THis article was written in August 2015, its always interesting to look back and see how Irish riders develop over a number of years.
A week of medals, record and Jerseys for Ireland emerging Cycling talent?
Beginning today could be one of the greatest weeks to date for young Irish cyclists and the cycling Ireland high performance development programme
An Irish squad begins racing today in The European track cycling championships.
The great Scott Junior Tour of Ireland which also begins today gives another set of opportunities for Irish riders to race against International level competition/
That there is a significant number of junior male riders at the European track Championships and still a very strong Irish team included in the Scott junior Tour demonstrates the healthy strength in depth that is now building in Irish cycling.
This week could see Ireland come home from the European championships with new records across the board and a number of medals are possible.
Then if there’s an Irish Cyclist in the yellow Jersey when the Junior Tour finishes on Sunday that will surely be a great week for Irish Cycling and optimism for the future years.
The European championships Squads have some riders who have already proven they can compete at the very top level,
Josie Knight and Mark Downey have already medalled at these championships as juniors and could win medals at U23.
Michael O Loughlin has proven he can race and produce world class time trials. That ability could transfer to the track really well. Eoin Mullen ((PHOTO) is another proven rider for the sprint events and can medal.
There is also a mix of experience and youth in the team and some of the younger team members could spring some surprises as well.
JOSIE KNIGHT If we look at the times of the junior and Under 23 womens Euro champs individual pursuit last year Josie Knight was covering the kilometre split times close to the times of the runner up in the 2014 Under 23 event.
There is a difference in that the junior pursuit is 2 k and the under 23 is 3k.
However the difference of being a year older and a year’s training should enable a rider to maybe even go faster and hold it for the 3 k.
Junior womens 2k individual pursuit 2014
Kilometre Split times
Womens u23 3k ind pursuit 2014
Team Pursuit U23 men
I imagine that this Irish team will be setting the stepping stones for future performances at under 23 and senior level.
They have had a Spanish coach working with them specifically for the last while so hopefully he has them flying.
Something around 4.10 would probably be a very good performance at this stage of their development.
The team pursuit events can produce some signs of progress being made in the squads. See tables below for some 2014 winning times and some current Irish records that I could source.
Last year’s results.
Under 23 men European track champs 2014
Current Irish record
Junior Mens team pursuit
Its great to see a team in this event as regardless of results the training for it helps to develop very good cyclists. If they can reduce the current record by a number of seconds it will be good progress.
Junior mens 2014 results
Time minutes / seconds
Current Irish record
Junior men 2k Individual pursuit 2014 finals
The other untimed events like the scratch and point’s races are an unknown with some degree of tactics and good bike skills being a factor. As we have seen before the Irish riders can get medals in these events through being good racers as well as having the physical ability.
The team could be looking at finishing the European championships with a number of medals.
Add the Yellow jersey from the Scott Junior Tour of Ireland and it could be a great week for Irish Cycling.
Medal winners 2015 European track Championships here
Paddy Doran level 3 cycling coach at www.peakendurancecoaching.com
In my last blog I wrote about the psychology and physiology of riders in the context of riders of different physical capacity.
In this blog I am writing in the context of a Grand tour where there is not a great deal of physical difference between the main contenders.
In the last three weeks Alberto Contador has been taken to the edge of his physical capacity during the 2015 Giro D’talia stages.
He has crashed, received painful debilitating injuries and overcome them.
He was sometimes left exposed in groups where his competitors teams had numerical superiority.
For example on the penultimate and hardest stage of the Giro to Sestriere, he was alone with no team mates for support.
He was then dropped by his main opponents and still overcame his difficulties to retain his Pink Jersey of overall leader.
And while he was taken to the edge and over it physically, especially on the Sestrier stage, he never seemed to go over the edge psychologically.
He remained calm and resolute, eating and drinking during the bad phase and pacing himself until he came around and limited his losses by a controlled climbing effort.
I have admired Contador’s performances so much during this Giro as he demonstrates what it is to be a champion. Regardless of the sports past problems and Contador’s difficulties in Anti-doping in the past.
Components of a successful Tour de France Performance
When I am looking at bike races especially Grand Tour Races I am looking for the things that make cycling such a great sport.
The physical conditioning, the bike skills whether descending or sprinting.
The tactics and the mental qualities of patience, focus, picking the correct tactics and being able to apply them whether that means aggression or defence at certain times.
