Possibly the most important phase of training!
If there is one area of cycle training that is most often over-looked (and massively under-valued) it's the aerobic base-building phase. I think there are a few reasons for this, but I will cover that later. First let's go over some gutsier issues:
Firstly, I would like to dispel the notion that aerobic base training constitutes "junk miles", nothing could be further from the truth. In fact if you are riding at a high intensity almost every time you throw the leg over, chances are you are already on the junk miles treadmill and ironically a stint of aerobic base training may be the only way off. JUNK MILES are miles ridden without a purpose or miles that contradict the training goals for that ride. If you are the sort of cyclist that repeats the same weekly riding schedule, over and over, then you are going nowhere and almost certainly limiting your progress as a cyclist.
FACT 1: Your high intensity training will be significantly more effective once you have built a solid aerobic base.
FACT 2: Your recovery from high intensity sessions (and races) will be far more effective if you have a solid base.
FACT 3: Good form will last longer once a solid base is in place
FACT 4: Your body uses more fats and less sugar...........
FACT 5: sub-maximal Blood lactate levels will be lower...........and we all hate lactate!
Consider this; almost every time a professional cyclist has a "standout season of form" they will credit a "solid winter" (and being injury-free). A solid winter means an uninterrupted block of consistent base miles. Without it even the very best riders on earth play catch-up for the entire season. Almost every amateur rider I know avoids base training and for those few who do give it a try, the pace is ALWAYS too high. If a pro rider churns out base miles at 28kmh (from Bjarne Riis's book) why on earth is the local club rider doing their "base miles" at 30kmh??
Why do cyclists miss this important part of the training cycle?
These are all true to some extent, but all it needs is for someone to take the lead, after all the racing season happens at the same time for everyone. Training cycles could and should follow a similar pattern and bunch rides could be so easily structured to facilitate a more structured and sensible approach. Just a thought!
Base training can and should be the most enjoyable part of the season, a long slow ride in the hills with your mates talking s*#t. Only one pre-requisite....leave the ego at home and forget the strava PR's, they will come later and come they will.
As I like to say; Know Your Numbers, Train Smart and Race Hard
New Laws Being Trialed in Queensland from April 7
On Monday morning this week a two year trial of some new road rules, designed to protect cyclists (and hopefully educate motorists) came into effect. To tell you the truth my Tuesday ride came and went without giving this fact much thought, however this morning something was different. Now I will admit that one ride "does not make a summer (or winter)" and the experiences of other riders may be different but; as I rode this morning I noticed something, NOT ONCE did a driver come within a metre of my right elbow! Car after car seemed to be taking a wide birth.
Now I don't think this was me simply looking for some positive effect of the new laws, as I was completely oblivious to the date (two days after the laws took effect) as I headed out at 5am. With each wide-passing car (even utes gave me space) I felt a growing sense of hope, just maybe this may be the tipping point.....a law! Other things began to happen, I found myself thanking motorists as they passed and I began to instinctively move left to give THEM more room, this was getting weird.
I had felt much skepticism with the introduction of these new laws, surely they wouldn't, couldn't help. This feeling was strengthened by a shameful piece on a commercial news program on Sunday night that fed the protest mentality by showing how "farcical" these new laws were. But maybe, just maybe there is hope and the combination of law & education may soon tip the scales. Either way, this morning gave me a fantastic little insight into just how wonderful (and painless) a shared road experience can be.
Now I know there will be hiccups and yes I WAS on my own and therefore taking up very little space. But I refuse to see it as anything other than a glimmer of hope, because this morning something was different and that's a hell of a good start.
The clip below is the educational video screened widely on social media prior to the introduction of the new trial laws.
Brian Bubba Cooke
Exercise Physiologist, coach & cycling tragic for 30 years. Love the freedom, reward and sense of achievement that one can only experience in our amazing sport.