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  1. #1
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    New question here. Question r/t Training and Timing for AWC (W') Power

    I am a new MTBer and started my first full season of XC racing this spring. I did a CAT3 race and the VT50 last year (I come from a road background for past five years)

    I got a PM for Xmas and started using TrainerRoad Jan 1st since then I have went from 198FTP to 230.

    Yesterday I was in a local series race CAT3 and it was a large group in my wave think over 20 riders which is large for 30-39 3's. I tend to do well off the start and I got the hole shot by a couple bike lengths. The first say 1.5mi of the 7mi course was FAST, buffed out single track, flowy with little if any tech aspects. I was on the rivet , I recall thinking there is no way I can sustain this effort for the rest of the race. At some point the guy behind me yelled if he could take the front "for a little bit" (this was tight single track no where to pass) I made what I think is a newb mistake and let him go. I stayed with him for 5min and then he dropped his chain and was never seen again. My second and last rookie mistake happened when we came up on a some clydesdales and ladies from a previous wave and it slowed us way down, I went to pass off course , hit a ditch and went ass over tea kettle. Five+ dudes passed and I ended up in 7th.

    Thats a long story to ask a question about anerobic efforts. The rest of the race I would put out a surge and felt like recovery took longer and longer with each attempted surge, I didnt have the mojo to get up short steep climbs and bridge the gap and try and find the group. I think this is one of my weaknesses in addition to needing to keep working on FTP and working on bike handling.

    It seems that 1min all out efforts are prescribed often for AWC conditioning, I am looking for a local trail where I can hammer up a climb for 1min and descend down and recover down a more tech trail to simulate racing.

    • How often can these be done without the effect fading? 1x/week for 2-3 weeks? Should I just do them a couple weeks out from a race? I dont have a PM on my MTB so it will be RPE.
    • I have the option of doing a 20k TT held weekly here, I am thinking of doing that every other week as my thursday hard ride. Does anyone think an all out 30min effort is counter to XC racing and training? All the stuff in Trainer road right now is short intervals.


    Thank You


  2. #2
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    You need a better pacing strategy more than more top end power.
    Try starting less aggressively and see if it allows you to maintain a higher pace throughout the race.
    Victories go the the rider who is leading at the end- not the gun.

    Save the AWC conditioning for when you feel like you have gotten as much as you can out of tempo and FTP work.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply. In this race particularly if I went in say 5th-10th man there is no chance of moving up to first, say I paced it better I would have just placed lower than 7th. In my last two races I placed 2nd it was a smaller field of 10-12, I just noticed I don't have the repeated hard efforts like successful racers seem to.

    I will keep doing my work around FTP and just above too with hopes of more gains there.

    Cheers

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bootsie_cat View Post
    You need a better pacing strategy more than more top end power.
    Try starting less aggressively and see if it allows you to maintain a higher pace throughout the race.
    Victories go the the rider who is leading at the end- not the gun.

    Save the AWC conditioning for when you feel like you have gotten as much as you can out of tempo and FTP work.
    Agreed.

    I would try starting a bit easier. Generally people who are capable of getting the whole shot are capable of completely ruining themselves.

    My rule is to be careful for the first 10 minutes. After 10 minutes you all ready have already depleted your anaerobic system enough that you can't ruin yourself as bad.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  5. #5
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    They have the repeated hard efforts because (relatively speaking) they are not going as deep as you early on.

    But good call on working to raise FTP- Racing the floor will raise the ceiling.

    Quote Originally Posted by HopHeadEVENTS View Post
    Thanks for the reply. In this race particularly if I went in say 5th-10th man there is no chance of moving up to first, say I paced it better I would have just placed lower than 7th. In my last two races I placed 2nd it was a smaller field of 10-12, I just noticed I don't have the repeated hard efforts like successful racers seem to.

    I will keep doing my work around FTP and just above too with hopes of more gains there.

    Cheers

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bootsie_cat View Post
    But good call on working to raise FTP- Racing the floor will raise the ceiling.
    Isn't the opposite? Racing the ceiling raises the floor?

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    Ok great, maybe I will forego the end of Trainerroads plan the specialty phase and go back to a block of build efforts.

    The 20k TT which when I've done in the last was almost a 30min all out evenly paced effort should be great for FTP raising right?

    Thanks for taking a min to reply

    Cheers

  8. #8
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    Seems that my best time trials are the ones I'm scratching my head if I should have started stronger - they are often great times/power. Same with a good cx race, they are often the ones that you think you could have started stronger.

    Note that there are many ways to raise your ftp / boost your overal engine. I've seen great progress without doing much ftp work last season, meaning not many intervals over 5 minutes. My TT power, climbing power and and repeatiblity all improved.

  9. #9
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    I saw a smaller increase in FTP after my last 8 week block than prior only 1%. I think my body responds a bit better in terms of FTP building to longer sustained intervals so unless it starts negatively affecting my training or racing I will start doing these road 20k TTs weekly.

    I guess I was under the impression that in order to improve my ability to dig deep into anerobic territory and recover and repeat it would help to train it with 1 min intervals and things like 30 30s etc

  10. #10
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    The 1 min and 30/30 efforts will help with that ability.
    But they are not a fix all for too hard of a start-

    Quote Originally Posted by HopHeadEVENTS View Post
    I saw a smaller increase in FTP after my last 8 week block than prior only 1%. I think my body responds a bit better in terms of FTP building to longer sustained intervals so unless it starts negatively affecting my training or racing I will start doing these road 20k TTs weekly.

    I guess I was under the impression that in order to improve my ability to dig deep into anerobic territory and recover and repeat it would help to train it with 1 min intervals and things like 30 30s etc

  11. #11
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    Couple thoughts from a fellow cat3 racer who's also followed the TR stuff:
    - If you didn't go out hard at the start, and settled into 7th or so early on.. a couple things usually happen: you won't pick up positions unless riders in front of you blow up or have an issue etc (or if you're generally fitter than they are and you can sustain a better pace) - 7mi isn't that long to make up significant time; and you lose touch with a lead group so you might not push as hard as you think you are.

    For me, I give a very hard sprint effort at the start to be with the leaders (I want to be in top 3) and then settle into a pace from there. If there's a stronger rider in the top 5, he'll pass me and I can choose to counter or not. I know I'm not the strongest out there, but I also know that I'm a top 5 rider right now and I'm not afraid to bury myself on raceday. One thing structured training has taught me is that we can go way deeper than we think or normally might - me especially, falling out of a pack is detrimental to my race pace.

    I think TR tags them as 'race winners', but you might work in a few of those to your training schedule to mimic your race starts and get a feel for RPE that you can then translate to raceday. Essentially an all out effort, followed by settling in at or just below your FTP, then some hard efforts thrown in.

    In then end though it still comes down to raising FTP (so I agree with skipping their specialty phase and rebuild)

  12. #12
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    Ok I thanks, that was my thinking as far as the race the other day. 7mi is so short and I pre-rode and noticed passing would be tough in all but 2-3 spots. If I was a CAT2 and did the 14mi course I would no doubt hold back.

    I will do the TT's and then do a build interval on Tuesdays in addition to that then the rest will be my Sat 2hr MTB ride at 80% and Sunday by Endurance 3-4hr ride and see what happens if I stick with it. I like the suggestion for race winners, I heard that on their podcast but forgot about them. Maybe adding those a week out from a race to sharpen up would help too.

    Thank You

    Steve

  13. #13
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    Steve - I'd also say race more if you can. In a 7mi CAT3 race, you can't go easy for 10 mins of a ~45 min race as you know...but with more races under your belt you can work out a strategy that works well with your current fitness level to best position yourself.
    Also - if you only picked up 1% on a build block of TR...I'd look back at your consistency and the efforts you put in. Is VO2 max easy, or the slow steady stuff, or is it all hard? It's likely that you feel one of those as your limiter in the race - try to focus on that. Maybe do some over-unders or more threshold work. Whatever that limiter is right now, i bet you can improve it over the next few weeks with focus.

  14. #14
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    Yea I was sort of disappointed with the 1% gain and I was surprised. I don't miss workouts. Perhaps I didn't test well prior and my FTP was set wrong. If I had the available funds I'd hire a coach but I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense for me this early on.

    Appriciate the feedback, the over Unders are tough and that is an area I need to work on for sure. I think starting the 20k road TTs will A) be great for FTP building B) give me a better read on what my FTP outside is, I seem to be a notable amount stronger on outside than on the trainer

    Cheers

    Steve

  15. #15
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    Question r/t Training and Timing for AWC (W') Power

    all great suggestions. i am a TR subscriber and loyal podcast listener. i eventually picked up a copy of dr andy coggins 'training with power' as an 'in addition to' the TR resources. the book really helped me learn a lot about my strengths/weaknesses. if you are willing to spend a little bit of time doing some analysis, the book is worth every penny. ive improved my weak areas and acquired better pacing at various efforts/distances. and i use golden cheetah for power analysis because it is free - im not paying 180$ or whatever for wko+.

  16. #16
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    btw Steve - how was the VT50?
    I'm thinking of trying it this year, it would be my first race of that distance but this seems like a good starting point for endurance events. From what I read there's plenty of food/drink at the aid stations, so I think I could do it without carrying a ton of food with me or worry about placing drop bags at all the right distances, etc?

  17. #17
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    I loved it and hope to do it again! I didnt have a great race mainly d/t a flat that took a while to fix but if you have the endurance its really fun. First 30mi is open fire road, little bit of singletrack, farm land etc. Last 20 is awesome single track! I am a reformed roadie so I dont care for packs so I went with a bottle in the cage and one in my jersey pocket then a couple bars in another pocket and I was good. Lots of aid stations to quickly stop and top off with gatorade or your own mix if you do a drop bag.

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