (5b) – steep off-road hill 3-5min., 4to6 climbs, seated, higher than norm rpm, spin down easy, 9-18mT, “ “ “ “

A4: LACTATE TOL REPS: - (Zna) –starts, slight uphill or wind, high pow accel, 3-5sets 30/40 sec. rpm+, 6m max, later12m, 48hrs, 1/2wk max, B2, P

A5: LONG HILL REPS: - (60 sec. Z5b sit then 30 sec. Z5c stand), sit Z5b then shift to higher gear stand to Z5c, all high rpm, B2, P

A6: RACE SIMULATION: - (Zna…race relevant) race with friends, if fresh employ race tactics, B2, P, R

A7: TIME TRAIL: - (Zna...A race relevant) terrain and conditions like race, 10-20minute loop, do 40min, recover 5/10m, B2, P, R

P1: JUMPS: - (Zna) 3-5 sets of 5 jumps, 15-25 tl., explosive power frm 1st stroke, 10-12 rpm each leg, stand, high rpm, B1, B2, P, R

P2: HILL SPRINTS: - (Zna) on or off road hill, 8-12 sprints, 8-10 sec., flying start, power into, stand through, 5min recover, B1, B2, P, R

P3: CRIT SPRINTS: - (Zna) short loop off road, tight corners, 6-9 sprints, 25-35 sec., incl 1 or more corners, 5m spin recover, B2, P, R



Dear Diary,

Thursday and Friday were my first two painfully happy road rides of 2007.

Putting the HR monitor on was almost as tough as getting on the bike knowing a chilly stupid studded tire Minnesota road ride was ahead. It was then, with said first ride, the yearly argument of time and motivation would be settled.

Soon I was not cold, just breathing and turning those familiar circles. Oh how wishful pace gave high heart rates.

Pain on many levels taunted motivational reasoning. Words like steady, grimace and grit we're logged. The bike seat and other ergonomic problems pressured. Still in a simple sense it was enjoyable for all the mechanics and freedom biking brings.

Yet at some point on each ride there was more. So much more. As air, blood and road mixed to create recorded data, the thought of goals sparked something huge..........hammering in an adreneline intoxication...........my eyes opened again as they have before.

2007 WILL be a biking year like no other!!!!

The only two arguments that matter:
1. Every year with additional circles on my odometer of fun.............confidence, circulation and performance increase.
2. Knowledge and focused training created increases last year greater than previous yoy results.

Motivational flashbacks of success, learnings and accomplishment were soon erased with 2007 goal focus.

There is no reason 2007 will not produce results desired.

I Believe. I must ride. I will meet my goals.


Training Coach Pages

I've never used a coach and have no interest in paying the fee. Regardless, interesting list of coaches below. If bored look through their sites for information and knowledge.

areUfit - Robin Akers, cycling coach, providing details of the training, guiding and holiday services provided for cyclists and general fitness services for non-cyclists.
Arnie Baker Cycling - Arnie Baker MD, bicycling coach, racer and author. Website includes articles, books, handouts, and information about coaching services.
Bicycle Racing Videos - BicycleCam.Com offer videos that put you in the rider's seat during actual Pro Men 1-2 races. Filmed from start to finish without interruption, the videos are designed to be inspirational entertainment for the indoor trainer.
BicycleCoach.com - Searchable database of profiles of hundreds of cycling coaches, and the coaches reveal training and bike riding tips, with a new tip posted every few days.
Carmichael Training Systems - Cycling, triathlon, and endurance coaching by Chris Carmichael and associated coaches. Includes training package summaries, camp dates and locations, coach profiles and levels, performance center locations, press releases, articles, and resources.
Coach Carl - New Mexico based cycling coach Carl Cantrell offers paid coaching services and free training information. Topics include cycling psychology, strategy, bike technology, training, and management.
Coachingbible.com - Professional web-based coaching software for cycling, multisport, triathlon, adventure, and running coaches. System includes customized features, training templates, message board, and coach-athlete communication system.
CoachSeiji.com - Receive custom cycling, triathlon, multi-sport, and endurance coaching in person or via the Internet. Specializes in comprehensive training programs that balance competitive goals with everyday life. Site offers coaching information, training articles, and racing tips. Based in Austin, Texas.
Colorado Premier Training - Coaching cyclists offering expert training advice, also meet other cyclists online by organizing group training rides.
CRCA Presents a Day with Chris Carmichael - Notes from a clinic on training for bicycle racing by 1999 US Olympic Committee Coach of the Year Chris Carmichael. Hosted by the Century Road Club Association in New York.
Cycling Coach David Brinton - A former U.S. Olympian and cycling coach with 22 years coaching experience. Details on coaching philosophy, biography, testimonials, programs, and success stories.
Dave Lloyd Complete Coaching - Cycling coaching service from ex professional cyclist - Dave Lloyd. Site also offers coach bio, athlete news, and coaching services.
eliteFITcoach.com - Southeastern US professional coaching organization offers in-person and Internet-delivered training programs. Coaches elite, amateur, and fitness clients.
FasCat Coaching - Coaching for mountain bikers and road riders. Train under the supervision of an experience racer and USA cycling certified coach. Specializing in personal training programs.
Interactive Training Plans - Individual, daily updated training and nutrition plans which adapt instantly to the athletes feedback - for endurance athletes of all levels. Information provided in several languages.
Jeff Devlin Coaching - Coaching for cycling, mountain biking, triathlon, duathlon and running. Custom training programs via e-mail, fax and phone.
Joe Friel's Ultrafit - Cycling and multisport coaching services for endurance athletes offered by Joe Friel and associate coaches. Custom training programs for weekend warriors, competitors, and Olypmic hopefuls.
Kathy Watt's Personal Training - Olympic gold medallist Kathy Watt and her coach, design programs for individuals, groups and companies to improve their cycling performance or skills, including running, swimming, weight training, health and fitness.
Masters Athlete Physiology and Performance - Masters Athlete Physiology and Performance is a high content website dedicated to examining the physiology and training methods of endurance sport
MTB Coach's Tips Newsletter - A free e-mail newsletter with tips and articles from a certified mountain bike coach. Training, skills development, racing strategy and other mountain biking topics are covered.
Online Bike Coach - Individualized cycling training programs focusing on improvement through technical analysis and personal attention. Includes online and on-site training, pricing, and overview of programs and services, clients, and contacts.
Progressive Cycle Coaching the coach Dan Bennett will personally design a cycling training programme based upon your racing and training goals. Your programme will include a range of training, racing and lifestyle advice designed around your needs. There are a range of training programmes to suit all budgets and needs and with the free extras.....
The Peaks Coaching Group - Personal and online coaching service offers power-based training programs and nutritional consulting to athletes. Includes training and racing tips, cycling camps, and training products.
Richard Stern Training - Scientific training for the competitive or recreational cyclist. Emphasizes power training and physiological testing. Training articles and products.
Roger Marquis' Cycling Page - with lots of information about racing, training, bike fit, and a cyclist's rights to the road.
Scientific Coaching - Coaching from world masters champion, accredited sport scientist and senior coach Dr. Auriel Forrester. Home of the Spindoctor-turbo turbotraining program.
Spinergy - UK based Spinning instructors offer periodisation-based cycling programmes for recreational and competitive cyclists who want to get the most out of their time training indoors on stationary bikes.
SportVelo - Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, offers bicycle coaching and premier bicycle services including fitting/ride evaluations, pro-bike builds, wheel building and complete bicycle maintenance.
TORQ Personal Training - Services offered by Matt Hart's London-based fitness training and consultancy business geared toward cycling.
Training for Cycling Time Trials - Promotes a scientific training program for time trialists (available for a fee as en electronic book), but a good overview of training tips and techniques is available for free.
Walden School of Cycling - A hands-on, learn-by-doing approach in sunny Florida.
Wattage Training - Coaches Michael Sherman and Greg Steele are advocates of training with bike power meters and, from their base in Salt Lake City, Utah, offer customized training plans for cyclists ready to tap into that technology.
Wenzel Coaching - An organization of qualified coaches led by Rene and Kendra Wenzel. Offers training programs for all levels of riders and racers.
Whole Athlete - Programs for optimal athletic performance. Individualized and scientific-based coaching, performance anbalysis, yoga for the athlete, nutritional counseling, sport psychology, and bike fit.