Lots of rider displayed some of these qualities during the Giro and it made for great racing.
But what makes the absolute difference between being the Champion or an also ran in the Giro where there is very little physical difference between the best riders on GC?
Research from other sports suggests that great Champions display a number of Psychological traits.
The following results from A research project on ten US Olympic gold medalists who won 32 Olympic medals between them, from the Journal of Applied Sports Psychology by Daniel Gould, Kristen Dieffenbach & Aaron Moffett are very interesting.
“Ten U.S. Olympic champions (winners of 32 Olympic medals) were interviewed, as were one of their coaches ( n = 10), and a parent, guardian, or significant other ( n = 10). A battery of psychological inventories was also administered to the athletes. It was found that the athletes were characterized by: (a) the ability to cope with and control anxiety; (b) confidence; (c) mental toughness/resiliency; (d) sport intelligence; (e) the ability to focus and block out distractions; (f) competitiveness; (g) a hard-work ethic; (h) the ability to set and achieve goals; (i) coachability; (j) high levels of dispositional hope; (k) optimism; and (l) adaptive perfectionism”
We can clearly see from this research that whenever he crashed, punctured was dropped, or was on the attack that Contador displayed all the Psychological traits of a Champion right throughout this year’s Giro.
Looking forward to more battle and great performances from Contador and the other great champions in the Tour De France
Since the advent of power meters being used in cycling we have heard that a Professional Cyclist needs to be able to produce around 6+ watts per kilogram for an hour to be a Tour De France winner.
And while there is truth in that. It is far too simplistic and maybe even insulting to the Tour winner.
Video Watch Sam Bennett weave his way through the calvacade getting back to the peleton
Just to survive the first week of the Tour De France bike handling skills and nerve are essential.
Cycling around narrow, cobbled roads at 60 to 100kph on descents kph elbow to elbow with other riders takes a lot of skill and nerve.
Road furniture is a constant hazard and full concentration is required to survive this and get through each stage.
The amount of nervous energy used by a not so skillful rider could just wear them down so much that they end up sick or exhausted by the time they hit the mountains.
Or the amount of energy wasted by riding out in the wind because of poor positioning could also wear them down.
Video Cancellara Descending Then when they get to the mountains they have to survive descents at 100 to 120 kph as the great descenders drop like stones to put pressure on.
So for any aspiring Tour winner work on bike handling skills! a
s it looks like this approach to finding the Tour De France winner is going to be a feature of the Tour for a while.
Colombian cyclists development system
The system put in place by Colombian cycling to have their riders race and train with an academy system based in Europe is really paying off. There are now a number of great all round Colombian cyclists challenging for Honours in the Tour.
This is a change from the days when Columbians ran riot in the mountain stages but lost time on flat stages
The cobbles usually work in the favour of bigger riders with high absolute power. So to see light climbers and all rounders mixing it with the front groups on the flat and cobbles suggests that top Tour Rider now need a full suite of skills as well as power..
This is a report from a cyclist that I did a training analysis and set a training plan for the 2017 Etape du Tour. The Etape Du tour and similar events are major challenges especially for someone who has limited training time.
Heres the report in his own words
“Back today from the Etape just letting you know how I got on. I’m happy with my result all things considered I placed in the 2300s out of 11200.
That result placed me in the top 20% of the field my best finish place of the other Etapes I rode was top 33%.
Recommendation by another cyclist
I had taken part in the Etape du Tour a few times before and trained on my own for these. I enjoyed the training and taking part in them but this year I was looking to put more focus on my training and so contacted Paddy on the recommendation of another cyclist.
I wasn’t in a position to commit much more time to training than I was already was but I really wanted to make sure I was getting the most out of my time. Paddy and I meet to discuss what I wanted out of the year and following on from this he drew up a training plan for me.
It consisted of a detailed description of all the session types and how and why they would lead to improvements. I found this really helpful as I had all the information in one place and I didn’t have to read any books or go searching on the internet.
Follow the plan
I found it easy to follow and the sessions could be mixed and matched if required The big plus was that I just had to follow the plan I didn’t have to think was I doing to much or too little.
More power on the hills
During the Etape I found the training paid off as I had more power on the hills. Overall I was happy with the years training, I didn’t put that much more time in than other years but the intensity certainly increased and I didn’t feel as tired as the “junk miles” had being removed from the training. Finished in the 2300s out of 11200 who completed the Etape. John
Paddy Doran level 3 cycling coach at peakendurancecoaching.ie Contact
Junior tour of ireland riders – who will make it to the Tour De France?
