I started cycling again a few years ago after having ridden a bunch in high school and college. I had always ridden for transportation and a little fun on the weekends, but I started going on some group rides and found that I was pretty fast. So, I started riding with the "fast" guys. I made a lot of progress (got faster) two seasons ago without any specific training plan, and decided to try my hand at racing. So, I decided I needed to have an actual training plan. I read and tried to follow Joel Friel's Training Bible and made progress last season, but felt that there was something that wasn't quite right. I felt like the prior season had been much more beneficial. I was training smarter, but I wasn't progressing like I thought I should. The training often seemed way too easy. I read this book, and it all started to make some sense. I was rarely able to train more than 8 hrs/wk. When Friel's plan started calling for 10-13 hrs/wk, I just wasn't able to make it happen. I think I just wasn't stressing my body enough last season.
The TCTP (Time Crunched Training Plan) replaces volume with intensity, so you don't have to try to put in 10-12 hrs/wk. Based on my experience of the last two seasons, this should work.
The book is well written. He talks about making it short because he knows the readers are "time-crunched". I felt he could have shortened it a bit more, but it is way better than other books on training that are way too wordy. The three real life examples of CTS clients that have successfully used the TCTP are very motivational and effective as to how to use the plan.
I respectfully disagree with Peter Krogh's review that the book is only for century rider. I think he must have missed some of the book if it came as a surprise that you could be racing during the training plan. pg 5 - "Rutberg put Sterling on the TCTP six weeks before the start of the 2007 spring races in the Carolinas. He rode four times a week, never more than 7 hours total, raced four times in 8 weeks, and finished fourth, eighth, first, and third." pg 17 - "The TCTP is a high-intensity, low-volume training program that produces the fitness and power necessary to push the pace in local group rides and to be competitive in local and regional criteriums, cross-country and short-track mountain bike races, and cyclocross races." pg 17 - "However, there are limits....although the program lets Sterling race for the win, there's a reason he's focusing on the spring and fall series instead of trying to win races throughout the entire season." The book also goes on to detail Taylor Carrington's use of the plan to prepare to race Cyclocross Nationals and describes how he starts racing early in the plan to work on skills even though his fitness isn't very far along. Anyway, I don't get what Mr. Krogh is talking about.
At first read, I didn't understand what you are supposed to do in the 4-6 weeks between sessions. He explains it early in the book and calls it "Maintenance". It is so far in front of the actual plan that I had forgotten about it by the end of the book. When I went back through it, it was plain as day. The maintenance period should probably be briefly touched on again in relationship to the plans.
I'm looking forward to using the TCTP to prepare for the 2010 season. I've set it up to be peaking in April, July, and November. I wanted to write a review now because it is likely that I won't get back to it after I'm done racing next December.
Best of luck to all of you wanting to be "Fit, Fast & Powerful"