Creating an event 'power profile' for specific training?



Bigpikle

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Aug 5, 2010
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So I'm off to do the Quebranteheusos in Spain in June and the 205km route looks like this




While sitting on the rollers over recent weeks I started thinking about the specificity element of training for a long sportive, and if I could create a 'power profile' for the course that I could then use for more specific training?

For example, the first climb is about 25km and gains about 900m after a fast 25km from the start thats likely to be ridden in a large group, so I know its going to take me about 2 hours at tempo to get up there, then I have about 35km downhill 'rest' which will be about 1 hour or a little less of recovery depending on the route, then there is a steep 12km climb which will be almost an hour at solid tempo and even L4 for the steeper sections and after the next descent the third big climb is a 35km section gaining about 1500m which s likely to be 3-3.5hrs at this stage if I'm going well, etc etc.

I am thinking I might be able to estimate a few things -

1. how long I'll need to be riding in each zone?

2. maybe an estimate of the total work involved?

3. a pacing strategy based on power

I'm also wondering if there is any value in planning training rides that simulate these elements? Its clear that I have 3 big climbs that will need me to be able to ride 2hrs mid-L3, 1 hour L3-4 and then a final 3 hours L2-3, so I'm thinking

1. I need to get a lot of 2-3 hr solid L3 tempo sessions done

2. it might be worth simulating long'ish tempo sessions with easier endurance sections between them, that simulate climbing and descending back to back etc.

3. maybe sessions of 1-2 hours tempo with an easy 30 mins rest followed by a hard 1hr L3/4 interval

Is there any sense in this approach or is it just as sensible to maximise FTP and endurance through a more general training approach?
 

RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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The short answer is yes to all of your questions. In fact, such a course lends itself to such an approach because of the distinct transitions (e.g., beginning and end of climbs). As for training between now and about 6 weeks prior to the event, I would put my focus on L4/SST sessions, about as much per week as your schedule permits. Later, you can include some L5 sessions, but I don't think you need to work on L6/L7 for this event at all.
 

An old Guy

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Feb 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by Bigpikle .

Its clear that I have 3 big climbs that will need me to be able to ride 2hrs mid-L3, 1 hour L3-4 and then a final 3 hours L2-3, so I'm thinking

Is there any sense in this approach or is it just as sensible to maximise FTP and endurance through a more general training approach?
You are looking at this backwards. You have a 2 hour ride, a break, a 1 hour ride, a break, and a final 3 hour ride. I just used your time estimates as names for the ride segments. I have no idea how long it will take you to ride the segments.

You want to do the 2, 1, and 3 hour rides at an effort both power and torque that lets you recover for what comes next. No need to look at your power numbers just ride within yourself.

My math is poor, but most of the climbs seem to be 4-5%. You want to have the proper gearing so that the force on your pedal (I prefer to say pressure on your feet) is comfortable. (I never cared so much that the pedals were comfortable.)

If this is a race, you follow what the other people want to do. If this is a ride, you do what you want.

I think you need long rides where you have the chance to fail to hydrate and eat properly. Not only do they build character, they show you that you will not die.

---

I would use kid gears - perhaps 16-30 on the rear. Allows me to take it easy on the climbs. Forces me to not work on the descents. Make a good excuse for letting others ride away from me.
 

quenya

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Jan 14, 2010
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How you train has to be informed by your goal. Are you hoping to finish, or are you pretty certain you'll finish but aiming for a particular time, or do you want to finish with the leaders(or first)?
 

vspa

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Jan 11, 2009
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since this is your main event of the year, at a very specific date, you may considering tapering for race day, i heard this one is one of the better known cyclosportives in europe, (so aptly named in spanish as "bonebreaker") for the climbs you will be doing more likely L5/6 than L4, or a combination of them, and im guessing this will take you at least 6 to 7 hours to complete, it is 200 KM on the mountains, to prepare for that you should establish already 3 to 4 hours L3 training if you train solo, and 2 hard days L4-5-6 during the week, increase your numbers in monthly cycles and then taking an active recovery week before tackling another month and so forth, during the event find maybe a group of riders going at your speed and try to interact with them more than following a fix power level chart of your own,
 

quenya

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Jan 14, 2010
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To the OP, please don't try to do those climbs near L5/6! A hard steady pace maybe up to SST or low L4 are your best bet, given the opportunity for recovery on the descents.
 

vspa

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Jan 11, 2009
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if one could i would advice him to climb in L3 ! you will get to higher L levels because the mountain dictates it, except maybe for a very well trained elite rider, they could regulate better their pace up the climbs,
 

Bigpikle

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Aug 5, 2010
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I've ridden plenty of climbs like these in the last few years, so know how to pace them. These are 25-30km climbs at a fairly steady gradient, with only the occasional km of steep sections, so I plan to ride in L3 and maybe hit L4 where necessary to keep progress up the 12+% sections. The exception will be the Marie Blanc which is short and steep for several km's and may require a SST effort to complete. The long descents should offer lots of recovery time as well, as you point out.