Junior Tour of Ireland competitor from 2002 Geraint Thomas was the winner of the 2018 Tour De France.
Many other Junior Tour of Ireland competitors have gone on to very fine and Lucrative. professional cycling careers.
These include Bradley Wiggins, Dan Martin, Nicolas Roche, Sam Bennett, Mark Cavendish just to to name a few.
The latest is double winner of the Junior Tour Eddie Dunbar who is now competing very well at the top level of the Professional cycling scene..
When this years Junior Tour of Ireland finishes will it be possible to say with any certainty which riders will go on to professional careers?
Academics, Career or Cycling
Will it be academics, a career and part time cycling or will a future as a Professional cyclist be pursued?
Is it possible to tell who might make it through to a well paid career as a Professional Cyclist?
Here’s how it usually sounds for promising Junior male cyclists, in Ireland anyway. He she could be the next Dan Martin, Nicolas Roche,Sam Bennett , Eddie Dunbar.
I’m not sure who the Irish female juniors aspire to emulate Maybe Lizzie Deignan, another good Irish link there.
We have seen it year in year out, promising Junior or youth cyclist’s…. Wow, looks like the next great professional Irish cyclist.
How will we know the real deal?
So are we any clearer as to Junior tour of ireland riders – who will make it to the Tour De France?
Well, based on research on a large number of junior cyclist’s we won’t be!
This research was carried out by the late great Coach and Sports Scientist Aldo Sassi. Sassi was director of the Mapei Cycling Centre in Italy.
Sassi and others carried out research in the area of young cyclists and that research is published in Medicine& Science in Sports & Exercise () (2009)
Aerobic Fitness Variables Do Not Predict the Professional Career of Young Cyclists.
Paolo Menaspà, Aldo Sassi and Franco M Impellizzeri Abstract
The study looked at the aerobic fitness measures of junior cyclist’s from club to international level.
The research was to determine if it is possible to identify future professional cyclists from the Junior category.
309 Junior Cyclists
Undergoing a pre season test
They tested 309 junior cyclists.
“The cyclists were classified according to their competitive level and specialty:
1) National team (NAT) and non-National team (non-NAT); 2) non-professionals (NP), professional flat-specialists (PFL) and professional climbers (PCL); 3) non-professionals (NP), Professional Continental (PC) and ProTour (PT)”..
And while the results showed differences in vo2 and aerobic measurements between different groups such as non-national riders and national squad riders.
None of the tests could predict which riders would become professional riders.
“Traditional physiological measures of aerobic fitness are useful to identify junior cyclists who can excel in their category. However, these variables cannot be used for talent identification, if ‘talent’ is interpreted as a young cyclist who will succeed in becoming a professional
What makes the difference?
So what is it that makes the difference in remaining a good amateur or becoming a professional rider?
It’s clearly not just the physical ability even though this is obviously very important as a starting point.
So is it physical and mental toughness, mental skills, social skills, dedication, discipline, specific types of intelligence?
Or perhaps its a unique combination of all these qualities and more?.
Maybe it’s not even measurable, maybe we just have to wait and see who comes through and do everything possible to help riders make the breakthrough. Dan Martin Video
2018 Tour De France winner rode 2002 Junior Tour of Ireland
Geraint Thomas who has just won the 2018 Tour De France rode the Junior Tour of Irelands in 2002 Junior Tour Results There doesn’t seem to be anything in particular during this tour that sets him out as a future Tour De France winner.
However as a junior and senior his results on track and road were excellent over many years. There was a ongoing improvement on road and track up to his latest win.
Its worth noting that the Tour De France win occurs 16 years on from this particular Junior tour of Ireland. So, the first thing to be successful in the big events is to stick at the sport until in your best years for a cyclist, 25 to 35 years of age.
Presumably then as part of the British Cycling system Thomas got first class support and coaching on an ongoing basis.
The Future for Irish Juniors?
When you look at past Junior Tour of Ireland results you may also ask the question, why didn’t more of the Irish junior cyclists move into the pro ranks?
Perhaps all riders should be educated from a young age about the key qualities that professional riders have. Also about the realities of the lifestyle of a professional cyclist and the steps required to become a professional cyclist.
This just might make the difference with some riders. They have to enjoy the sport if they are to continue cycling into their best cycling years.
