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  1. #1
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    310 Watts for 20 minutes, 4.5 watts per kilogram, non-typical plan to get there.

    To me 4.5 watts per kilogram for 20 min is a challenging goal, but according to this chart it would equate to cat 1 level fitness I hope it would make me faster on the trail.

    310 Watts for 20 minutes, 4.5 watts per kilogram, non-typical plan to get there.-30-min-tt.gif

    The funny thing is that I've already been riding (surviving) my last two seasons as a Cat 1 mountain biker with my 20 minute power around 260W, 3.7 watts per kilogram. I did do Cat 1 nationals this year (Finished at the bottom of the barrel)

    I'm thinking of a non-typical strategy this year for getting to my goal of 4.5 watts per kilogram for 20 min. 315ish watts for me.

    The plan would be performing intervals throughout the winter and spring at 315 watts, starting at 2-3 minutes once every 7-10 days then adding 2 or so minutes each month until late spring/early summer until I make the 20 minutes at 315W (4.5 wpk) (I haven't fully explored a full interval breakdown but just throwing out numbers)

    This would be an alternative to the typical plan of basing all your training zones on your current Functional Threshold Power and basing it, instead on the power you want to reach. Your just simply starting with intervals at small amounts of time at your 20 min power goal. Of course I would do base training and race prep/"build" periods with typical threshold intervals and such.

    Overall it would be high intensity for a short duration yet the duration would increase and the intensity would decrease because you are adapting to the intervals as you go.

    Any thoughts on this strategy. You could call it "working your 20 minute watt goal by performing intervals at that wattage"
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  2. #2
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    310 Watts for 20 minutes, 4.5 watts per kilogram, non-typical plan to get there.

    How long can you hold 315 watts for currently?

    Unless you've been doing something horribly horribly wrong with your training the past few years increasing your 20 minute power by 55 watts in just 6 months sounds like a big ask to me.

    It's always good to set an ambitious goal though. See how close you get.

  3. #3
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    Not sure how long I can hold 315W, not very. I'm somewhat new to my power meter, so maybe I'm not a good judge of how much a persons FTP can improve in a 6 month period. One thing is for sure, the guys leading the Cat 1 pack are very fast and if I ever hope to podium I need to be able to get those numbers or something close. I guess I'm getting a bit frustrated... this was my second season as Cat 1 and nowhere close to the top 3-4 guys, and not a whole bunch of improvement. (My job killed my training this summer) I realize the improvement curve slows once you are more experienced but I hope to improve at a better rate in 2014.
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    310 Watts for 20 minutes, 4.5 watts per kilogram, non-typical plan to get there.

    I'd be inclined to do a 315 watt test (see how long you can hold it) and also a 20 minute FTP test quite soon, so that you have some baseline figures to start from.

    Your form and power output is likely to vary naturally with peaks and troughs during the year. If you can hold 260 watts for 20 minutes at your peak fitness in the summer then during the winter off season you'll probably find that your current best 20 minute power is lower, possibly by a lot, than 260 watts at the moment.

    If you've been riding and training continuously for several years it's harder to pull out major improvements year on year, especially when you're comparing peak to peak power outputs. These were my 20 minute test results from 2011 through to August 2012 for comparison.



    http://forums.mtbr.com/xc-racing-tra...l#post10765917

    Getting big improvements in power output is easily do-able, if you're starting from a very low fitness level to begin with. My best 20 minute power now (mid November 2013) is at least 34 watts higher than it was three months ago in mid September 2013. That's because I hadn't ridden a bike for a year previously (due to my broken leg) so there were plenty of easy gains to be made.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fst4u View Post
    Not sure how long I can hold 315W, not very. I'm somewhat new to my power meter, so maybe I'm not a good judge of how much a persons FTP can improve in a 6 month period. One thing is for sure, the guys leading the Cat 1 pack are very fast and if I ever hope to podium I need to be able to get those numbers or something close. I guess I'm getting a bit frustrated... this was my second season as Cat 1 and nowhere close to the top 3-4 guys, and not a whole bunch of improvement. (My job killed my training this summer) I realize the improvement curve slows once you are more experienced but I hope to improve at a better rate in 2014.
    The chart you posted refers to road categories... which don't really align with MTB categories.

    The average Cat 1 MTB racer (if they race road) is usually a Cat 4 or maybe 3 on the road. Most Pro MTB racers I know are Cat 3 or Cat 2 on the road. A Cat 1 road racer has a big engine, and if they are relatively light and can handle a bike make for a very formidable MTB racer.

    LMN (who should know) says that there are guys doing well in World Cup XCO races who put out a little less than 5.0 w/kg at FTP (60 minute power), for reference.

    How many years have you been racing and training? It takes a few years of consistent riding and training (without long interruptions) to reach your potential; I'm still improving 7 years in.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=tommyrod74;10818591]The chart you posted refers to road categories... which don't really align with MTB categories.

    The average Cat 1 MTB racer (if they race road) is usually a Cat 4 or maybe 3 on the road. Most Pro MTB racers I know are Cat 3 or Cat 2 on the road. A Cat 1 road racer has a big engine, and if they are relatively light and can handle a bike make for a very formidable MTB racer.
    QUOTE]

    this has to be 1 of the most absurd statements I've read...the only reason a pro
    mtb racer wouldn't be the same level on the road is because they don't race enough to
    get the points to cat up...you honestly think the people racing mtb's have less engines
    then the roadies...give me a break

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=peabody;10818613]
    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    The chart you posted refers to road categories... which don't really align with MTB categories.

