Winter LSD

This is the time of year that is great for Cyclists to get in Base Mileage. These base miles that the Great Eddy Merxck talked about in his day.

Here is a great, well put together video of a local Atlanta ride that I had to quit doing.

Airport Ride – Nov 14, 2010 from Joe Reger, Jr. on Vimeo.

It’s not the craziness of stop signs, the big pack, or the fear of crashing – that is all part of it and it is all going to happen if you race or ride in big groups….

The reason I quit doing this ride was it has become an out of control hammer-fest through the winter. It no longer fit into MY training plan. Guys are out of the saddle attacking the pace-line, and this was shot mid-November – coming off our racing season.

Although some folks like to ride hard all winter, I personally do not. I prefer to use the winter months to do Winter paced base mileage, or what I like to call LSD (Long Slow Distance).

-Some people just like doing the ride – that’s Great! They are out of the house, on their bikes and getting exercise, and that is all good!
-Some people are too nervous not to go hard all winter long, they think they will loose something.
-I was too stressed and maxxed out from a season of Pro1,2 racing that my mind and body needed the break from riding at that intensity all summer.

A great thing about LSD during the winter is that this is the time of year that you need to be working out at the gym also building a Stronger Cyclist. Gym workouts and fast paced group rides do not mix. They are part of a yearly plan, but not at the same time. A great yearly plan should have a mix of phases that will change so that the cyclist doesn’t get burned out.

But I wasn’t the only one… we had a ‘just-right’ sized group of Cat1,2,3 level riders/friends (Men & Women) that had a cohesive group that were all on the similar training plans. It was Awesome to ride along relaxed, and chatting with different people, pull for as long or as little as you felt like, and not be cut-throat about trying to keep someone from getting that wheel in front of you. This is the relaxed pace that can mentally refresh your mind and get you looking forward to the upcoming intensity needed for a full racing season.

Hard group rides will always be around, I like to take this time of year to relax. There are plenty of Hard efforts in the upcoming year of training and racing. Do you want to be riding in peak form through the winter, or next season?

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5 thoughts on “Winter LSD”

  1. Stephen,
    As always, great blog post. I was out there and enjoyed Airport Ride. I know it’s not for everyone, but I find it the most effective winter training ride around for Cat 1 – 3 and Masters. Unfortunately, by the time racing season starts in early March, there is nothing close to the pace of the Airport Ride. Your point well taken on the pace at this time of year. I think riders need to gauge their own strength when determining whether or not to go that hard this time of year or do LSD. For a lot of us that are rotating in a paceline on Airport Ride or mixing in the occasional sprint, we are still only riding at Level 2 and 3 most of the time. I did go anaerobic a few times and also spent 15 min at Level 4, but I think is fine as long as it isn’t too often or too long. My average power for the 2:30 Long Option was only 210 watts and 20 min peak didn’t get above 280 watts which is well below my 310 watt FTP. On the other hand, I imagine that a Cat 4/5 rider would likely get more stress from that same ride. Regardless of whether it is too hard or just right, my main point pertains to the “burned out” concept. I often read about the “burn out” effect. I’ve only been racing two and a half seasons and recently upgraded to Cat 2, but I think I speak for most of us full-time Dads/Husbands with full-time jobs riding about 7 hours a week when I say that “burn-out” is very low on the list of issues. Other than hard core Cat 1’s, how common is burn-out? I can’t imagine getting burned out on 6 – 8 hours a week (my summer) and 4 – 6 hours a week (my winter). Given that most racers train a little more than me, I guess it is possible, but I’d be surprised if burn-out is common for anything but the crazy hard core guys doing 12 – 15 hours a week with no family and not much of a job. I imagine you might see some clients who tend to be more hard core, but what do you find regarding burn-out, and isn’t peak hours during the season something that needs to be considered when determining if LSD is good for someone or less important for someone. I just wonder how bad can going hard be for someone like me who never stresses their body much all year?

    Again excellent blog as always.

    – Dave Gearhart

  2. Thanks for the comment David – let’s see if I can answer all your questions.

    I think a bigger indicator of the intensity of Airport ride is 30, 60 sec bursts and 5 min. Also what was your TSS from the ride? (Cycling Peaks)

    Everybody is an individual & thus training will have different effects on each person. If you ride ‘hard’ each ride you will not reach your full potential in this sport.

    Burn-out is caused by stressing the Central Nervous System (CNS) too much with out proper recovery. If your life doesn’t balance mind/body stress with recovery, you become overloaded and burned out.
    Racing more, will equate to more burn-out because of the intensity levels of racing.

    The best indicator for determining if LSD rides are more or less important is a VO2Max test. Here at Athletic Training Services, Tony has tested nearly 3 thousand athletes.

    Although unless you have a base fitness from another sport, doing base LSD for 2 months this winter would give you much bigger aerobic motor.

  3. Stephen,
    I’m sold. I’ll add a VO2 Max test to the Xmas list for the family. Please post any links where I can find out more about the pricing and registration process. In terms of short burst, you’re correct. I probably had at least 10 bursts of 15 – 30 seconds on that ride. My 1 min and 5 min were not that high, and those bursts were not that high either, but they were present. Since I’ve been racing cyclocross on and off this season, everything feels easier than that anaerobic torture, but I know that anything more than a couple bursts is probably doing more harm than good. In terms of TSS, my TSS was 210 which is pretty high for a 2:30 minute. Good point. Final question. Is there a downside to doing a VO2 test when I’m out of shape (was off the bike completely Sept/Oct w/new baby) versus waiting until March when I have stronger fitness? In a perfect world, we would probably test a lot, but I need to be respectful of family funds and what wife will allow….


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