Paddy Doran high Performance Cycling Coach. See Testimonials here Contact us here
Updated 15th June 2019 – Video: More Power For Cyclists.
Cathal Moynihan and myself have been discussing this for a while. I had concerns that some cyclists were spending too high a percentage of their available training time on core strength training. So, we set out to design a programme to maximise fitness benefits and time management for the busy cyclist.
Cathal has risen to the challenge and produced a brilliant video with spectacular Kerry scenery included. It’s a fantastic opportunity to benefit from Cathal’s background in strength and conditioning as a top class Olympian in Rowing and a successful cyclist.
Watch the video below then read on down this post as we take you through where and how to focus your strength and conditioning training.
15 Min CORE Workout | INCH Strand Co Kerry - YouTube
More Power for 2018 – from Cathal Moynihan
Updated June 15th 2019
If you haven’t being working on your strength this might help. you can begin the programme at any time,
It’s that time of year again. The road racing season has died off, leaving a void in the roadie’s life. After a sustained period of gorging on pizza and beer, the cyclist’s mind invariably switches to next season.
Naturally, the next question is ‘How will I be better next season?’ The classic answers include ‘more miles’, ‘more intensity’, ‘new coach’, ‘new club’, ‘a power meter’, ‘new turbo’, ‘new bike’, ‘new wheels’ and so on. There is no doubt that any and all of the previously mentioned ideas will likely enhance performance, but with the obvious answers aside, how else could you improve your cycling performance?
Strength training is frequently overlooked and dismissed by the cycling community. Most athletes and coaches associate strength training with developing muscular physiques and therefore assume strength training would not be beneficial to endurance sports, where power to weight ratio is of the utmost importance.
However, with advancing strength and conditioning techniques along with good coaching principles, athletes can and should be benefiting from sport-specific functionalstrength programmes. Even with proven benefits of increases in lactate threshold, anaerobic power, pedalling efficiency and bone density, many cyclists are still reluctant to add strength training to their training routine.
Along with weight gain, other reasons include lack of time and disliking training inside. Then there are also those that simply just don’t know where to start. It is for these reasons that my coach Paddy Doran at Peak Endurance Coaching contacted me for assistance.
With Paddy knowing my S&C qualifications along with my background in endurance sports, he asked me to help athletes by outlining how to strategically develop a periodised cycling-specific strength program. Paddy also wanted to ensure the program could be performed at home with very little equipment required.
The traditional cyclist’s strength training approach is 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps with little or no variation in exercises, and only the load increasing until a plateau is reached.
It’s akin to asking a coach how to develop peak cycling ‘form’ and he/she replying by saying ‘zone 3 training and just keep doing more of it’.
As most know, to develop peak cycling form a mix of strategically organised endurance rides along with aerobic and anaerobic intervals is required. Strength development and ultimately on-bike power development requires a similar timely approach through varying exercises, load, speed of movement, and adaptation period (rest).
As shown below the season can be divided into 3 parts: pre-season, season, and off-season. This example is laid out for a May/June peak and can be adapted by shifting the start position. All sub-phases within the season have a specific focus. As we enter each phase a more in-depth detail will be outlined.
Anatomical Adaptation & Stabilization
Maintenance (Mix of off/on bike strength)
Transition & Relaxation
Opportunity to develop weak areas not addressed by cycling. Sessions: 2/week
Volume and weights increase. Pushes force curve upwards Sessions: 2/week
Intensity increases. Speed of contraction is key. Weights load decreases Sessions: 2/week
Focus switches to performance on bike. Short accelerations from low speed or standing starts will help maintain speed of contraction. Maintain home exercises and look for breaks in racing programme to re-visit strength training Sessions: 1/week complemented with bike work
Recuperation Sessions: NA
All sport-specific strength programs should focus on the prime-movers involved within that sport. In cycling the lower-body muscle groups create the force applied to the pedals. This ‘power zone’ consists of the quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower-back, and abdominal muscles.
A strong upper body is also important for effective power transfer, bike control, and injury prevention. Through the timely introduction of specific stabilisation exercises followed by strength exercises using greater load at low reps (<5), building unnecessary bulk can be avoided. Exercise selection for the prime movers of cycling should be based upon the squat, lunge and hip-hinge movement patterns.
Patience is required while the basics of these movement patterns are mastered for a program to be effective. Once the basics are mastered progressions on load can be introduced.