    The average Cat 1 MTB racer (if they race road) is usually a Cat 4 or maybe 3 on the road. Most Pro MTB racers I know are Cat 3 or Cat 2 on the road. A Cat 1 road racer has a big engine, and if they are relatively light and can handle a bike make for a very formidable MTB racer.
    QUOTE]

    this has to be 1 of the most absurd statements I've read...the only reason a pro
    mtb racer wouldn't be the same level on the road is because they don't race enough to
    get the points to cat up...you honestly think the people racing mtb's have less engines
    then the roadies...give me a break
    From a pure fitness standpoint, trod is sorta correct. I ride with some Cat 1 roadies who now race Cat 2 mtbs and get humbled out there because they are too timid in the turns and descents and anything technical anywhere up or down...

    I would say that a podium Cat 1 mtb'er in S. Calif is a podium Cat 3 roadie from a fitness standpoint....perhaps a pack fill Cat 2 roadie if they have learned to anticipate breaks and know how to race smart on the road.

    If and when they finally learn how to ride an mtb, look out!!!

    Is what it is...

    It is important to consider how said roadie earned their Cat 1 status. For example, are they crit specialists only? If so, forget about it. If they earned their Cat 1 roadie status in legit road races that actually have climbs, well...then they are legit engines and will make one heck of an mtb'er if they can ride an mtb.

    On the other hand...many top World Cup mtb'ers such as Sagan and Evans etc etc etc have gone on to dominate the pro ranks on the road!!

  8. #8
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    [QUOTE=rydbyk;10818650]
    Quote Originally Posted by peabody View Post

    From a pure fitness standpoint, trod is sorta correct. I ride with some Cat 1 roadies who now race Cat 2 mtbs and get humbled out there because they are too timid in the turns and descents and anything technical anywhere up or down...

    I would say that a podium Cat 1 mtb'er in S. Calif is a podium Cat 3 roadie from a fitness standpoint....perhaps a pack fill Cat 2 roadie if they have learned to anticipate breaks and know how to race smart on the road.

    If and when they finally learn how to ride an mtb, look out!!!

    Is what it is...

    It is important to consider how said roadie earned their Cat 1 status. For example, are they crit specialists only? If so, forget about it. If they earned their Cat 1 roadie status in legit road races that actually have climbs, well...then they are legit engines and will make one heck of an mtb'er if they can ride an mtb.

    On the other hand...many top World Cup mtb'ers such as Sagan and Evans etc etc etc have gone on to dominate the pro ranks on the road!!
    yeah my point...the local pro road guys I know all race local pro mtb
    when you're fast you're fast, doesn't matter the road or mtb

  9. #9
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    Re: 310 Watts for 20 minutes, 4.5 watts per kilogram, non-typical plan to get there.

    [QUOTE=peabody;10818661]
    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk View Post

    yeah my point...the local pro road guys I know all race local pro mtb
    when you're fast you're fast, doesn't matter the road or mtb
    Sure it does. Road racing is all about your engine. You need technical skills for MTB racing

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=peabody;10818613]
    Quote Originally Posted by tommyrod74 View Post
    The chart you posted refers to road categories... which don't really align with MTB categories.

    The average Cat 1 MTB racer (if they race road) is usually a Cat 4 or maybe 3 on the road. Most Pro MTB racers I know are Cat 3 or Cat 2 on the road. A Cat 1 road racer has a big engine, and if they are relatively light and can handle a bike make for a very formidable MTB racer.
    QUOTE]

    this has to be 1 of the most absurd statements I've read...the only reason a pro
    mtb racer wouldn't be the same level on the road is because they don't race enough to
    get the points to cat up...you honestly think the people racing mtb's have less engines
    then the roadies...give me a break
    The competition is less deep in MTB racing. It's easier to move up by scoring points.

    75% of the guys racing Cat 5 crits, assuming they can handle a bike offroad, would blow the doors off a midpack Cat 2 MTB racer.

    At least 50% of those starting a Cat 3 MTB race couldn't finish an "A" group road ride with the front group... and that's a competitive fun training ride, not a race... and that's WITH drafting.

    At the top level of pro, i.e. World Cup or top national level XC pro, sure, those guys have big, big engines. Your average local Cat 1 has nowhere near the w/kg of the average road Cat 1, and that's just a fact.

    A road pro = has a pro team contract, that's how a road Cat 1 becomes a Pro. No pro team contract required to race pro/elite MTB. Moving up on the road is also much more difficult once you get to Cat 3 and up, vs. MTB where I recall simply signing up as a Cat 1 (at a USAC race) and being allowed to do so.

    Many Cat 1 and Pro MTB racers don't race very often on the road, true, but many do, and they still usually aren't Cat 1 or Pro on the road.

    Should I continue, or can you contribute a different experience? What categories (road, MTB) do you race again?

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=rydbyk;10818650]
    Quote Originally Posted by peabody View Post

    From a pure fitness standpoint, trod is sorta correct. I ride with some Cat 1 roadies who now race Cat 2 mtbs and get humbled out there because they are too timid in the turns and descents and anything technical anywhere up or down...

    I would say that a podium Cat 1 mtb'er in S. Calif is a podium Cat 3 roadie from a fitness standpoint....perhaps a pack fill Cat 2 roadie if they have learned to anticipate breaks and know how to race smart on the road.

