Thursday, July 28, 2011

BCTT 2011 - Lake Cowichan planning


Out and back 40km course. 10km up, 20km rolling (about same climbing as first 10km), 10km descending.

Dist elapsed Goal Average Speed Power
km m kmh   FTP
10 17 35     108% - Mostly uphill slog
20 32 38     100% - Rolling slightly less uphill than 10km back
30 49 37     105% - Rolling slightly more uphill than 10km out
40 62 39      90% - Mostly descending

That's the plan... 10km in 17m average speed 35kmh, 20km in 32m, 38 kmh average, etc.

Takes into account the relative amounts of climbing or descending. So push hard from 0-10, a little easier for 10-20, hard again for 20-30, and fly down the last 30-40 which is mostly downhill.

Because it is rolling for the middle 20km (10-30) think in terms of matches. There are about 8-10 hard climbs and similar number of easy climbs. So lots of anaerobic contribution. 

Go 105% up a hills until you have crested and regained target speed, 100% where it is nominally flat and 95% for downhills. 

Depending on the length of the hill, you may try for slightly higher power (shorter) or lower power (longer). But to optimize power to CdA increase power at low speeds, decrease to recover at high speeds. Always keeping power high until back to high speed, remember don't lower power at crest of hill, push past and get speed back up. 

Most people reduce power at the crest as their brain, lungs and legs are telling them to stop and since they have finished the hill it seems like that would be OK. Its NOT!

62 minutes or less should podium in Master C (well it depends on who shows up... OlafS. should be under 59). 

My time in 2007 on the same course, but 49km (started and ended differently and went farther out) was 1:15:26, average speed 39.3. So 62 with an average speed of about 39.5 should be doable. If I recall it rained that day and slowed us down considerably on the final 10km descent.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Two different studies - LSD vs HIT

Both of these highlite the importance of keeping HIT (High Intensity) down and LSD (Long Slow Distance) up.


The easier and shorter read from Dr. Stephen Cheung, Ph.Dhttp://www.pezcyclingnews.com/default.asp?pg=fullstory&id=9472

Total training time was strongly correlated with FTP and VO2max. This observation strongly supports the above correlation with overall rider ranking.

• The amount of time spent in “aerobic endurance” workouts and at the Zone 2 (Endurance) power zones also strongly correlated with both FTP and VO2max. This is a very interesting finding and runs counter to most our pre-conceptions that better fitness comes through better/harder/more intervals. Rather, this points to the importance of developing that big “aerobic engine” as the foundation for better fitness. Indeed, many of us, despite our limited training time, probably do as much higher intensity work as elite riders with double our training volume. So if you can arrange to have a week or two of increased training volume, it may be best to focus on endurance efforts rather than more intervals or high-intensity work.

• The above finding is about total time in aerobic endurance work. However, the overall distribution of training time at different zones were similar across all 11 subjects, averaging ~73 in Zones 1-2, 22% in Zones 3-4, and 5% in Zones 5-7. Note again the preponderance of relatively “easy” endurance work even in elite/world class cyclists. This suggests that the mix of training is about the same across these elite athletes, and again that “quality equals quantity” even at these elite levels.

• FTP was most strongly correlated with total training time spent doing “strength” workouts, which consisted of low cadence (40-60 rpm) high gear efforts for 2-20 min. 

• The amount of time spent in “aerobic endurance” workouts and at the Zone 2 (Endurance) power zones also strongly correlated with both FTP and VO2max. This is a very interesting finding and runs counter to most our pre-conceptions that better fitness comes through better/harder/more intervals. Rather, this points to the importance of developing that big “aerobic engine” as the foundation for better fitness. Indeed, many of us, despite our limited training time, probably do as much higher intensity work as elite riders with double our training volume. So if you can arrange to have a week or two of increased training volume, it may be best to focus on endurance efforts rather than more intervals or high-intensity work.
• The above finding is about total time in aerobic endurance work. However, the overall distribution of training time at different zones were similar across all 11 subjects, averaging ~73 in Zones 1-2, 22% in Zones 3-4, and 5% in Zones 5-7. Note again the preponderance of relatively “easy” endurance work even in elite/world class cyclists. This suggests that the mix of training is about the same across these elite athletes, and again that “quality equals quantity” even at these elite levels.
• FTP was most strongly correlated with total training time spent doing “strength” workouts, which consisted of low cadence (40-60 rpm) high gear efforts for 2-20 min. 