I dont plan to be anywhere near L5-6 on these climbs. I might end up briefly hitting L5 on the very steepest ramps but will be aiming to pace it well below that level for 99% of the ride!

I was originally considering whether specific training rides that mirrored the effort and flow of the event would be helpful eg 2hrs tempo - short rest - 2 hours tempo, or maybe 2 hrs tempo - recovery - 30 mins L3 etc, would be helpful for simulating the exact demands, rather than a typical approach to simply max out FTP development and max out endurance.
 

vspa

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Jan 11, 2009
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well you have excellent condition then, i do not but i used to have, so i can see the difference clearly !
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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Originally Posted by Bigpikle .

I've ridden plenty of climbs like these in the last few years, so know how to pace them. These are 25-30km climbs at a fairly steady gradient, with only the occasional km of steep sections, so I plan to ride in L3 and maybe hit L4 where necessary to keep progress up the 12+% sections. The exception will be the Marie Blanc which is short and steep for several km's and may require a SST effort to complete. The long descents should offer lots of recovery time as well, as you point out.

I dont plan to be anywhere near L5-6 on these climbs. I might end up briefly hitting L5 on the very steepest ramps but will be aiming to pace it well below that level for 99% of the ride!

I was originally considering whether specific training rides that mirrored the effort and flow of the event would be helpful eg 2hrs tempo - short rest - 2 hours tempo, or maybe 2 hrs tempo - recovery - 30 mins L3 etc, would be helpful for simulating the exact demands, rather than a typical approach to simply max out FTP development and max out endurance.
The Marie Blanque is a *****. Several km of 10% or there about at the end and lots of parts in that last few km that are over 12% and if it's warm there'll be a million flies. Trees around the climb keep the breeze from cooling you down. If you ride it on a misty day it's spooky. Quiet noises seem loud, cattle appear out of the mist from seemingly nowhere and it becomes a death grind, with almost no corners, to nowhere - and that was when I was 145lbs and putting out a good chunk of power for hours on end. It'd be a reasonable assumption that the Marie Blanque will be the hardest climb of the day. At around 10km it's not exactly short even though it is the shortest climb...

Never, ever, hit L4 for prolonged periods at altitude if you're a flatlander. That really doesn't work. L4 at sealevel is bordering on L5 at altitude.

A good rain jacket and gloves would be something I'd take on the ride, if only to keep me warm on the descent. I'd trust the weather in those hills in June as much as I'd trust a thief with my life savings...
 

Bigpikle

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Aug 5, 2010
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Originally Posted by swampy1970 .


The Marie Blanque is a *****. Several km of 10% or there about at the end and lots of parts in that last few km that are over 12% and if it's warm there'll be a million flies. Trees around the climb keep the breeze from cooling you down. If you ride it on a misty day it's spooky. Quiet noises seem loud, cattle appear out of the mist from seemingly nowhere and it becomes a death grind, with almost no corners, to nowhere - and that was when I was 145lbs and putting out a good chunk of power for hours on end. It'd be a reasonable assumption that the Marie Blanque will be the hardest climb of the day. At around 10km it's not exactly short even though it is the shortest climb...

Never, ever, hit L4 for prolonged periods at altitude if you're a flatlander. That really doesn't work. L4 at sealevel is bordering on L5 at altitude.

A good rain jacket and gloves would be something I'd take on the ride, if only to keep me warm on the descent. I'd trust the weather in those hills in June as much as I'd trust a thief with my life savings...
thanks Swampy - I've ridden the Pyrennes a few times, including the Raid, but never that early in the year, so it will interesting to see what its like. I remember descending the Aubisque in Sept in such thick fog that visibility was about 15-20' and it was only afterwards when I saw some footage that I realised there was a sheer drop on the edge of the road just a few feet away that I'd never even seen. Later that day we boiled heading up the Tourmalet....

I'm looking forward to the Marie Blanque in a strange way. I did the Giau last year on the Maratona, and it was about 35 degs for the 10km at 10% average. ***** of a climb but I made up well over 200 places versus the field on that climb alone (every climb was timed and they gave you your relative position at the top of each).