Training (with power) for an Ultra Event

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by LT Intolerant, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. LT Intolerant

    LT Intolerant New Member

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    This is a follow up question to a thread I sort of hijacked on building CTL. :D I'm preparing for an ultra event (ultra in my mind) that is 112 miles w 12k feet of climbing.

    Using the calculator on kreuzotter I've estimated that the event will take me roughly 7:30 hours plus and I'll burn 5,600 calories at an NP at of 220 watts (an L2 ride for me given my FTP).

    Twice a week I do long rides (1/2 w a group and 1/2 by myself) where I put in roughly 75 miles and burn roughly 2,700 calories. I plan to crank these up to 100 +miles 2x per week to get ready for the demands of this event.

    My question is, if you were me, how would you approach preparing for this event. Heavy diet of 2 x 20s and/or 1 x 60s (i.e., shorter, more intense rides)? Or would you go with long L2/L3 and forgo the intensity? Dave Ryan has already weighed in (thanks Dave), but I'm curious as to what you might do if you were me.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts you have or for what might have worked for you in a similar situation.

    gene r
     
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  2. fleshbroiler

    fleshbroiler New Member

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    By any chance would that be the Assault on Mount Mitchell?
     
  3. LT Intolerant

    LT Intolerant New Member

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    It's called the Mullholland Challenge, put on by Planet Ultra, and its held in the Santa Monica Mountains in S Cal. The record is held by Tinker Juarez who rode it in 6:25 in 2005, and he stopped for pictures w fans on numerous occasions along the way!

    I've heard about the Mt Mitchell ride. It too sounds like a beast!
     
  4. fleshbroiler

    fleshbroiler New Member

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    Sounds cool, good luck with it. I'll be interested to read what advice you get from the gurus.
     
  5. LT Intolerant

    LT Intolerant New Member

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    Thx. Not much action on this thread at this point. I'm going to post this to the other power forum as well and see if I can get any bites over there.

    I'm considering hiring a coach to help me prepare for this event, a similar event in May, and then a killer event in September, the Everest Challenge. That one is a 2-day slugfest...

    Day one is 120 miles w 15,500 ft of climbing
    Day two is 86 miles w 13,570 ft of climbing

    :eek: :eek: :eek: - Be afraid, be VERY afraid!
     
  6. fleshbroiler

    fleshbroiler New Member

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    Nice!
    This is my goal for the year. Just 1 lap though.
     
  7. LT Intolerant

    LT Intolerant New Member

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    Yeah, just one little beyatchin' 136 mile lap! No sweat! :D Good luck to you amigo!

    Those doing 4 laps? Insane!!!
     
  8. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    If the caloric requirements are accurate, then you had better be ready to put out that much work in the event. How long you want to take to do it, is a matter of training.

    Long rides at 3,000 Cal are great, but think of the dietary and endurance training required to burn over 5,000 Cal. If you want to finish the ride in good shape, then try to do 1-2 training rides at around 4500 or 5000 Cal before.

    Because your training hours are low, I wouldn't worry about the intensity. Just get out there for the hours, and keep your pace up. If you focus on intensity, you'll be fast...for the first half. Hitting the hills, group rides, will give you required intensity.
     
  9. LT Intolerant

    LT Intolerant New Member

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    Thanks Spunout. I agree that I've got to prepare my system to handle the caloric burn the MC requires. Over the next 8 weeks my plan is to do 2 rides/wk where I steadily increase caloric burn per ride from 2,800 (current high) to 5,000, forgoing structured intensity, because I am getting that through group rides.

    What's interesting about these events is how you pace yourself. It's so different from USCF racing. I'm always tempted to go with the rabbits, but I've found that when I do, I pay for it later. So managing the burn rate per hour is as much of an art as managing overall burn. I'm still learning how to do that.
     
  10. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    That sure sounds like a new spin on the "gotta train long miles to race long miles" philosophy. Exactly what in your body needs to be trained to be able to burn a lot of calories?

    Sure you need some long rides to get used to being on the bike and to dial in your pacing, feeding and hydration strategies, but the body doesn't need to be trained to burn calories. You need sufficient CTL to handle the one day(or two day in the case of the Everest Challenge) load, you need an FTP sufficiently high that you can handle the high intensity climbing and high enough that most of the time you're not pressed right up against your limits and come race day you need to keep the calories and fluids topped up to the best of your ability.

    Long endurance rides have been shown to promote better glycogen storage, and that's certainly useful but it might be the difference between 1500 and 1800 calories stored in your muscles. It won't be enough to carry you through an all day event so you'll still have to develop and stick to a good feeding strategy. A high FTP is crucial here so that you're working at a relatively low percentage of your sustainable power most of the day and hence burning more fat and less of those precious glycogen stores.