    If and when they finally learn how to ride an mtb, look out!!!

    Is what it is...

    It is important to consider how said roadie earned their Cat 1 status. For example, are they crit specialists only? If so, forget about it. If they earned their Cat 1 roadie status in legit road races that actually have climbs, well...then they are legit engines and will make one heck of an mtb'er if they can ride an mtb.

    On the other hand...many top World Cup mtb'ers such as Sagan and Evans etc etc etc have gone on to dominate the pro ranks on the road!!
    The point about road vs. crit points is a very good observation, and generally true. The reverse is true, too - if one is a great MTB racer but lightweight, and most road racing in the area is crits with few open road races, it's more likely you won't move up as quickly on the road side, as it won't suit your strengths.

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=peabody;10818661]
    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk View Post

    yeah my point...the local pro road guys I know all race local pro mtb
    when you're fast you're fast, doesn't matter the road or mtb
    But is the reverse true? Do all the Cat 1 MTB guys race Cat 1 road? Because that's the difference.

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    I agree with peabody, that was a pretty absurd statement regarding MTB vs roadies. You sure can do those comparison if looking at the average MTB rider you know but in general, there is not much difference between both. The main difference probably resides in MTbers generally taking themselves less seriously then roadies. I raced road, and now race MTB, and trust me, there are a bunch of average fitness dudes riding the elite pack on the road. Same goes for MTB racing.

    There is a meta analysis comparing measures in pro XC racers and pro roadies and both are basically equivalent, with the pro MTBers sometimes having as high or higher w/kg ratio then TdF climbers.

    Racing a bike is so much more then w/kg and fitness.

    To the OP: im not sure your strategy is optimal, starting with short duration intervals and progressing to longer durations may prove to be too little stimulus to induce adaptations. I'd work more around some high intensity efforts and steadier efforts at higher and lwoer power output, respectively.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    I agree with peabody, that was a pretty absurd statement regarding MTB vs roadies. You sure can do those comparison if looking at the average MTB rider you know but in general, there is not much difference between both. The main difference probably resides in MTbers generally taking themselves less seriously then roadies. I raced road, and now race MTB, and trust me, there are a bunch of average fitness dudes riding the elite pack on the road. Same goes for MTB racing.

    There is a meta analysis comparing measures in pro XC racers and pro roadies and both are basically equivalent, with the pro MTBers sometimes having as high or higher w/kg ratio then TdF climbers.

    Racing a bike is so much more then w/kg and fitness.

    To the OP: im not sure your strategy is optimal, starting with short duration intervals and progressing to longer durations may prove to be too little stimulus to induce adaptations. I'd work more around some high intensity efforts and steadier efforts at higher and lwoer power output, respectively.
    Again, you're talking about top-level pros in each sport, and the engines are certainly comparable.

    The OP was talking about local Cat 1 Mtb racing. There is a HUGE variance in Cat 1 power output, which makes sense as all you have to do to get to Cat 1 is podium 5 times in Cat 2 and apply for an upgrade. Cat 2 requires NO points to upgrade from Cat 3.

    You can therefore become a Cat 1 MTB racer by podiuming 5 Podunk races with only 1-2 other decent riders.

    Becoming a Cat 1 road racer is much harder. Much deeper fields, and many more points required. On top of that, most Cat 2 races are combined with pro and Cat 1 fields except at very large races, so to get upgrade points you have to Place against Cat 1 and pro racers. Not only that, there is less incentive to move up... because you already race pros and Cat 1s, why bother?

    The Cat 2 road upgrade (from 3) also means all of a sudden you are doing pro distances in open road races. 75-100 mile road races = much more training volume (average 12-18 hrs/week) for most Cat 2 roadies I know (unless they only race crits).

    How many Cat 2 MTB guys you know are training 12-18 hrs/week? Most Cat 1s I know don't do that much. Because they don't have to.

    Again, post what categories you race and your experiences. I race pro XC and Cat 1 CX. Only Cat 3 on road, though I'll likely move up this year.

    While several of the local Cat 1 Mtb guys are good (Cat 3) road racers, many others are Cat 4 / 5 packfill. There's a very wide range of engines in Cat 1 Mtb, and the average isn't anywhere near the average Cat 1 road level.

    I'd also point out that anyone you know in the pro/elite road field with "average" fitness is likely a gifted sprinter or a supremely talented crit racer who can make up for a lack of w/kg by racing very intelligently. There is no one of "average fitness" finishing with the leaders in a climb-heavy open road race, that should be obvious.

  15. #15
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    First of all 55 watts is a big ask. Honestly, 50 watts is generally difference between peak form and completely out shape. Not saying it isn't possible but over a single year, not likely. Now combine and increase in power with a loss of weight and you are starting to get some where.

    As for the Categories: Cat 1 on the road and Cat 1 on the mountain bike don't really align. Cat 1 on road is the highest category you can race in, in mountain biking there is the Elite Category after Cat 1.

    Cat 1 on MTB is lot closer to Cat 3 on road. Both generally represent very dedicated racers, who prioritize working, school or family over racing. When you get into Cat 1-2, or Elite MTB you get a lot of racers for whom racing is their main priority.

    For OP, I am fairly competitive in Cat 1 on the MTB, not winning but it seems no matter where I race (and I have raced in a lot of places) I am 3-8th. When I am on top form my CP20 is around 4.0. Generally I have stronger technical skills then guys I race with, but that is often offset by poor nutrition well racing, and not always getting the most out of my fitness (i.e. mentally weak). If you can get around 4.0 and have sufficient technical skills you should be competitive.
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    Thanks, LMN.