And the longer and more in depth peer reviewed paper from Stephen Seiler and Espen T√łnnessen  http://www.sportsci.org/2009/ss.htm


Here are some conclusions that seem warranted by the available data and experience from observations of elite performers:
       There is reasonable evidence that an ~80:20 ratio of low to high intensity training (HIT) gives excellent long-term results among endurance athletes training daily.
       Low intensity (typically below 2 mM blood lactate), longer duration training is effective in stimulating physiological adaptations and should not be viewed as wasted training time.
       Over a broad range, increases in total training volume correlate well with improvements in physiological variables and performance.
       HIT should be a part of the training program of all exercisers and endurance athletes. However, about two training sessions per week using this modality seems to be sufficient for achieving performance gains without inducing excessive stress.
       The effects of HIT on physiology and performance are fairly rapid, but rapid plateau effects are seen as well.  To avoid premature stagnation and ensure long-term development, training volume should increase systematically as well.
       When already well-trained athletes markedly intensify training with more HITover 12 to ~45 wk, the impact is equivocal.
       In athletes with an established endurance base and tolerance for relatively high training loads, intensification of training may yield small performance gains at acceptable risk.
       An established endurance base built from reasonably high volumes of training may be an important precondition for tolerating and responding well to a substantial increase in training intensity over the short term.
       Periodization of training by elite athletes is achieved with reductions in total volume, and a modest increase in the volume of training performed above the lactate threshold. An overall polarization of training intensity characterizes the transition from preparation to competition mesocycles. The basic intensity distribution remains similar throughout the year.


And from the commentary on the above paper by: Stephen A Ingham:



But just as vestiges reside in species, high performance training programs contain residual imperfections. The current paper highlights, in my opinion, the most common mistake: the accuracy of training execution. Specifically, this paper supports my own observation that for endurance athletes (particularly middle-distance), low-intensity training is performed too high whilst high-intensity training is performed too low. I surmise that the latter is a product of the former. The case studies illustrate the effects of including higher volumes of accurately performed low-intensity training It is not clear whether low-intensity training is more effective than high intensity training or whether low-intensity work simply allows more rapid recovery and preserves high intensity systems for performance of high-end work.
When working with middle and long distance athletes, this bunching of intensities on the plot of percentage of training time vs intensity is the first thing I look for when establishing a profile and understanding of ways in which preparation and performance can be improved. Further, there is a tendency for sports physiologists to prescribe types of sessions to an athlete with inadequate knowledge of the athlete’s program or how it is performed.




So get in more LSD. Keep the HIT well defined and to about two sessions per week. Ensure that LSD is LSD and HIT is indeed HIT.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday Crit - 1st tt'ing off the field

Fun crit out in Richmond... I sandbagged it in the C group and just TT'd to the finish.


The race started slow so following my usual reaction to that I jumped... and got a good 300m gap... so just kept going.

Did about 40.8 kmh average (top blue line in chart) for the first 10 minutes (to the preme) and about 39.0 kmh average for the rest of the race (bottom blue line).

There are two long 300m places on this course that you can look back to see how close the rest of the race is getting. Tonight I just kept my gap at that distance. If I couldn't see anyone I slowed down a bit. If I saw them at the far end I just picked up the pace. There was at least one pair of riders that made it about half way across just before the preme lap, but they eventually gave up and fell back.

So could I do this in the B group?

First its likely I was helped by Ryan, Mark and Scott working hard to prevent anyone from getting away to try and bridge up. So hopefully any attempt for the B's would get helped by some EV guys...

Second looking at some power files from two years ago it looks like the average speed (then) for the B group was about 40.5. So no, unlikely I could stay away for the entire 30 minute race.

But possibly (maybe) there might be some hope trying to get away for the last 7-8 minutes. Say about 4 or 5 laps to go. Far enough out that possibly most of the B's wouldn't think to try and cover a jump. But within my best 10 minute window for 40.8 (which could be pushed higher with some motivation for and end of race effort.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

W/Cda

Straight from Andy Coggan via Alex Symons blog.