Recovery: Whole Athlete Performance Center

Optimize Your Training off the Bike
By Dario Fredrick
[Velo News, Vol. 34/No. 7, April 25, 2005]
Effective training has many components: proper intensity, sufficient volume, intelligent
nutrition, and a balanced psychological approach. While each of these components plays
an important role, the most important part of effective training actually happens off the
bike: recovery. The process of physical training literally breaks us down, both physically
and mentally, and it is only during the recovery from training that we build resilience,
power and endurance. Without proper recovery, the damaging effects of training
accumulate and can lead to burnout, overtraining or injury.
Most competitive cyclists have little difficulty training hard, devoting plenty of energy to
their physical training. While it is essential to apply workloads that stress the body
beyond its current state in order to improve, benefits are realized only when recovery
from the training occurs, as the body rebuilds itself and adapts to a higher level of power
or endurance. Recovery is as important a part of training as the physical training itself.
The rate of recovery is important for competitive cyclists, particularly as they commonly
train and race on consecutive days. A proactive approach, following some basic
guidelines can speed the rate of recovery, improving performance potential for
subsequent workouts or on back to back race days. We can divide proactive recovery into
three main categories: refueling, rebuilding and restoring.
Refueling for Recovery
The primary fuel during exercise, especially at moderate to high intensities is
carbohydrate stored as glycogen. Muscle glycogen is a “fast” fuel located directly at the
site of work production, and its depletion leads to fatigue, reducing peak sustainable
power. Logically, replenishing muscle glycogen stores after a race training session
becomes a priority for optimal recovery. Furthermore, sufficient carbohydrate intake
before and during endurance exercise may help reduce stress on the immune system
inherent in prolonged and intense training.
The timing of replenishing glycogen can affect the rate of recovery. The most current
research has demonstrated a window of opportunity within the first 30-60 minutes
immediately following exercise in which carbohydrates are more quickly stored as
glycogen. This accelerated rate gradually slows over the next few hours to a normal,
resting level. After a glycogen depleting exercise session, such as a long training ride or
race, the highest post-exercise glycogen resynthesis occurs when ingesting at least one
gram of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight in that first hour. For a 150 lb cyclist,
this translates to approximately 68 grams of carbohydrates.
The type of carbohydrates consumed during this period can also make a difference. Highglycemic
carbohydrates appear to be the most effective during the 30-60 minute postexercise
window. While some research has suggested that including a small amount of
protein improves the rate of glycogen storage, there is also evidence showing no
improvements when adding protein. Given that protein is an essential component for
rebuilding tissue and that it does not limit glycogen storage, it makes sense to take in
both. There are numerous recovery drink mixes that use a carbohydrate/protein ratio of
3:1 or 4:1, simplifying the process for you.
Re-hydration is arguably the most important element of refueling for recovery. Intense
exercise can cause a large loss in fluid, and in hotter conditions, endurance athletes can
lose as much as three liters of sweat per hour. A fluid deficit of as little as 2% of body
weight can impair performance, emphasizing the importance of hydration as part of
optimal recovery. Try to take in at least 16-20 ounces of fluid for every pound of body
weight lost during a training session or race. It is also important to recognize that the
thirst mechanism is delayed compared to your body’s hydration needs. Drink before
you’re thirsty on the bike, and consume the appropriate amount of fluid during recovery
regardless of thirst.
Minerals such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium and magnesium are lost through
sweat. A mineral imbalance can negatively affect muscular contraction and hormone
function. Replacing the minerals that are lost in the highest quantity (sodium &
potassium) can be easily achieved using many of the common sports drinks available
Vitamins and minerals play an important role in energy production. For example, the
mineral iron is essential for carrying and transporting oxygen in the blood. Vitamins such
as B1 and B2 are involved in metabolizing fuel for working muscle. The vitamin and
mineral needs of most athletes are satisfied with a well balanced diet. If you suspect that
you are lacking in some areas of your diet, a multivitamin antioxidant may help fill some
of the nutritional gaps. Antioxidant vitamins such as C, E & beta carotene appear to help
reduce some of the damage from oxidative stress in muscle. Keep in mind that vitamin
supplements should not replace a balanced diet, as nutrients are best obtained from
wholesome foods.
Rebuilding for Recovery
Protein is an essential element in the structure of every cell. Without it we would not be
able to repair the muscular damage caused by training. Furthermore, amino acids (which
form proteins) play an important role in metabolism and in regulating blood glucose
levels, directly affecting the fueling of muscle.
The optimal amount of dietary protein intake has been argued over extensively, and is
still not entirely agreed upon. For endurance athletes, the ideal amount appears to range
somewhere between 1.0-1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. This
suggests that a 150 lb. cyclist should consume between 68-109 grams per day. While this
is clearly a wide range, the timing of protein intake should also be considered. For
example, when tissue repair is critical to recovery, such as during periods of significant
increase in volume or intensity, protein needs may be closer to the higher end of the
range, while less intense training phases may require a slightly lower protein intake.
During sleep, the body goes through its most significant regenerative processes, which
include the production of growth hormone (GH). GH stimulates rebuilding of muscle,
improves the delivery of fuel to muscle and stimulates fat metabolism. Taking a brief nap
during the day can provide additional GH release, potentially improving recovery. The
duration of a nap need not exceed 20-30 minutes to be effective.
Sleep also supports proper mental functioning such as memory and other important tasks
required for optimal cycling performance. Sleep deprivation, on the other hand, can affect
maximal exercise performance, reducing exercise time to exhaustion by as much as 20%.
Loss of sleep can also increase your perceived effort during exercise, with potentially
adverse affects on your confidence and motivation.
While researchers are not certain of the optimal volume of sleep for athletes, it is clear
that sleep deprivation can hinder performance and recovery. If your mental focus seems
impaired after a limited number of sleep hours, or your perception of effort on the bike
seems higher than it should, try gradually increasing your hours of sleep until feeling
clear minded and strong on the bike again.
Restoring for Recovery
Intense physical training stimulates the stress response (sympathetic division) of the
nervous system. Stress hormones are produced that increase the breakdown of glycogen
for fuel and damage muscle tissue, while placing strain on the immune system as well.
Conversely, the counterpart of the stress response in the nervous system (parasympathetic
division) is naturally enhanced during periods of rest or while digesting a meal. When the
parasympathetic “counter-stress” response takes over, restoration and recovery are
Psychological stress produces a similar response as intense exercise even when not
exercising. You can promote the restorative effects of recovery by reducing sympathetic
activity and encourage parasympathetic activity whenever possible. For example,
restorative Yoga poses support parasympathetic activity, enhancing recovery. We can
also train this response in the brain in a similar way that we train the body on the bike. By
practicing relaxation, the mind learns to reduce sympathetic stimulation off the bike,
minimizing the stress response when it is least needed.
Musculoskeletal alignment refers to creating and maintaining the natural and full range of
motion in the joints, muscles and connective tissues of the body. Flexibility and joint
alignment allow optimal movement patterns. Flexibility can also describe a tissue’s
ability to change in length or form without injury. Restoring muscle tissue to its natural
length from a chronically contracted state can improve its ability to produce force. Good
flexibility also supports joint health through improved lubrication and prevention of
injuries. Alignment-based stretching, such as in certain styles of Yoga can help improve
these restorative aspects of recovery.
Massage is a commonly employed recovery tool for cyclists. It is interesting that little
scientific evidence supports performance benefits from massage other than a reduction in
perceived effort. Nonetheless, massage can increase circulation to a given area,
nourishing heavily worked muscles with fresh blood to help repair and restore damaged
tissue. Massage can also assist in realigning overworked joint movement patterns, such as
the repetitive motion of pedaling for hours in a bent-forward position. Even self-massage
can be a restorative practice. Lie on the floor with your legs elevated (feet against a wall
or on a chair), use massage strokes that are not too deep, yet flush the muscles with fresh
blood. The healing effects of massage are apparent to those who take advantage of this
recovery tool.
Elements of Optimal Recovery
• Replenish glycogen stores within 30-60 minutes following a workout or race.
Take in one gram per kilogram of body weight of high-glycemic carbohydrates.
• Consume 16-20 oz of fluid per pound of weight lost during exercise.
• Consume adequate protein (1.0-1.6 gm/kg/day), especially during intense period
of training or racing.
• Sufficient sleep is important for optimal growth hormone production and
rebuilding and repairing damage. “Power naps” of 20-30 minutes also help do the
• Minimize the stress response off the bike to maximize restoration. Practice
calming the mind and recovery will improve.
• Stretch or practice alignment-based forms of Yoga to restore muscle/connective
tissue and joint alignment.
• Massage is a long-time recovery tool of the cyclist. Take advantage of its
restorative effects.

Dario Fredrick, M.A. is an exercise physiologist and the head coach/director of the
Whole Athlete Performance Center. He can be reached via www.wholeathlete.com

3 Great Aerobic threshold workouts

sourced from Active.com on 4/3/2011

Edmund R. Burke, Ph.D.


While endurance training is the backbone of a mountain biking fitness program, in order to compete in racing one needs to compete at a heart rate that can be maintained for 15 to 45 minutes of decidedly hard effort, most commonly on climbs.

At this point you are riding at the threshold between where the energy for muscular contraction is coming primarily from aerobic metabolism and where anaerobic metabolism begins to kick in at a high rate.

Once you pass the threshold, the muscles produce excessive amounts of lactic acid which begins to accumulate in the body. The process of lactic acid production begins to shut down the metabolic mechanisms within your muscle cells, and because it is an acid, you experience that familiar burning sensation in your muscles.

For most fit athletes this will be between 80% and 85% of their max heart rate. When training in this zone, the primary benefit to you is an increase of the speed or effort that you can work at before you cross over into the pain of lactic acid accumulation. Provided you have the proper aerobic base built from primarily endurance work, this training could well provide the level of training your cycling is missing.

When you are riding at this intensity you will experience heavy breathing, tired muscles and fatigue. And when you train at this effort, you will experience a training effect that will allow you to sustain more work at higher intensities at a lower heart rate.

The importance of training at lactate threshold is significant for several reasons. If everything else were equal, the higher your lactate threshold, the faster pace or speed that can be held over long distances or steep climbs. While success in off-road events is in part related to high maximal aerobic capacity and the ability to descend quickly on gnarly single tracks, it also requires cyclists to compete at a high percentage of their maximal capacity.

The training programs listed below will help you raise your threshold from 75-80% to the 85% level found in elite cyclists. This means that you will be able to ride at a pace closer to your maximum oxygen consumption without accumulating excessive amounts of lactic acid.

What does this mean? Well, youll be able to raise your speed on a long steep climb lets say from 10 m.p.h. to 12 m.p.h. You will also be able to breakaway with fitter cyclists, climb hills stronger and attack with more speed, but only after you have the proper base of endurance conditioning. If you dont have the proper base of aerobic conditioning, these workouts will tear you down rather than build you up.

If youre not already not using lactate threshold training, try adding a little to your weekly program. Start off with one session per week, and gradually increase the intensity and length of these sessions. Dont increase the frequency once a week is plenty. Your race performances should improve as your lactate threshold goes up.

Long intervals:

These intervals range from 1 to 5 minutes long.

A good plan is to start with shorter intervals. Then as you become more fit, lengthen the intervals. Many cyclists consider 1 to 2 minute intervals short, while 4 to 5 minutes would be long. Gradually raise your heart rate to lactate threshold level and maintain it to the end of the interval.

The rest intervals between the intervals should be in the 2 to 5 minute range or to when you heart rate returns to about 120 beats per minute, although the length of recovery will vary with the length and the intensity of the interval. Ride easily during recovery until you feel you have recovered for the next interval.

Start with 3 or 4 intervals then gradually increase the number of intervals, 5 or 6 is plenty. As you increase the number of intervals you should also increase the length of each interval until, after several months, you can complete two sets of five, five-minute intervals. In the early part of the season use your middle chainring. Once you are into your heavy racing season, use the big chainring.

Timed-hill interval

Mark off a known distance on a hill that will require about 5 to 7 minutes to ride at threshold heart rate. Then ride the distance and record your time and ending heart rate. The goal is to try and lower your time, while not going over your threshold heart rate during the interval.

Lactate crisscross training

You need a heart rate monitor with a high/low "target zone" system. Simply set the lower alarm on your monitor about eight beats below your lactate-threshold heart rate and the upper alarm about five to six beats above your lactate threshold heart rate.

After a good warm-up, increase your speed or intensity steadily until the upper alarm goes off, then gradually slow your pace until the lower alarm sounds. Travel back and forth between the upper and lower alarms, taking about 2 minutes to make each ascent and descent. Again add time to each interval and number of repetitions to your workout as your fitness progresses during the season.

Hammer Nutrition Rocks

Hammer Nutrition is a good site with lots of fuel/training info. Excellent products, order up, use my account. New refferals score 15% off. Just call 800 336 1977 Hammer order line, tell them Heath sent ya. Acct# 96496 HAMMER SITE

HEY BUCKO! I spent mucho time putting this site together. And you've obviously spent time here. I don't have google ads and not trying to make money. Just trying to help a fellow biker......all I ask is, and don't forget, mention acct #96496 sent ya when you order Hammer, we both get discount!! ....Thanks, Heath

MTB Race Starts (archive date for retreival)

Mountain Bike Race Starts (LW Coaching)
The start of a mountain bike race can be crucial in deciding race outcome. When the trail narrows down to single track after the start, there is always a furious fight for the hole-shot. Getting that hole-shot and being first into the single track can be a huge advantage. If you are in the lead in the single track you can control the pace. On the flip side, there is nothing more infuriating in a race than getting stuck behind a rider who is slow through the single track.
Specific "start" workouts must be part of your training plan if you want to win short track and cross country races. Mountain bike starts are always an anaerobic effort for several minutes then a threshold effort for most of the rest of the race. The key to "start" practice is training your legs to recover from an anaerobic effort while continuing at threshold pace.
To make the workout as specific as possible, simulate race conditions as closely as possible. Begin your workout with the warm up you plan on race day. This is something you should have dialed in long before race day. The key "starts" workout involves a maximum effort followed immediately by a longer period at your lactate threshold (Friel heart rate zone 4-5a).

