Tag Archives: workout

Return of the Group Ride

B group

Daylight Savings Time might as well be a national holiday for cyclists. With that extra hour of daylight, we can finally get back to our weekday road rides. With that daylight comes exercise, community, and good times.

The temperature for our inaugural weekday ride of the season was a pleasant 70 degrees. You couldn’t pick a better day to start back up. I wasn’t going to miss this one for the 

The thing is, this was only my third ride of the year, and would be my first ride with other people. The first two rides were encouraging, but I was still skeptical. The last thing I need is to get caught up in the typical competitive mentality of the group ride. I needed to ride my pace and hopefully that would mix well with others. Since this is not a familiar area for me, I was nervous of dropping and getting lost.

My Tuesday and Thursday ride of choice is the ‘Tri Cities’ group, appropriately named because it starts near the border of Columbia, West Columbia, and Cayce. I rode it maybe a dozen times last year, and found it to be a scrappy, relentless group. I rode with the A group as long as I could stay with them, which was most of the time, but my current fitness is not even close to the same level. This time I would be lucky to hang with the B group.

That's the A group ahead.

That’s the A group ahead.

As we started pedaling on the 12th Street Extension, the fast thoroughfare that takes us to the outskirts of Columbia, I was starting to get worried. It was an effort to keep up with the group, more than I felt comfortable with. That’s when I realized I had accidentally jumped in with the lead group. I backed off and settled in with the slower group. The pace was only slightly slower, from 20-21 mph to 18-19, yet that was enough to give me comfort.

By the time we got to the first climb, Glenn/Old Wire Rd, I expected everyone to blow by me. I hung back, pedaling easy, until I realized I was passing other people. The climbing legs were still there! That spurred me on and I kept on spinning, making sure not to favor the hip.

Once I warmed up, I felt stronger. The fitness was coming back. I was tempted to push it on a couple of occasions, but remained smart and cautious. There’s no need to test myself at this point.

We cut the ride short at 20 miles from the normal 27, mostly because of running out of daylight.

With this ride, I gained a lot of confidence. I am on my way back, and much stronger than I expected. There’s going to be some good riding ahead soon.

Strava Link

The Strength Cycle, Phase One

I’ve been following a thread on a mailing list regarding whether or not a strength program benefits a cyclist. There have been many well-reasoned, passionate arguments from both sides, but it seems the consensus is either it depends on the person, or we simply don’t know. Some rider friends have told me that weights can actually hurt rather than help, while others say the opposite.

Last year I put together a rudimentary program inspired by Joe Friel that I think worked for me. There was an initial setback on the bike, which probably had more to do sore legs than anything else. Once I was back into riding shape, I found myself stronger than ever. However, a lot of my results probably had to do with the weakened state of my muscles. I simply hadn’t experienced enough in the sport, so any program would have made a difference.

Things are different now. This last year was phenomenal, and I’m now in significantly better shape than ever in my life. That may mean that my gains will be less drastic, but I am trusting that my coach knows what he’s doing. Even if it doesn’t help, I doubt it will hurt.

That’s Bobby’s visual example of how to leg press.

The first phase is a lot of easy leg and core exercises. To my surprise, he does not have me doing squats, at least not yet. The workout now is more well-rounded, not just working the quadriceps, but also the calf, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and other neglected muscles.

I found that my quads were in pretty good shape going in. That was a pleasant surprise, given that the only maintenance I had done was hill climbing. That bodes well for next year.

The other muscles, eh … not so much. The hamstrings weren’t so bad. Calves were rough; lower back was painful. I still have not been able to complete the prescribed back exercises.

Speaking of neglected muscles, my abdominals have not been worked out in about a year. That’s the muscle group I always mean to work out, but the most I get done is a crunch or two.

Bobby’s core workout rocked my world. He has me on a series of complex exercises, some of which make me feel like I want to throw up. After the first two routines, my abs were killing me. What’s worse is they seemed to feel worse every day afterward. After a couple weeks, the soreness has finally abated, but the workouts are still tough. I have made progress, and that’s all I can ask for.

Will this routine work for me? I think so. The power gains may not be substantial, but the peripheral gains should be noteworthy. A stronger core and lower back should give me a better pedal stroke. Even if I gain nothing, this should reduce the chance of injury, which is worth all the suffering.

I also know that eventually a rest week will be coming. Soon?