Help Getting stronger

tigerkamen

Maximum Pace
Jan 6, 2012
264
108
63
Kawaguchi
#1
Hi. I've been riding for a couple of years now, mostly mountain bike for the first year, and after a big scare of almost falling off to my death on a cliff, I switched to road cycling. At first I was just cycling to get to places and eat and sightsee but then some opportunities opened up and I moved to Japan for a job I really wanted.

stopped any real excercise, except for the occasional hike, while concentrating on my career but one day I got fed up and decided to take up road cycling seriously. I don't necessarily want to go on races, but I want to be able to at least keep up with the stronger guys.

I've been riding quite a bit recently with this being my most recent ride. https://www.strava.com/activities/349134230
I still cant do the whole Sadamine toge without resting a couple of times, and on the way back up from Gelato Hana, I was already completely out of gas and had to rest once.

Looking at your guys data on strava I see people averaging 27-29 kph on long rides with climbs
I would like to ask for some advice on how do I get stronger on the climbs and faster on the flats?

I've been watching my weight, and what I eat, down from 97ish kilos last year on my heaviest to 81ish right now.
Trying to get in 2-3 weekday rides before work and 2-3 long rides a month as time permits.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,863
1,450
129
...
#2
Morning training. Hammer a variety of intervals. Short rests in between. You want to get stronger you have to push yourself regularly past what is comfortable. Do it often and you will start to make gains. Fuck around and take it easy more often than you go hard and you won't get far.
There are a bunch of books but it really just boils down to this, ride, ride often, and ride as hard as you can.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#3
^Exactly what he said.

There is no easy route, but there is nothing actually complicated about it. You just need to go out, regularly, and push yourself over the limit. Consistency is key.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#4
I've been watching my weight, and what I eat, down from 97ish kilos last year on my heaviest to 81ish right now.
Well done on losing weight. How tall are you?

Just looked at your data; your cadence is low. Use an easier gear and spin more. This will mean you don't hit your muscles so hard early on in the ride and you will be able to go for longer, which equates to more training. You will also be fresher when you get to the mountains.

Your average speed is low too; you are sitting at about 25kmph on the flats out to the mountains (unless there was a massive headwind?) You are on a road bike, right?

I think you need to get out with some slightly faster people for a few times, let them flog you to death, and use this to break yourself into faster rides. Everyone goes through this, and it hurts, but you will soon get faster. Which is exactly what @theBlob said.
 
Likes: Adam Cobain

Bruno BQ

Maximum Pace
Mar 9, 2015
149
26
58
32
#5
I would agree with the interval training, this is the best to get stronger muscles. Still I would recommend maybe hitting a gym so you got all your muscles stronger and don't get the risk of breaking due due bad muscle distribution.
I am not how big this is a problem in cycling but I had (and several friends had) got hurt while doing runnings because we didn't had our full group of muscles strengthened
 

tigerkamen

Maximum Pace
Jan 6, 2012
264
108
63
Kawaguchi
#6
Based on the annual 健康診断 I was 184 cm last year and shrank to 181cm this year. lol

I was averaging 26-27 when I was still fresh in the morning, then the speed started dropping as time went by. I remember seeing 23-24 a lot before reaching Ogawamachi the first time for my first rest stop. I knew I could've gone faster on the first stretch but I intentionally kept my speed a bit lower than usual to keep myself fresher for the climb.

Yes I ride on a roadbike with a compact crank with a 28-11 cassette.
I dont remember there being too strong of a headwind on that day.

so 2 things
Keep the cadence higher on an easier gear.
Go on suicide runs with people much stronger.
 

tigerkamen

Maximum Pace
Jan 6, 2012
264
108
63
Kawaguchi
#7
I would agree with the interval training, this is the best to get stronger muscles. Still I would recommend maybe hitting a gym so you got all your muscles stronger and don't get the risk of breaking due due bad muscle distribution.
I am not how big this is a problem in cycling but I had (and several friends had) got hurt while doing runnings because we didn't had our full group of muscles strengthened
Thank for the advice. I do swim on the rainy weekends I don't get to get on the bike.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#8
181cm at 81kg.

Lose more weight.

The faster guys who are around that height are generally sitting at around 70-ish kg, maybe a bit more, maybe sometimes less. I am 177cm and 68kg, for example. There are slimmer builds than me, who are lighter and/or taller, but that is kind of about the area you want to get down to.

So you dropped from 97kg to 81kg in the space of a year? Well, I reckon you will still have some residual damage and unfitness from being that overweight in your system. Remember that the guys you are looking at doing these times have been slim and fit generally for at least a few years, or if not, they recently got back into fitness having been overweight, but hard riders when they were younger.

Don't rush it and don't stress if it doesn't happen over night, but set yourself some very clear targets.

1. Lose more weight. Do this through sensible diet and riding.
2. Intervals, and going out with faster people. Also look at the riding you are doing in the week; how hard are you going and how far? Also, are you stuffing your face with pizza and beer after every ride?
3. Consistency. Keep at it. You are fixing the damage done to yourself from being so overweight. You have lost most of that and are now in the second phase of tuning yourself up. It is all good.
 
Likes: Adam Cobain

George5

Maximum Pace
Oct 16, 2014
385
141
73
46
#9
Suicide runs? No but regular runs with other people will make you stronger. Blowing up after 20 minutes and then limping home isn't as effective as a two to three hour ride at a challenging but doable pace. Riding with others you will take less breaks and ease up on the pedals less, that's a big difference there. So the best way to get stronger is find a local cycling group and go riding with them. You sound like you were a bit of a clyde but are now at a good weight to start building stamina. Long hard rides and if the hills beat you up too much and aren't fun find some flat courses and do those. You are a racer so get racing. Join the local Kawaguchi cycling team, good way to make friends as well. http://www.cf-arai.com/html/
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,863
1,450
129
...
#10
A lot of it is mental really. you need to really want to be the fastest guy in the world, or at least on arakawa. If you don't want that it is going to be hard to justify the pain required on a daily basis.
I realized something early on about cycling, those going the same way as you are your enemy, those going the opposite way to you are your friends.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#11
the annual 健康診断
Was this a full check of your whole system?

