How to Increase Training Volume

abelrace

How To Increase Training Volume

Increasing mileage doesn’t always translate to an improvement in performance on the bike. Generally speaking, your fitness will improve by spending more time in the saddle. If however, you desire to continually make the small steps necessary to be truly competitive, well that requires a bit more physiologic savvy.

For starters, don’t continuously increase your mileage. Every few weeks, level off your weekly mileage before adding more volume to your program. Occasionally, when you reach a comfortable level, say 150-200 miles per week, stay at that volume for several weeks. These periodic plateaus will help you to regenerate physically and mentally before another volume increase. These plateaus will vary in length based on age, fitness, ability, and past training methods. Periods of steady mileage, or even decreased mileage, will help you recover and become physically stronger. Gains are made during rest, sleep, and recovery.

Determine the upper limit to the volume (mileage) that you can handle, mentally and physically, at whatever stage of your cycling career that you are in. If you aren’t careful, and don’t set realistic goals, you put yourself at risk for overtraining or an overuse injury. Remember, that everyone is different, age and experience level should always be taken into consideration.

 

NR

Calling All Weight Weenies

Look around. For years cyclists have been spending thousands of dollars trying to shed weight from their machines. Carbon fiber frames, super light wheels, and high-end, lightweight components. The idea being, of course, that it takes a cyclist more energy to average the same speed with additional weight. Saving energy for that crucial moment is what competitive cycling is all about. So how do we gain a competitive advantage without breaking the bank? There may be another way.

We will let you in on a little secret. How about working on your endurance base, interval work, and nutrition plan in order to lower body fat and thereby create a lighter, more aerobically efficient athlete and save a ton of money in the process? Hell of an idea right? Instead of rolling around on that $5,000 carbon fiber steed, work on training technique, cut back on the burgers and beer, and watch your Lactate Threshold and VO2 max improve, thus making you a better, more efficient and wealthier bike rider. Trust me, there is nothing more satisfying than dropping the guy with the best equipment on your mid-level carbon frame and Shimano 105 components. Just get out and suffer.

New to the group ride? Here are 10 rules that can help you stay safe and have fun.

New to the group ride? Here are 10 rules that can help you stay safe and have fun.

 

If you are new to cycling, something you absolutely must experience is the fun and excitement of a group ride. Before you go pretending you’re in the pro peloton, be mindful of everyone’s safety and proper group etiquette. These helpful tips can make time spent in a group safer and more enjoyable.

 

Rule #1 Protect your front wheel

Always protect your front wheel. This is key to keep everyone in the group safe. Draft the rider in front of you, but don’t allow your front wheel to overlap their rear wheel.

Rule #2 Bar to Bar

You should be riding two by two, side by side, bar to bar. A few inches between bars is optimal. Become comfortable being in close proximity.

Rule #3 It is not a race

Don’t take unnecessary risks when nothing is on the line. Don’t be that person who causes a crash because of foolish risks.

Rule #4 Peeling off

When you’re at the front and feel its time to go to the back, make sure the rider next to you knows you’re peeling off, then check your back wheel, finally both riders slowly move to the outside and let the group come through the middle.

Rule #5 Pulling Through

When the rider in front of you peels off to the side, it is your job to go to the front and take a pull. Don’t accelerate hard to show the group how fast you are. Maintain the speed of the pace line to avoid the “accordian” effect in the rear.

Rule #6 Gaps

There should be no gaps in a group ride. When you see a gap open up, smoothly accelerate to close it. Don’t sprint ahead to be forced to brake.

Rule #7 Point out the Dangers

All obstacles such as potholes, debris, and glass should be pointed out so the riders behind you can safely avoid any pitfalls. A simple hand gesture will suffice. No need to scream and startle people.

Rule #8 Yelling

Screaming and yelling only causes tension and nervousness, which leads to accidents.

Rule #9 Slowing

Don’t be that person who slams on their brakes just because the person in front of him/her starts to slow. You will cause wheels to overlap. See rule #1.

Rule #10 Spitting and Snot Rockets

Please be courteous to those behind you by pulling off to the side, by first making sure your wheel is clear and discharging your fluids so nobody takes a shot to the face.

#GetoutandSuffer

Monstrow Cycling Launch Party

Monstrow Official Launch Party and Ride

We at Monstrow Cycling would like to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and extend an invitation to our official launch ride and party. We all know how much stress the holiday season can cause within our bodies. What better way to relieve all that stress than to put the hammer down and climb legendary Glendora Mountain Road?