Like Andy's Power Profile which shows Watts / kg so you can see where your power ranks you, this shows your FTP in Watts x your aerodynamic drag, CdA to give you Watts / m2 so you can see where you rank for (flat) TT performance.

My best guess for CdA is about .23, current FTP 295. So 1282 or just about smack dab center of Cat 3. Which more or less is where I show up in TT results...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Anmore Tour - new PB!

So the secret does seem to be training load. Sounds obvious but.....

I've concentrated, for the last few months, on long hard rides. Tempo or better for 3-4 hours. Moving my post Xmas CTL from mid 30 to about 85.

Tuesdays WTNC, possible NP-Buster was the first result.

Today I only had two hours free, so went out hard for my Anmore Tour... to see if I could get a PB...

And WOW! First split is the top of the first climb up East Rd, typically 9 minutes, previous PB about 8:30... Today 7:30!

  • East Rd - 7:30 - 8:30
  • Buntzen - 16:05 - 17:00
  • Whitepine - 32:20 - 33:00
  • Belcarra - 42:30 - 43:50
  • Burrard Thermal - 55:02 - 56:16
  • Home - 1:32 - 1:35

The previous PB's for the splits where across multiple rides over 4+ years... so beating all of them in one ride is nice. Its possible to hit a PB in one or two segments just by going harder for that section, but doing it for every split is far harder.

I suspect that the WTNC's are also helping. One thing I noticed today was that on the short climbs (1km, 100-150m) I was able to maintain a higher wattage for longer with a lower perceived effort. Not necessarily something I could maintain for a longer event, e.g. Whistler Gran Fondo at 3.5 - 4 hours. But noticeably better for this distance. And I suspect the reason for the PB's.


WKO's power profile shows the progress as well. Not as definite in the anaerobic range (5s and 1min) but definitely the 5min and 20min just continue to respond to the load and move up. Now nudging into Cat 3 territory. So the question is how much farther can I push those ranges in the next 6-7 weeks before the Whistler Gran Fondo.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A tale of two Crits

We've had a marvelous WTNC season so far... no missed races for rain. And last night we got a bonus. The UBC Grand Prix took all the Cat 1/2 riders so us lowly and unprivileged types (Cat 3/4 and novice) got to do a double distance for our WNTC..

This made for interesting comparisons as last week the Cat 4's had fastest ride of the season (and quite possibly faster than any last year..) @ 41.5kph average speed for the 26 minute race. With a peak at just about 42kph average pace about half way through.

This week of course was a bit slower. There where a few upgrades (people moved up to Cat 3...) And the group was smaller. But my impression was that because we where going to race twice as long, 50 instead of 25 minutes, the pace setters where setting the pace a bit slower. So About 38.5 for the first half and (strangely) a bit faster at about 39.4 for the last half. Or about 39.1 kph average overall.


Here are the two power files with the average speed and power shown.

What I found was the pace for last week was just at the edge of what I could do. Heading into the last two laps it was maybe I could just pull in right now... Perceived effort was over the top.


Last night the pace (2.5-3 kph slower) meant I was just inside my comfort zone (well not comfort but at least not my unconfortable zone...) So hitting two laps to go close to 50 minutes in and I had no thoughts of pulling in.



Last week vs this week numbers, normalize power watts and average watts

  • 316, 235
  • 311, 247

So last week overall wattage was lower, but the peaks (up the hill) where higher and more punishing. This week overall wattage was higher for longer, but the peaks where less punishing. So overall I was closer to my ability zone and therefore perceived effort was lower.

The numbers also show another "problem". I hit 100 TSS points in 50 minutes. And in fact after a short (< 1 minute) "rest" actually decided to push on and keep up a (not quite race) effort to fill in the one hour. Got to 120 TSS ... which of course with an Intensity Factor of 1.09 makes this an NP Buster... theoretically impossible. Although IFF possible it would be done by doing repeated short high intensity intervals with rests between ( a good enough description of the WTNC course...)

But I suspect this simply means I need to move FTP up... currently at 285. Probably need to move it up to about 295, which would move TSS down to about 105 which is closer to what Coggan predicts should be the max for this type of effort.

Trainingpeaks links: