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Old 08-16-10, 11:27 AM   #1
spessx
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How many watts to be competitive in Cat 4???

Hey guys,

I'm sorry if this has been covered before. I did a search and read through quite a few posts.

Anyway, I just got a Powertap and did my first FTP test this morning before work. I'm curious about what average FTP's look like for successful Cat 4 racers. Any info you can offer is greatly appreciated.

-s
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Old 08-16-10, 11:32 AM   #2
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FTP is an incomplete number that wont hint at much beyond TT ability and maybe long hill climbs.

just as important is short term (15 sec, 1 minute and 5 minute etc...) power and enough sense to know where to burn matches and how to use the pack to conserve as much energy as possible.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:42 AM   #3
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I guess it's better than average speed questions...
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Old 08-16-10, 11:44 AM   #4
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Yeah, Cat 4 racing doesn't have much to do with fitness (once you're up to a certain level), since all the attempts to display superior fitness (breaks) are shut down by immediate chases.

If you want to feel good/bad about the number, it's probably easiest to look at the power profiling chart to see where you stand, but I know guys with Cat 2 power having trouble in the 4s, and guys who are "untrained" in some areas who can win races.

The way to approach this is to go do several races, figure out why you didn't win (we can help with this if it's not clear, from a race report and some power data). Once you figure out what happened, you can identify race limiters and produce a training plan and/or skills sessions to correct them.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:45 AM   #5
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400
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Old 08-16-10, 11:47 AM   #6
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Yeah, Cat 4 racing doesn't have much to do with fitness (once you're up to a certain level), since all the attempts to display superior fitness (breaks) are shut down by immediate chases.

If you want to feel good/bad about the number, it's probably easiest to look at the power profiling chart to see where you stand, but I know guys with Cat 2 power having trouble in the 4s, and guys who are "untrained" in some areas who can win races.

The way to approach this is to go do several races, figure out why you didn't win (we can help with this, from a race report and some power data). Once you figure out what happened, you can identify race limiters and produce a training plan and/or skills sessions to correct them.

Thanks WR,

Where do I find this "Power Profiling Chart"?

-s
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Old 08-16-10, 11:47 AM   #7
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400
this.
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Old 08-16-10, 11:59 AM   #8
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this.
and your races are held on an MUP.
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Old 08-16-10, 12:01 PM   #9
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creaky meant to post this
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Old 08-16-10, 12:36 PM   #10
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pack fodder cat4, flat races with ~26mph avg approx. 2.8W/kg. That's without taking any pulls, just sitting in.
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Old 08-16-10, 12:40 PM   #11
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How many watts? More than I have.

Seriously though, it depends a lot on your ability to draft, the course (flat, rolling, climbing, etc.), and the dynamics of the race (is the pack chasing a break, letting a break stay away, waiting for a field sprint, etc.)
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Old 08-16-10, 12:47 PM   #12
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pack fodder cat4, flat races with ~26mph avg approx. 2.8W/kg. That's without taking any pulls, just sitting in.
LOL - that's a pretty accurate answer. I'm about 2.9 W/kg and I'm pack fodder in 26 mph races. Hopefully some training will help.

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Old 08-16-10, 01:00 PM   #13
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The way to approach this is to go do several races, figure out why you didn't win (we can help with this if it's not clear, from a race report and some power data). Once you figure out what happened, you can identify race limiters and produce a training plan and/or skills sessions to correct them.
Best advice ever. I started this year with 0 strategy and slowly figured out through trial and error at races how to win. My fitness is good (high end of cat-4), but the biggest thing was knowing when and where to be during the race. I still remember earlier this season sitting in EDR's draft in 4th slot 1000m from the finish at Tour of New Braunfels, then getting passed by everyone @ 800m wondering wtf just happened. Through analyzing each race (with the help of the BF crew) I learned my strengths and weaknesses. Then I used my strengths and limited my weaknesses and now have a couple wins.

So when's your next race?
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Old 08-16-10, 01:04 PM   #14
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Best advice ever. I started this year with 0 strategy and slowly figured out through trial and error at races how to win. My fitness is good (high end of cat-4), but the biggest thing was knowing when and where to be during the race. I still remember earlier this season sitting in EDR's draft in 4th slot 1000m from the finish at Tour of New Braunfels, then getting passed by everyone @ 800m wondering wtf just happened. Through analyzing each race (with the help of the BF crew) I learned my strengths and weaknesses. Then I used my strengths and limited my weaknesses and now have a couple wins.

