Paceline Podcast 146

Paceline Podcast 146

It’s reader questions once again this week. Selene was asked how to structure a training plan so that a racer can maintain a high level of fitness year around, especially if there are six “A” events spaced throughout the season. Most training plans start from zero, and honestly, how many of us are starting from zero?

Another reader says his wife is an injured runner and he’s trying to get her into cycling. He put her on an old mountain bike with road tires, but she hasn’t really been bitten by the bug just yet, and he can’t figure out why. Patrick takes a look at ways that someone might approach introducing a runner to cycling so that they get why we find it so fun.


This will make more sense once you’ve heard the episode.



The Paceline is supported by Eliel Cycling. Crafted in California, the Eliel brand combines the latest technology with cycling tradition to deliver an experience that is authentically California. View their retail gear and custom program at


Show links:

Selene’s article on the cadence study

Jim Merz and the titanium lugs from the Specialized Epic

Pearl Izumi Elite Softshell Shoe Cover

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  1. Author

    What I never quite mentioned (probably because I was too busy laughing), was that when Selene asked if Mickey’s Big Mouths are available here in California, the Tom Waits song I referenced, “Frank’s Wild Years,” is set in the San Fernando Valley, a sort of testament to the wide distribution area of Mickey’s, which, incidentally, is available in a 64 oz. size, so you can get tore up before you toss up.

  2. TomInAlbany

    So, I’m feeling the need to defend myself. No doubt I’m being overly sensitive but…

    The bike I put the road tires on is, indeed, old as the calendar goes – about 17 years. It does have 26″ wheels and v-brakes. 9-speed grip shift with a triple, and, it’s almost like new! My wife rarely rode it. I’ve kept it clean and maintained and get it ready to go each spring. This isn’t pulled off the trash-heap and throw new treads on it. And while I appreciate what 27.5s and 29s can do on the trails, the 26s are still a good wheel for basic road miles.

    Now that I’ve got that out of my system…

    You implied a fair point that the use of this bike was just a fitness band-aid while my wife couldn’t or wouldn’t run. But, letting her find the bike that sparks her imagination, now THAT’S the solid bit of advice I was looking for. Thanks! (And, while I was a bit pissy above, I’m coming back. This podcast is sooooooo good!)

    1. Selene Yeager

      Thanks for being a good sport, Tom! Sorry if we implied you’d trash picked a beater and let her rip! It also wasn’t clear that this had already been your wife’s bike….(Also as the conversation went on, we were really talking very generally, not 100% specifically about or to you!)….Anyway, thanks for the questions and the listen. Didn’t think your defense was pissy one bit. Have a great weekend!

    2. Author

      What the smart lady said. In as much as we assumed anything, it would have been that you had taken care of the bike. I bet it would be a terrific commuter in nice weather. (I can’t tell if that was just an observation or a suggestion.)

    3. millicent hughes

      From a woman who has been in that situation: I really enjoyed purchasing a couple of bike to reduce my fears, created by bad head injuries. For each of them, I slowly outgrew them mentally and ability-wise. Then I researched and researched until I found a review on an English magazine and ordered it. This was now MY bike, conceived in my mind only. Two years later, I’ve changed to tubeless and changed the stem, but I love it — because it’s MINE, not something somebody presented me with.

  3. Quentin

    I got my runner wife into cycling (sort of). She’ll never be into it the way I am, but she does go riding with me under the right circumstances. Like you said on the podcast, having the right bike makes a big difference. In her case, the step up from the heavy old 10-speed of her youth to a used aluminum road bike we spent $600 on was all it took. Several years later she spent $2K on a carbon bike and won’t go back to aluminum. However, I would add that the right kind of ride might be just as important. Some of our early rides together were on rail trails and off-road bike paths with no car traffic. To this day, if I’m headed somewhere with even a little traffic, she’d rather go for a run. We now live near a lot of gravel roads, and she has taken to gravel riding for similar reasons. I think there’s something about cycling that some of us just inherently love that others have a hard time understanding. But, there are things that cycling shares with a lot of other outdoor pursuits that people involved in those pursuits can relate to. Find the rides that emphasize those commonalities.

    1. Selene Yeager

      Definitely Quentin. I know a few people who are both runners and cyclists nearly equally passionately, but even they tend to define themselves as one or the other. I also believe that cycling, especially for those of us here, is as much a lifestyle and identity as it is a pastime or sport. That’s definitely something you inherently have in you or you don’t, I think

  4. slugsmasher

    Thanks to Selene for talking about my question from #145 about sustaining fitness level over multiple events, disciplines and extended seasons. Knowing yourself and how much you can handle is certainly the key. Nutrition, weather and mental stress are other areas that I find can enhance or degrade motivation to stay at a high level. It is all too easy to loaf on the couch with a fat mocha or beer and chips when it is 20 degrees outside and blowing ice pellets sideways. I have to force myself out the door or onto the trainer a lot during the Jan/Feb period when nothing else is going on and it is usually wet and cold. Just embrace the suck as they say and be flexible. The rest of the year, eat right and avoid overtraining has worked for me.

    Richard in the PNW

    1. Selene Yeager

      Hey Richard…I actually don’t ever really advocate forcing yourself too much when motivation is low. I think that leads to burn out. That’s why I find stuff that I find fun and enjoyable as a way to sustain some fitness, like going to the gym or trail running or such. Sounds like you’re doing it right for you!

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