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I didn't win

I wasn't expecting to win. I was expecting to get dropped, and I did. Positives though: I stayed in as long as I ever have in a 2/3 race, in conditions that could reasonably be described as 'challenging'.

So I've been working up to this by doing indoor training, on TrainerRoad.  And trying not to eat too many pies, which at this time of year is easier said than done. I started doing some indoor stuff back at the start of August, with an FTP of 310W and weighing about 95kg, so about 3.25W/kg. Back then I reckoned I'd need to get up to 3.75W/kg to stay in a 2/3 race at Odd Down. In the end I made it up to about 3.5: weight down to 92kg, and power up to 323W. And that wasn't enough. 

Odd Down Winter Series 1 - 1

On another day it might have been: it's not just about the numbers of course. It was a horrible day up at Odd Down, with the wind gusting to gale force and squally rain showers: probably the worst conditions I've raced in at Odd Down, and that's up against some pretty stiff competition. I've tended to find that conditions like that don't suit me, what with my large surface area. Also I found I was definitely missing some top end power; the plans I've been doing on TrainerRoad (even the crit-specific one) have tended to be light on actual sprint efforts, and with two hairpins and a tight corner into the home straight there are a lot of sprints in an Odd Down race. I'm aiming to add a bit more sprinting into the indoor mix but as much as anything it's turning up on a Saturday and just getting on with it that's going to help there. And maybe mixing up the commute a bit more.

Odd Down Winter Series 1 - 3

Back on it again on Saturday. Hopefully it'll be sunny and calm, and all the second cats will have Christmas shopping to do.

Images: www.1000th.co.uk

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

10 comments

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dave atkinson [6491 posts] 4 months ago
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plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

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PRSboy [473 posts] 4 months ago
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How important is w/kg, compared to simply watts in a flat crit?

Hopefully the forecast will improve for you!

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dave atkinson [6491 posts] 4 months ago
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PRSboy wrote:

How important is w/kg, compared to simply watts in a flat crit?

Hopefully the forecast will improve for you!

depends. at castle combe, which is a motor racing circuit and you can basically go full gas the whole way round, i can sit in a 3rd cat race without really trying that hard and it's mostly about who's got the biggest sprint. at odd down, where there are at least two and usually three and sometimes four hard efforts to stay on, it becomes much more important. it's not the be-all and end-all, but it's a useful benchmark

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peted76 [1366 posts] 4 months ago
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It never ceases to amaze me that you do this to yourself in horrid conditions/winter... top effort especially as in a 2/3!

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Jimmy Ray Will [1011 posts] 4 months ago
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PRSboy wrote:

How important is w/kg, compared to simply watts in a flat crit?

Hopefully the forecast will improve for you!

As mentioned, it depends on the circuit. On a really tight crit, crit, or a circuit with any real lump, then watts per kilo are important. 

However, for me its not so much your sustainable w/KG, its what W/KG number you have to hit to match the accelerations. 

And this is where being lighter isn't always the obvious answer. If you are making 12W/KG efforts to match accelerations, at 75kg thats 900w. If you lose 5kg, which is a big weight drop, you only lose 60w from your effort. The physiological demands of 840w compared to 900w are pretty much identical so the weight loss will be minimal. 

The focus for circuit racing (apart from say Castle Combe and Thruxton) should be developing the ability to make repeated 5-15sec 10W/KG efforts with short recovery periods.

It is very rare in any circuit race where you will be pressing on the pedals for more than say 45secs in any one go... so from that you can assume that all efforts are way over threshold, so its that anaerobic zone where you should focus your time. This requires muscle resiliance and lactate tolerance. 

However to counteract the above, sustainable power is also vitally important for crit riding although you'll never ride at that effort. Basically the higher your threshold, the closer the efforts will be to your threshold and therefore more sustainable. 

But its not all about making big efforts, the biggest tool any crit rider can have is the ability to avoid making or reduce the length of big efforts. Good bunch positioning, cornering speed, understanding what efforts to follow, which to leave etc. will make more of a difference than any training can. 

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dave atkinson [6491 posts] 4 months ago
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Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

PRSboy wrote:

How important is w/kg, compared to simply watts in a flat crit?

Hopefully the forecast will improve for you!

As mentioned, it depends on the circuit. On a really tight crit, crit, or a circuit with any real lump, then watts per kilo are important. 

However, for me its not so much your sustainable w/KG, its what W/KG number you have to hit to match the accelerations. 

And this is where being lighter isn't always the obvious answer. If you are making 12W/KG efforts to match accelerations, at 75kg thats 900w. If you lose 5kg, which is a big weight drop, you only lose 60w from your effort. The physiological demands of 840w compared to 900w are pretty much identical so the weight loss will be minimal. 

The focus for circuit racing (apart from say Castle Combe and Thruxton) should be developing the ability to make repeated 5-15sec 10W/KG efforts with short recovery periods.

It is very rare in any circuit race where you will be pressing on the pedals for more than say 45secs in any one go... so from that you can assume that all efforts are way over threshold, so its that anaerobic zone where you should focus your time. This requires muscle resiliance and lactate tolerance. 

However to counteract the above, sustainable power is also vitally important for crit riding although you'll never ride at that effort. Basically the higher your threshold, the closer the efforts will be to your threshold and therefore more sustainable. 

But its not all about making big efforts, the biggest tool any crit rider can have is the ability to avoid making or reduce the length of big efforts. Good bunch positioning, cornering speed, understanding what efforts to follow, which to leave etc. will make more of a difference than any training can. 

yeah this is all good advice. i kind of touched on the anaerobic focus when i was saying that i haven't really done enough sprint efforts. like you say, though, a rising tide lifts all ships. so better W/kg at FTP will probably mean that the bigger efforts get easier. And of course, race craft is a big part of a good performance too. I did alright at that on Saturday, while i had the legs  1

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Jez Ash [243 posts] 4 months ago
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Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

 

The focus for circuit racing (apart from say Castle Combe and Thruxton) should be developing the ability to make repeated 5-15sec 10W/KG efforts with short recovery periods.

....

But its not all about making big efforts, the biggest tool any crit rider can have is the ability to avoid making or reduce the length of big efforts. Good bunch positioning, cornering speed, understanding what efforts to follow, which to leave etc. will make more of a difference than any training can. 

 

^ very much this.

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dave atkinson [6491 posts] 4 months ago
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So basically my indoor training is going to look much like this for the foreseeable future then  22

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Rapha Nadal [1034 posts] 4 months ago
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Do you think that the white knee warmers might be a detriment to performance?

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dave atkinson [6491 posts] 4 months ago
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Rapha Nadal wrote:

Do you think that the white knee warmers might be a detriment to performance?

Hmm, they're not even quite white any more, and when i put them on they were more or less indistinguishable from my pasty skin. might break out the black ones for next week  1