Come on out this coming Saturday, January 2 at 930am (10am rollout) to Pappas Artisanal in La Verne, California. We will provide 2 routes with a 24-mile easy-paced, ride and a 42-mile GMR tempo ride. The rides will both end at Pappas with food and beer provided free, courtesy of Monstrow, as a thank you for all your support. There will also be items that we will raffle away to raise funds and awareness for the newly formed Injured Cyclist Fund, which provides financial support to those injured whilst on the bike.

We will also have our entire line of products available to view, try-on, and purchase, should you feel so inclined. So please invite a buddy and come on out for some food, fun, and new friends!

Notes

GMR route rolls at 10am. Please arrive 15-30 minutes early to sign waiver forms.

Mellow route rolls at 11am. Please arrive 15-30 minutes early to sign waiver forms.

Muscular Cramping and Cycling

Muscle Cramps and Cycling

We as cyclists know the feeling of an oncoming cramp, and if you don’t, stick to endurance sports and you most definitely will. Muscle cramping is a frustrating issue for both athletes and scientists alike. There is surprisingly little known about the specific causes and ultimately about the prevention of muscle cramping. There are multiple times when cramping can occur including during intense athletic competition, immediately following a race or competition, or even during sleep.

There are multiple theories regarding the causes of cramping, including exercise-induced, neuromuscular fatigue, and electrolyte deficits. Exercise-associated muscle cramps cause painful, involuntary contractions of skeletal muscle. Essentially cramping involves the over-firing of neurons, which leads the uncontrollable spasm of the skeletal muscle, most commonly in the legs. This painful condition frequently results from muscle overload and overuse, lack of proper conditioning, and excessive and prolonged exercise. Cramps also occur in athletes who have been sweating profusely for extended periods of time, which leads to sodium and chloride imbalances.

What can you do to prevent or treat cramps? Well as previously stated in the article, scientifically speaking, little is actually known about the prevention of muscular cramping. Treatments include REST, light stretching of the affected muscle, massage, and the application of ice to relieve the pain. Fluids should also be taken to ensure adequate hydration and to alleviate electrolyte losses. If you feel that familiar twinge in the muscle, start drinking and ease back on your effort.  Speaking from personal experience, I find that it is best to race the way you train. In other words, stick to the same hydration mixes that fuel your training, maintain the same dietary habits, don’t ever use race day to “test out” a new gel or hydration mix! Remember to always stretch after intense cycling or running, and be patient, it takes years to reach your maximum athletic potential!

The Daily Grind of Life in the Saddle

switchbacks

The early morning wake up, the strong coffee, the carb-heavy breakfast, airing up tires to your preferred pressure… All in preparation for hours spent in the saddle. Sprinting, drafting, climbing, suffering up that 12% grade, the feeling of the tires humming gracefully along smooth pavement. Being self-propelled through familiar surroundings evokes an almost childlike sense of wonder and bliss. These are the sights, sounds, and feelings that all cyclists know and love. This is why we ride. This is why we suffer. There is a Monstrow inside all of us.

-NDR

Hitting the Wall

hitting the wall

Here at Monstrow we don’t just love cycling, we also know and love the science behind it. In our Blog section you will find tips on training, group etiquette, and other interesting articles written by our knowledgeable staff.

“Hitting the wall” is a commonly used term in the endurance world. It is relatively common for athletes such as cyclists and runners to “hit the wall” or “bonk” during intense competition. The athletes’ speed slows and the legs and arms feel as heavy as lead. The athlete will frequently become disoriented and confused, as there is not enough available energy in the body to maintain basic processes, including thinking. The lack of available energy substrates causes the body to essentially “run out of gas” and therefore feels as if the body has literally run into a wall.

The primary source of energy used during prolonged periods of exercise, such as running a marathon or cycling 100 or more miles are carbohydrates and fats. Fats contain 9 calories per gram, and as such are more nutrient dense than carbohydrates, which contain only 4 calories per gram. So it would seem to make logical sense that the body would use mostly fats as its primary source of energy during those century rides, right? Unfortunately, fat metabolism requires significantly more oxygen and the delivery of energy is much slower than that of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles. A well-trained endurance athlete can store 1800-2200 calories of glycogen in their respective bodies, which can last for several hours until that familiar “bonk” sets in. In order to avoid this common pitfall, a cyclist or runner must ingest energy in the form of carbohydrates every 30 minutes beginning approximately 90 minutes into the competition. Lets remember to eat on the bike so that we can continue to enjoy cycling hour after hour with a steady flow of energy!