Advice please on how I am starting out

Using trainer road for cycling is the first time in my life I am doing structured training.
Minus the LIfetime Movie Events that got me to this point I have spent the last year and a half dropping weight and going from barely walking to in the lottery for Unbound 100.

For some strange reason despite getting into cycling and riding a fair amount outside I haven’t gone on a group ride and wasn’t able to enter any races in 2020.

While I will be doing as many as I can to develop skills over the spring and summer it is still three months away from the first race in my area. It is also tax season and my wife is an accountant so I will not get freedom to join any group rides on the weekends or afternoons until mid April as well.

I could use people to look at the imaginary numbers virtual power assigns to my efforts and tell me how well I am progressing. I really don’t have a basis for comparison. when I set up virtual power I matched the RPE for my FTP to be a about 10% lower ( Had to work harder for same numbers) than what Strava said was my FTP after testing on the road.

This has nothing to do with the numbers now matching what I can or can’t do it was just a starting place with an inaccurate data point for comparison. I understand Virtual power is not real power, I understand that indoor training is different than outdoor riding. I also haven’t been riding indoors long enough for there to be much data.

I am trying to make sure I am on the right track to hit my goals at the beginning. I would rather be called an idiot and learn the right way than waste time being ineffective.

Could you give me your opinion on a few things.
1). Am I following the plan correctly
2). Is the rate that I am progressing going to get me into the realm of being competitive by June?
3). Assuming that I can hold 20mph on the indoor trainer with the resistance set to feel like a 3% hill forever as long as I eat a very minor amount. How weak am I compared to others in my age group (40) and what level of increase in my strength and endurance should be my goal to aim at? i.e. You should be ashamed, work little man! Sounds like a hobbyist, If you train you won’t win but you won’t place lower than top 50. that sort of thing.

Just general Am I doing bad on following the plan.
Does it look like I can hit my goals progressing as I have been.
Should I make changes in what I am doing?

This is all entirely new to me so I don’t even know what I don’t know to ask about.
My email for a username on here and strava is and my info should be public.

I am asking this right after a workout so IF I am glycogen deprived stupid in my phrasing in this please forgive me.
Thank you

Can’t see your calendar - TR returns an error if I try either rmcrow or Robert_Crow. So can’t assess questions 1 or 2.

Generally if you keep everything (tyre pressure, trainer setup, etc.) the same then it doesn’t really matter if the power being reported is accurate so long as it’s consistent. Also indoor and outdoor FTP rarely match.

Improvement isn’t linear, some people show most progress in base, others in build.

“Speed” on the trainer is irrelevant, you aren’t going anywhere! The only possible use is for monitoring component usage in apps like Strava.

What exactly are your goals?

sorry as I said a little bit stupid just haveing gotten off the trainer.

I am aiming for a top 20 in the DK 100.
That’s not what I expect to finish That’s what my training is going to be aimed at achieving though.

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Awesome, no need to apologize :slightly_smiling_face: :+1:

So top 20 in your age group would be at least a sub 7 hour finishing time I think. Maybe use to evaluate your goal vs where you are today to see what’s realistic.

Cool. I can do a hundred on pavement in 5 without pushing on the bike trails around here already.
Aiming to do that on dirt roads is a very achievable goal.

Thanks I didn’t even know what to shoot for yet.

Edit for hubris: 100 without pushing my limits, not without pushing hard.

Sorry, that is a link to the ride I did this morning.

I am definitely onboard with virtual power being accurate for training. I was trying to show I am aware it doesn’t even tie to performance as closely as indoor outdoor ftp with a power meter.

I just don’t have a yardstick to measure how well I am working.

How well I compare.

What level of improvement I need to make my goal in the time I have, and if it is even possible and I should reach for something more closely out of reach.

I have no experience in anything and am trying to expose my ignorance so I can address it and any problems it is causing.

Thanks, I appreciate everyone who has taken time on this.

Ah, needed to remove the underscore from your username, can see your calendar and history of workouts now :+1:

Going back a bit, October, November, it seems like you missed a lot of workouts. Then when you get into December you bail on quite a few such as Wright Peak, Lamarck, Mary Austin. Those latter two are tough workouts and really need some lead up so it’s likely that your missed workouts contributed to that.

