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  1. #1
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    focusing a lot more on Power Interval Hill Repeats

    Maybe you more experienced guys can tell me how clear I'm thinking, and what I'm missing. My local loop has 4 short (1-2min) all pretty hard hills, one has 2 options; a switchback that is easier, and straight up the fall line which requires me to slide forward on the saddle and really give a full effort, I could barely do the fall-line once even a few months ago while getting podiums in my AG in C2, I'm not a bad technical rider either. About a month ago I had a few minutes time after one lap (but not enough time for a 2nd lap) so I did a 2nd time up that hardest fall-line hill. It occurred to me that most of the shorter races I do have short hard hills, and 'what if' I focused on getting better at short hard hills, and really got strong to where I could do repeats on that hill until I get bored. After all, much of what works me over during racing is the short hard hills with short recoveries. I've been doing repeats for just a couple of weeks (about 3 times a week), and I'm noticeably stronger, I can do about 8 repeated climbs now before I'm cooked (after a regular fast training lap), and then feel quite good on the way home a short time later, or while adding a 2nd lap. (I can't seem to figure out how to get paragraph breaks while writing, - sorry). I know it is very simplistic, and maybe I've simply discovered a weakness in my riding that I'm addressing, or maybe I'm building an essential strength that I've overlooked before. It doesn't really matter which so long as I get faster and stronger, but it's more likely addressing a weakness since I'm seeing big results so fast. Any input?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    I know it is very simplistic, and maybe I've simply discovered a weakness in my riding that I'm addressing, or maybe I'm building an essential strength that I've overlooked before. It doesn't really matter which so long as I get faster and stronger, but it's more likely addressing a weakness since I'm seeing big results so fast. Any input?
    Could be a weakness. Likely you are becoming more efficient at riding the steep hill better from a technique perspective, rather than solely a strength thing.

    I would think that strength or anaerobic training would take longer than 3 or so weeks to improve vastly, but could be as well. Or, a combination of both.

    Short steep climbs require (I think) some fast twitch muscle recruitment, along with proper technique and leg speed.

    In any case, if you are seeing and feeling improvement, your dedicated practice is working!

  3. #3
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    anaerobic capacity gains come quickly - you increased anaerobic capacity (ability to repeat anaerobic efforts)- 3 times a week is a lot of intervals, be careful, once a week during race season now is all you need to maintain (or a race) based on weekly hours. Just my 2 cents...

    An Anaerobic Power workout example would be more like going as hard as you can for 1 min than recovering fully for 5 min or so then repeat.

    "Basically, the Tabata group improved for 3 weeks and then plateaued despite a continuingly increasing workload. Id note that anaerobic capacity did improve over the length of the study although most of the benefit came in the first 4 weeks of the study (with far less over the last 2 weeks)."
    Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermitten Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2 Max - Research Review | BodyRecomposition - The Home of Lyle McDonald

    Paragraph breaks - you should just have to hit enter twice

  4. #4
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    Good read, so apparently I can expect a drop in improvement soon, I'll back off. I'll be happy to keep the gains made over the past few weeks. Yes, cx racing starts on Monday, the bigger series I'm doing starts in about 3 weeks.

    It feels like I'm using slightly more leg than heart/lung to get up the steep part, more upper body than usual too. To be more clear, I start in the lowest gear and it's just a steady grind until about 30 sec in, then it gets steadily steeper to a peak at about 45 sec where it's a short all-out effort ending at a root, then it slowly levels off. The first one or two I'm at the heart rate that I think is my 'functional threashold'. Riding down takes maybe 30 seconds. My hr increases with each rep as the recoveries are not long enough for full recovery, I've been doing repeats until I really don't feel like I've got much left. It sure feels like I'm building leg strength too.

  5. #5
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    Jim - I am sure you are getting stronger.

    I would bet if you were using a power meter you would be seeing L6/anaerobic type power numbers at some point (30 sec?) into climb - your HR is not going to respond that fast.

    -Functional threshold/L4, think of as effort you can sustain for 20m. (let's say for example 250 watts)
    -Vo2 max/L5, basically 3 to 5 min steady effort (265-300 watts based on L4 above)
    -Aenorobic/L6, you could not sustain 2 min continuous (300+ watts)

    You are right in this what you need before CX, just make sure you apply it now to course conditions in your area

  6. #6
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    functional threshold = 1 hour.

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  8. #8
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    More great stuff, -thanks! The short high-effort short-recovery model Hunter Allen talks about really makes sense in my experience; in the early '90s I was racing c1 mtb, I moved away from mountains and did most of my training on a 20-25 minute loop with some short hard-ish climbs, very similar to where I'm riding now. After a few months of riding nearly exclusively on the short loop I started cx and was beating many of the experts I could not keep up with earlier in mtb. Now 20+ years have passed, 50 pounds have come and gone, and I'm about exactly two years back on regular riding/'training', & starting c3 cx in a few days. The local mtb series is more short hills, where I did much better than the longer long-hill race I did (catted back up after a downgrade due to all that time off and weight).
    I'm enjoying trying to learn all this 'new' stuff!, -thanks for the great input!

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