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  1. #1
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    Power Training on road for dirt performance

    How are you using your power data to help train on dirt?

    I recently did a 90 minute 302 watt average with a 312 watt 60 minute period. I'm shooting to do well in sport this year. What workouts are best to do for MTB racing where I will be using only a HRM?

  2. #2
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    I'd ditch the HRM as well, or at least not use it/look at it during a race effort. If you train with a power meter for long enough, you get a pretty good idea of what your threshold should feel like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke
    I'd ditch the HRM as well, or at least not use it/look at it during a race effort. If you train with a power meter for long enough, you get a pretty good idea of what your threshold should feel like.
    I tend to use it to peg my aerobic threshold and keep it right there as long as possible which in my case is right at 172-174 bpm,

  4. #4
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    Intervals

    How? I do all my intervals by power. HR is too goofy at high outputs to really hit the ranges by a HR monitor alone. After using power for a while, I can tell by PE where I should be on the MTB as well. HR is only used for me to tell if something is screwy with my current condition.

    Typically my specific intervals are all on the road. on the MTB I do the less precise, long LT type work.

    By those numbers, I'm guessing you are either not a lightweight, or crushing Sport.
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    last friday I was 196, i'm shooting for sub 190 by my 1st race a few weeks out, i expect to finish the summer up in the 185 range

  6. #6
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    I am not a big power meter fan myself (Although I have a road SRM, mtb SRM and a compu-trainer). IMO power is great for monitoring training but not training prescription. But that is a debate for another time.

    How to use your power information. Well by your data you have a threshold of about 3.4 watts per kilo.

    Elite riders are around 5.0 w/kg and Cat 1 (expert) around 4.0 w/kg. At that power output you should be competative in sport but not winning.

    Let us say you up your power to 4.0 w/kg but were still unable to win in sport then you might want to look at other compentents in your racing (technical skills, nutrition, tactics, ect...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fsrftc
    How are you using your power data to help train on dirt?

    I recently did a 90 minute 302 watt average with a 312 watt 60 minute period. I'm shooting to do well in sport this year. What workouts are best to do for MTB racing where I will be using only a HRM?

    The Difference between Road and Mountain Bike Power Output and What Your Training Should Do About it.

    The Right Way vs the Wrong Way to Perform Intervals

    Should get you started

  8. #8
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    That first link of Jason's is good. I've used it to come up with some new workouts.

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    LOL at 4.0w/kg being expert...where is that an expert number? I've estimated that you need over 5 to win an expert race here in Colorado. I was top 5 consistently in sport 2 years ago (didn't race last year) with an estimated threshold of 4.2 that year. I think i can easily achieve that again this year with a little more weight loss, heck I may even be there I haven't done a power hour for months, the last one I did was January and it was 327 for 60 minutes with a little room to spare, so I'm virtually certain I'm in the 350-360 range now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RickySilk
    That first link of Jason's is good. I've used it to come up with some new workouts.
    awesome link, I found that in another thread and will start integrating those workouts into my training days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by used2Bhard
    By those numbers, I'm guessing you are either not a lightweight, or crushing Sport.
    I was just thinking the same thing. I weighed mid to high 170's with an FTP of 274 and podiumed most of my sport races.

    Expert, however, is a whole 'nother story. I'm felling slowwww.

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fsrftc
    LOL at 4.0w/kg being expert...where is that an expert number? I've estimated that you need over 5 to win an expert race here in Colorado. I was top 5 consistently in sport 2 years ago (didn't race last year) with an estimated threshold of 4.2 that year. I think i can easily achieve that again this year with a little more weight loss, heck I may even be there I haven't done a power hour for months, the last one I did was January and it was 327 for 60 minutes with a little room to spare, so I'm virtually certain I'm in the 350-360 range now.
    The key thing is your estimated threshold of 4.2. Everybody grossly over estimates their threshold.

    If you have over 5.0 and are racing expert then you have truly horrible technical skills.

    If you have decent technical skills, race tactics and a true FTP over 5.0 then you are in the top 20 in elite at US cups.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    The key thing is your estimated threshold of 4.2. Everybody grossly over estimates their threshold.

    If you have over 5.0 and are racing expert then you have truly horrible technical skills.

    If you have decent technical skills, race tactics and a true FTP over 5.0 then you are in the top 20 in elite at US cups.
    I don't understand that.

    If I can produce XYZ watts for an hour, how is that an estimation of my threshold? It is what it is, no way around it.

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    Kinda by definition if you are winning sport you are an expert, and if you are winning expert, you are elite. When I raced sport I was getting consistent podium results at 4 w/kg. This year I've been able to win cat 1/expert at 4.5 w/kg. My w/kg numbers are based on actual best 60 min efforts. Of course this is in Oregon. I've looked at Colorado results and the fields are about double the size, so I'm not suprised the standards are much higher.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke
    I don't understand that.

    If I can produce XYZ watts for an hour, how is that an estimation of my threshold? It is what it is, no way around it.
    Absolutely if you produce X watts for an hour then that is your threshol, but few actually go and test.

    Lots of people do a test and then extrapolate but few actually do a formal test.

    I chuckle because I hear numbers all the time from sport and expert riders that are elite level. One of my athlete has an FTP a little less then 5.0 watts/kg (350 watts at 71kg). At one of the US cups he placed 4th. His technical skills, for an elite, are no better then average.

    The number I threw out there are bang on. So if you can honestly hold 4.0 watts/kg and are stuck in sport then FTP is not your limiter. There is something else that is holding you back.

  16. #16
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    Any idea how many w/kg the women are typically running? My best has been 4 w/kg (when I was road racing a lot), but I laid off of a strict training program for a while & it's dropped some.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fsrftc
    What workouts are best to do for MTB racing where I will be using only a HRM?
    I would say that HRM is not useful at all gauging your intensity during intervals under 2 minutes, and there's a decent argument that they are not useful for intervals under 5 mins. This is because HR doesn't "catch-up" to your effort level for a while. In other words, you start pedaling hard, and your HR doesn't rise to match that hard effort for a while (1-4 mins in my experience)--better said: HR slowly rises until it finally matches that hard effort level. So, if you're only using HRM sometimes, it's best to monitor/gauge your effort level during intervals/efforts that last 10 mins or longer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    I chuckle because I hear numbers all the time from sport and expert riders that are elite level. One of my athlete has an FTP a little less then 5.0 watts/kg (350 watts at 71kg). At one of the US cups he placed 4th. His technical skills, for an elite, are no better then average.
    Yes I agree, 5w/kg FTP is solid for any armature racer. An FTP of 5.5w/kg is huge for an amateur racer. Its achievable, but rare. I live in a city of about 1million. There is one amateur in town that has an FTP around 5.2 to 5.4W/kg. Hes stronger than some local pros riding on continental teams. If I'm not mistaken most domestic pros are around 5.5W/kg. If you look at his palmaries, you can see hes an exception not the norm.

    As someone who trains 7 days a week and competes in the 1/2 road scene I'm always amazed with the numbers thrown out here. Ive raced in 2 provinces and 3 different states and find the level of combination is about the same, if not a little higher in Quebec.

    Maybe the southern riders are strong because they ride outside 12 months a year, but I bet its the method used to approximate FTP. Some indoor trainers spit out unrealistically high power numbers from time to time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    The number I threw out there are bang on. So if you can honestly hold 4.0 watts/kg and are stuck in sport then FTP is not your limiter. There is something else that is holding you back.
    In general, I agree with this statement, but I don't doubt that a Colorado race might have more competitive than in other places.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea138
    Any idea how many w/kg the women are typically running? My best has been 4 w/kg (when I was road racing a lot), but I laid off of a strict training program for a while & it's dropped some.
    I coached an Expert National Champion woman a few years ago (the fastest expert woman at nationals that year). I didn't have any power numbers for her at the time she won, but based on some testing numbers from early in the year, I would estimate she was around 3.8-3.9 watts/kg FTP at the time she won the national championship--that's assuming some improvement from early in the year (she tested--accurately--at 3.6 early in the year). She had great technical skills, great mental focus and confidence, and she could suffer really well (better than most).
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  21. #21
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    Wow- that's nice to know

    My problem is that I've only had my MTB for about a month, so I've currently got the technical skills of a monkey on rollerskates
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea138
    Any idea how many w/kg the women are typically running? My best has been 4 w/kg (when I was road racing a lot), but I laid off of a strict training program for a while & it's dropped some.
    At the front end of a world cup, around 5.5 watts/kg, maybe higher. To race decent in elite 4.0+ watts/kg.

    Expert is probably around 3.5 and sport around 3.0.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea138
    I've currently got the technical skills of a monkey on rollerskates
    That's quite a claim!
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    So where do you guys get your power data from? Using your roadbike with power meter on road rides or rollers etc?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    I chuckle because I hear numbers all the time from sport and expert riders that are elite level. One of my athlete has an FTP a little less then 5.0 watts/kg (350 watts at 71kg). At one of the US cups he placed 4th. His technical skills, for an elite, are no better then average.
    Don't chuckle at me. My numbers are certainly in the Cat 2 (sport) range as are my results. So I guess I'm kosher...

    At least I know my limitations and do enjoy it all.

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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by _daemon_
    So where do you guys get your power data from? Using your roadbike with power meter on road rides or rollers etc?
    Yeah, fsrftc, how are you getting these estimates? Powertap, computrainer, SRM, etc.

    How are you estimating other categories P/W??


    If you took all your expert racers and tested them on a calibrated computrainer, took the data and found the mean, median, and had a strong correlation coefficient (between power and placing in an expert race), and had a sufficient sample size........that might be a good estimate.

    Where I work, they'll still blow holes in that estimate.
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  27. #27
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    Road bike/SRM/1-hour power test on the road. It hurts.

    Some people will do a 20 min power test and multiply the average by .95, but I found that overestimates me a little (I'm closer to .9 than .95), so I go for the full hour.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrea138
    Road bike/SRM/1-hour power test on the road. It hurts.

    Some people will do a 20 min power test and multiply the average by .95, but I found that overestimates me a little (I'm closer to .9 than .95), so I go for the full hour.

    .95 is a good start, but not always the best fit for everybody. A good coach or power meter user will be able to know the right formula for determining your FTP. But why go the full hour for testing when you know to use .9? Seems like a whole lot of wasted energy and not much chance for good repeatability. An ftp test should be treated pretty much like a race, you should be rested up for it and it's going to whack you a bit in your training for the next few days. Going for a whole hour is really going to take some training plan adjustment.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprocketjockey9
    .95 is a good start, but not always the best fit for everybody. A good coach or power meter user will be able to know the right formula for determining your FTP. But why go the full hour for testing when you know to use .9? Seems like a whole lot of wasted energy and not much chance for good repeatability. An ftp test should be treated pretty much like a race, you should be rested up for it and it's going to whack you a bit in your training for the next few days. Going for a whole hour is really going to take some training plan adjustment.
    Jason you are pretty competent elite level rider. What is your FTP?

    How important do you think FTP is for MTB racing? How much of a determinent of sucess do you think it is?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    Jason you are pretty competent elite level rider. What is your FTP?

    How important do you think FTP is for MTB racing? How much of a determinent of sucess do you think it is?

    Haha, that's a good one LMN I wish I was elite, maybe someday I'll get up there.

    FTP is right around 4.65-75 depending on how much ice cream is in the fridge. Above expert class, but still a bit below elite level.

    I'd say FTP is probably the most important determinant of success for an athlete, take a look at all the really great mountain bikers that have jumped to the road and where they sit in comparison (Cadel & Tom D stand out pretty well).

    Better believe > 5.0 is pretty much the standard where you need to be. Tech skills are quite important and yes, races can be won and lost there, but significant time can be made on the flats or climbing versus gains made on descents or in the singletrack.

    BTW, it's not at all uncommon for your mountain bike FTP, to be about 10% lower than your road FTP.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprocketjockey9
    Haha, that's a good one LMN I wish I was elite, maybe someday I'll get up there.

    FTP is right around 4.65-75 depending on how much ice cream is in the fridge. Above expert class, but still a bit below elite level.

    I'd say FTP is probably the most important determinant of success for an athlete, take a look at all the really great mountain bikers that have jumped to the road and where they sit in comparison (Cadel & Tom D stand out pretty well).

    Better believe > 5.0 is pretty much the standard where you need to be. Tech skills are quite important and yes, races can be won and lost there, but significant time can be made on the flats or climbing versus gains made on descents or in the singletrack.

    BTW, it's not at all uncommon for your mountain bike FTP, to be about 10% lower than your road FTP.
    I agree with you about the importance of FTP, but HOW important is it. In one the things you publish you stated that climbing on a MTB requires frequent burst of power above FTP, followed by periods of low power.

    Is the ability to do that determined completely by FTP or are other abilities a significant factor.

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    From my limited experience, FTP matters a lot.

    I am 95% a roadie, but like to play in the dirt some.