    I'd add that I'm usually around 4.8-4.9 w/kg. First season in the new category I usually finished lower podium (3rd-5th) in pro/elite, better in mass-start marathon and endurance races (won several this year). I usually finish a couple of minutes ahead of the fastest Cat 1 at any given XC race.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    First of all 55 watts is a big ask. Honestly, 50 watts is generally difference between peak form and completely out shape. Not saying it isn't possible but over a single year, not likely. Now combine and increase in power with a loss of weight and you are starting to get some where.

    As for the Categories: Cat 1 on the road and Cat 1 on the mountain bike don't really align. Cat 1 on road is the highest category you can race in, in mountain biking there is the Elite Category after Cat 1.

    Cat 1 on MTB is lot closer to Cat 3 on road. Both generally represent very dedicated racers, who prioritize working, school or family over racing. When you get into Cat 1-2, or Elite MTB you get a lot of racers for whom racing is their main priority.

    For OP, I am fairly competitive in Cat 1 on the MTB, not winning but it seems no matter where I race (and I have raced in a lot of places) I am 3-8th. When I am on top form my CP20 is around 4.0. Generally I have stronger technical skills then guys I race with, but that is often offset by poor nutrition well racing, and not always getting the most out of my fitness (i.e. mentally weak). If you can get around 4.0 and have sufficient technical skills you should be competitive.
    Good point... I didn't think through regarding the chart being based on road riders. Your comparison of Cat 3 road and Cat 1 MT bike seems very accurate for me as I train with roadies (on the road and off) and they burn me on the road and I burn them on the trail.

    4.0 sounds a bit more realistic and a little more doable than 4.6... Thanks for the input.
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    2fast - good luck dude. Always good to have goals!

    Regarding the chart, it is indeed based of road categories - which as Tommy and LMN indicated, don't align. It's just a fact.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fst4u View Post
    Any thoughts on this strategy. You could call it "working your 20 minute watt goal by performing intervals at that wattage"
    I have never heard of that strategy.

    Basically you would be doing VO2 max intervals. 120% is usually the high end of range to do 3-5m intervals with equal amount of rest in between efforts.

    If you are looking for any other ideas maybe these from Hunter Allen can help

    Hunter Allen Peaks Coaching Group: How to Rebuild Your Power Foundation

    Doing just 2,3&4 helped me last off season
    Peaks Coaching: Take Your Performance to the Next Level

  20. #20
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    How did quotes that I didn't make end up as my quotes?? Haha. Never seen that before.

    Good luck 2fast!

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    I'll confirm what everyone else said. CP20 around 4 is just about right for doing well in Expert/Cat 1.

    Each summer I'm about 3.8-3.9 based on CP20. In our local Expert class (non-sanctioned in Utah) I'm out of the top 10, usually about 12th - 19th out of 25-30 or so. When I did well in Nationals Cat 2 last year, I believe I was probably pushing 4 W/kg for CP20, mainly because of some good weight loss (160 on the dot).

    Coincidentally, I hold a Cat 3 license on the road, but I have some strengths that are well suited there. My CP5 is about 340-350W and I hit a 5s PR of 1180W this past season at 46 yrs old (crossfit?). But my CP1 ain't the greatest at around 500W (not by road racing standards) and I don't recover as fast after hard efforts compared to younger guys.

    Now I race Masters 1-2-3 exclusively on the road and I'm definitely at the very tail end of that group. I think I've only broken the top half twice. A dude I know won the state Masters road race and he said he hit 600W for a minute to win the short uphill finish and he only weighs like 135. That's insane.
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    Something just does not add up here. Below are my average power numbers straight out of the PowerAgent tool I use with the CycleOps 300 Pro. Everything was achieved indoors at 147 lbs and I am 51 years old.

    My FTP (CP60) puts me at 3.65 W/Kg and the CP20 puts me at 4 W/Kg. But I cannot come close to hanging with Experts in short races. Even in Sport class I struggle to hit top 5. I only do well in long, endurance races (as in 5-8 hours).

    So I have no idea how you guys manage to do well with 4 W/Kg at 20 minutes. Here in Ontario I am sure you need 4 W/Kg for 60 minutes (FTP) to do well in Expert category.
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    Something just does not add up here. Below are my average power numbers straight out of the PowerAgent tool I use with the CycleOps 300 Pro. Everything was achieved indoors at 147 lbs and I am 51 years old.

    My FTP (CP60) puts me at 3.65 W/Kg and the CP20 puts me at 4 W/Kg. But I cannot come close to hanging with Experts in short races. Even in Sport class I struggle to hit top 5. I only do well in long, endurance races (as in 5-8 hours).

    So I have no idea how you guys manage to do well with 4 W/Kg at 20 minutes. Here in Ontario I am sure you need 4 W/Kg for 60 minutes (FTP) to do well in Expert category.
    The short answer is it's not just about FTP, unless you are simply doing a time trial.

    Most XC races start with a sustained effort well above FTP (up to 10+ minutes), and you'll have repeated efforts above FTP when climbing or putting in/following attacks.

    Good anaerobic power and repeatability are also necessary as a result.

    Good FTP without good anaerobic ability = better at longer, steadier races.

