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Pynchonite

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Reply with quote  #1 
Howdy! I'm planning on doing some gravel racing this year and I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good book or guide?  If money weren't an object, I'd hire a coach, but it is and I can't.  Planning on doing a bunch of UT gravel rides: the Wild Horse (55 miles, ~4k ft), the Volcano 120 (75 miles, ~6k ft), and, god willing, the Crusher in the Tushars (70 miles 10k ft).  I've got a good book on CX training, but the ideas and timing don't really transfer.  I rode the Crusher last year and did ok on my own but I'd like to see how I do riding with a little more focus.  Thanks!
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Croz

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Reply with quote  #2 
Awesome question! As one who also doesnt have $ for a coach but wants to improve and do well at several events i can offer some suggestions that have been helpful for me over the years.

The first is to read up on some training techniques. The old school bible for cyclists is Joel Friel's book and while many modern coaches may brush that off as pase, it is still a worthwhile starting place. It'll also help you develop a training program that suits your events and schedule. It'll require a bike comuter, heart rate monitor and a log ... all pretty cheap.

If you want/have a power meter, there are a few books specifically on training with that tool. I'd love to have one, as most folks I know who are really strong riders use one. Unfortunately, that's not in my budget right now. I've found that as folks get more serious, a power meter becomes a higher priority and they find a way to get one. They are getting cheaper every year. That is probably the one tool that'll make your training more efficient... if used "correctly".

Once you've got a program setup, you can look for videos. The local goodwill by me usually has a bunch of old CTS (Carmichael Training Systems) dvds. There are countless on you tube that'll vary from garbage to awesome... I used to use preset workouts and find youtube videos of cyclists riding around beautiful places (Corsica, The Alps, The Dolomites) to give me something to look at... GCN has a lot of train in vids as well.

Lastly, if you can find a group of riders who are stronger than you and are willing to let you tag along you'll see big improvements if you are willing to get dropped for a few weeks until you both get stronger and understand the nature of the ride (faster parts, regroups,etc.). I've just started in with such a group and while it's hard, it forces me to go much harder and deeper than I ever would riding by myself. Some of those stronger riders may even share some of their workouts. I've found that going in humble makes folks more willing to help out.

A little focus, discipline and research (not necessarily in that order) and you'll see results in your own riding. I look forward to hearing others' suggestions.

Good Luck and keep us posted.
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Pynchonite

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for the suggestions!  I've definitely got the fast friends bit down.  Very helpful, very humbling, especially trying to keep up w/ straight-up roadies on a gravel bike (though, to be fair, they're all usually on steel bikes and carrying camera equipment, so...).  And most of them use power meters.  I've been looking at the PowerPod, which is $300ish and is evidently pretty reliable, according to DC Rainmaker.  Can't use it inside, though, which is annoying.

Looking up the authors that you recommended, I found The Time-Crunched Cyclist, by Chris Carmichael.  Anyone used it?  That about describes me perfectly (PhD + Teaching + Bike-Mongering + Baby = No Time) and am intrigued.

https://www.amazon.com/Time-Crunched-Cyclist-Race-Winning-Fitness-Athlete/dp/1937715507/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=V5YT8WRJA4MJMJH5PPDM

Thanks - I look forward to hearing other folks' suggestions!
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Croz

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Reply with quote  #4 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pynchonite

Looking up the authors that you recommended, I found The Time-Crunched Cyclist, by Chris Carmichael.  Anyone used it?  That about describes me perfectly (PhD + Teaching + Bike-Mongering + Baby = No Time) and am intrigued.

https://www.amazon.com/Time-Crunched-Cyclist-Race-Winning-Fitness-Athlete/dp/1937715507/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_t_2?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=V5YT8WRJA4MJMJH5PPDM

Thanks - I look forward to hearing other folks' suggestions!


The Carmichael book has been around and while I've not looked through it in detail, I have a couple of friends who have used it with some success. I'm guessing it's a great place to start.  While some don't like Carmichael for is associations with dopers in the past, there is little doubt that he knows a thing or two about training athletes - particularly cyclists. The man has created a coaching empire and has been credited with bringing high level coaching to "regular" folks and creating the "coaching industry" which may or may not be a good thing I suppose.

It looks like Joel Friel has an updated version of The Cyclists Training Bible (2018) as well as some other more recent books and one on training with a power meter. I'd start with something that'll help you create a training program designed around your events, then as you read more, you can enhance the workouts with what you think is most applicable to your needs. I have always liked Friel's research based approach. Friel seems more focused on the science of training while Carmichael's books may be good, I always felt like they were as much - if not a bit more - about selling books as they were about training - that's just an opinion and you may find otherwise.

Croz

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Croz

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Reply with quote  #5 
Here is an interesting podcast which interviews 2 coaches with different approaches to training - might be worth a listen. (For some reason the link takes up massive space - not sure why.)

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