The foundations for successful riding
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So today as I was hacking my way up mount buller in the road race, I got beaten by a better rider. His tactic was simple, we'd be pushing along at threshold and he would wait for a pinch, then hammer out 200% of threshold power for about 10 seconds, before sitting down and doing 150% for another 10 seconds and making us follow his lead so we didn't get dropped. Eventually, I did get dropped as I just couldn't hold the pace after the sixth attack. He went on to win after I'd been dropped.
This made me think; I'm a great steady-state climber, which is how I've always trained. I can do 300 watts for 20 minutes steady, with maybe a few forays from 270-330 during the effort. But I reckon I'd blow up if I had to do 200 for 1 minute, then 400 for 1 minute and so on for 20 minutes. My legs just burn and I can't hold the efforts into the 150% zone any longer. Given that most climbs end up being fought out this way (it's rare that I'd be alone for 20 minutes on any climb in a race to do my own thing) it makes sense to start training myself to perform these efforts so that I can one day be the guy who ends up crossing the line first.
So, any tips on how do do this, and when to stop? I use Coggan's tips for repeats of 4-20 minutes (stop doing them when you drop below a certain percentage power output of the first effort) but how should I deal with this specific situation? Should I do 200-400w repeats, or maybe 200-350-200-400-300 etc etc etc
Learn me up on the specifics of training this area, power gurus!
No expert... but isn't it "as simple" as raising your ftp and lowering your weight as much as poss. If you raise your ftp by a few percent you would have been sitting just below threshold instead of on it and the efforts above wouldn't have hurt anywhere as much. Sounds like the guy who won had the power to weight to play with.
Your ride on strava?.
You've figured a pretty sensible breakdown of the plan and you know it worked.
Doing something like your 4x10s with a standing sprint every 60 seconds for 5 seconds would help. Obviously you won't do 105% on your interval, but it can help. Inevitably, the issue is recovery under strain. How fast can you recover while at threshold?
In thinking this through, I think the key is recognising that different energy systems recover at different speeds for different people, and traditional intervals on the trainer might not encourage the adaptions required. Your winner might have figured out that people break doing this a lot, and trained specifically to do it. They might also have been subthreshold more than you realise (like TLL suggested).
Yes, lift your FTP, and the usual stuff, but consider training for tactics as well as simple data. Steady state training is great for TTs but if you have to lift for the selection in a road race, you have to lift.
The climb up buller was where all the action happened, I was well placed and sitting 2nd, third or 4th wheel most of the way, holding a bit in reserve because I knew the last 2km would decide the winner. Even still, I cracked on the last 1km pinch and got passed by a bunch of riders who had been sitting in behind me the whole climb.
You can see the power output spiking multiple times up over 400 watts before settling down to threshold (for me, around 275 or so). Normally I would just sit on 290 for the full climb and probably go quicker, but the attacks were killer.
The issue is, I agree, recovering at threshold. I didn't do it well enough and I got pipped. So I guess I should train to recover from 400 watt efforts at threshold (make it specific)?
There's your answer right there. And you cant train that.
One of the first Tour of Brights I went to in the late 90s I went with a little 50kg bloke who was a good rider. In A grade up Mt Buffalo he surged and surged until the leaders couldnt bring him back any more. He won that stage and was 2nd overall after the 4 stages.
There's nothing you can do about a person like that, even with a powermeter
Something I got from the Friel books was that for all you spend time doing the intervals and the periodisation, it is race/event specific training you are working towards, NOT a higher FTP or sprint power or endurance pace. If you know that the race will be won and lost on the hill, you go and do your training rides on a hill. If you know it will be won via surges on the hill, you train to manage the surges.
I wouldn't be quite so hard on yourself; if you had given up 5 or even 10 kgs to the winner, and they were a natural climber (vs TT) then you might never have stood a chance unless your yearly training was skewed to winning that race. Can't assume that the winner's training wasn't solely dedicated to breaking you and the bunch for the last 2 years
KGB is on the money, in the sense that you will develop the legs racing up hills and responding to the surges better. I can't lift on the trainer the same way I can with another human near me. I took off on the climb on Saturday, I'm a bit out of fitness, but smashed the guys who wanted to race up. I wouldn't have ridden that hard without the wolves on my heels. I suspect most guys who think they race a lot aren't racing much. 2-3 times a fortnight racing? If you aren't obsessively riding, that seems to be a lot to me. (you could race more, I guess lol)
You're a smart guy, ultimately you've got a benchmark now to work towards. The key I think is being willing to sacrifice your other races, to win this one. You might not be able to win the crits by building the body to win the climbing race... I'm sure you could win next time, but are you sure you are willing to drop the weight or increase the climbing power at the expense of the donuts or sprint power?
Classic Cadel vs Contador on what ever climb it was... You went really deep quite a few times and pretty soft at others. But then keeping a steady pace up probably would of got you up faster but matey boy would have attacked you non stop after sitting on your wheel .