The Workout
Warm up for 30 minutes. From a stand still with one foot on the ground, go max effort for 1 min. Drop to heart rate zone 4ø5a (LT threshold pace) for 5 minutes. Spin easy zone 1 back to start line. Repeat 2ø4 times.
You can customize this workout to match your next peak race. Ideally, do this workout on the actual race course. Go max effort until you reach the single track then continue with your heart rate in zone 4-5a for another five minutes.
If you cannot travel to the race course, simulate the time to the single track for the max effort then continue at heart rate zone 4-5a for five more minutes.
This workout is a specific race workout and should be done in the 4 ø 6 weeks prior to your peak race. Contact Lynda with Questions, Comments, or Suggestions.


The Lactate Threshold

original source document

The Lactate Threshold
Introduction: Few topics in exercise physiology have been more frequently investigated, or more vigorously debated than the lactate threshold. The details create the biggest debates. However, it is the basics that have great application to training and performance. So, we'll stick to those.

What is Lactic Acid and Where Does it Come From?

The carbohydrates you consume consist of several different sugar molecules; sucrose, fructose, glucose to name a few. However, by the time the liver does it's job, all of these sugars are converted to glucose (see figure to left) which can be taken up by all cells. Muscle fibers take up glucose and either use it immediately, or store it in the form of long glucose chains (polymers) called glycogen. During exercise, glycogen is broken back down down to glucose which then goes through a sequence of enzymatic reactions that do not require oxygen to proceed. All of these reactions occur out in the cell fluid, or cytosol. They proceed very rapidly and yield some energy for muscle work in the process. This glycogen/glucose breakdown pathway is called the anaerobic (no oxygen) glycolysis (glucose breakdown) pathway. Every single glucose molecule must go through this sequence of reactions for useful energy to be withdrawn and converted to ATP, the energy molecule that fuels muscle contraction, and all other cellular energy dependant functions.

The Metabolic Fork in the Road

There is a critical metabolic fork in the road at the end of glycolysis. At this fork, glucose has been converted from one 6 carbon molecule to two, 3 carbon molecules called pyruvic acid, or pyruvate. This pyruvate can either be shuttled into the mitochondria via the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase, or converted to lactic acid via the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase. Entry into the mitochondria exposes the pyruvate to further enzymatic breakdown, oxidation, and a high ATP yield per glucose. This process inside the mitochodria ultimately requires oxygen molecules to proceed and is therefore "aerobic." Conversion to lactate means a temporary dead end in the energy yielding process, and the potential for contractile fatigue due to decreasing cellular pH if lactic acid accumulation proceeds unchecked. Like a leaf floating in a river, the pyruvate molecule has no "say" in which metabolic direction is taken. The conditions in the muscle determine that.

Which way will MY pyruvate go during exercise?

I am sure you have surmised that that is a critical question with big implications for performance. I will try to answer the question at three levels: a single muscle fiber, an exercising muscle, and the entire exercising body.

The Muscle Cell at Work

In a single contracting muscle fiber the frequency and duration of contractions will determine ATP demand. ATP demand will be met by breaking down a combination of two energy sources: fatty acids and glucose molecules(ignoring the small contribution of protein for now). As ATP demand increases, the rate of glucose flux through glycolytic pathway increases. Therefore at high workloads within the single fiber, the rate of pyruvic acid production will be very high. If the muscle fiber is packed with lots of mitochondria (and therefore more Pyruvate Dehydrogenase), pyruvate will tend to be converted to Acetyl CoA and move into the mitochondria, with relatively little lactate production. Additionally, fatty acid metabolism will account for a higher percentage of the ATP need. Fat metabolism does not produce lactate, ever! If lactate is produced from glucose breakdown, it will tend to be transported from the area of high concentration inside the muscle cell to lower concentration out of the muscle fiber and into extracellular fluid, then into the capillaries.

The Whole Muscle at Work

Now let's look at an entire muscle, say the vastus lateralis of the quadriceps group during cycling. At a low workload, glycolytic flux is low (fatty acid breakdown ins relatively high at low intensities) and the pyruvate produced is primarily shuttled into the mitochondria for oxidative breakdown. Since the intensity is low, primarily slow twitch muscle fibers are active. These fibers have high mitochondrial volume. As workload increases, more fibers are recruited and already recruited fibers have higher duty cycles (more work and less rest). Now ATP demand has increased in the previously active fibers, resulting in higher rates of pyruvic acid production. A greater proportion of this production is converted to lactic acid rather than entering the mitochondria, due to competition between the two enzymes LDH and PDH. Meanwhile, some fast twitch motor units are starting to be recruited. This will add to the lactate produced in and transported out from the working muscle due to the lower mitochondrial volume of these fibers. The rate of lactate appearance in the blood stream increases.

The Body at Work

The vastus is just one of several muscles that are very active in cycling. With increasing intensity, increased muscle mass is called on to meet the force production requirements. All of these muscles are contributing more or less lactic acid to the extracellular space and blood volume, depending on their fiber type composition, training status and activity level. However, the body is not just producing lactate, but also consuming it. The heart, liver, kidneys, and inactive muscles are all locations where lactic acid can be taken up from the blood and either converted back to pyruvic acid and metabolized in the mitochondria or used as a building block to resynthesize glucose (in the liver). These sites have low intracellular lactate concentration, so lactic acid is transported INTO these cells from the circulatory system. If the rate of uptake, or dissappearance, of lactate equals the rate of production, or appearance, in the blood, then blood lactate concentration stays constant (or nearly so). But, when the rate of lactate production exceeds the rate of uptake, lactic acid accumulates in the blood volume, then we see the ONSET of BLOOD LACTATE ACCUMULATION (OBLA). This is the traditional "Lactate Threshold" (LT).

The Traditional Lactate Threshold

We have previously discussed the value of a high maximal oxygen consumption for the endurance athlete. A big VO2 max sets the ceiling for our sustainable work rate. It is a measure of the size of our performance engine. However, the Lactate Threshold greatly influences the actual percentage of that engine power that can be used continuously.

Most of you will never have this measured in a laboratory, but a brief description of a lactate threshold test is still useful, because it will lead us into some specific applications for your racing and training. The test consists of successive stages of exercise on a treadmill, bicycle ergometer, swimming flume, rowing machine etc. Initially the exercise intensity is about 50- 60% of the VO2 max. Each stage generally lasts about 5 minutes. Near the end of each stage, heart rate is recorded, oxygen consumption is measured, and a sample of blood is withdrawn, using a needle prick of the finger or earlobe. Using special instrumentation, blood lactate concentration can be determined during the test. After these measurements, the workload is increased and the steps repeated. Through a 6 stage test, we would expect to achieve a distribution of intensities that are below, at , and above the intensity where blood lactate begins to rise, or the lactate threshold. This point is often defined as a 1mM increase from baseline values. The data from a test would generally look simililar to the example below.

Interpreting the Data

For purposes of interpretation, let's say that the athlete above had a maximal heart rate of 182, and a VO2 max or 61 ml/min/kg. These were also determined using a bicycle test. So they are good values for comparison. Looking at the green dots, we see that blood lactate concentration does not begins to increase until during the 4th workload,from a concentration of abouu 1 mM to 2.5 mM. This is the break point. The subjects VO2 was 45 ml/min/kg at this point. So we determine that his LT occurs at 45/61 or about 74% of VO2 max. If we look at the heart rate at this point, it is 158. Now we have a heart rate at lactate threshold. 158 = about 85% of his max heart rate. This is useful for the athlete. When he is cycling, he can judge his training intensities based on this important value. If he is a time trialist, this would approximate his racing heart rate for the hour long event.

