Skinny endurance cyclist... comes to his senses. Skinny endurance cyclist... comes to his senses.

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Thread: Skinny endurance cyclist... comes to his senses.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    8

    Default Skinny endurance cyclist... comes to his senses.

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    2011: typical skinny roadie. Pretty fast on the climbs for an old guy. Training week would usually comprise 12-15 hours in the saddle, with half of that in one long climbing ride (80-100 miles, 8k-10k feet). Non-cycling activity -- zero.

    This past few years have included a steady stream of epiphanies for me, three relevant ones to this discussion:

    1) Discover track cycling. Not only was this the most fun I've had on a bike, but slowly began to realize that the workouts were a gold mine. Intervals, speed work, cadence... everything was making me a stronger cyclist. This was amazing to me, coming from the typical endurance mindset that the only way to get stronger was to go longer. If you are interested in cycling, I wrote this article about my early track experience.

    2) Diet. Track cycling helped me realize that muscle was important (you are all shocked, I know). A big aerobic engine can only take you so far. Being so deeply entrenched into the "carb loading" paradigm that dominates the endurance world (running, cycling, etc.), it took some shock therapy, but I finally broke free and significantly increased my fat and protein , while dramatically reducing processed carbs. Haven't had bread or pasta for 2 years, not because they are evil, just to help me re-boot my mindset toward a protein/fat based mentality.

    3) Weights. After a couple years of constant exposure to trackies (including one who is trained by Steve Hill), I eventually succumbed to the notion that weight training might help my cycling. Dove into Starting Strength plan, though modestly:


    Quickly realized the many benefits (cycling and otherwise), and after kicking myself for not lifting all my life, figured this would stick, and upgraded to:


    Upped my calories to hopefully support some muscle growth in this 51 year old body, and the results have been quite positive. In 9 months, modest BW gains (about 10lbs since started lifting, to 168), and typical novice arc on strength:
    • Squat 3x5: 235 to 260
    • Dead 1x5: 135 to 260
    • Bench 3x5: 115 to 165
    • O/P 3x5: 65 to 95

    I don't need to tell anyone here about all the benefits, but I've also been quite impressed with the cycling benefits. Not only in terms of strength/power, but (most surprising of everything above), how well lifting has translated to maintaining my endurance. My saddle time is now down to 5-6 hours/week, and my endurance has not suffered at all. I might not be ready to knock out some ultra endurance event (and no longer want to), but I'm faster than ever on 3 hour hard training rides. Moreover, my endurance on the track (where endurance doesn't mean steady state effort, but rather repeated bursts of intensity) is significantly improved.

    I've tried extolling the benefits of weights to my roadie friends... to no avail. It's tough even to convince the trackies. Thanks Rip.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    SE Tennessee
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Awesome gym. I'm a roadie too and saw that you commented on my training log. I was wondering what you had moved. Pretty awesome, you should have kept it in my post.

    Here is my set-up:


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Hi Brain, isn't having a home gym fantastic? With my lifestyle (and mental shortcomings) I never would have managed to get to a gym regularly. And even if I had, it almost certainly would have been some gym where the emphasis was cardio and jane fonda "weights". I was fortunate to have a teammate who helped me skipped that whole phase. Squats for life! (By the way, typo in original post.. my squat started at 135, not 235.)

    Unfortunately, I broke my collarbone at a race last month. Fortunately, the surgery was amazing. Seriously... amazing.


    Three DAYS after that, I was doing belt squats. At five days, I was back on the bike.

    Although it meant I missed Nationals, at least it was after State Championships. So I just moved up my "off-season" plan, which was to focus on weights again with a major re-set and a long, consistent linear progression. So far, so good. My depth was decent already (thanks to several re-sets), but this re-set has really taken me to truly legit depth I think. Trick is maintaining it when the weight gets real!


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