Check out the video we’ve put together above, a 15 Minute Core exercise routine to get you started. In the next few weeks we hope to develop some more short coaching videos to help people properly develop their squat, lunge and hip-hinge movement patterns prior to getting stuck into the 1st stabilisation phase of the strength program.
Descending mountains at speed on a bike is possibly one of the most exhilarating experiences. Descending mountains is also one of the more dangerous aspects of cycling so knowledge of how to descend safely is essential.
Every weekend there are exciting cycling sportive all over Ireland the British isles and europe. They are a great way to enjoy cycling. What could be better than rolling along the roads at a nice pace in the company of people who love cycling?
Descending hills fast and safely
Some of these events are very hilly like the great Etape du Tour, MarmotteWicklow 200. One of the biggest challenges on the sportive are descending the various hills safely and quickly.
Depending on the gradient of the descent, high speeds or even very high speeds can be achieved. To descend fast and safely requires a certain amount of skill and a responsible attitude.
Number 1 goal
While cycling in general is a safe sport, accidents do happen occasionally. So your first goal when setting out on a sportive should be to complete the sportive accident free. Remember its not a stage of the Tour De France so seconds don’t matter so much.
A responsible attitude will help in achieving your goal.It’s very easy to get carried away by the exhilaration of the speed and corners. To avoid this always ride at your own speed on the descents.
Smooth is fast
Approach the corners at a controlled speed in good control of the bike. This will deliver a quick descent with less stress and fatigue than if your on the limit on every corner.
Take the best of what the pros do in the Tour De France like good lines in and out of corners and smooth braking. Do not attempt stuff like sitting on the crossbar or resting forearms on the bars to get more speed. THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS
Remember you are cycling on open roads and the usual rules of the roads apply. Always cycle on your own side of the road. However be careful of riding too close to the edge of the road. There is often a lot of loose soil, stones there where your wheels can lose grip.
Everyone has different levels of experience and skills. Always descend and corner within your own level of competency, particularly if you’re not a very experienced cyclist. And respect other people’s level of competency if you are very experienced and a good descender.
Principles of Descending Safely
Understanding how to prepare for and descend the hills can increase your safety and enjoyment of your day out. Here’s a short video lesson from an ex professional cyclist.
see photos as to how to hold the bars.Always have both hands on the bars and fingers in close proximity to the brake levers, especially when descending. Note how one cyclist is on the drops and one on the brake hoods but they are both using their brakes. Also they have their thumbs and fingers form a circle that gives a secure grip
How NOT to hold the Bars
if you hit a pothole while holding the bars like this you will fall
Your hands will most likely lose control of the bars if you hit a pothole with this hand position. These falls usually result in facial injuries so hold the bars like the two cyclists in the previous picture.
As you will be moving faster on descents you need to be seeing any corners or obstacle well in advance of reaching them. so always look well up the road so that you have ample time to slow down.
More speed= > increased braking distance
On descents as the speed increases there needs to be bigger gaps
As speed increases on descents stopping distance also increases. So always leave bigger gaps between yourself and the rider/s in front of you on descents. This will allow time to slow down safely if you must.
Brake in plenty of time when approaching corners. Practise using both brakes together and do most of your braking before the corners while cycling in a straight line.
Aim to descend and corner within your comfort zone. If you feel you are beginning to move too fast always stay calm and gradually slow down.
Eating drinking on the bike
Good appetite from cycling
If you wish to drink or eat do it on the flat roads or just before you reach the top of a hill. Preferably when your at the back of a group.
Enjoy the coffee and cakes when you arrive to the finish safely.
Join your local cycling club where you can learn lots of cycling skills.
Links to more tips Seven top tips for sportives here Tips for the start here
Paddy Doran Coach Level 3 Cycling Coach and Tutor
www.peakendurancecoaching.ie See testimonials here Contact us here
The previous blog in the series looked at some of the research that has been done around using Power or Heart Rate for training in a lab setting and its results. This blog post will outline some of my experience of using both as a cyclist and coach.
Heart rate monitor
In my experience of heart rate and power meter training, heart rate monitoring is a very reliable tool for improving the performances and results of triathletes and sportive and endurance cyclists. It is also very useful for preventing burnout and overtraining.
Heart rate demonstrates the body’s response to training loads and lifestyle and is a great training tool when used correctly. Most people who compete or participate in endurance events could benefit from use of a heart rate monitor.
