Here's a strange one: 2.5min intervals?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by iliveonnitro, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. iliveonnitro

    iliveonnitro New Member

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    Where would this stand? On one hand, it has a huge anaerobic component. On the other, it has a huge VO2max component.

    I just finished a road/circuit race on Saturday that involved a short (2.5min), but very steep (14% avg) hilltop finish. I'm a cat3 racing in a 1/2/3 field, 5'8", sprinter profile, and still not at race weight (145lbs, currently 153). Sure, these can all make a huge difference, but I'm still one of the lighter guys.

    We had to do the hill 10 times, and I held strong for the first 5 times. The 6th time I was put 50m behind the pack and played catch-up for the next 4mi. By the time I caught them, it was at the base of the climb again, and the rest of the race I was solo. In addition, I was reaching 97-99% of my max HR on this hill, every lap.

    Now, how would one go about training for such a hill if specificity is impossible? 10 repeats up a 2.5 min hill where you reach max HR every time doesn't sound like anyone's training plan.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Your ability to recover quickly from repeated high intensity efforts is limited by aerobic fitness. Sounds like you had the peak 2.5 minute power to match the pace for half the race, so your single effort MMP is in the right ballpark but how well you recover to go again is a function of FTP and sustainable metabolic fitness. Or to quote Andy:

    "It's an aerobic sport dammit!"

    Do some short L5 or long L6 work if it makes sense in your larger schedule and addresses other racing needs. But if you want to recover faster from frequent high intensity efforts you'll need to keep building sustainable power.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  3. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a plan.

    But you could always make your 2.5 minute effort a 2.75 minute effort and get yourself a little higher up the field after you crest the hill. That way if you do fall off the back you should have a few more wheels to hang onto on the chase that follows.
     
  4. iliveonnitro

    iliveonnitro New Member

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    Dave,

    Thanks for the reply, but I don't think that is quite it. No doubt I need to raise my aerobic power, as that is always the story for everyone (more on that soon), but there is more to it. Everyone was not recovering well after the hill interval because we always had to give it everything we had. As long as I made it up with the group (which was the first 5 times), I had no problem staying with them afterward. As soon as someone attacked early, forcing me to go anaerobic before the hill started, I was done for. So, although a higher threshold power would allow me to hang in longer on that attack, I feel there is still something missing.

    The problem is that, even if I started near the front, I would always drift to the very back by the end. This still happened in the first lap when it was a really slow and I never went over FTP until the hill/the following attacks. I dropped back nearly instantly every time up the hill...making it a hard struggle for the next 2+ min. For the first minute it really felt like my legs just couldn't press harder, add to it the next minute when my lungs were on fire.

    Obviously raising the FTP will help, especially with the attack that cracked me. But what will allow someone to hold some 500+ watts for 3min when a hill attack requires it? What happens if you need to do that in 2 months, when you expect your FTP to be at 300?
     
  5. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    That's the point. As Swampy suggested, you "sag" the climb: start at the very front and drift back and fight to stay on and close. I have to do this quite a bit in road races or I'm completely screwed. At some point, if I get too far off the back and can't rejoin, and this sometimes happens on later laps, it's game over. However, if I start the climb at the back, I wouldn't have a prayer.

    So that means that you need to be up front when the attacks occur. Consider the attack before the hill part of the climb of the hill.

    Yup. Suffer, baby, suffer. It's a near death experience sometimes.

    Losing weight will help, obviously. Proper positioning will help too. Having a strong aerobic system will help. Five hundred watts for 3 minutes would be a tall order for most of us, I think. I think my best 2-minute last year was 420 or so. It just reinforces that you can't allow yourself to be put in this position, if you can avoid it.

    However, you can only do what you can do. At some point, you have to realize that racing is about breaking your opponent and being broken yourself. These guys are going to push you until you break. You're probably not the only one being broken too.

    For further analysis, I would look that the NP for the race up to the point where the attacks came and you got dropped. Was it over your MMP for that duration and so you were in danger anyway? If so, were you not sitting in enough?
     
  6. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Pick different parents next time.:D

    You're asking for a 3 minute MMP that's 166% of your (future) FTP ... not likely.

    You could do more focused L6 work to bring up your AWC, but that will only take you so far and at what expense to your overall racing goals. Were you also riding as tactically as you could or could you protect yourself better, do a better job of reading the attacks and avoiding huge out of the saddle efforts? You can only do so much in a couple of months and I don't know your history or strengths, but 500 watts for 3 minute MMP on an FTP of 300 watts is a tall order, especially if you think you need that repeatedly.