    My FTP as measured from a full, 1-hour effort in March is 5.5 w/kg (have a FTP test scheduled Sunday so hopefully higher!!); my technical skills are just okay - I mountain biked some for fun when I was a teenager, but don't do any training off-road because that is not my focus.

    Anyways, despite being at a disadvantage in terms of skills, of the four off-road races I've done this year I've managed two wins and one second. One of those wins was actually last Saturday's Highland Hex 6 hour, I know of which Jason won last year.

    On the road, I am really good at TTs and long climbs (where FTP and w/kg are important), but I've been surprised by how well I've done even in XC racing despite zero skill work. I usually get passed on the downhills but make it up on the flats and climbs. My conclusion is that as long as your are a reasonably competent bike handler, FTP is the single most important element of mountain bike racing. I could be way off here, and I certainly don't race world cups, but I thought I would just throw that out as perhaps a case-in-point of someone with a high FTP but is not a mountain biker.

    To be honest, I am a Cat 2 on the road and this is my second season racing so I'm still trying to move up and learn the ropes. I would love to be able to bike on a pro team on the road next year, but my success on the dirt thus far has me tweaking the brain on maybe trying to do something there...

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    How much watts per kg, could the top MTB riders as Absalon, Sausser, Stander or those guys have?
    We know more or less the power numbers of the roadies, but why not of this guys? PT and SRM for MTBs have been there for a long time, and I havent read one single number about them...

    It will be good to know what do you guys think...

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by fran
    How much watts per kg, could the top MTB riders as Absalon, Sausser, Stander or those guys have?
    We know more or less the power numbers of the roadies, but why not of this guys? PT and SRM for MTBs have been there for a long time, and I havent read one single number about them...

    It will be good to know what do you guys think...
    I know the best power number that ever been observed in Canadian Cycling are by Roland Green. I am will to be that the top mountain bikers are on par with top road riders. I would be surpised actually if their numbers for 1hr were higher.

    Give you an idea of the level of the top riders. Catharine in a 20 minute lap is about three minutes slower then Absalon. Last week she did an effort on the final 9km of Alp de Suisse climb in the Giro, her time was 35 minutes. Lance did it that day in 30 minutes (the leaders did in 27 minutes). What you have to realize is that Catharine was on a MTB with knobbies. I esitmate that on a 15lb road bike she would be about 3 minutes quicker (32 minutes). Absalon with would be about 5 minutes or more quicker then her (27 minutes).

    Watts/kg at the front end of a world cup are probably above 6.0.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HatTrick
    I am 95% a roadie, but like to play in the dirt some.

    My FTP as measured from a full, 1-hour effort in March is 5.5 w/kg (have a FTP test scheduled Sunday so hopefully higher!!); my technical skills are just okay - I mountain biked some for fun when I was a teenager, but don't do any training off-road because that is not my focus.

    Anyways, despite being at a disadvantage in terms of skills, of the four off-road races I've done this year I've managed two wins and one second. One of those wins was actually last Saturday's Highland Hex 6 hour, I know of which Jason won last year.

    On the road, I am really good at TTs and long climbs (where FTP and w/kg are important), but I've been surprised by how well I've done even in XC racing despite zero skill work. I usually get passed on the downhills but make it up on the flats and climbs. My conclusion is that as long as your are a reasonably competent bike handler, FTP is the single most important element of mountain bike racing. I could be way off here, and I certainly don't race world cups, but I thought I would just throw that out as perhaps a case-in-point of someone with a high FTP but is not a mountain biker.

    To be honest, I am a Cat 2 on the road and this is my second season racing so I'm still trying to move up and learn the ropes. I would love to be able to bike on a pro team on the road next year, but my success on the dirt thus far has me tweaking the brain on maybe trying to do something there...

    A cat 2 with an ftp of 5,5w/kg? No way in hell. With 5,5w/kg you can win small pro races here in europe. 5,7w/kg is more or less the highest you can come without dope. And that is for really small guys. You are new to the sport and need to learn some more about what it takes to compete on the highest level.

    The top MTB guys in the world probably have an ftp of around 6w/kg. Fredrik Kessiakoff switched to the road this year, he was one of the best xc guys in the world and now he can climb with the semi good guys in the mountains of the giro.

    They don`t want to give out their numbers because of their competitors and to hide doping in some cases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Kaiser
    A cat 2 with an ftp of 5,5w/kg? No way in hell. With 5,5w/kg you can win small pro races here in europe. 5,7w/kg is more or less the highest you can come without dope. And that is for really small guys. You are new to the sport and need to learn some more about what it takes to compete on the highest level.

