Wednesday, April 05, 2006

New toy

I'm suppose to get a new track bike this week, I can't wait. Custom made and everything. A bit overkill since I'm not really planning to do much on the track - but the offer was there and I just couldn't refuse. I'll try and post some pictures this weekend, if I can.

Other than that, I've got some downtime this week due to a mild infection that has stopped me from doing anything other than easy riding. Not perfect preparation for this weekend, but that's the way it rolls sometimes. Hope everyone is enjoying spring and getting some quality training in.


Blogger Keith said...

Nice to see a post from you again.

Spring still seems just around the corner here. We've gotten snow the past couple days. I'm still mostly riding on the trainer and getting outside when the weather is nice.


Blogger mags said...


Yeah, I've done poor job with my blogging this spring.

When I sit down to write, I end up spending all my time reading other bike blogs, yours included.

The weather in France has not been perfect either this spring. In fact, it was snowing down here, while they had sun back up in Norway. Go figure....

Blogger Tim Jackson- Masi Guy said...

Good luck with the health... and yes, please post pics of the the bike!

Blogger mags said...


Nice to hear from you. I see that you had a good time in Australia. The bike should arrive today or tomorrow, I'll be posting pics later.


Blogger Tom Stormcrowe said...

Mags, if you wouldn't mind, I'd love some training tips from you. I plan on doing a bike race in 2007 called the Lotoja, which is a 200+ mile endurance event. I live in flatlands in the midwestern US and am needing to train for a mountain terrain road event, any help you can offer?

Blogger mags said...


I'd like to congratulate you on the commitment and the planning.

Whatever you do, make sure you put together a realistic training plan and stick to it. Create measurable and realistic goals, both short-term and long-term. They work wonders for your motivation. Especially since we are talking about an event that's over a year away.

Specifically, you should focus on training your body's ability to effectively use fat as an energy source. In other words, long rides at low intensities (HR 60-72%). This should be your main priority. Again, set goals (miles and hours) and work towards them.

To a lesser degree, you would also benefit from threshold training (HR 82-87%). Either in interval form (long intervals in that case) or even better, as distance training. This should not be a huge part of your training, but is still very important. Maybe 1-2 sessions a week in the start.

Max VO2 intervals (90-100% HR) are not crucial for such an event.

If you can't find any mountains to climb, seeking out strong headwinds is also very effective. Riding into a strong headwind will simulate climbing to a degree. Try to find out the length of the climbs, if you can. Chances are you will be riding the climbs at threshold, so you need be able to hold a higher intensity for the duration of the climbs.

Hope this helps! I know it's very "generic" information, but without more details from you, it's really all I can say.

Take care!


Blogger Tom Stormcrowe said...

Thank you SIR! That's more or less what I'm doing. I am glad to see I'm on the right track.

Blogger mags said...

You are welcome. If there is anything else I can do, let me know. :)


Anonymous Anonymous said...


This may not be your area of expertise, but I am a young rider who dreams of doing a good performance in the flat cobbled classics such as the Het Volk or the Paris-Roubaix. In these races, there will be a lot of riding on my threshold, but also some riding "in the red" to follow attacks on the cobbled sections. Also, I would like to become a decent sprinter. Not like Petacchi or McEwen, but I want to be able to pull of some sprints in smaller groups.

How should I set up a training plan that gives me the biggest chances of reaching my goals? I've thought about periodizing a little, doing some periods with more sprint workouts, and some periods with more threshold rides and intervals. What would you have done? I know you're not a big fan of periodization.

I am currently going to school, so I can't devote unlimited amounts of time to my training. But I guess that from Monday through Friday, I am able to ride 2,5 - 3 hours daily, tops. On the weekend I am free as a bird.

I am not expecting a long answer from you, but it would have been nice if you could have given me some hints and tips. I promise to thank you when I am standing on the top of the podium after the Paris - Roubaix ;)

Good luck with your training and racing. I hope you will be able to reach your goals. Just keep up your motivation, get through those long rides and hard sessions, and you will make it.

Blogger mags said...


I think you should focus on building general bike-specific skills. Build a strong engine, lots of leg strength - then you can worry about specializing... You can't really train specifically to become a good classics rider, not at this point. Just try to become as strong as you can on the bike. I know that sounds like a "cheap way" out of your question - but I think that is pretty much it.

In other words, over the period of a year do about 80% in Zone 1-2, 10% in zone 3 and the rest in Zone 4/5.

I do periodize, probably more than I admit - my point is that many riders gets so focused on minute details, such as length and type of intervals etc. Instead, put that energy into doing each training session with plenty of quality. Once you become really, really good - then you will benefit from worrying about length of intervals and the amounts of sets to do etc.

As for volume, make sure you don't overdo it without the nesseccary background. Any fool can go out and train super hard, the successful athlete listens to his/her body and knows when to rest and when to go hard.

I hope this helps and if I can do anything else, let me know. With more details, I can certainly help more.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, Mags.

Thank you so much for the answer. I really appreciate it. You asked for more details, and here they are:

I am 16 years old. I have always been running a lot, in addition to playing soccer. This has given me big muscle in the legs and upper body, which is the reason that I want to become a good classics rider. I currently weigh in at 80 kilograms. Approximately, when I am done growing up, I guess I'll be almost 1,9 meters tall, and around 82 kilograms. So, as you can see, my body is not exactly built for climbing.

I have always loved riding my mountain bike. I used to go riding in the woods, and when my brother ordered this movie many years ago, I started to do tricks on my bike, such as the back wheel jump or the wheelie. However, when I discovered road biking two years ago, there was no longer any doubt about what I wanted to do.

I live in an area where I have access to almost everything I need when it comes to cycling: Steep "killer" hills, smaller mountains, and long, flat roads. I live close to the woods, so there is no problem for me to take out my mountain bike or to go running.

At the moment, I am doing two interval sessions a week, one in zone 3 and one in zone 4/5. But when the season starts, I will replace the zone 4/5 session with the Wednesday night criterium races. They should give me enough exertion in those zones.

So, to sum up;
I am 16 years old, no climber, but I am pretty good when it comes to the technical parts of cycling, such as downhilling or riding on cobblestones. I do not have any major objectives this season, but there are some races that I would like to do well in.

That's it from me. Thank you very much for your time.

Blogger mags said...


Yeah, if you are serious about pursuing the sport as far as possible - then I would suggest a few things:

1. Depending on your training background, you should ideally be between 400-600 hours a year. Now, that will not work unless you have been training regulary over the last few years. Without the required base to build on, you will only make things worse by trying to train 600 hours a year.

2. Try simple periodizing - higher volume, lower intensity (only up to threshold) in the lead-up to the season. As you approach late winter/spring - introduce higher intensity work and reduce the volume a bit.

3. Try to do about 30 races or so a year, ideally maybe even more (40-50). At your age, you have to learn lots and lots about racing (tactics, your own capabilties etc). The best way to learn this is to race.

4. Oh, and be gutsy. In other words - dare to take a chance. Try to go in that breakaway, if you blow up you are one experience richer. Take a chance, be aggressive - you will learn so much from that. If you just sit in the pack and roll over the line with 50 other riders, well - you didn't really learn all that much, did you?

5. Also work on core strength and flexibility. Will do wonders for you.

6. And most importantly - make contacts in the sport. Find a local team / coach(es) and learn as much as you can from them. That is key.

Hope this helps. If you need more, let me know.


Blogger Caloi-Rider said...

Even if you don't medal at the Olympics, Mags, it sounds like you have a potential career in coaching.

Blogger mags said...


Thank you. :) I have always found coaching very interesting.



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