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Any Cyclists out there?

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  • Any Cyclists out there?

    Good morning fellow Primal Blueprinters.

    I am a cycling addict and barely started the primal blueprint. I was reading that with this lifestyle I should really tone down on my training. Normally on my rides/trainings I tend to go intense (75% - 90% HR intervals) for at least 2 hours. I would really hate to lower the intensity of my rides. Do any of you have any tips? should I carb up before a ride? Or what can I take along on the ride to get some fuel. I don't want to damage my body or loose muscle tissue.

    Any tip is greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Why are you not interested in reducing your intensity?

    High intensity training can bring results, but I would suggest that the results diminish quickly - your VO2 max can be tweaked or nudged upwards with high intensity training but after 8 to 12 weeks of high intensity work is all most athletes need to bump into the limits of what your parents gave you.

    Here are some ideas to lower your intensity but still make great advances in your bicycling (by looking at training other systems beyond your cardiovasular):
    • reduce your HR but up your cadence. Normally ride at 90 rpm? Try two hours at 55 to 65% of max HR but bump up your cadence to 95 or 100 for the entire ride. You will be testing a different system (neuromuscular) and you will get a great workout, even at the lower cadence.
    • What about your metabolic system (how you burn fuel)? Training at the lower heart rates will teach your body to burn free fatty acids (FFA) as fuel. I am unaware of any great way to train your body to burn FFA as a fuel when training at high intensity.
    • You can do focused work on your respiratory system by reducing your respiration rate with focused deep breathing (yoga breaths) on the bike. Reducing your respiration rate cuts the amount of blood needed for the respiratory system - blood that would be better off in your legs!

    One other way of thinking about trying lower heart rate work is about how many people approach first trying paleo/primal eating - they try it and they like it and the results it brings and they keep it up...

    Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.
    William James
    US Pragmatist philosopher & psychologist (1842 1910)


    • #3
      Yes, I agree with lowering your intensity. High intensity is not a good way to ride long distances. So, kick down your gears and start spinning! It might kill you at first, because you'll be riding slower, but the way you gradually increase this speed naturally is by doing interval training on much shorter rides. I usually do hill repeats once a week where I go out for 30 minutes and race up a hill as fast as I can (fast - not hard, focus on pulling knees up - not pushing them down) go back down and let my heart rate even out a little before going up again. I do this for 30 minutes even if I think I could go longer. Over time, that will naturally increase your speed on your longer rides without actually putting in more effort on your longer rides.

      When you're riding distances, you shouldn't be out there racing them. I did that for years and guess what, I have had numerous knee injuries because of it.

      I'm glad to see other cyclists on this board! I was worried for a minute everyone would be a runner. ;-)


      • #4
        I'm old and decrepit, but cycling is my favorite exercise. A few years back I did 3,000+ miles in 12 months. I've dialed it back and slowed down. Still, I have no problem using primal foods as fuel for the rides.


        • #5
          I don't have a lot of advice to share yet, but another cyclist here. I've been cycling for three years now (age 42), and just went primal in January. Cycling has helped bring me down from ~250lbs to 220lbs today, and I'm hoping with cycling and PB I can finally get myself into real cycling shape.

          I'm planning my first century in June, and this has naturally led me to wonder what I'm going to be eating for longer rides? I've already bonked out pretty badly on a short, 15-mile ride in mid-January. Since then, I've experimented with eating a simple box of raisins an hour before riding, and that seems to have had good results, at least for shorter rides.

          A big failure though, is continuing to use sugary energy gels. Just yesterday, I took off for a more extended ride, and hadn't eaten lunch, so I thoughtlessly downed a couple of goos during my ride. By evening, I was racked with severe abdominal cramps that have persisted for a good 24 hours now. This is the second time I've downed a bunch of sugar since going primal and it is clear my body can no longer tolerate that stuff.

          I guess I'm thinking I'll be upping my fruit intake as riding season approaches, and try some limited experimentation to see how I handle quinoa and wild rice now.

          I'm not by any means a competitive rider, so I can't really comment on intensity. I tend to ride more at 'the group pace' or just what's comfortable for me. I haven't done any hill climbs in several months though.