They are relatively inexpensive and are often included as part of a package with bike computers.
People who are just trying to increase their basic level of aerobic fitness can also get great benefits from using a heart rate monitor to control the pace of their efforts.
Fluctuating heart rate
There are a number factors that can influence heart rate:
Low glycogen levels
Caffeine or other drugs
These may all increase or decrease the heart rate on any particular day. There is also an issue with Cardiac drift where the heart rate increases over time during exercise even though the workload might remain constant.
This variability is sometimes used as a reason to use Power instead of heart rate for training. However anyone who has used power will also know that it’s also very variable when done in real time and a riders power can vary from day to day.
But, over time the heart rate monitoring will give consistent patterns. Below is a good example of how the resting heart rate reduces as fitness improves.
Benefits of heart rate monitor
Is relatively inexpensive.
Is very good for controlling efforts up to lactate threshold level, 80 to 90% of Maximum Heart Rate. Most endurance athletes’ training sessions are spent at 60 to 80% of maximum Heart Rate. A heart rate monitor can track this very well.
Training zones can be set out very well based on maximum heart rate or lactate and heart rate tests.
Heart rate remains fairly similar over time, while the speed/ power achieved increases at the same heart rate as fitness improves.
There’s no need to constantly retest.
Improvements in fitness can be tracked through reduced resting HR and a quicker return to resting values after exercise.
What a heart rate monitor doesn’t do
Measure the power being applied.
Give feedback of power used in training or races.
Measure shorter intensive anaerobic efforts from a few seconds to a few minutes.
As power is one of the things that can be the difference in winning or losing, it is an important metric. Training with a power meter is very good for controlling top end efforts above threshold compared to heart rate. It is also excellent at measuring improvements or non-improvements.
Power meter analysis of races can be used to plan future training. It can also be used to model training for future race circuits.
Benefits of Power meters watts
Excellent for reviewing race efforts.
Controlling the training load above the lactate threshold.
Measuring overall training and racing workloads.
Measuring Improvements in workloads over time.
Targeting specific intensities to improve.
Understanding how hard you are working when racing.
Some good software packages for reviewing data.
What’s not so good about power meters
Having to retest very often to track changes.
There’s a lot of data to interpret.
Can lead to overtraining very quickly if used in isolation.
Can mislead pacing strategies in time trials – if on a good day or bad day a cyclist persists with preselected watts, they can lose time going slower than possible or blow up by going too fast. Tom Dumoulin
Changes in power and heart rate
Below is two tests of the same cyclist. The first test (Blue Bars) in December and the second test (Orange Bars) in April of the next year. It demonstrates the improvement in fitness with decreased heart rates at similar workloads in April when compared to December.
Perceived exertion is still very important and I have seen quotes from David Brailsford and Tim Kerrison, the coach and physiologist to Sky Cycling Team respectively, where they were discussing the use of power data for training.
Both of them suggested that Team Sky and the British Track Team believe that how the rider feels (perceived exertion) when doing the effort, whatever the power output or heart rate, is always a very important part of a review of a session.
Perceived exertion is fine for leisure cycling.
Heart rate is useful for endurance cyclist’s triathletes.
Power is useful for endurance cyclists, triathletes and track sprint events.
The ideal world is to use them all together in a sensible way.
Paddy Doran High Performance cycling coach at Peak Endurance Coaching
The men of the Ras Tailteann . In a blur of colour and speed nearly 200 Cyclists from all over the World will fly around Ireland for 8 days. They will be supported by team helpers. These will include managers /coaches, masseurs and drivers to mention a few.
They will cycle up steep hills where enormous strength and endurance is required. Then dive over the top and race down the other side at 100kph +. Faster than most cars or motor bikes can get down the hills and through the corners.
The long and winding road
They will fly along the flat roads at up to 70 kph when the wind is behind them. Struggle in the gutters looking for shelter from the rider in front of them when the wind blows from the side. They will sprint for points at the prime points along the route to the finish and be cheered by thousands of people whose day they brighten up in a flash of colour and speed.
Then they will sprint like crazy for the An Ras Post finish line banner to be hailed by the commentator as MEN OF THE RAS.
What do these mighty people need to do to get around and reach the finish in Skerries. What are the statistics of a Ras performance?
Obviously because of each riders basic ability, training and racing history the performances and demands will differ for each individual. However at Peak endurance coaching we thought it might be interesting to look at some of the statistics.
