Best Road Bike Training Book

An interesting thing happened last week at 10,000′. As I quietly spun at 90 rpms climbing over the top of Loveland Pass I checked over my shoulder to see my riding partner several hundred meters behind me pumping furiously to catch up. Having been lost in the ride, I had not been checking any vitals during the climb. Simply enjoying the day, the ride and my bike, I was completely unaware of my heart rate and effort level. A quick glance at the Garmin showed what I suspected….I was hardly trying.


The post-ride beer and ride discussion inevitable turned to my performance on Loveland Pass. My riding partner wanted to know what heart rate zone I was climbing in. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was comfortably in Zone 2/Zone 3 the entire climb with nary a glimpse of tipping into the anaerobic zone and max efforts. I shrugged it off to “good legs” and out of generosity, switched the subject to training.


My riding partner assumed I had logged thousands of miles and hundreds of hours. My stats told a different story: just 67 hours in the saddle and only 1,000 miles under my belt for the season…hardly worthy of note in a sport that requires thousands of miles and hundreds of hours to be in peak shape. In comparison, my riding partner had logged closer to 1,500 miles and well over 100 hours.


My secret? I trained smart with the little amount of time I had. The birth of my daughter in late Spring took priority and I found myself struggling to dedicate even a few hours on the bike per week. To maintain sanity at home (by spending more time with the wife,  baby and two young boys) and my sanity (by finding time to ride) I followed Chris Carmichael’s training regime outlined in The Time Crunched Cyclist.


Carmichael’s system relies on high intensity intervals (if you want an excellent, albeit lengthy, read on endurance training check out Lyle McDonald’s article here). The old adage of “miles build champions,” while true, is now offset by the idea that you can be “fit, fast and powerful in 6 hours a week.” I’ve utilized Chris Carmichael’s “Century” training plans for the past two seasons and have exhibited performance normally reserved for cyclists that ride 10+ hours per week