What Percentage of FTP / MMP when you're not tired, but equally not trying...

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by JibberJim, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. JibberJim

    JibberJim Member

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    With the advent of Strava, I've noticed a lot of people climb when "not trying" at a very different intensity to me, and I'm wondering if it simply different motivations when faced with a hill, or if it's perhaps reveals anything more interesting...

    I live in South East England, and have an almost 6w/kg 5 minute and 5 w/kg 20 minute, and the reality of the terrain is such that 5 w/kg means that no climb is going to take more than 10 minutes (and those only the shallow ones when the wind is against - most are 6 or 7 mins.)

    What I've noticed is that it's very rare for me for ever drop much below threshold on these climbs - For the locals (or not so local given that it was the Olympics "hill") on Box Hill for example, I've climbed 118 times on Strava and on 80 of them it's been over threshold, 90 of them at 90% plus - some of those others would've been when encouraging others or punctured or similar (always ride to the top with a slow puncture to change it at the cafe).

    Even more so on Coombe Bottom - which despite being often the last hill of the day on a 4 hour 0.8+ IF hard training rides, I've only ridden under threshold on 4 of the 36 times up it.

    However looking at other riders - many of them at least as good or better than me when going for it, often seem to be spend an awful lot of their time riding up the same hills on similar rides at a lot lower percentage of both their FTP's and their maxes.

    Does this suggest anything other than the mental desire to ride hard?
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    I'd say it suggests something about riding and training philosophy and how you approach hills. Not every hill has to hurt or be a hard effort for the distance and not every ten minute stretch of road, flat or tipped up needs to be at or over FTP as it seems this hill is for you. It could also suggest things about the gearing you carry but it doesn't sound like you're forced over Threshold, it sounds like you choose to climb at that intensity which is fine but many folks don't feel the need to hit or hold Threshold wherever they can and many have training philosophies where they save those harder efforts for certain days or certain types of workouts.

    I wouldn't read more into it than that. You like to hit hills hard which is great but that training style isn't used by everyone and some very fit riders choose to pick and choose where they'll put in their harder riding and use Tempo and other training intensities as an intentional part of their training.

    -Dave
     
  3. JibberJim

    JibberJim Member

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    That is perhaps the question I was really asking "how easy do you ride for a hill not to hurt?" - riding a 7 minute hill at threshold doesn't "hurt" at all, it's just the most comfortable way to get to the top of up the hill, I guess I'm specifically asking how hard people ride up a 5 minute hill when they don't want it to hurt. Certainly you have a point with gearing on steep hills - but Box is 5%...

    What is the meaning of "hurt" here btw?
     
  4. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Well it depends, sure a seven minute hill at Threshold is not at all grueling or really uncomfortable but for me at least it requires some focus. If it's an easy day like one of my commutes following a race weekend where I do have about an eight minute climb I'll spin up it and usually average power in the low Tempo range. If I'm on a strong day but not particularly targeting a hard effort it usually ends up in the SST/low Threshold range but unless I'm really eager or trying to hold full Threshold pacing it rarely ends up at 100% of FTP and it takes an intentional focused effort to see more than that as in low L5 work.

    I like hills plenty, but I guess the question could be turned around. Why is it you don't ride Threshold pace on every seven minute stretch of flat road? For some reason when the road tips up you feel it's best to ride up at FTP, sure it's not grueling or near your limit for seven or eight minutes but it isn't on the flats either yet it doesn't sound like you ride that way all the time, just on hills.

    It does seem to me that many cyclists associate hills with harder, more focused efforts. That probably stems from cycling experiences when we're all newer to the game where hills are the hard stuff and can be problematic. But as we get fitter and faster some folks still feel obliged to hold higher efforts on the climbs but don't feel it necessary to always push the pace to those same levels on the flats. I'm not sure why but in some cases like when we're intentionally keeping the lid on intensity for recovery or tapering purposes or to support more polarized training it can be hard working with the folks that don't seem to be able to pace back on climbs. Not saying that applies to you, but there are legitimate reasons within some training philosophies or for specific purposes to hold back and not go up to or beyond Threshold all the time. On days like that it's useful to be able to mellow out and just roll up hills but that may or may not apply to you and your training needs.