An Updated View on the Lactate Threshold

When I was in school, the textbooks basically presented the lactate threshold as a single point on the exercise intensity scale where blood lactate concentration started to increase. This is the kind of picture you see above. Once you exceeded this "threshold" intensity, fatigue was just around the corner. Over the last 25 years, a great deal of research has demonstrated that this was an oversimplistic representation of things. First of all, taking a blood sample during exercise is like seeing a photo of a bathtub; The picture cannot tell you whether the tub is filling, stable in water level, or emptying. During exercise, lactic acid is being simultaneously produced by working muscles and removed by other muscles as well as the heart, liver, and kidneys. If production rate equals removal rate, then blood lactate concentration will be stable. If production exceeds removal rate, lactate concentration increases. The picture below depicts a more modern view of lactate thresholds and their relationship to exercsie intensiity. The green zone represents an exercise intensity range where lactate production is low and lactate removal easily matches production. The yellow zone represents a range of intensities where we see a marked increase in blood lactate prododuction. But, lactate removal also increases so that a new stable blood lactate concentration is achieved. Finally, the red zone represents intensities where lactate production now exceeds the maximal rate of blood lactate removal. Exercise in this intensity range results in accumulation of lactate acid and fatigue. I have used this 3-zone exercise intensity model to quantify how good endurance athletes organize their daily training intensity. You can download one the research articles I have published on this topic here.For most athletes, the LT1 corrsponds to about 2mM blood lactate. And, as a rough roule of thumb, the LT2 occurs at about 4mM. BUT, there is substantial individual and exercise mode variation here! There are numerous published examples of athletes who can work for 30-60 minutes at an intensity producing a STABLE blood lactate concentration of up to 10mM or even higher. The LT2 blood lactate concentration can range from 3mM to 10mM depending on the individual. And, the LT2 value seems to be higher for activities involving a smaller active muscle mass. Running, rowing and skiing tend to have more typical LT2 lactate concentrations (3-4 mM) while cycling, kayak paddling, etc. may show higher average LT2 values(4-6mM). What we can conclude from this is that it is risky to just assume that a fixed blood lactate concentration like 4mM always corresponds to the lactate threshold. It does not.

Performance Implications

Lactic acid production is not all bad. If we could not produce lactate, our ability to perform brief high intensity exercise would be almost eliminated. However, As I am sure you are aware, lactic acid is the demon of the endurance athlete. Cellular accumulation of the protons (increased acidity) that dissociate from lactate results in inhibition of muscle contraction. Blame those heavy legs on the protons! The bottom line is that exercise intensities above the LT2 point can only be sustained for a few minutes to perhaps one hour depending on how high the workload is above the intensity at which lactate production exceeds maximal rates of removal. Exercise between LT1 and LT2 intensities are often sustainable for 1-2 hours, depending on glycogen availability and where within that range we are exercising. Exercise below LT1 can be potentially sustained for hours, if hydration status and other factors are controlled.

Factors that Influence the Rate of Lactate Accumulation in the body

Absolute Exercise Intensity-

for reasons mentioned above.

Training Status of Active Muscles-

Higher mitochondrial volume improves capacity for oxidative metabolism at high glyolytic flux rates. Additionally, improved fatty acid oxidation capacity results in decreased glucose utilization at submaximal exercise intensities. Fat metabolism proceeds via a different pathway than glucose, and lactic acid is not produced. High capillary density improves both oxygen delivery to the mitochondria and washout of waste products from the active muscles.

Fiber Type Composition-

Slow twitch fibers produce less lactate at a given workload than fast twitch fibers, independent of training status.

Distribution of Workload -

A large muscle mass working at a moderate intensity will develop less lactate than a small muscle mass working at a high intensity. For example, the rower must learn to effectively distribute force development among the muscles of the legs back and arms, rather than focusing all of the load on the legs, or the upper body.

Rate of Blood Lactate Clearance-

With training, blood flow to organs such as the liver and kidneys decreases less at any given exercise workload, due to decreased sympathetic stimulation. This results in increaed lactate removal from the circulatory sytem by these organs.

So, Do I race at My LT Intensity?

This depends on your race duration. If your are rowing 2000 meters, running a 5k race etc., your exercise intensity will be well above the LT2. Consequently, the blood lactate measured after these events is extremely high in elite athletes, on the order of 15mM (resting levels are below 1 mM). In races lasting from 30 minutes to 1 hour, well trained athletes also perform at an intensity right at or even slightly above LT2. It appears that in these events, top performers achieve what might be termed a "maximal lactate steady state". Blood lactate may increase to 8 to 10 mM within minutes, and then stabilize for the race duration. A high but stable lactate concentration may seem to contradict the idea of the LT. But, remember that blood lactate concentration is the consequence of both production and clearance. It seems likely that at these higher lactate concentrations, uptake by non-working muscles is optimized. At any rate, measurements in cyclists, runners and skiers demonstrate the fact that elite performers can sustain work levels substantially above the traditional lactate threshold for up to an hour.

Specificity of the Lactate Threshold

It is important to know that the lactate threshold is highly specific to the exercise task. So if this cyclist tries to get on his brand new, previously unused, rowing machine and row at a heart rate of 158, he will quickly become fatigued. Rowing employs different muscles and neuromuscular patterns. Since these muscles are less trained, the cyclist's rowing LT will be considerably lower. This specificity is an important concept to understand when using heart rate as a guide in "cross training activities", as well as for the multi-event athlete.

Effect of Training

For reasons mentioned above, training results in a decrease in lactate production at any given exercise intensity. Untrained individuals usually reach the LT at about 60% of VO2 max. With training, LT can increase from 60% to above 70% or even higher. Elite endurance athletes and top masters athletes typically have LTs at or above 80% of VO2 max. Values approaching 90% have been reported. The lactate threshold (or thresholds) is/are both responsive to training and influenced by genetics.
Exercise physiology
Copyright 2007 Stephen Seiler
All Rights Reserved

Lactate Threshold Training (archive for retreival)

Lactate Threshold Training
By Ken Mierke (the sport factory)
Whenever an athlete exercises at any intensity, even walking, lactic acid (lactate) is constantly being produced. Fortunately, our bodies also constantly recycle lactate, actually burning it up for fuel. As intensity increases, lactate production also increases. Lactate threshold is the highest intensity at which an athlete recycles lactate as quickly as it is produced, so that lactate does not accumulate. Muscle and blood levels of lactate are moderately high at lactate threshold intensity, but do not increase over time.

Lactate threshold training, in the right doses at the right time, is important for almost every road cyclist, mountain biker, and triathlete. For many athletes training for a variety of different events, lactate threshold training has the best cost to benefit ratio of any type of training. This intensity is high enough to stimulate adaptations which dramatically increase speed-endurance, but because lactate is not accumulating, damage to the muscles and blood vessels is minimal and the recovery cost of the workout, if conducted properly, is modest.
Increasing lactate threshold is one key goal of training for athletes racing in events lasting from thirty minutes to five hours. Raising lactate threshold enables an athlete to race more effectively at intensities significantly below lactate threshold, near lactate threshold, and above lactate threshold.