    Another short answer is that FTP (and other metrics) don't race for you, and taken alone don't tell the whole story.

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    310 Watts for 20 minutes, 4.5 watts per kilogram, non-typical plan to get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    Something just does not add up here. Below are my average power numbers straight out of the PowerAgent tool I use with the CycleOps 300 Pro. Everything was achieved indoors at 147 lbs and I am 51 years old.

    My FTP (CP60) puts me at 3.65 W/Kg and the CP20 puts me at 4 W/Kg. But I cannot come close to hanging with Experts in short races. Even in Sport class I struggle to hit top 5. I only do well in long, endurance races (as in 5-8 hours).

    So I have no idea how you guys manage to do well with 4 W/Kg at 20 minutes. Here in Ontario I am sure you need 4 W/Kg for 60 minutes (FTP) to do well in Expert category.
    If you think back to the short races where you were getting dropped consider where you were losing contact. Was it on short accelerations and repeated sprints?

    That would be my guess as your 30 second and 1 minute best power outputs aren't that high. That profile looks a lot like mine used to over the last few years when I'd consistently get blown away by everybody on short power climbs and sprinting as I just couldn't deliver enough of an explosive burst to keep up. After doing even more damage to my left leg crashing last year it's worse again in 2013...


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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    Something just does not add up here. Below are my average power numbers straight out of the PowerAgent tool I use with the CycleOps 300 Pro. Everything was achieved indoors at 147 lbs and I am 51 years old.

    My FTP (CP60) puts me at 3.65 W/Kg and the CP20 puts me at 4 W/Kg. But I cannot come close to hanging with Experts in short races. Even in Sport class I struggle to hit top 5. I only do well in long, endurance races (as in 5-8 hours).

    So I have no idea how you guys manage to do well with 4 W/Kg at 20 minutes. Here in Ontario I am sure you need 4 W/Kg for 60 minutes (FTP) to do well in Expert category.
    I have a teammate who podium's in age group expert in midwest and he is a 5.0 W/Kg, so I see your point.

    His 1m power is 85% more than his 60m power, while yours is 70%. I know he does at one point in season 1m all out with 4m recovery repeats to get his 1m power up.

    As far as working with what you have and being better at short races, ,maybe at right time of season this will help. Mountain Bike Power | FasCat Coaching :: Cycling Coach for all Cyclists

    I know this chart above is 'road oriented' but maybe go thru this "power profiling" article and see where you are at. TrainingPeaks | Power Profiling

  26. #26
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    Yeah, I guess you guys are right on. I am terrible at big efforts delivered again and again. In some hard starts I get completely hammered and it take me a full 30 minutes to recover. By then I am way back and the next hour is a struggle to catch up. And I do warm up carefully, which does help.

    I know with age the ability to accelerate and sprint decreases but for me it is particularly troublesome. The good news is that my steady efforts are still decent.
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    The chart in Coggan's book is misleading. I'll tell you why. About two years ago I was in the best shape of my life. I was at about 4.5 w/kg at my race where i hit my peak. Well, I was podium for the TT first stage in a stage race but only about 10th on the hilly circuit race and road race stages. This was Cat 4 road racing. There are some mighty fast dudes out there. Racing is humbling! My power out put was ok but I needed to be about 8 lbs lighter. That would have boosted my w/kg just enough to hang and give me a chance instead of getting dropped. Now with two little kids I've got no chance I love those kids though!

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    OP- what you propose for training does not work (starting at the wattage you want to hold and then keep adding more time until you can hold it for that long).
    If it did work- there would be many more fast bike racers and many more strong guys in the gym. What you propose assumes there is no ceiling.
    Though your system will not work, there are many methodologies that do work. You can likely make yourself stronger than ever with a solid winter program.
    It does not need to be huge time- just the right time.
    Keep researching or hire a coach that specializes in training riders who are time crunched.
    VO2 max work is over-rated. I know a guy who has won his age group at masters mtb nationals for about the last 5 years. He hardly does any work in the VO2 max area.
    But the level he can hold at or just below threshold is incredible. He works at it too- tons of tempo both flat and climbing. Also, he is a great bike handler and very steady when racing. He literally makes times on every inch of the course.

  29. #29
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    This discussion has been fascinating to me, as I too have set a target 20 minute power/weight for the start of next season. The rest of this post is a lot about my situation and my approach, but I think it's applicable to the goals the OP posted....

    How I've identified threshold power as a weakness

    Over the past years, my CP20 w/kg has varied little; and it changes very little throughout a season. Every 20 minute test I've done over the past 5 years has netted 4.2-4.4 w/kg. My race results have improved steadily though...from just off the podium in Cat1 to fairly consistent pro podiums in state level races (Utah). The more V02 efforts in a race, the more successful I am, but if those efforts exceed 6-7 minutes, without at least 2-3 minutes recovery, I struggle. I also suffer if the race is continuously over/under threshold (think cyclocross-which opened my eyes to this). I also struggle as race length approaches 3 hours.

    I spent a small amount of time with a coach and he was surprised at my 20 minute test result given my race results...his conclusion was that I was "efficient" on the bike, only expending energy where it is most beneficial. I think he was partially true, but I think the more significant reason is that my threshold power is a relatively low percentage of my V02 max power (5 min power about 5.4 w/kg), and that I can tap into that V02 power if there is ample recovery before the next effort. This all puts my threshold power at about 83% of V02 max...and I've heard that trained athletes will achieve threshold between 75% and 95% of V02 max. So I've targeted to raise my threshold to 88% of a V02 max effort.