          • #6
            JScott - I never got the whole gel or bar thing that a lot of cyclist do for long rides (or this fear of eating during a ride some cyclists have). I literally pack a pannier with food. I bring beef jerky, canned tuna in olive oil, dried fruit and sometimes some sweet potato fries baked in coconut oil. Yeah, they're cold from being up against a freezer pack, but whatever. Before my ride, I eat a normal breakfast (which for me is just a lot of eggs and spinach). I've never been into the carb loading thing. I don't know, for me I just never needed it. I also bring a salt/watered down fruit juice drink for electrolyte balance.

            I hear a lot of concern about not eating too much around rides. I don't worry too much about this because I've never stuffed my face so full I couldn't ride. I just eat when I want to eat, and as much as I want to eat.

            I learned to stop trying to do what you're "supposed to do", and just do what works for me. I spent years wading through other people's preferences until I finally started to just listen to my own body and realized the answers were there all along.

            I'd say if you bonked out after 15 miles, it might be because of something you did (or didn't do) pre-ride, or you might have needed to refuel earlier on in the ride. One thing I follow for myself is to eat the second I start to think about food. As soon as that thought enters my mind, I pull over and have a snack. I don't wait for the clock to hit 90 minutes or whatever interval you're supposed to follow.

            Ha, I actually started doing hill repeats when I was commuting to and from college. There was a huge hill on the way to the campus and an even bigger one when I came back. (I had to pass through a neighborhood called The Hill, and it earned it's name apparently). I did all this with a pannier hanging off one side, loaded with books. One day, some guy dressed in a billion ads, caught up to me on his very nice road bike and asked me if I raced because he had been trying to catch me for the last half mile. He sounded winded and I was just peddling casually along. That's when I knew hill repeats were worth something!


            • #7

              I've got a few ideas for you having done some really epic rides and adventure races over the years and given that one of my best friends is training for and doing the 2112 RAAM solo. First of all, you definitely would do well to train yourself to eat regular food during your rides for a number of reasons: 1) simple sugars get really, really disgusting and monotonous over long rides. They work when you're bonked as a patch, but don't run out or you're screwed. Besides, you generally only bonk when you screw up nutritionally by not eating sufficient real foods. Bonking SUCKS!! and is really not good for you so avoid it. 2) The sugary stuff will rot your teeth. I know having done multi day rides and eating a lot of sugary drinks, gels, etc. and finding out I had 2 cavities at the end of the summer. 3) real food gives you great flexibility to eat at 7-11, diners, wherever. You don't want to worry about running out of the specialty foods. 4) And this is the most important bit - training yourself to need sugar to function is a very incomplete and marginally effective approach, especially for longer events. I know some people who go liquid all the way through RAAM by drinking Spizz but that's a pretty balanced drink as opposed to a 100% carb sports drink. I think it tastes like crap and almost puked when I tried it. So I'm good with food. I found about about Primal Blueprint after having done some research on Paleo and realizing that I was doing PB without knowing it. I had been doing Paleo and eating mostly meat and healthy fats plus fruit and veggies after my workouts. Thought I'd feel weak but it turned out that after 3 weeks I went from 199lbs to 189lbs, increased my gym strength dramatically, got a lot stronger on the bike and have NEVER bonked. Of course my workouts have only been 1-2 hours over the winter but each is very hard. Cycling season is fast approaching and I'll be hammering out 2 hour rides at threshold during the week and moving toward big rides of up to 200 miles a day on some of my weekend adventures. I fully intend to take a sports drink with me and gels for emergencies on these long rides as I always have, and to refill my tanks with healthy carbs and a lot of BCAA-laden protein after the rides. My friends and I have this nailed after many years of increasingly more challenging rides and races. Generally I eat whatever I can get my hands on when I need to eat during the rides provided that it's not totally artificial and it works for me. Turkey subs are the best when you're cooked after 120 miles and you have another 80 or so to go before dark. One of my other excellent discoveries was beef jerky. That is the best. I'll eat a bag over a century and pack a couple of bananas, apples and a peanut butter sandwich or two and I'm golden. For me, a 100 miler takes about 6 or so hours at a fun (not race) pace, and I generally take an apple, a banana and 2 PBJ sandwiches. That's plenty for me IF I start with my glycogen tanks filled. Try different foods before and during your rides as you build up to the big one and you'll realize how little you really need to get by and how much you appreciate real food. Also, keep aerobic. Hills can be tricky so make sure you have a triple or a big cogset in the back so you don't go anaerobic with every hill. Good luck. I guarantee that if you practice eating and nutrition as much as you do training for the century, it'll work out great.