    Anyway, if we're talking about our subconscious pacing habits and what feels uncomfortable, I tend to pace hills well below FTP if I'm just cruising like on a mellow commute. If I'm feeling feisty but not going after records it tends to be higher as in SST to low L4 pacing but I'd rarely see 7 to 10 minutes up at 100% of FTP unless I was intentionally trying for something like that. But I guess we're all different that way.

    -Dave
     
  5. JibberJim

    JibberJim Member

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    Part of the reason for that would be safety - the mental attention required to go at the higher speeds produced, there are plenty of rolling or downhill segments where I nearly always similarly ride hard because I know they're safe to do so. But I also think I'm likely actually "optimising" internally for something other than power - and related to the different inertial situations I see. With a headwind I'm much more likely to ride at a lower power than a tailwind when in a "subconsious pacing habit".

    With this post in mind I tried to ride up a hill as easy as possible today, for the paart where the gradient was over 6% I averaged 337w - or right around my threshold, I did manage to ride easier on the shallower bits though, but still right around 300.
     
  6. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking about this a bit after my last post and I suspect we all tend to do some optimization for things other than power. I suspect a lot of cyclists subconsciously try to optimize for speed which is why a lot of folks dread hills and headwinds. Or maybe it's bike stability and things feel squirrelly when we go too slow.

    Anyway, just random pondering as I don't think it really impacts our training or is better or worse in any way unless there's a good reason to keep a lid on ride intensity and our habits keep us from doing that. But yeah, I suspect we all have internal pace optimization goals and iso-power optimization probably isn't on the top of the list for most of us.

    -Dave
     
  7. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    So you ride at 80% for a few hours and can climb for 10 minutes at FTP.

    What sort of ride are the others doing before coming to this hill? I expect some people ride harder and for longer before the hill and some have miles to go after the hill.

    ---

    I guess the only questions I have would be along the lines of how beneficial this hill climb is for your training. But you seem happy with what you are doing.
     
  8. joroshiba

    joroshiba New Member

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    I remember my first long ride in December where I held a fairly constant power output on the uphills and downhills (I hadn't had a power meter before), some of the hills had to be pushed harder in order to use a normal cadence, but I stayed close to tempo up them, and pushed endurance pace downt them and on the flat. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I think that many of us have gotten use to the hard, then easy, hard then easy. Rarely going steady. One of the things the power meter has shown me I have a hard time with with in races is the going hard, then going harder, then going hard. If you always take breaks you come to rely on them, and it is mentally draining as well as physically to ride without them. I have found the steady pacing long rides even up the hills helps me with this a lot, having no deviations in difficulty is harder than going hard and then soft pedalling down the hill.
     
  9. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    At 3 watts/kg I am a pretty poor climber and cyclist, but I am willing to suffer when the time comes. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    My most recent adventure that involved a short steep climb (several moments 15% road gradients) at the 40 mile mark of an 80 mile route.
    Just about blew half way up pacing moments above my FT, but was able to dial it back and regain composure to make it to the crest. The whole time I was thinking I still have another 40 miles and a couple more challenging road sections ahead. Fortunately the guys were content going an easier pace once we were out of the Pocket.

    My preference though is training on flat to low rolling hills with a long sustained TT type pace (5 hour type effort). I will climb, but not quite as fond of dragging my carcass up that hill. I would much rather be suffering down on flat turf and I kind of like the anguish of TT. I just like speed to go along with my pain. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    More ride data links here if needed

    [SIZE= xx-small]Horn Mountain:[/SIZE]
    Duration: 16:13
    Work: 200 kJ
    TSS: 25.1 (intensity factor 0.964)
    Norm Power: 212
    VI: 1.03
    Distance: 1.717 mi
    Elevation Gain: 723 ft
    Elevation Loss: 0 ft
    Grade: 8.1 % (728 ft)
    Min Max Avg
    Power: 74 366 206 watts
    Cadence: 50 119 64 rpm
    Speed: 4.7 9.6 6.4 mph
    Pace 6:16 12:42 9:27 min/mi
    Crank Torque: 52 498 278 lb-in
    Temperature: 62.6 68 65.6 Fahrenheit
     
  10. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    So let's see what you can do. I would love to see one of your hill climbs posted.

    I am a pretty weak cyclist and posted mine. I wouldn't ask you to do something that I am not willing to do.

    Strava
    Garmin Connect
    TrainingPeaks

    quite a few sources to post up a ride
     
  11. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    Everyone can climb at 100% FTP for an hour.

    I don't know what you want from me.
     
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