    The top MTB guys in the world probably have an ftp of around 6w/kg. Fredrik Kessiakoff switched to the road this year, he was one of the best xc guys in the world and now he can climb with the semi good guys in the mountains of the giro.

    They don`t want to give out their numbers because of their competitors and to hide doping in some cases.
    I promise it's true, as measured by a PT SL+ that has since been calibrated against a Cannondale SI SL "Science" SRM and found to be within 2-3 watts of the properly calibrated SRM (and lower, might I add). The ride was a hard tempo done at 376 watts and 179 bpm for 1 hour. Between the PT reading low and my actual LTHR being 184 bpm, it's not a stretch to say threshold was at least 380 (that was also what the norm power of the ride was, too). I am 6' 1.5" and 69 kg, so 380/69 = 5.51 w/kg...

    Like I said, this is my second real "season" - my first was last year and I went from Cat 5 to Cat 2. I was an elite soccer player before biking and after soccer I hammered on my bike for 2 years in college for the fun of it before ever entering a race.

    I was hesitant to post my info but felt it illustrated an interesting discussion topic. The last thing I will say with regards to this is I am as straight as an arrow - don't drink and have never even tried a cigarette in my life! So it can be done.

    I agree that the very top guys have to be pushing 6 w/kg and not to mention have astounding technical skills to boot.

  37. #37
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    very insightful

    for a roadie

    Quote Originally Posted by HatTrick
    My conclusion is that as long as your are a reasonably competent bike handler, FTP is the single most important element of mountain bike racing.
    .
    Amen

    The only way to split hairs on this is the argument "take two mtb riders with the same FTP and the better bike handler wins" but at 5.5 w/kg FTP, you probably won't have to worry about that too much in most local or regional races.

    Just curious, what is your wt in kg?

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevemtu
    for a roadie

    Amen

    The only way to split hairs on this is the argument "take two mtb riders with the same FTP and the better bike handler wins" but at 5.5 w/kg FTP, you probably won't have to worry about that too much in most local or regional races.

    Just curious, what is your wt in kg?
    I am 6' 1.5" and mass is always 68-70 kg with ~5% body fat. I am naturally very lean and don't fluctuate much, just the way I am built.

    One thing I have learned very quickly is that power is only half the equation. I have been awestruck by some of the skills I have seen in mountain bike races that have made up minutes in the tech that were lost on the flats and climbs. Exact same thing with aerodynamics in time trialing. A friend (who is about the same size) and I found out last week that with him on his TT bike vs me on my road bike I need about 60-70 more watts to keep the same speed.

    Wrong forum, but I definitely dig the "endurance" mountain biking and want to see the NUE series succeed and take off. I hope we will see a lot more pro road riders do some of them in the future. Nothing like a 7 hour off-road race with 10k+ ft of climbing - it's essentially a mountainous Tour stage!

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    power training on road for the mtb?

    ride yer mtb on the road, especially on group road rides with roadies. tonight i was on my 14 mile commute home on my knobby tire 29er (my only bike), and two roadies pulled on by and said "hop on!" well, i hopped on alright, took my turn pulling, and left em on the climbs with my baggies and backpack (priceless). watt output, hr, bleh! racing sport and wanna get faster? jump right into expert. you'll have to get faster. train on an 18 lb road bike for fitness on the mtb? do it on the heavier mtb and have more power for the woods. this has all led to me winning expert races from 2-8 hrs long when i actually race which is a few to 6 races a year. my hr? never even checked it. have fun and ride smart and not always so hard.

    rog

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by HatTrick
    I am 6' 1.5" and mass is always 68-70 kg with ~5% body fat. I am naturally very lean and don't fluctuate much, just the way I am built.

    One thing I have learned very quickly is that power is only half the equation. I have been awestruck by some of the skills I have seen in mountain bike races that have made up minutes in the tech that were lost on the flats and climbs.
    Efficency is also big. Producing and holding those kinds of watt on a smooth road is considerably different then doing it over rough ground.

    It is also the spikes in MTBing that are challenging. I borrowed my wife SRM equiped MTB bike tonight. Going up one climb I had to produce 500+ watts (double my FTP) just to make it. The

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by newmarketrog
    ride yer mtb on the road, especially on group road rides with roadies. tonight i was on my 14 mile commute home on my knobby tire 29er (my only bike), and two roadies pulled on by and said "hop on!" well, i hopped on alright, took my turn pulling, and left em on the climbs with my baggies and backpack (priceless). rog
    Reminds me of the time I beat a kindergardener in a fight. I even let her have the first punch.

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    I only got my PowerTap PRO+ about 3 weeks ago and have only had time to do 3 rides on it so far, and I'm seeing CP180 figures of around 185W (2.8W/kg) after doing <6hrs/week in the saddle since finishing 2nd in Sport in the Australian National Series - but I'd imagine that's way too low and is being affected greatly by rolling hills and traffic lights.

    We know that going in to round 1 I was at CP0.2 of ~1150W, and then as I got sicker by the third round had a CP0.2 of around 700W such was how bad I'd got. CP0.2 right now seems to be about 980W and CP30 ~300W (though haven't done proper tests for it). Around the time of that 1150W figure I had also just come 4th in a 130 rider field of a 6hr race.

    At this point I'm looking for some good ways to make use of the PT and train properly - unfortunately I only have one on the road bike, for now. I need to decide what device I want to spend big bucks on for the XC bikes - I'm thinking another PT since that way I can swap the wheel between my 3 XC bikes.
    Quote Originally Posted by tom2304
    Yep farkin.net is mostly immature kids asking how to put dual crown forks on hardtails and such.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnlh
    Reminds me of the time I beat a kindergardener in a fight. I even let her have the first punch.
    wow, ya at least she wasn't shaving her legs at that age. she woulda really kicked yer a$$ then.

    rog

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    I love it when someone does away with all the HR monitors, PT's & just rides! Then to boot wins the races! Sometimes I think we focus on technology too much! It's refreshing when someone comes down to earth & puts everything into perspective! I was considering buying a PT, but just can't beleive how much $ i'm spending on this sport.

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    If it truly came down to only your FTP, then we'd all be settling races in the parking lots on our trainers

    Here's what I feel are the core components of XC Mountain Biking (note it's XC ~2.5 hrs of racing):
    FTP: Yah, it's pretty important it's the foundation of your fitness. The higher the FTP, the higher everything else is going to be. Even if you 'weakness' is in certain areas, a high FTP can make up for it

    Anaerobic/Vo2 Capabilities. In a short XC race you can spend upwards of 50% of time above threshold. Hence why a high FTP is important, but it's worthless if you haven't trained yourself to sustain the repeatability needed to go anaerobic and recover again and again. This capability may be just as important as your FTP. 5 minute and 1 minute on the power curve.....

    Technical skills: Not just the ability to ride over rocks or roots, but the ability to read lines, find the fast routes, carry speed etc. I do a weekly series race on the same exact course every year, I turned my best time ever this past week (3 minutes off prior week), because I focused on reading the lines, and carrying speed into corners and climbs. The power was only 1 watt higher than the week before (and this is an hour long race). If you can read the lines, and work the tech you'll save a tremendous amount of energy over the course of a race.

    Often overlooked, but still important: Mental Preparation. Can be just as important or more important than all of the above. If you're ready to suffer and go the extra bit during a race and give everything without consequence, well then you're on the right track. If you show up on the line and are concerned cause Joe Pro is there in your race, well you just lost before the gun even went off. Focus and preparation and willingness are the key. What separates World Champions from the pack, mental focus. Everyone at the highest level is pretty close to the same...

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprocketjockey9
    If it truly came down to only your FTP, then we'd all be settling races in the parking lots on our trainers

    Here's what I feel are the core components of XC Mountain Biking (note it's XC ~2.5 hrs of racing):
    FTP: Yah, it's pretty important it's the foundation of your fitness. The higher the FTP, the higher everything else is going to be. Even if you 'weakness' is in certain areas, a high FTP can make up for it

    Anaerobic/Vo2 Capabilities. In a short XC race you can spend upwards of 50% of time above threshold. Hence why a high FTP is important, but it's worthless if you haven't trained yourself to sustain the repeatability needed to go anaerobic and recover again and again. This capability may be just as important as your FTP. 5 minute and 1 minute on the power curve.....

    Technical skills: Not just the ability to ride over rocks or roots, but the ability to read lines, find the fast routes, carry speed etc. I do a weekly series race on the same exact course every year, I turned my best time ever this past week (3 minutes off prior week), because I focused on reading the lines, and carrying speed into corners and climbs. The power was only 1 watt higher than the week before (and this is an hour long race). If you can read the lines, and work the tech you'll save a tremendous amount of energy over the course of a race.