    I'd take a very close and objective look at tactics, positioning and pack skills including predicting attacks and responding with minimal effort. Maybe the leaders are repeatedly holding 500 watts for up to 3 minutes, but if so their FTPs are well above 300 watts.

    -Dave
    [edit]...ya beat me to it Steve ;)
     
  7. iliveonnitro

    iliveonnitro New Member

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    The bad news is that I was 29/30 who finished. The good news is that 35 people dropped out before me. It's quite the experience with a dozen or so former national team members/junior champions.

    No doubt I wasn't doing everything I am could. Since I just upgraded, there are 1/2s on my team who have a better chance at winning, so I would occasionally work to pull back breaks that one of our guys missed, etc. This had a role, but I'm sure that even if I drafted as well as I did when I didn't have to play domestique, I still would have been dropped.

    I'll give it time, I guess. In the mean time, my mother is getting a phone call ;)
     
  8. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    Ok, an so an elite field. That should tell you something.

    Survival and working for the team are often very different goals. I'm not Superman and it took me a long time to figure that out. If I work for the team early on, I run the risk of flaming out. If I sit in and only throw down at the end for my teammate, I have a much better chance of making it to the end.
     
  9. iliveonnitro

    iliveonnitro New Member

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    But, like I said in my previous post:
     
  10. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    And how do you know that?
     
  11. iliveonnitro

    iliveonnitro New Member

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    I've been riding long enough to know my limits, and this was one of them.

    I was struggling from the first hill and there consistently was an attack up the hill every lap. By the 3rd time, I was barely able to keep in touch with the back of the pack, which was now reduced from 60-70 to 30. I knew that if I wasn't to start the hill at the front, I would be off. Also, it was obvious that someone would eventually attack earlier than the bottom of the hill. Even if neither of those happened, it wouldn't be long until I blew up. I just couldn't hold the intensity, and certainly couldn't hold the intensity for 10 repeats.
     
  12. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    If your guys missed one of the breaks then they should be getting their sorry asses up front and put their nose in the wind too. Just cause you're the peon on the team doesn't mean that you're the dogsbody who hammers on the front banging his head on the bars all day until you finally go pop. You better be getting a sweet deal on some equipment, clothing and other stuff otherwise I'd be giving them a piece of my mind... Likewise, if it really is a team effort then if they know you're having a hard time on the hill AND you're pulling your guts out on the flat for them then there should be a bit of help on hand prior to the start of the climb from them.

    Give mommy a call. I'd be calling "1-800-yourass-should-have-been-in-the-break" and have a follow up conversation with the rest of the team as to why they failed to see guys just popping off the front.

    Never "expect" your FTP to be anything that it isn't now and try and keep your expectations real. Sure you can plan all you want but it'll get to a good point whenever you either get your training right (it'll go up x amount) or when you screw up and it'll plummet to the depths of the earth. A few weeks of hard, short intervals will help perk things up but even if you hook up with the cast of Operation Puerto or start injecting EPO bought from Mexico you ain't gonna be getting 500watts for 3 minutes X 10 anytime soon. It's going to take lots of hard, planned work and even then it's not a given that you'll get there.

    8lbs on a 14% is a lot. On a 7.5% grade, 1lb less equates to approx 1 watt less required. On a 14% hill you'd be almost double that. 16 watts doesn't sound like much but it's a better deal that you're getting now.

    How do you make out that you have a sprinters profile if you're getting your ass handed too you like you are? Normally, the sprinters and hardmen are the guys that do pretty good on short efforts like this - it's the real climbers who get worked over on stuff like this. Do you care to share your power info as to how you came to this conclusion?

    Isn't cycling fun?

    Maybe you should change your screen name to iliveonregularunleaded

    Happy Monday.
     
  13. spinner32

    spinner32 New Member

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    1st - Yeah, that was a tough race (MWCCC Purdue RR right?) ... I was there :p That climb sucked.

    Look at the people who were up front in the race - It was those elite riders you mentioned. If I remember correctly, even your best finishing team member didn't finish in the top 20. I wouldn't beat yourself up, or hope for rediculous FTP gains in 2 months that would enable you to hang with them on such pitches. Just be the smart guy who plays his strengths instead of hoping to be a jack-of-all trades. If you can't power climb, then train it a bit, but unless it's all you plan on training, don't rely on it for your race-day winning move.