These are based on an average size rider in the field so let’s call him Jimmy Average. We have based it on the medium estimated stage time for each day.
We will look at (for 8 days)
How many hours he will cycle
How many pedal revolutions he must do
The number of heart beats for the 8 stages
The number of calories he must consume to fuel the 8 stages and his basic daily requirements.
Ras Hours cycling:
31.5 hours based on estimated finishing stage times.
this is the number of pedal revolutions per minute (RPM) and the average is usually around 90 RPM so for Jimmy’s week it will be 170,100 revolutions of the pedals. Cadence will also vary between 60 rpm on some climbs and 130 rpm with tailwinds or on descents.
Ras Heart rate:
A lot of these riders will have resting heart rates between 40-50 beats per minutes but during stages the heart rates might be raised to as high as 200 BPM for some riders when the pressure is really on . Based on an average of 150 beats per minute per stage Jimmy will use 283,500 Heart Beats for all the stages.. These are just for the stages and don’t include heart beats for the rest of the day.
Jimmy has to fuel the effort of flat out racing for hours each stage. If he neglects this, to quote the late Seamus Kennedy winner of the 1978 Ras “Jimmy will very soon be listening to the Birds whistling” on quiet country roads as he cycles alone miles behind the Ras Bunch. He will use 39,650 calories to get around the Ras with the peloton.
To sum up
Hours of cycling
Demonstrates the importance of being comfortable on the bike and really loving your cycling
Cadence/ number of Pedal revolutions
Importance of having a good bike setup and good quad balance for knees.
Importance of recovery and relaxation between the stages
Calories for the week. Includes off the bike calories also
The Ras is as much an eating competition as cycling competition. Think formula one car with top fuel versus the battered car with the black smoke streaming from the exhaust
Here’s a table of a riders actual Ras week some years ago.
35 – 64.
34 – 71
132 – 175
40 – 69
139 – 171
36 – 77
140 – 172
88 – 120
Mamore Riding on front
37 – 70
91 – 117
Some dry patches
38 – 72
134 – 165
Easy home after split
43 – 63
12th on stage
So our hypothetical Jimmy and the rest of the field truly deserves the accolade of a MAN OF THE RAS as they arrive in Skerries.
Enjoy the Week
Paddy Doran Cycling Coach and Tutor www.peakendurancecoaching.ie For real coaching by a successful experienced coach. Contact us Here see testimonials here
Dublin City Marathon Countdown Summer miles October smiles
First of all a confession. I am a cycling coach but I have always loved running.
Whether looking at the great international championships races, attending national championships in Ireland or even running a few races when I finished competitive cycling I always found running a very pure form of sport.
Tough on the body
Running is great exercise but can be tough on the body. Building the amount of training required to complete a marathon in your goal time is always a big challenge.
General training methods
Introducing general training methods like gymwork, weights, core strength exercises can produce a robust system that can handle training loads better and recover well from training.
Cross training can be another addition that can reduce the loads and and effects of impact of running. Cycling is an ideal cross-training modality for running. A great builder of aerobic fitness and leg and hip strength and a non impact exercise thats easy on the body.Check this article out Cycling and marathon training article
Recovery is generally quicker from cycling and indeed it can be a great aid to recovery from hard running sessions as well.
Periodisation of training
Periodising your training. If the aim is to have a great Dublin City marathon the majority of your training during the next few months might best be training methods other than running.
For example cycling can be used for Aerobic fitness and leg strength by VERY PROGRESSIVELY introducing cycling on flat undulating routes to hillier routes. some of this could be your commute by bicycle to recover from running sessions.
May June July
Some examples, May June and July could be mostly Strength and Conditioning, cycling, swimming, hill walking with a small amount of running. This period if done correctly will give excellent all round fitness and lay the foundation for stronger running performances in the latter phase of training.
August Sept October
These are the crucial months for specific Marathon training. Following a good running training programme with a correct mix of work and recovery is essential.
Get a great running Coach
Input from an experienced running coach during this period is essential to a big Marathon Performance. There are some great examples in the Article that I linked to earlier of how those athletes approached this period.
Depending on the level there are also good programmes in magazines. Irish Runnerr magazine usually has a nice simple but very good and successful training programme for beginners.
The KBC Dublin City Marathon site has training programmes by Brendan O Shea
Knowledge is key to consistent cycling success
Whatever approach you take enjoy your training stay injury free and have a great run.
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