    Often overlooked, but still important: Mental Preparation. Can be just as important or more important than all of the above. If you're ready to suffer and go the extra bit during a race and give everything without consequence, well then you're on the right track. If you show up on the line and are concerned cause Joe Pro is there in your race, well you just lost before the gun even went off. Focus and preparation and willingness are the key. What separates World Champions from the pack, mental focus. Everyone at the highest level is pretty close to the same...

    Good post.

    I have been examining my own training philosophy lately. I have been concerned that I have been over emphasing the importance of FTP.

    The nice thing is everything is linked. Working on the 1 minutes and 5 minute end of the power curve also helps the 1hr part of the power curve.

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    Exactly, because those 1 min AWC efforts and 5 min vo2max efforts are the ones (together with the FTP work) the ones that raise the ceiling...

    Raising the ceiling with FTP work is less stressful, mentally and physically that doing it with the higher intensity workouts. But obviusly the "speed" and perceived progression of that raise is more noticeable with the vo2max intervals...

    The technical and mental aspects that sprocket commented are spot on...those TWO factors are just as crucial as the FTP at some races (it depends a lot on the course and situation for that day).

    Its obvius that the higher FTP the better you will be at most of those points, but even to train it smartly takes mental strenght.

    Keep the good comments and training tips coming...
    Keep sharing guys...

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    Mental toughness is huge!

    Especially late in the race when everyone is suffering.

    Mental toughness and focus is also just as important in workouts. I mentioned earlier that I have another FTP test coming up (except this time 30 mins instead of 60 mins). I am treating it like a race TT: I'm tapering, staying off my feet, napping. Whatever I nail in a workout for 30 minutes I can generally consolidate into a 60 minute effort after a solid build period, so it's important to do as well as possible. This can said of almost any hard, "break through" workout for anyone.

    Along those lines, this is an excellent article and this is an excellent, excellent read.

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    hahaha even if it+s baseball related I think they should be good reads...thanks!

    One thing I wanted to ask here is...determining your FTP trough a test on a indoor trainer is as accurate as doing it outside?
    I mean, some people sais that doing it outside for the 20 min the "standard" protocol is to multiply it -95 and voila and some people had commented that when doing it on the trainer the 20 min number you achieved could be more or less your FTP, because of the factors that make the indoor workout more "low reading" experience.
    Im talking about having a GREAT MOTIVATION, good music, good fan blowing direct on you, sportsdrink and all that. Also, we do not have the inertia usually found on the roads and some stuff that could "make up" that difference...

    SO what do you think about this two types of methods?

    I know that the obvius answer is "go outside and found a hill of 20 min and punch it"...but Im looking for scientific answers with some numeric basement....

    thanks!

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    Can 'o worms

    You predicted it, but the best way to do it is to go out and ride as hard as you can for a full hour, making sure you feel like you paced yourself evenly and gave it everything you had. Then when you do a 20 minute test you know roughly how much different your 20 minute power and FTP are, and as was mentioned earlier, know exactly what number to multiply by to estimate your FTP. If you are just starting and aren't used to 1 hour efforts, it may be hard to go out and do one, so looking at the normalized power of your recent, hardest hour on the bike along with your 20 min test can be a good start.

    For me, my coach and I like the 30 minute efforts. I find that the last 20 minutes are almost spot on in terms of power and hr to my true FTP that day, and like I said, after a solid build period I can usually consolidate whatever I did in the entire 30 minute effort into a full hour effort. But I know this from only my own experiences. The best thing you can do is try some of these yourself to get a sense of what you can do. I would also recommend doing them on a flat to rolling course unless you want to find your FTP for a long climbing race.

    For your situation, if you are unable to go outdoors then the trainer is no problem. You want something repeatable and as specific as possible, so if it's cold where you live and you will be on the trainer for a while, go ahead! If not, I would recommend finding a good course outdoors that you can repeatedly test on throughout the year.

    People are different indoors vs. outdoors; some can produce more power indoors but most produce more outdoors. It's hard to quantify all of the factors involved - cellular cooling, inertia, and motivation are ones that you have mentioned - but different people get a different sub-conscious psychological boost from having the natural stimuli of being outdoors. Again, the only way you can figure out for sure the effect on you is to try them all yourself.

    Don't worry too much about getting everything perfect the first time around.

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