This year you’ve been much more consistent and by the looks of things have completed every workout :+1:

What build and speciality phases did Plan Builder give you? The latter looks very VO2max intensive for something like Dirty Kanza.

I really wouldn’t worry at this stage about how you compare with others, that will just eat at you. Just work away and train the best you can and on the day do the best you can.

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Ignore Strava. The power estimate is a joke. It’s total power based on weight. Given 2 points and a slope, you can determine how much power is needed to move a mass in a certain amount of time. That’s basically all it is. It’s not necessarily the same as the power measured on the drivetrain. IME, it’s not really close at all.

I have nothing else, really. Follow the plans, you’ll get faster. Consistency is the most important thing to push for.

I don’t like this part, not at all. You should be tapering. Then you want to do an opener the day before.

Maybe you need to recalibrate your imaginary virtual power numbers. :grinning:Not sure how much you weigh, but going up a 3% incline at 20 mph requires about 380W for rider + bike weighing 175 lbs.


Once again Thank you.
please forgive horrible grammar and spelling errors that may occur here as I’m dictating this on my phone on a break.

Plan builder has me on the general build right now.

I started back in September. I am slightly more consistent with outside riding than it shows I am not very consistent about using Strava.
November and December are exceptions to that I am just as inconsistent there as it looks like there are very few rides that did not get recorded maybe only one or two a week.

The reason I’m trying to find some tenuous connection with reality is competition. I am a fairly competitive individual and knowing that I am bad at something drives me to improve without harming my self esteem.

I said I would volunteer hoping to skip the lottery so what the plan builder says is going to happen the few days before the event probably will not. I hope to spend maybe 45 minutes to an hour doing some endurance with short sprints and VO2 efforts on the last bit of the course for my lead-up taper workouts and just a nice endurance ride with a couple of sprints maybe half an hour the day before once again right at the end of the course.

I am 40 years old and this is the very first time I’ve been competitive in athletics. My general race plan is actually to just develop a high level of whatever my FTP is as an actual deliverable sustainable effort and hold on to that like grim death. I think the dirt roads here are actually worse as far as surface conditions and we got a lot more up and down so now that someone has reminded me …that I could just look at what the past race results were… to see what kind of time I needed to be able to do on this surface…

I have no plans to try for a sudden Sprint finish, use sneaky tactics to win, because I’m just frankly not going to have any skills to do that. If I could I would. :grin:

I’m going to be really really satisfied just to get to go… I know I will finish, I have ridden further than a hundred miles in hilly terrain on The paved trails here so a DNF for anything but a mechanical is not an issue. After that it’s the satisfaction of doing the best I could and I’m trying to make that the best it can be.

It’s amusement value the strava ftp, virtual power, real world rubber rolling along thing.
And as far as my imaginary power meter goes I’m in Northwest Arkansas I can’t find any flat land. I found a 3% section of mnt magazine that took me 20 minutes to climb. And then I just adjusted the rolling resistance on my trainer until what I felt was the same effort going in was getting the numbers that I was told I was making going up that hill.
then I did an FTP test to have an actual assessment of my current capabilities to base exercise off of.

I do want to know how I rate against others but the whole Strava FTP virtual power thing is just a laugh.

Also my weight is 150-155lb 69-70kg

Yea, so if the rest of your bike and gear weighs 20lbs, that gives 380W going up a 3% slope at 20 mph. It is very unlikely you can hold that for ever. So most likely the resistance was not set up for a 3% hill.

But you can use average Strava power numbers in climbing segments, those are not totally bad estimates of your actual average power over that segment.

Here is a nice calculator you can use:

thank you very much for showing me that.
what is very amusing is that here’s I’m goofing off instead of working on my phone I actually had just opened that in another tab before I paged back to the forum.

It gives numbers that seem a lot more realistic when I put in actual sections of road that I have ridden and adjusted for the speed.

but it doesn’t accuratelyaccount for the head wind because every time I did that, there is a 50 mph head wind like you have never seen before, and no one has since on that section of road.
And by God that is the only reason that little kid on his tricycle was able to outrun me his lower CDA.