Most athletes and coaches overestimate lactate threshold intensity. This creates a major problem, either limiting potential training volume at lactate threshold or inducing overtraining. Training one percent over lactate threshold, at an intensity at which lactate accumulates slowly, causes much greater damage and requires much greater recovery time than the same duration at lactate threshold. This intensity, for a twenty to thirty minute segment, does not feel that much harder. Lactate accumulates slowly, but continually. Five minutes into the segment, lactate levels in the muscles and in the blood will be only slightly higher, but later in a long set they may be dramatically higher. An athlete with a lactate threshold of 350 watts and blood lactate of 4.2 mmol/L may reach lactate levels 50% greater after a 20 minute segment at 370 watts.

For most well-trained athletes, lactate threshold intensity correlates well with about CP75 wattage or speed. Be careful using CP60 because lactate accumulates at this intensity and because athletes don't understand the cost of going one or two percent too hard and coaches don't always get perfect compliance with the programs they design. Always remember that what happens on the roads and trails is more important than what we write on the schedule.
I find that most athletes can absorb relatively high volumes of LT training when intensity is carefully controlled not to exceed LT. I have also found that almost every athlete, at LT intensity, feels that they are not going hard enough.

Muscle Fiber Recruitment
Every muscle in an athlete's body is composed of many thousands of muscle fibers. When the muscle contracts, each fiber either contracts with its full force capability, or remains relaxed. When I pick up a one pound dumbbell, very few fibers are required to contract, but those that do contract just as powerfully as when I pick up a seventy pound dumbbell.
After aerobic plateau, which requires several minutes at the beginning of each workout or each shift in intensity during a workout, the athlete's body will recruit muscle fibers according to the power or speed requirement of the activity. The slow twitch fibers, because of their great endurance, will be recruited first. At low intensity only a few ST fibers will be recruited and the rest of the ST fibers, all the FOG fibers and all the FT fibers remain relaxed. As intensity increases, some of the FOG fibers will be recruited and then finally the FT fibers. At lactate threshold intensity, the power or speed requires the athlete's body to recruit all of the FOG fibers, but not yet any of the FT fibers.

At LT intensity, the FOG fibers create a lot of lactate, but only at a rate at which the ST fibers can burn it up and use it for fuel. Sustaining this intensity trains the FOG fibers to work more aerobically so that they produce less acid and trains the ST fibers to burn more acid, both of which push the threshold to a higher wattage or speed.
LT training is the only effective endurance training for the FOG fibers. At lower intensities they are not recruited. At higher intensities, FT fibers are recruited causing lactate to accumulate. Sustaining the intensity for an extended duration uses resources unnecessarily � demanding tremendous psychological motivation and dramatically delaying recovery.

Using LT Training
There are two basic formats for LT training, cruise intervals and tempo segments. Cruise intervals are four to six minute segments at lactate threshold with one or two minute recoveries. These are very effective for introducing higher intensity training during late base periods. The recovery cost of cruise intervals is relatively light and the damage of riding slightly above LT intensity not as great.
Relatively long tempo segments are the core of LT training. I generally give my athletes two intensity zones for LT training.
High zone 4 is right at to slightly below LT. The athlete will sustain heart rate approximately 0-4 beats below LT and will sustain wattage or speed within three to five percent of LT. I generally use twelve to twenty minute segments at this intensity to increase power or speed at LT.
Low zone 4 is somewhat below LT. The athlete will sustain hear rate approximately 5-8 beats below LT, with wattage or speed about five to seven percent below LT. At this intensity, most of the FOG fibers are still recruited, but there is a safety zone against lactate accumulation. I have athletes perform tempo segments of twenty minutes all the way up to an hour at this intensity. Training at this intensity increases the endurance of the FOG fibers, enabling the athlete to sustain LT wattage or speed longer. I believe that this is an incredibly efficient training intensity. The cost, in terms of recovery for tomorrow's workout as well as the psychological costs, are relatively low. Most athletes enjoy this training and, prescribing very long sets may increase compliance with intensity. If I'm doing a forty minute segment, it is not so tempting to want to blast.
Every athlete likes to think that they are more motivated than the rest. They will train harder, be more consistent and more disciplined. Coaches like to think the same about their clients. Remember though, no matter how passionate and motivated the client is, this is a finite resource. Budget it wisely. Correct use of LT training, generally a little on the conservative side, plays a big role in sustaining motivation.

Implementing LT Workouts
Educate your athletes about the value of maintaining appropriate intensity. Make sure they understand that they are not sustaining 171 to 177 beats per minute so that they can finish the forty minute segment, but because that intensity produces the best results. As Joe says, �The least amount of work which will produce the desired results.� Remember the tendency of the athlete to want to go as hard as possible for whatever the duration is.
High, steady power or speed production is the key factor in LT training. Long steady bike segments generally need to be conducted in flat to rolling terrain unless the athlete is fortunate enough to live where long, steady climbs are available. Encourage your athletes to push harder than they think they need to on descents. Many riders with new power-meters are shocked at how little wattage they produce when they feel like they are pedaling relatively hard on descents. At the same time, exceeding LT power on uphills is natural, but not beneficial.
Indoor trainers provide a fantastic venue for LT training, but athletes vary dramatically on the psychological cost of these workouts. Some love it. For others this can be a great way to make them hate their bikes. I generally will use cruise intervals on a trainer more than steady segments because I like to keep the athlete's mind moving while riding on a trainer.
Group rides (for road cyclists) are generally not the best venue for LT training. Group rides tend to deteriorate into informal races, and those workouts certainly have their place. Getting a road cyclist to do a single weekly LT workout by himself may be the second greatest contribution a coach can make to his training (recovery weeks are #1). This will depend on the group and the athlete. A very strong and very disciplined athlete may be able to pull this off on some rides, but be careful. The right rider can even do this in a training race, going to the front and pulling for a certain number of minutes, before sitting in the pack to the finish. Still, for most riders, doing these workouts by themselves or with one or two partners who will cooperate with the intent of the workout is a better bet.

Depending on location, mountain bike riding is generally not the best implementation of LT training. One of my clients agrees to drive a four hour round trip to a thirty minute off-road climb that he does weekly during his build periods. Staying off his road bike for these twelve workouts is worth forty-eight hours in his car. Lots of serious mountain bikers hate their road bikes, but in many regions, finding long, steady off-road climbs is impossible. Mountain bikers tend even more to be outdoors people and many hate indoor trainers even more than road bikes, so the idea of a trainer LT workout on their mountain bike isn't often appealing (though the threat of that may make the road bike less horrible!).

Race Duration
Improving lactate threshold speed and endurance are primary goals of preparing for races between thirty minutes and five hours in duration. The FOG fibers will produce a significant percentage of the athlete's power or speed at these distances, and lactate accumulation in the muscles is likely to be the factor that limits performance.
LT training is still one important piece in events that are shorter or longer. Even though training the FT fibers will be critical, the FOG fibers still play an important role in events under thirty minutes duration.

Even though the ST fibers produce a huge majority of the energy to race an ironman and the FOG fibers will not be recruited for sustained durations, LT training (especially very long segments at the lower end) maximizes glycogen storage and vascularity as well as increasing central adaptations such as stroke volume.

The reality is that most athletes, at some point in an ironman, exceed aerobic threshold intensity and recruit the FOG fibers for moderate durations. Athletes will likely recruit the FOG fibers on a particularly steep hill even if they are disciplined and pace appropriately, so we do want these fibers trained even though they are relaxed for much of the race's duration. While training the ST fibers at AeT intensity should always be the priority in preparation for ironman and longer races, LT training, on the conservative end, still has value.