If so, and I am not asking you to post any of your stats, but check out the following;

HDL and LDL cholesterol
Fasting Blood Sugar

If these are not healthy, then you are still suffering the side effects of obesity, which is entirely possible given your previous weight. Not having a dig at in any way whatsover here mate, please understand. Just looking at the facts.

If your LDL is high, and your blood sugar is a bit pre-diabetic, then you still have some way to go before you have recovered from the damage done to your body. This just takes time, and consistent training. Like @George5 said, you don't want to do rides that have you blowing up after 20 mins (that is what intervals on your own are for!), and you want to use the group rides to build your stamina. This will not only start you getting faster, but also start healing your metabolic damage as well. It will take a good couple of years to fully sort out though, be warned, so again, don't expect it to happen over night.

And this...

I still cant do the whole Sadamine toge without resting a couple of times, and on the way back up from Gelato Hana, I was already completely out of gas and had to rest once.
Don't worry about that. The first time I tried to ride up Shiraishi, I had to stop and walk too. Embarrassing, of course, but I ain't bothered / Come At Me Bro. I have since done it in 25 mins, and I held the Strava KOM on Sadamine for a while, as well as a load of other hilarious high speed hammering. his change all happened in the space of about 2 years, after following a plan to get myself fit again, and then letting @Mlac Peek take me to the Gulag with no mercy.
 
Likes: tigerkamen

tigerkamen

Maximum Pace
Jan 6, 2012
264
108
63
Kawaguchi
#12
Thanks for all the input guys. All your insights are really helpful.

I will prioritize my weight. I will target 75 by the end of the year, then maybe 68-70 by next spring/summer. Might be a big goal, but I've gone this far.
I've cut back on the beer and junk a lot and that was what helped the most in the weight loss.

Keep the riding consistent and look for riding groups. (The rides posted here are kinda scary to be honest. lol) Ride more quality hours in the morning before work, and nicer longer ones up the mountains on the weekends.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,863
1,450
129
...
#13
Honestly focussing on your consistency in morning rides will see the weight come off without too much effort. Assuming you are working hard. Your quads are the biggest muscle on your body and they will eat up calories all day if you have worked them hard in a morning 40-50km session.
 

tigerkamen

Maximum Pace
Jan 6, 2012
264
108
63
Kawaguchi
#14
Was this a full check of your whole system?


If your LDL is high, and your blood sugar is a bit pre-diabetic, then you still have some way to go before you have recovered from the damage done to your body. This just takes time, and consistent training. Like @George5 said, you don't want to do rides that have you blowing up after 20 mins (that is what intervals on your own are for!), and you want to use the group rides to build your stamina. This will not only start you getting faster, but also start healing your metabolic damage well. It will take a good couple of years to fully sort out though, be warned, so again, don't expect it to happen over night.

It was actually those numbers that got me started riding again. I was way over the limits back at 97kg, but now back normal after this year's checkup. Working to lower them down to even healthier levels with consistent exercise and proper diet.

I'm not looking for any immediate results. I'm looking for the right direction to focus on. So all the advice on this thread is right on.
Thank you everybody.
 

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#15
Again, exactly what @theBlob said.

I know everyone is different, but setting weight loss goals for points in the future is all a bit 'donut-diet-fat-secretary'.

Focus on the riding, and your body will adapt to what you are asking of it, such is the awesome nature of our wicked high tech monkey frames. Look at the fast lads, both amateur and pro. They all get 'that' kind of body, and you will too, if you start riding like they (we) do.

Ignore weight targets, and focus on the ride stats.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,863
1,450
129
...
#16
Looks like you live right near Mlac peek and me. Hit up the saiko lake training area. There are loads of guys giving it the hammer from about 5:00am onwards every day down there. Including some fast groups that sit around 40-45kmhr from 5am on Tuesdays and Thursday's.
 
Likes: TCC

TCC

Tokyo Cycling Club
Jun 30, 2013
2,362
1,291
133
#17
Yeah get down Saiko Lake.

You don't need to be able to keep up with @theBlob and @Mlac Peek the whole way round the lake (and you won't be able to for at least a while!), but how about this...

1. Ride round the loop twice, as fast as you can manage on your own, to warm up.
2. When you get a whiff of sexy boy aftershave, and hear the sound of carbon turbines winding up behind you, brace yourself for Peek and Blob to come flying past, and latch on to the back of them for as long as you can possibly handle. Drop off when you are dead.
3. Ride around again at your own pace, as fast as possible, but within your own ability.
4. Repeat number 2.

Do this for about 4 or 5 loops, then ride home, safe in the knowledge that you gave it some hammer.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,863
1,450
129
...
#18
I'll be there tomorrow from about 5:45 I'll wear my TCC jersey so you can recognize me if you want to come. I'm well out of shape due to a back injury, so I can show you the course if you like.
If you need to know where it is search for the arakawa tt thread there is a map there.
 

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
557
238
63
Hanno, Saitama
#19
I'd get a bigger gear at the back for the climbs, perhaps a 32 big cog.
If you have to stop on a climb, it's likely because the gearing is too hard for your current level.

I like the Sadamine x2 route you posted.
Training is all well and good, but remember to keep it fun.