Be a nice race to win but obviously is a pretty special event to prepare for.
Checked out the Strava, is the race there and back? Tempted to ask why you clearly exceeded your FTP on a 5% climb? If you know you can sit down and punch 300W, wouldn't the better plan be to do exactly that, and have some beans in the tank for that final km? Burning matches makes life tough.
Or let someone else close the gap, sit in behind them and when you reach the original attacker, launch your own attack, I bet the first guy blows straight off the back.
Well that's the thing... You have three things when climbing.
1. Psychic motivation. You pedal harder because you have people near you.
2. Wind resistance. You pedal softer because you are drafting.
3. The legs. You can only go as hard as the legs can.
Since the draft is pointless on a 5% climb, and psychic motivation ignores the reality that you will pop eventually no matter how much you lift in competition, it comes down to the legs. I personally would have thought that saving yourself for a decisive single move would be better to conserve the anaerobic reserve (W') because everyone has the same leg issues. A decisive attack can rob them of their psychic motivation.
It's hard though because 45 minutes is a long time to climb and maintain power discipline.
Drafting is not pointless on a climb, it's 6% average gradient for 16km but there are flattish sections of 2-3% interspersed by 10% pinches, just ask the 8 guys that we towed up the hill if they could have gotten there on their own in the same time! Drafting played the biggest part in how this day panned out, the guys behind us sat in and rode a smarter race, I thought they would pop but obviously not lol.
I'll rephrase then... following the wheel up a climb like that, without significant wind (I'm in Sydney, don't know the climb), is more mental than physical. You can hypnotise yourself while staring at the back wheel, to ignore the pain that comes with running threshold for that long. You will get very very little drafting benefit compared to the psychological lift of holding that wheel while suffering.
The flatter sections obviously change things at race pace.
I think the answer is pretty simple, like I mentioned in my first reply. Stop riding steady state intervals, train to explode every 5-10 minutes for 30 seconds and work on recovering. Might be helpful using your Garmin to auto lap every 5 minutes, and check out your normalised power for the lap (the 5 minutes) and get a better feeling for what your power abilities are. (this is main reason I want a Garmin instead of my Bryton).
My crits and harder 60 minute rides lately have my av Watts at 220-225, but normalised is up at 280 for the hour. Clearly I get a lot of big matches to burn over my hour considering my overall abilities. It's worth looking at some alternative ways of looking at your power output. You're clearly a monster already. I don't want to race you up that hill
Well I just got back from a training ride and played around with this idea a bit. I did my 6 x 4min intervals that I had planned, then did some experimenting and found a nice balance that mimicked my race day explosive efforts up the climb. Basically I would ramp up to 450 watts for 15 seconds, then 400 watts for 15 seconds, then 350 for 15 seconds followed by 1 minute at 300 before recovering for 3 minutes at about 220, then hitting it again. Managed to do four or five of these in a row and they felt bang on - very similar to what I was doing when oldmate was attacking us up the hill. I think I'll keep doing this type of thing twice a week after my other intervals when I'm already fatigued, it seemed really good and was much more interesting than just rolling back home below threshold.
I tried some pyramid intervals like these a while back and found them much easier to manage than steady state, considering the watts to the wheel. Maybe old mate found he got a lot of results from shunting between zones like this?
Let us know how you go. Seems logical that pyramids would be more race like, but that's not what is prescribed?
Dude that seems like a hell of a lot of VO2 type work... 6x4's plus these pyramid efforts... twice a week, plus a race?. I bet they bring on a good peak... you got another similar race coming up?.
Current schedule is;
Tuesday 2:30 total ride time. 6x4 min efforts during this. The rest Z2-Z3.
Thursday 3hr total ride time. All Z2-Z3 with short burst efforts (as many as I feel comfortable with) into Z4-5
Saturday 3:30 total ride time. 2x20min efforts in there.
Sunday Crit race/2.5 hour ride of random stuff.
So not that crazy really.
Next race is the BawBaw classic. 105km of nastiness followed by the worst hill I've ever been up; mount bawbaw. Should be fun.
http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/fitness/ ... ions-26313
first one here talks about training for over and under type stuff.
won't help you much for bawbaw though, it's every man for himself up that monster!
Isn't this basically what Froome did to Quintana up Mt Ventoux in last years TdF? Read a few articles suggesting Froome had his numbers dialled in, knew what maximum power he could crank out for short bursts, and just carefully tightened the screws at key points until he dropped everyone. I can't claim any climbing ability, but it looks like a case of training yourself to climb well, but also to throw in short bursts of maximum effort and then be able to recover quickly.
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Amen to that. Have been up there in 32:11 from the Gantry but that was a good day, with only 50km in the legs. It hurt a lot. Not looking forward to the final 6km on race day!
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