Twenty minute hill with false flat half-way up ... good for LT intervals?

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by retrograde, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. retrograde

    retrograde New Member

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    There are three ~20 minute hills that I regularly hit during my training rides. All three feature a false flat or slight downhill section about two-thirds the way up the climb. I've been using these hills for 2X20s as there aren't many non-rolly stretches around here that aren't interrupted by a lot of stop lights.

    The natural tendency is to spin up and recover slightly while crossing the flat and then go pretty much all out the last six or so minutes. Indeed it's very difficult to maintain power across the flat and still have enough left to finish the hill without fading (there are some nasty little incline changes that sap strength the last half mile). I typically see power drop from 115% FTP to around 80% FTP during the minute or two I'm crossing the flat, then struggle to maintain 105% the rest of the way. AP ends up ~110% FTP, with NP ~10-15 watts higher than AP. The hills are fairly steep and I'm in granny gear for much of the first section (the 115% FTP bit). I think if I tried to ride at 105%FTP on the bottom stretch cadence would feel unnaturally low.

    I cut a paste the interval into a new workout in CyclingPeaks and a power distribution charts shows I'm spending more time in the VO2max and AC range then threshold.

    Am I shortchanging LT work in this scenario? Am I, in effect doing a VO2max and AC interval and missing out on LT? I've seen nice gains in five minute power recently, but mean max for 20 minute and longer durations hasn't moved much lately.
     
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  2. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    The first thing that I would say is that if, despite the variability, you can still routinely average ~110% of your functional threshold power during these 20 min efforts, then your functional threshold power is probably higher than you think it is. (Add in the extra ~10-15 W for normalized power, and your IF during these efforts must be 1.13 or greater.)

    The second thing that I would say is that, despite the variability, you're still putting in some good level 4 efforts, regardless of what a frequency distribution of your power might show. I therefore don't see any reason to stop doing what you're doing (although I would suggest varying which hill(s) you use for a particular workout, to avoid getting in a rut).
     
  3. Dini77

    Dini77 New Member

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    I'm assuming you're using Andy C's schema and that the intention is to do threshold intervals. In which case, shouldn't you be trying to maintain between 91% - 105% FTP for these intervals? Andy's scema indicates that Vo2max level is 106%-120% FTP, hence why you see your data skewed to Vo2 and AC - you're riding it as a Vo2max interval and a very long one at that! Drop your power and ride it between 91%-105% and you'll find that you won't fade. Also, you don't have to ride at 105%FTP in order to see gains in FTP.

    FWIW, the climb you describe sounds very similar to one i use for threshold intervals (ie with false flat half way up). The way i pace myself up it depends on what i'm trying to achieve. Most of the time, i'll average about 95%FTP and i usually ride the 1st part moderately (ie 91%-95%). I don't hammer it unless i'm trying to go for a PB.

    I think you have a very good road for FT training and wouldn't worry about finidng a new one.
     
  4. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I agree with Andy -- your FT is probably understated. As to riding the hill with variable power, not only is it a good LT interval (with a little anaerobic work thrown in for good measure), it's also exactly the way you would ride a TT course with varying grade -- i.e., increase power in the steepest sections and back off/recover a bit in the flatter sections. Don't change a thing except get a good FT estimate.
     
  5. retrograde

    retrograde New Member

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    Thanks all.

    The hill is actually slightly shorter than 20 minutes (16-18 minutes depending on wind -- it's very exposed), so I bumped up the target a bit. IF for most intervals around 1.16. It's also steep at the bottom, so maintaining decent cadence in the granny gear puts me at ~115% FTP.

    When I ignore the PowerTap and do the hill based on breathing alone -- deep even rhythm, not ragged -- and end the hill with a nice solid push, I consistently end up with an AP of 103% estimated FTP with NP ten watts higher. Does this also suggest I'm underestimating FTP?

    To date I've used a different hill for figuring FTP. It's a dead-steady 7% climb for nearly ten miles. It's a great road -- no cars permitted -- but unfortunately a bit of a drive from my home. I've done well-paced efforts on that hill but not seen the numbers change much.

    While I'm definitely feeling friskier out on the road, on long efforts where there is little variability I'm not seeing my seemingly improved fitness reflected in FTP. In many respects that's why I asked whether the nearby hill with built-in recovery period is appropiate for FTP building.
     
  6. gvanwagner

    gvanwagner New Member

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    7% for 10 miles would be about 4000 feet. That's if the climb is from sea level. What are the elevations of the climbs you do your intervals on?

    It could be that the altitude is affecting you a bit when you do your tests.


    Greg
     
  7. Dini77

    Dini77 New Member

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    Maybe it's pacing related - what's your approach to pacing these efforts?

    Also are you well rested prior to doing tests and how often are you testing yourself? You may not see the gains (from a numerical perspective) until you've recovered sufficiently

    cheers
     
  8. retrograde

    retrograde New Member

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    I checked the profile of the long climb; it's actually 5.5%, with an elevation gain just shy of 3,000 ft. Where I stopped the test it's 3,400 ft above sea level. Don't know what impact altitude may of had, but at any rate it's the same stretch of road I did the test on when I first got my PowerTap back in January.

    The most recent time I did my test I deliberately used a smaller gear and higher cadence. That may of affected things. First time I was definitely mashing a bit and got out of the saddle every once in a while.

    In terms of pacing, on the most recent test I put it right on the number I did earlier and tried to maintain a nice even cadence, staying in the saddle the entire time. My plan was to maintain the pace I did before then crank it up a bit near the end. In the end it was all I could do to maintain.

    The previous test the plan was to just ride hard, focus on my breathing and not blow up. For much of the ride I tilted the PowerTap CPU forward on the handlebar so I couldn't see the display and get too fixated on numbers.

    When I say I feel 'friskier' I mean I feel strong doing repeated hard efforts and recover quickly. Yet when the pace is high and doesn't vary, I wither.

    I plan on doing the ride again sometime in the next few weeks and I'll be sure to get some added rest beforehand.
     
  9. mr_mojo

    mr_mojo New Member

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    On my threshold intervals I have to really punch it over the crests of some rollers and down the hill to keep the wattage where it needs to be then I can settle back in on the climbs...btw, you're very lucky to have climbing like this to train on regularly. My longest climb here is 4' :(
     
  10. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Sounds like Kansas.:D
     
  11. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    Nawww... I had to drive 3 hours to do a road race with a 4' climb. :D
     
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