    So my goal for next year is to boost threshold from 4.2 up to 4.5. How will I do this? This is basically answering the OP's question...or at least the approach that I plan to take.

    My plan to boost threshold power prior to next race season

    1) Lose a few pounds...not much, I'm at 157-down from 160 and it was very easy (just ate normal portions for a week). I want to get to 150-153. Most of this will be upper body muscle, and I'm okay with this. I will not spend as much time at the gym this winter, as it does not address my major weakness. I will also cut about 2 lb off the race bike...

    2) Higher volume with more aerobic time and less gym time....Replace gym time before work with aerobic base miles/activities. Air pollution and snow may force me to hit the slopes for some alpine touring or XC skiing, but again, it's aerobic, rather than the anaerobic efforts I've been putting in at the gym for the last 4 years. Plus, it will be at a higher altitude than here in town (7500' vs 4500'). I've normally been pretty low on volume, my biggest month ever was 42 hrs. I average about 25 hrs/mo. I'm targeting 50 hours a month Dec, Jan, Feb. With a light week at the end of each month.

    3) Structured approach through base training....December all low intensity base, January introduce some threshold, February introduce some over/under threshold work. Hit the short intervals hard in March as the races ramp up.

    So if I can achieve my target weight (152lb from 157lb), and achieve my target 20 minute power (350 w from 325 w- about 88% of V02 max efforts), I should have boosted my 20 min power/weight from 4.4 up to just over 5.0. Which should make it competitive against just about everyone I normally line up against.

    Threats to this plan are potential long work hours, lack of discipline to get sleep (typing this at 12:21 AM), weather, and illness-especially if losing weight.

    I'm curious what the coaches in here think of this plan...I've already integrated some input from Poncharelli and Scottz123 (thanks for the input).

  30. #30
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    I have been under the impression that most coaches look for a 10-15% FTP gain in one season as the realistic goal for those willing to work really hard.

    .02

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    Brentos

    I think you are complicating things too much for yourself.

    Setting accurate goals in absolute or relative numbers is not a great idea, as it can take over your training and push yourself physically and mentally to bad things. There are, in my opinion, way too many numbers in there.

    Im not sure what you mean by all low intensity, threshold, etc, but I think you are simplifying things too much and being too linear with your approach. Isolating training intensities is not the best idea and you should still mix things up while having an alternated intensity focus throughout your off season.

    I see where you are going with droping the weight lifting, but have you thought about the benefits of keeping the lfiting going? Even though they are not much bike related...

    My advice is: don't over-simplify but don't fall into the number trap. Do not isolate training focus and for god's sake, do not follow silly comments such as: ''that dude I know wins a lot and barely does VO2max, THEREFORE VO2max training is over-rated''.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    ... and for god's sake, do not follow silly comments such as: ''that dude I know wins a lot and barely does VO2max, THEREFORE VO2max training is over-rated''.
    I agree with that part. Nothing like anecdotal evidence to make a point.

    But I think Brentos has a decent plan to improve himself. It is very ambitious and will push his VO2Max around 61, which is pretty impressive. Mine is around 50 based on the formula ((10.8*CP20_Watts)/Weight_Kg)+7.

    Like with all plans, they only work when feedback is available. Not just numbers, but how you feel, how you sleep, how fresh you are before hard workouts and how motivated you are to push yourself during all those long, lonely hours in the basement.
    My rides:
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    I think a lot depands on terrain you are racing.

    Multiple Short steep climbs require bursty aenorobic power/endurance for example.

    There is one course unique to my area that has a fairly steep 3 min climb that i wrestle up in a 32/32 for the most part. To prepare for this length of effort, i would think 3m x 6 VO2 max efforts @ 120% is the way to go.

  34. #34
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    Your plan is aggressive but likely achievable.
    But I would suggest baby steps.
    1.) Is that weight loss realistic? What is your bodyfat at current race weight. Many make the mistake of improving one year because they lose bodyfat, then try to do more and end up riding slower because they lose muscle, recovery, etc.
    2 lb off bike? What is current bike? How are handling skills? Going to a lighter bike may or may not be the answer. I think a lightweight full sus makes sense except on easy courses and/or courses with really long and smooth climbs.
    2.) Volume- you say biggest month ever was 42 hours- I would not go beyond maybe 46-47 hours. unless you are doing many other things to aid recovery. Training is not how much you can do- it is how much you can assimilate and recover from.
    Especially if you are moving to a higher altitude. That is an additional load on your body and will requite more recovery. Heck, less volume may even be appropriate?
    3.) I would seek to increase 20 minute power- not make it seem like you have to get to 350 to be successful. You say that VO2 max is already a strong point for you- I would not spend to much time trying to increase that. If you push threashold power up, power at VO2 max should be better than ever.
    Think tempo- climbs but also flats. Too many mtb riders focus only on climbing- tempo on flats gives you huge staying power.
    It seems like you know what your threats are too achieving this goal. Do everything you can to minimize these threats. Make sure the plan that you outline is doable- a super aggressive program that is not doable will leave you tired, flat and unmotivated.

