Selecting a TR Plan

New guy here with a TR specific question. Some background.

My DOB is 1949 and I am fighting arthritis issues in my knees, but so far I can pretty much do what I want if I get my knee treatments, wear an ugly/irritating/expensive knee brace, and am VERY cautious WRT weeks of riding over 10-12 hours and any single ride longer than 3 hours.

I rode the Six Gap Century last month and while I survived it, I did not feel like “I rode it” (this was my fourth century ride, and the first one with anything close to 11,000 feet of climbing). My problem was not exactly fatigue, but muscle cramps in my INNER thigh were the limiting factor the last 40’ish miles. These muscles that have little to do with cycling - directly, anyway. I hade to wait those out several times and had to be extremely careful with power output the last 40 miles in order to finish. I felt like I was leg cramp limited rather than fitness limited.

So my goal for 2020 (I am not a racer - so this is my only goal for the year) is to actually RIDE this darn thing. My training for this past year for June/July/Aug/Sept was an average of 10-12 hours per week in the rolling terrain (no long climbs in the area) where I live in NC. For those months this next year I would probably do the same thing, but do a good bit more sustained low cadence/high torque pedaling than I did previously (I only have a 50% confidence level in my knees tolerating even that). My lowest gear is 34F/32R and that is going to have to be enough.

The first half of 2019 was more like 6 hours per week and that WILL change for this next year. But that 10-12 hours per week (with rare exceptions) is going to have to hold for the year for me.

Now for a question - yes, it is about time -:slight_smile: If I wanted to build a TR based plan what should I look at? I much prefer riding outdoors, but rain and temps under 45-50 do naturally put me indoors. I have a Lemond Revmaster Spin bike with Garmin Vector pedals, so I can do what needs to be done indoors as required. And this is probably the best tool that I have to simulate a long climb like Hogpen Gap.

And regarding the leg cramps (inner thigh) I experienced them in my first century back in 2016, once on a very long training ride in the same timeframe, and that is all in the context of cycling. I do get them spontaneously when sitting around (or even in bed) maybe a half dozen times per year. They seem to have no relationship to cycling as I once got one at the end of a 3rd consecutive day of no cycling at all.



First off, good on ya for still being out there crushing big rides!!!

For a plan, I’d say stick to a sweet spot base, sustained power build, and then the century specialty plan. Probably do the MV versions, that will be in that 10-12 hour range, and if you prefer riding outside, you can switch the plan to the LV version and add outdoor rides where appropriate (thought being it’s better psychologically to add rides to a LV plan than “skip” them from the MV plan).

As for your knee issues, worth focusing on what causes issues with them, if it’s short vo2 max efforts, or sprints, in addition to long rides (all the lv / mv rides cap at 2 hours on the century plan) then substitute out those rides for over unders / threshold / sweet spot rides, or just dial back the intensity if you can handle it.

For the cramping you might be able to benefit from more structured training and the base plans to build more muscle endurance, which will help build the quads, especially the VMO (inner quad). Might also be worth adding in some low resistance strength training (unfortunately I think most leg strength training will be murder on your knees) to try and supplement the cycling training.

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Thanks for the reply/input.

Regarding the VMO muscle, what exactly is its role in cycling? I always thought that it was used in moving the thigh across the body. So other than some stabiity, I would have expected it see little stress in cycling.

But maybe I am wrong.