Type of Race
LT training is highest priority for time-trials, road races mountain bike races, and triathlons which feature long segments with high, steady power output, but increasing LT will help with any type of race of significant duration.
AT CP6 intensity, the FOG fibers generally expend about 30% of the energy, so even for a road race with several brutal climbs that are likely to determine the outcome, a mountain bike race with repeated short climbs, a criterium, or a hilly triathlon, increasing LT is vital to optimal performance. I often tell your road cycling clients who are gung-ho about very high intensity training, �I'd hate to see you win the field sprint for 17th!� Even in events won with a 1300 watt sprint, a high LT enables the athlete to arrive at the finishing stretch in a position to be able to use that sprint and with legs that are still able to sprint strongly.

Include LT training in appropriate volumes at appropriate times of the season. Learn each athlete, because the volume of LT training that can be absorbed and adapted to varies dramatically. This type of training is not the end-all and the be-all of endurance training, but it is one very efficient means of stimulating adaptations that will make our athletes stronger without beating them up or interfering with other workouts.



WEIGHT TRAININGCycling regularly is great for lower body strength, but leaves a lot to be desired for the upper body muscle groups. And this can be a major liability - both for roadies who need that extra edge in road competitions and for mountain bikers who need this upper body strength to lift, jump, or just plain muscle heavier bikes over rough terrain and obstacles.
A reasonable approach is to focus on building strength (not bulk) in the winter and then backing off to just maintain it during the peak riding season. Strength from the weight room will help with on the bike performance, but 3 sets of leg presses at 400 pounds is different from the riding demands of roughly 30,000 pedal strokes during a century. When you're riding, resistance is in the range of 10-40 pounds per pedal revolution. So for the riding season you need to convert that weight-room strength to cycling-specific power with intervals, training time trials, and hill work.
1.The upper body, including abdominal muscles, is an integral part of the pedal stroke. A strong torso provides the rigidity to deliver maximum power from the quads to the pedal. On a level stretch, a strong rider will barely move their upper body while those who are tiring will rock their pelvis on the saddle. And watch a group of road riders in a sprint or a technical single track rider pulling and rocking their shoulders and handlebars. This motion actually levers the bike, adding to the power of their legs on the pedals.
2. Muscle strength in the quads and legs can mean the difference between walking and riding up a short (10 to 15 pedal stroke) hill.
3. A strong upper body gives additional protection for those falls that are part of the sport.
4. Muscle strength and endurance help prevent the fatigue of the constant jarring and correction that are part of a long descent - and in turn this freshness helps to maintain sharp reflexes and technical
There are two approaches to resistance or weight training. The first is the "keep it simple" approach one can put together at home and on the bike, and the other is the more "traditional" using free weights. Both should be done 3 times a week (2 times at a minimum) to maximize benefits.
Most coaches recommend a program of strength building (higher weights, fewer reps) in the winter and then a shift to lower weights (perhaps 50% max) and more reps (3 sets, 50% max.weight, 25 reps OR 2 sets, 25% max.weight, 50 reps) as the cycling season approaches to mimic the ways you use your muscles on the bike and to decrease the possibility of injuries.
The following idea builds on the concept of transitioning from a pure muscle building program to one that mimics how you use those muscles on the bike. Do a 3 - 5 minute "muscle reeducation" on the spin cycle after lifting. This stresses the muscles and then uses a sport specific task to coordinate the firing patterns of the muscle cells. The same concept is being applied when a coach uses a medicine ball to encourage new firing patterns.
KEEP IT SIMPLE (i.e. you don't have free weights available)
Shift down 2 cogs on your bike during a long endurance ride, and concentrate on pushing and pulling through the pedal stroke at 60 - 80 RPM for 30 seconds. Repeat 6 times. A second set can be done after a 5 minute rest. An alternative to squats.
Dips on the back of two sturdy chairs.
Crunchers for the abs and low back.
Upright rowing - strengthen deltoid and shoulder for extra protection in a fall.
Pull up - reproduces the pulling up you use on a steep uphill.
Squats - upper thigh parallel to the ground-for that quad strength for steep climbs.
Bent over rowing - to stabilize the handlebars when pedaling hard.
Step ups on a platform with weight on shoulders - one leg at a time-for quad strength.
Push ups - mimics the push on the handlebars used during technical rides through dips and on uneven terrain. COMMON WEIGHT TRAINING MYTHS
1) You have to lift extrememly heavy weights to increase muscle size. Not so. Competitive body builders, whose success depends on muscle size, work with only moderately heavy loads using multiple sets of up to 12 lifts per set. The chance of injury with extremely heavy weights outweighs their benefits.
2) You can sculpt your body by using multiple reps with light weights. Up to a point this is true. But anything more than 15 reps per set offers little benefit.
3) The up side of a lift is more important than the return side. The up side, when you actually lift a weight, is called the concentric phase. The return, when you allow the weight to return to its starting point,is the eccentric phase. While both are important, there is evidence that the eccentric phase may actually have more impact on developing muscle strength. It is recommended that you lift with a two count and return to the starting postion with a four count.
4) Abdominal crunches will build up your back muscles. While crunches will strenghten abdominal muscles and protect your back, back extensions are needed to strenghten the spinal erector muscles.
5) Weight lifting increases aerobic capacity. Although a rider that is in better shape might ride more efficiently and thus for longer periods at any speed, there is no evidence that weight training will increase your VO2max or AT/LT. That's not to say that you can't add aerobic work to a weight session however. Aside from the warm-up it can be helpful to incorporate two or three "spin-bike", ergometer or stair-master aerobic "breaks" between standard exercises. These aerobic sessions should be limited to 3 to 5 minutes each so as not to detract from the core exercises (squats, toe raises, leg extensions, ab work, etc).
Even though most coaches include weight training in their programs, there is controversy on this point - particularly as to the usefulness of weights during the cycling season.
Lance Armstrong's coach, Chris Carmichael, recommends building leg strength with low repetitions and heavy weights in the winter, then switching to the bike for high-repetition power work in the form of intervals up steep hills. But cycling physician and trainer Max Testa says to begin the winter with 3-4 sets of 12-18 reps with medium resistance, then progress to 3 sets of 25 reps followed by 2 sets of 50 reps with light weights. Testa's reason for high-repetition/low resistance leg training: "When you pedal you use a very small percentage of maximum strength on each pedal stroke."
The moral? The physiological law of specificity can't be avoided. Weight-room strength has to be converted to cycling-specific fitness before it's of much use on the bike.
The following article also suggests that any benefits are minimal, at least for endurance performance. BISHOP, D., D. G. JENKINS, L. T. MACKINNON, M. MCENIERY, and M. F. CAREY. The effects of strength training on endurance performance and muscle characteristics. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 31, No. 6, pp. 886-891, 1999
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of resistance training on endurance performance and selected muscle characteristics of female cyclists.
Methods: Twenty-one endurance-trained, female cyclists, aged 18-42 yr, were randomly assigned to either a resistance training (RT; N = 14) or a control group (CON; N = 7). Resistance training (2×·wk-1) consisted of five sets to failure (2-8 RM) of parallel squats for 12 wk. Before and immediately after the resistance-training period, all subjects completed an incremental cycle test to allow determination of both their lactate threshold (LT) and peak oxygen consumption V(dot)O2). In addition, endurance performance was assessed by average power output during a 1-h cycle test (OHT), and leg strength was measured by recording the subject's one repetition maximum (1 RM) concentric squat. Before and after the 12-wk training program, resting muscle was sampled by needle biopsy from m. vastus lateralis and analyzed for fiber type diameter, fiber type percentage, and the activities of 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase and phosphofructokinase.
Results: After the resistance training program, there was a significant increase in 1 RM concentric squat strength for RT (35.9%) but not for CON (3.7%) (P <> 0.05).
Conclusion: The present data suggest that increased leg strength does not improve cycle ENDURANCE performance in endurance-trained, female cyclists.
But there is another, often overlooked, benefit of weight training. We're discovering that cycling may contribute to bone loss in both men and women because it's not a weight-bearing activity. So cyclists should crosstrain for bone health. Weight training and jumping (like rope skipping) are helpful.
For those of you interested in further leads in pursuing weight conditioning, I'd suggest the web site of The National Strength and Conditioning Association.
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No Weights MTB Training