  35. #35
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    310 Watts for 20 minutes, 4.5 watts per kilogram, non-typical plan to get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    But I think Brentos has a decent plan to improve himself. It is very ambitious and will push his VO2Max around 61, which is pretty impressive. Mine is around 50 based on the formula ((10.8*CP20_Watts)/Weight_Kg)+7.
    How accurate is that formula supposed to be? The last time I had any actual lab testing done was back in the late 1990s (pre injury). If you work back to get the 20 minute power figure from my known bodyweight and known VO2 Max at that time I'm not convinced the resulting power figure is reliable.

    I don't think I'd rely on it starting from 20 minute power and bodyweight to give your true VO2 Max.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post

    Doing just 2,3&4 helped me last off season
    Peaks Coaching: Take Your Performance to the Next Level
    I like the way he's saying do a 5 or 6 hour ride every week or so, but also do lots of extra intervals and concentrate on quality over quantity. It's making me feel tired just thinking about it.

    By rest days he seems to be saying endurance miles, rather than complete days off?

  36. #36
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    VO2 max

    VO2 max is icing on the cake. You should wring as much as you can out of threshold and sub-threshold before you worry about VO2 max intervals.

    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post
    I agree with that part. Nothing like anecdotal evidence to make a point.

    But I think Brentos has a decent plan to improve himself. It is very ambitious and will push his VO2Max around 61, which is pretty impressive. Mine is around 50 based on the formula ((10.8*CP20_Watts)/Weight_Kg)+7.

    Like with all plans, they only work when feedback is available. Not just numbers, but how you feel, how you sleep, how fresh you are before hard workouts and how motivated you are to push yourself during all those long, lonely hours in the basement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bootsie_cat View Post
    VO2 max is icing on the cake. You should wring as much as you can out of threshold and sub-threshold before you worry about VO2 max intervals.
    How? Why? Since when VO2max is the icing on the cake? It can serve many other purposes, adaptation-wise.

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    How? By doing work at threshold or below- lots of it.
    Why? Because it will raise your threshold power, not burn you out, and put you in a whole different league as a racer.
    Way more bang for the buck training this way. VO2 max work takes way more recovery (if you are doing it all properly). A good VO2 max workout can cost you half a weeks training in terms of recovery needed.

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    As far as I know, the blind threshold approach consisting of days in days out threshold workout is supported by very few, if any, evidence. On the other hand, VO2max work, or other high intensity training, has been shown to be a potent stimulus for skeletal muscle adaptations.

    Im not saying sustained threshold work won't ''work'' (I use it myself). But im saying one should not discard VO2max work, year round or not, based on what people say on training forums.

    As for recovery implications, both threshold or VO2max efforts do have recovery implications. One is not worst then the other and it depends on the total work volume you are doing. There is a dose/response relation between time spent at these intensities and acute physiological consequences: glycogen depletion, post workout infalmmation, neuromuscular fatigue, hormonal stress, etc.

    There is quite a huge difference between 60min at, say, 85-95% of FTP and 15min at 110% of FTP.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    I like the way he's saying do a 5 or 6 hour ride every week or so, but also do lots of extra intervals and concentrate on quality over quantity. It's making me feel tired just thinking about it.

    By rest days he seems to be saying endurance miles, rather than complete days off?

    "I believe it means off", this article was put out in November, I thinking as an off-season FTP base builder. Quality over quantity for example stuck on trainer?

    "After two intense days, give yourself a rest before coming back to training, except every other week give yourself two days of easy training after two hard days instead of resting so you can keep your battery charged" Hunter Allen in this winter training article Hunter Allen Peaks Coaching Group

  41. #41
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    Thanks for the feedback everyone, I appreciate it. I will keep the focus on the numbers to a minimum...doing a baseline test in a couple of weeks, then no more than one test a month after that.

    I will be going to a hardtail (19.9) from a FS (22.25)...I've raced hardtails before and done well on them, it just feels a bit more out of control, and gets tiring after 2 hours. I do have a 24 lb 5.5" travel bike for the really rough courses without a ton of climbing.

    Quote Originally Posted by WR304 View Post
    How accurate is that formula supposed to be? The last time I had any actual lab testing done was back in the late 1990s (pre injury). If you work back to get the 20 minute power figure from my known bodyweight and known VO2 Max at that time I'm not convinced the resulting power figure is reliable.

    I don't think I'd rely on it starting from 20 minute power and bodyweight to give your true VO2 Max.
    I agree that that equation probably isn't too reliable. At my current 20 min w/kg, it calculates to 55.5. Lab testing a few years ago showed my measured V02 max to be 72.9....

    IF I go on the assumption that the equation fits the average of the population, it is more evidence that my threshold power is modest for what one would expect for measured V02max.

    So this takes me back the discussion...what's the best way to boost threshold???

  42. #42
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    WR304: I don't think I'd rely on it starting from 20 minute power and bodyweight to give your true VO2 Max.

    I got it from this Hunter Allan blog. It is an approximation, but I bet it reflects my modest Vo2Max very accurately.
    My rides:
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  43. #43
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    There is truth to what you say. But given that it seems that riders should not take prescriptive training advice from online forums.
    There are way too many variables.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by brentos View Post
    This discussion has been fascinating to me, as I too have set a target 20 minute power/weight for the start of next season. The rest of this post is a lot about my situation and my approach, but I think it's applicable to the goals the OP posted....

    A LONG BUT GOOD POST

    I'm curious what the coaches in here think of this plan...I've already integrated some input from Poncharelli and Scottz123 (thanks for the input).
    I like what you have written up.