    There a lot of things to train with long rides, but training your body to burn more calories isn't one of them. Your body will burn calories just fine as long as you do the ride and keep the calories coming.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  11. LT Intolerant

    LT Intolerant New Member

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    I am DEFINITELY a pseudoscientist Dave, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night! :D

    Seriously, I admit I'm guessing that I have to train my body to ride Tempo for a bazillion hours and burn a gaggle of calories, by doing just that, riding a bazillion hours and consuming a gaggle.

    I'm not saying I'm right, it just feels right. I appreciate the contrarian viewpoint, and to hedge my bets; and train more efficiently; and to still do well in other USCF events that require intensity I am keeping a day or two of L4/5/6 in my schedule. It's kind of a schitzo schedule. Two loooong days and two days of intense workouts and lots of rest, all the while trying to build CTL and raise FTP.

    I'm a guinea pig in my own twisted experiment and my handlers might find me dead in my cage some day! :eek: But the upside is my wife then gets that 25 year old Italian boyfriend she's always wanted!
     
  12. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Me too, what could be more pseudoscientific than being an engineer, at least that's how the physicists I work with look at it :)

    Yeah, I doubt I'll convince you, but I tried the long mileage experiment for many years with lousy results. Quality over quantity has taken me a lot further in a lot less time and my long events last year were no problem with more power but a lot less mileage under my belt. YMMV.

    Good luck however you go about it,
    -Dave
     
  13. sidewind

    sidewind New Member

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    Generally, I assume the power drops by ~10 % when the duration is doubled. So. for an 8 hour event, one could hold like 70...75 % of the one hour power. I'd use my training focus on the FTP development with 2*20 and SST, with occasional (like one per week) 3-5 hour rides, just to get used to eat, drink and sit on the saddle.
     
  14. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    I am speaking in the OP's terms. Put it into CTL, TSS, hours, miles, whatever. We should not be so narrow to quantify efforts in one system or another.

    So I can put it this way: If you always train at X, you will have difficulty completing with performance success, an event of 2X.
     
  15. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'll agree to disagree, but last season I did a total of two rides over 70 miles before finishing the season with a 206 mile road race with over 7500 of climbing held at altitude. I raced very competitively and finished in well under 10 hours. We all wore timing chip bracelets and across all categories for the day my time was 72 out of over 1400 cyclists. I rode away from and finished half an hour or more ahead of team mates that swore by long training rides to prep for this event.

    Stripping away the power terminology I had no trouble racing competitively in an event nearly 3x my typical long training rides but did so by having relatively high sustainable power and by paying attention to feeding and hydration on race day. Sure it's totally anectdotal but I'm not alone in these experiences and others on the Google Wattage lists have reported similar results. Specificity is important, but relating it to distance, hours on the bike or calories burned during training can be misleading.

    I'm sure there's some minimum durations you need to adjust to before attempting long events, but the idea that you need to match your training to your events in terms of: hours, time in saddle or calories burned is based in tradition and intuition, not science or experience.

    -Dave
     
  16. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    I'm with Dave on this one. I've been through the same thing.

    Assuming you have done rides of that length in the past (i.e., your knees/joints/butt/mind is/are capable of handling the chamois time), it is a high FTP and CTL that will allow you to ride well below your max (FTP) for a long time (CTL). I'd still subscribe to the a FTP development strategy of beaucoup L4 and L3.

    For L3 specifically, I would keep increasing how much time your can stay in L3 continuously out beyond 2 hours and just keep building up until close to your event. Then rest up before the event and go in with a high TSB and you'll be as good as gold.
     
  17. Watoni

    Watoni New Member

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    I agree with that to a great degree.

    The one issue is that it is often difficult to know how your body will deal with the nutrition and other physical demands (such as saddle time, feet, etc) without doing a ride of that time/distance. I think of a double metric as closer to a European gran fondo/cyclosportive that will not necessarily push that envelope. 7:30 hours is much different that 11-15.

    In terms of preparation, I also find there is a huge difference between riding 170km with 4500m of climbing, even at altitude, and a 330km ultra with 6000m of climbing. I can complete both without having done a century if my training is good; however, if I want to motor on an ultra event I start working on my nutrition/arse strategy and test over a 120-150 mile ride first.

    I also do a ton of tempo/sweet spot riding. Riding at 80-90% of FTP not only can help raise your FTP, research (or at least Ferrari's research) indicates such intensitites improve your efficiency with fat metabolism, which is crucial in longer events.

    YMMV and good luck!

    I am out of shape now (overweight and CTL of about 40), but may come down to do the Mulholland double to kick start the season. Look for a Peg Love#3 with a Powertap SL
     
  18. Spunout

    Spunout New Member

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    Great. But, I thought that perhaps the OP's goals were to do a bit better than this.;)
     
  19. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    touche' ;)

    But personally I was pretty happy finishing within half an hour of the course record but then again I'm nearly 50.... Maybe a bunch of long training rides would have made me faster :rolleyes:
     
  20. LT Intolerant

    LT Intolerant New Member

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    Thanks, I will look for you. I'll be riding a Scott w an SRM (red computer), wearing my red and black Chicken Ranch kit. See you there.

    gene r
     
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