    My peak 2 minute power was 392 watts on that climb, and I got dropped eventually. Also, like you, recovery wasn't the problem... It was just not a good climb for me. Some people can do it, other's can't. It's early season, and not much intensity has been included in my workouts, so I'd say that's the only training factor to blame. Awesome aerobic capacity won't make a difference if you aren't used to running above VO2 for short bursts. Train those hard, short efforts (not sprints, but 4 minute VO2's and such). That's all I can offer for advice, because it's what I'd do - who knows what the masses here will say. :eek:
     
  14. grahamspringett

    grahamspringett New Member

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    If you're cat 3 and you're up against cat 1 riders, I think you're asking too much of yourself. I've been in that boat soooo often and, as the saying goes, all you can do is all you can do.

    You'll be flat out on the hill and they'd be just gritting through maybe a high VO2 max effort - you could last 2 minutes max, they could probably last at least twice that, probably more, and then they've got anaerobic land to go play in.

    So don't beat yourself up. Keep training, learn from the experience and congratulate yourself on what you achieve, not what you fail at. Finishing next to last when half the field packed is still pretty good, IMHO.

    I got spat in a race a week ago and vowed to start a knitting club. You're most welcome to join. We'll knit replica team kit in 20-minute sessions, just to recall our glory days, and finish with 90-second all-out knitting of socks.
     
  15. Bailsibub

    Bailsibub New Member

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    Nitro,

    It's a bad feeling to get shot out. I know it well.

    Sure you can do some specific training, and that will help a little. But look at the people you are racing against. Those running the race are the Cat 1s at probably 68 kg with FTPs of like 350 or 360.

    You didn't say what your FTP is, but your power/weight just isn't at the same level as those guys, and going up a steep hill at a slow speed against them isn't quite the same as being tucked nicely behind them when they are pulling on the flats at 30 mph....

    I think you did really well to hold you own up that climb 5 times. But given your power/weight right now, you shouldn't be surprised you couldn't put out 25 minutes total of numbers in the high 400s.

    So, basically, lose some weight, increase your threshold power (how often does this get mentioned on this board?), and you'll be able to increase the number of efforts (time) and power you can do at high race intensity.
     
  16. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    The tried and true method of weeks/months of aerobic build up finishing with a few weeks of mostly high-end aerobic/anaerobic would work here. Then, given the large amount of anaerobic required, he probably will need to go into this race super fresh (very high, positive TSB), without going stale from being too well rested.

    It works for many of us around here where every race is a lot like the Tour of Flanders: sprint into the base of the hill and then kill it for 60-180 seconds to get over the top, then assess the damage on the backside. Rise and repeat as necessary.

    Is this the course for collegiate nationals this year?
     
  17. blkhotrod

    blkhotrod New Member

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    you might try this workout on the flats also.......... 10 x 3 min race pace with 30 seconds spin recovery. implodes my lungs.
     
  18. spinner32

    spinner32 New Member

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    No, this wasn't the collegiate nationals course. This was just outside of West Lafayette, IN. Tough, short circuit/road race. 4 mile laps, one 9-10% climb per lap. The "A's" field did it 10 or 11 times I think.

    Steve - Where do you race? Sounds brutal.

    And how do imploded lungs feel, exactly? ;)
     
  19. iliveonnitro

    iliveonnitro New Member

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    It was 10 times, so not bad hanging in for all but the last 3.5 of them.

    You guys make me feel better and worse at the same time. If only raising the FTP were that easy. Right now it's probably around 290w, but I gained a lot of weight this winter and still need to lose another 4-5kg. CTL is also only at 80, and I typically do not hit good fitness until at least 90.

    Thanks for the insight, everyone. It looks like top 20 at nationals isn't going to happen this year.
     
  20. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    We have a number of ex-professionals or ex-elite riders racing in the masters fields. That's one of the things that makes it hard here. The top maters guys can hold their own in a Pro/1/2 race with kids 20 years younger. Having said that, I doubt that it's any harder here than anywhere else with a significant number of people racing, e.g., NorCal, SoCal. Thurlow Rodgers kills everyone in SoCal.

    Not that many climbs longer than ~5 minutes in races here with a many multi-lap races so the main features are short, steep climbs - hence the Tour of Flanders reference. Obviously the protaganists are going to use those to their full advantage. I watch them go "bye, bye" at some point because I just don't have that kind of 1-minute power/weight ratio. The last time I got a podium place in a hilly road race here was when I was a Cat. 5.
     
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