    1. I think the volume increase will be beneficial for you. But I am worried that you are being a bit ambitious. I think you can probably handle the volume physically but it take a while to learn to juggle your other life commitments to handle repeated 50hr months. I have a lot of flexibility and all the support to train as much as I want. I can and do achieve 50hr months but not consistently, 40hrs is a lot more achievable. Given that this would be a significant increase over what you have done is the past I suspect it will be sufficient to achieve.

    2. Weight loss is always a challenge. I can get light but don't stay there very long. Beer and ice cream are far too good for me to stay at race weight for length of time.

    3. XC skiing and Alpine touring is a great way to spend your winters. A friend did 70 days of touring this winter and probably 50 days of XC skiing. Didn't really start to ride regularly to late April. Beginning of July he won a stage and placed top 5 overall at BCBR.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  45. #45
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    Being a new PM user myself, I wish I had a bag of popcorn right now!!!

    I did an FTP test 3 weeks ago and a Power Profile today...I haven't looked at the numbers from today, but my FTP was 295W at 177lbs...3.69w/Kg...and this is from only working out at the gym for 4 weeks, only riding for fun on weekends since my last race on Sept. 22...I hope my upside is good...

  46. #46
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    310 Watts for 20 minutes, 4.5 watts per kilogram, non-typical plan to get there.

    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    2. Weight loss is always a challenge. I can get light but don't stay there very long. Beer and ice cream are far too good for me to stay at race weight for length of time.
    What's worked for me so far this year was buying a set of Withings WS-30 wifi scales, for tracking long term weight changes, and also recording my diet each day using the www.myfitnesspal.com app.

    Withings WS-30 wifi scale:
    http://www.withings.com/en/wirelessscale

    My Fitness Pal:
    http://www.myfitnesspal.com

    Those two things used together every day basically act as an incentive to keep in control of body weight.

    As at 20 November 2013 I'm still a little heavier than I'd normally be (149lbs), but at least it's only 3lb overweight, rather than the 27lbs overweight (including external fixator frame on leg) that I was in March 2013.

    I've found it far harder losing weight than it is maintaining a healthy weight year round to begin with. It's better to not get into that state by letting yourself go if possible.

    If you're wondering how the numbers below tie in - the big drop June 2013 was where the frame was removed and I was able to step up the exercise. My first cycling on a turbo trainer was 06 August 2013, my first ride outdoors was 14 September 2013. At the moment I'm eating 3,500 to 4,000 calories per day and trying to ride 6 or 7 days per week.


  47. #47
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    This is a good thread, subscribed. I tend to have the ability to put out quite a few watts but I've also got to haul a 81-83kg beanpole body uphill. My offseason goal is to achieve 4-4.15 watts/kg which means a CP20 of about 340 watts. My current FTP appears to be about 3.65 watts/kg but declined after a peak at the end of August. I've already switched to my shop's road team to prepare for the 2014 NUE so that at least I won't have to be dodging trees in the tight twisty trails and can focus on my strengths in climbing next year.

  48. #48
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    This is great freaking thread. Thanks to everyone for all of the useful information.

    I have my own question based on a 20 minute test I performed last night that I'm hoping can add to the body of information here (and help me out of course too!).

    So I did a 20 minute test to see where I'm at right now, get an estimation of FTP, and see my zones for training for the coming year, etc. It was raining outside, so I did this on my trainer in my garage. Power is measured by Quarq cranks.

    My protocol was: Easy spin for 10 minutes, then 10 minutes at an M.E. (muscular endurance) level which for me I'm guessing is around 280 watts. Then 20 minutes all out....cool down.

    I uploaded my data to both Training Peaks and Strava. (and this is kind the basis of my questions). Training Peaks spit me out a "normalized power" number of 324 watts for the 20 minute period. I was a little dissappointed in this number, because I was trying to sustain around 330 watts, and thought I was doing a better job of that. But then I also uploaded the same data to Strava, highlighted the 20 minute test, and Strava spits out a number of 333 average (not normalized) watts for the same exact period.

    So I guess my question(s) are: What is the difference between normalized power and average power (I didn't think they'd be that different on a trainer), and which number should I use going forward?

    FWIW, 38 years old, 170 pounds at the moment, and don't really care for long walks on the beach. Generally podium in Pro SS & geared Cat 1 races, and have been winning most races in my cyclocross series this year in the Single Speed A's.

  49. #49
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    Normalized power and average power should be exactly the same in a test if you make an attempt to hold the same power. I saw this many times in my CycleOps spin bike.

    Although there are different formulas for normalized power, the idea is to predict your average power in a ride where you have large variations and especially zero power from coasting. Normalized power is always equal or higher than average power. My normalized power can be 10-20 Watts higher than the average (on the spin bike), reflecting my slow 20-30 minute warmup that a normalized power formula will attempt to "play down".

    And I would trust your powermeter over Strava any day.
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by serious View Post

    And I would trust your powermeter over Strava any day.
    oh yeah totally of course,....but this ^^ is sorta the thing. This isn't a Strava estimation of power, it's the exact same power file being uploaded to both Training Peaks and Strava Premium. And I'm just looking at the same exact 20 minute interval and not the whole workout with warm-up and cool down included.

    I'm still not sure if I should use the 343 normalized power to set my zones or the 333 average power number. I was indeed trying to hold the same number for the 20 minute test (~330) but there were dips every few minutes where I'd shift my position in the saddle, or stand for just a few seconds just to get comfortable. It sounds like you are saying the normalized should be used eh?

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