No Gym, No Problem Mountain Bike Strength Training
Real Bodyweight Training for Mountain Bikers - Day 1
James Wilson, for About.com
See More About:
bike training
bodyweight training
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Bodyweight training is a very effective and efficient way for mountain bikers to add strength training into their programs. It is convenient since it can be done anywhere and with minimal equipment and offers several benefits beyond simply making you stronger. Unfortunately, though, most riders only think of push ups, pull ups and some crunches when the words “bodyweight exercises” are mentioned. While these exercises are fine, they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this type of training.
When challenging exercises and variations are used, bodyweight training is very effective for building real strength. Remember that anything done for more than 6-8 reps in a set is not truly building strength. At that point you are instead starting to build up muscle and short term strength endurance. As mountain bikers it is not usually the endurance that we need to work on with strength training since we get that on the bike, instead it is raw strength that needs to be increased.
Bodyweight training also offers the added benefit of increasing our body awareness and control. As mountain bikers, these attributes are extremely important for us as we try to increase our skill level. As my friend and popular skills coach Gene Hamilton has pointed out, it is amazing how many people in his camps simply do not know where they are in space in relation to their bike. This makes learning the new skills he is trying to teach them difficult to pick up since they do not know how to control their body and bike as they need to. This also increases the likelihood of crashing since they do not know how to “stay loose” and flow when things get a little hairy, which is an inevitable thing if you ride actual trails instead of just spinning on fire roads.
So, considering the extra strength, body control and increased skill and safety aspects, every mountain biker should be incorporating a good strength training program with an emphasis on bodyweight type movements. Although there are a lot of other great tools that can vastly expand the exercise choices (such as a Swiss ball or pull up bar) I am going to keep this routine simple by using exercises that require no other equipment besides a chair. That way everyone who reads this can start incorporating this routine today instead of having to wait until they can get out and pick up something extra. This also makes it a great routine to use on the road when you do not have access to extra equipment.
Before I get into the workout itself I need to explain how to read it. This 2 day workout will consist of 8 exercises each day, and each exercise will be paired with another exercise resulting in 4 pairings, also known as supersets. Grouping the exercises in this way allows for more work to get done in less time and also helps bring about a good anaerobic conditioning effect, increasing your strength endurance as well as your raw strength.
You can tell which exercises are paired together by the letter and number listed with them. The letter tells you which exercises are paired together and the number tells you the order of the pairing. For example, when you see an A1 with an exercise and an A2 listed with the next exercise, you know that those two exercises are paired together. You would do one set of the A1 exercise, rest for the prescribed time and then do a set of the A2 exercise. You would repeat this sequence until all the prescribed sets for each exercise is done and then you would move on to the next exercise pairing.
The next thing that you need to be aware of as you read the workout is the tempo for each exercise. Tempo allows me to assign a rep speed which will greatly enhance the effectiveness of the workout. Tempo is communicated via a three number sequence such as 3-1-3. The first number tells you what speed to lower yourself down in the exercise, the second number tells you how long to pause at the bottom and the third number tells you what speed to raise yourself back up.
Using the 3-1-3 example with a push up you would lower yourself down to a count of 3, pause for a count of 1 at the bottom position and then push yourself back up to a count of 3. While it may take a little while to get used to, tempo is a great way to increase the difficulty of the workout while also ensuring that you are using the same rep speed throughout your entire set. Most of the time as we fatigue we start to move faster and let our form break down which robs us of results and opens us up to increased injury potential.
Now, on to the workout (Please check out the video link below for detailed explanations of each exercise):
Day 1
Format:Exercise > Pairing > Sets and Reps > Tempo > Rest
Jumping Box Squat > A1 > 3 X 5 > 1-0-* > 30 sec.Feet Elevated Push Ups > A2 > 3 X 6-8 > 3-3-3 > 30 sec.(* means to explode quickly)
Bulgarian Split Squat > B1 > 2 X 6-8 > 3-3-3 > 30 sec.Inch Worm > B2 > 2 X 6-8 > N/A > 30 sec.
Uni Stiff Leg Deadlift > C1 > 2 X 6-8 > 3-3-3 > 30 sec.Door Frame Rows > C2 > 2 X 6-8 > 3-3-3 > 30 sec.
Step Ups > D1 > 2 X 6-8 > 3-3-3 > 30 sec.Ab Sequence > D2 > 2 rounds > N/A > 10 sec.

Day 2
Format:Exercise > Sets and Reps > Tempo > Rest
Clapping Push Ups > A1 > 3 X 5 > 1-0-* > 30 sec.Uni Hip Lift > A2 > 3 X 6-8 > 3-3-3 > 30 sec.(* means to explode quickly)
Uni Box Squat > B1 > 2 X 6-8 > 3-1-3 > 30 sec.Pike Push Ups > B2 > 2 X 6-8 > N/A > 30 sec.
360 Degree Lunges > C1 > 2 X 6-8 > 3-3-3 > 30 sec.Door Frame Rows > C2 > 2 X 6-8 > 3-3-3 > 30 sec.
Renegade Rows > D1 > 2 X 6-8 > 3-3-3 > 30 sec.T Push Ups > D2 > 2 X 6-8 > 3-3-3 > 30 sec.

If you find any of these exercises to be easy (making sure that you follow the prescribed tempo) then you can use this trick to take it up another notch. It is called the one and a quarter rep technique and simply has you do an additional quarter rep at the bottom of the exercise. For example, on the push up you would lower yourself down and pause using the prescribed tempo, only this time instead of coming straight back up you would only come up 1/4 of the way and then go back down, pause again and then come back up all the way. That counts as one rep and allows you to overload the weakest range of motion by doing twice as many reps there.
This workout is intended to be a 2 day per week workout and serve as a starting point for mountain bikers who either do not currently strenght train or are looking to get into a more "mountain bike specific" workout. It also does away with the common mountain biker excuses of not having a gym membership or equipment at home. For those that have good strength and body control already, they can turn it into a 3 day per week routine using this pattern:
Week 1 - Day 1/ Day 2/ Day 1Week 2 - Day 2/ Day 1/ Day 2Week 3 - start pattern over again
As you can see your body can provide ample resistance for you to start incorporating strength training into your program. Given the fact that this routine will help you sprint faster, handle rough and technical trails better, climb quicker and give you increased body awareness leading to faster skill progression you owe it to yourself to give it a shot for at least 4 weeks. Investing some time tuning up the engine that drives your bike will simply make riding more fun, and having fun is still what mountain biking is all about.
James Wilson is the creator of the MTB Strength Training System, an innovative strength and conditioning program designed exclusively for mountain bike riders. Those interested in learning more about his unique program can visit www.MTBStrengthCoach.com. where he offers a free e-mail newsletter, and more detailed Mountain bike training programs.