It’s a useful tool and actually does give me better numbers to work by because it says that to run the 9 mi section from the base up to the first lookout with an average gradient of 3%. It should be running right around 200 watts if we ignore things like headwind and such. That feels about right I think Strava said my FTP was around 180 then.

cuz I’m gold breaking now I even took the time to go over and find the actual elevation of a distance that I remembered the time of and actually go and calculate the grade and it says that is an actual gradient of an average of 3.3% for The section that I was basing all my math off my ride on back then.

I find this fun and amusing.

Just note that if Strava gives 180 for a certain stretch and you manually got 200 with the tool, that falls well within the estimation error of this approach. Although I don’t have to tell you that the highest number is undoubtedly the most accurate!

Now if you want to know where you stand in terms of performance, have a look at this chart

If your current FTP is 95% of 200W, at 70kg, puts you at 2.7W/kg. That means at the moment you would probably be dropped in the lowest racing category.

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It’s a great goal but for most people surviving and finishing is usually the goal of such an event especially their first time out.

I assume you mean an age group top 20. You know there will be hard hitters there - nationally ranked masters, ex-pros, etc.

Do you have any experience doing long gravel events?

DK is also a huge technical challenge.

I would be hitting the gravel every weekend and putting in 3-6+ hour rides. Dial in your fueling and intensity control. Get a good handle on your equipment. I say intensity control because DK is one long off-road time trial. It’s mostly a sub-threshold event. If you go out hot with a group you’ll redline and blow up well before the finish. By all accounts, it’s not just one long off-road group ride.

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Means more sweat on the trainer.

I’m quite a bit stronger than that now.
however my “virtual power” ftp is 276 so I am 4w/kg.

In reality I figure I am currently below average.
I don’t get passed riding on roads or in park trails. I am not racing either.
A few months ago I would average high teens low twenties ( mph ) for rides over forty miles In hilly country on pavement. My dirt road average speed was 14-16 but not many rides two hour plus on mainly dirt.

Thank you.
I meant age group. And as I said I don’t expect to reach that. I just don’t want my goals to be completely unrealistic.
I don’t mind failing as long as I tried and did as good as I could, I mind not doing well because I wasn’t accurate withmy goals, capabilities, and ability to improve properly.

I can ride that distance and intend to spend a weekend a month bike packing a loop that has about 150 miles a day 75-65 dirt/single track depending on the route. Starts hilly and ends mountain on the first day, reverse back to home.
Does that sound like good prep? I intended to work the appropriate energy system by the plan. I thought I would be able to work my fueling out well. I also thought the extra weight for long hard drives might help my perceived RPE for the race.

I’m happy now. I make jokes about hating Chad because he helps me hurt myself. I like TR and the people that work for it. I will be happy if I go. If I don’t I will try for Big Sugar as my consolation prize.

Next year my goal is the Colorado Trail. Sub Two week.

really being reminded that I can simply look up race time and set myself a goal of being able to maintain 16-19 mph on a hilly rough dirt road for 7 hours helped a lot by giving me a benchmark to compare myself against whenever I can get out and ride again.

after that I’m just really worried that my lack of competence in lack of experience will cause me to not properly prepare or be able to follow the system right.

I worry that something I think I’m doing properly is just so stupid and idiotic that I’m killing myself and defeating everything I’m doing.

for instance I have just now started eating while I exercise rather than doing everything fasted unless it was a 2-hour plus afternoon ride. And even then I wouldn’t eat well unless I was deliberately doing something like climbing over a mountain. If I was going for exercise I assumed that I was supposed to bonk and then work in that state. I’m pretty fat adapted I go into ketosis and start smelling like cat pee before I really lose much power. I have eaten irregularly and worked hard physical jobs for a large chunk of my life. It gets very hard and it hurts a lot to keep your legs turning but I thought that was what exercise was a bunch of pain and suffering and I’m good at that.

turns out if you eat a half a gel block every 30 minutes even when you’re doing a bunch of threshold work you don’t hurt nearly as much. And they say you still get stronger. Who knew that exercise could be a pleasant enjoyable experience?
stuff like that is why I am sitting here going you know I’m stupid I need to ask some stupid questions.

and have some fun and talk to people because now that I ride a bicycle no one will talk to me anymore.