So when's your next race?
I'm just coming back from a back injury that's had me off my bike for 1.5 years. I'll probably do the Driveway Crits through the rest of the season. I start with a coach in Oct.

- So, I'll race Thursday and let you guys know how it went. I usually stay in the top 5-10 and then get popped on the last lap when the pace picks up. I'm guessing that I'm having to burn all my matches just to stay in the race. Then, when we get to the sprint I start going backwards.

-s
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Old 08-16-10, 01:14 PM   #15
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400
In CA district i think it's more like 440, or so ive heard.
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Old 08-16-10, 01:22 PM   #16
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In CA district i think it's more like 440, or so ive heard.
Hmm, I thought it was 420.
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Old 08-16-10, 01:50 PM   #17
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Hmm, I thought it was 420.
That's for the mountain bikers.

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Old 08-16-10, 01:54 PM   #18
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guys winning and getting top 3 in big cat4 races (not necessarily wednesday night world champion corporate parking lot crits) are usually up there in the 3s from what i have seen.

i would say around 4.15 Watts per KG if you want to be a cat4 winner and you are smart about it. depends on the type of race, among many other things.

doing crits i actually have noticed it takes a lot more energy to sit in the front 1/3 than the rear 2/3. there is a lot of... "lets go fast now, then slow down 10 seconds later" that amounts to nothing and if you can see it's not going anywhere you can ride at a steadier state instead of peaking and burning matches. you don't necessarily need a great FTP to place in a crit if you can conserve your energy well during the race.. if you are content with sitting in until the end.

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Old 08-16-10, 01:58 PM   #19
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When I was racing cat 4 my threshold was 291 watts and I was around 175 - 180 pounds (3.5 - 3.6 w/kg). I managed to win a few races and was usually top five but almost always top ten. I had friends that I raced against that were much stronger than I was that I generally beat. Racing is just as much mental as it is physical. In the mental department I was pretty much too stupid to know what to do so I generally lucked into a good finish.
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Old 08-16-10, 02:10 PM   #20
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Thanks WR,

Where do I find this "Power Profiling Chart"?

-s
Read through this page, then check out the excel links.
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Old 08-16-10, 02:29 PM   #21
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Read through this page, then check out the excel links.
Thanks again WR!
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Old 08-16-10, 06:28 PM   #22
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guys winning and getting top 3 in big cat4 races (not necessarily wednesday night world champion corporate parking lot crits) are usually up there in the 3s from what i have seen.

i would say around 4.15 Watts per KG if you want to be a cat4 winner and you are smart about it. depends on the type of race, among many other things.

doing crits i actually have noticed it takes a lot more energy to sit in the front 1/3 than the rear 2/3. there is a lot of... "lets go fast now, then slow down 10 seconds later" that amounts to nothing and if you can see it's not going anywhere you can ride at a steadier state instead of peaking and burning matches. you don't necessarily need a great FTP to place in a crit if you can conserve your energy well during the race.. if you are content with sitting in until the end.
That is contridictory to my experience, the back 2/3rds usually yo-yo and you have to accellerate after every corner.

I'm 180lbs, my FTP is 315, 30" is 1120, and max is 1530. I stay in the top 5, recover in the top 10 and never sprint for anything out of the top 5 so I'm either top 5 or DFL..thus far I'm batting about 500. That's crits...hilly RR...forget about it, I get smoked.
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Old 08-16-10, 07:30 PM   #23
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i would say around 4.15 Watts per KG if you want to be a cat4 winner and you are smart about it. depends on the type of race, among many other things.
That's a very high threshold. That's the bottom of the Cat 2 range in Coggan's power profile chart. You don't need a threshold that high to be competitive in Cat 4.
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Old 08-16-10, 07:34 PM   #24
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That's the bottom of the Cat 2 range in Coggan's power profile chart.
That's not really how the chart works.

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Old 08-16-10, 08:18 PM   #25
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I think the ability to recover from bursts of effort is much more important in crits, then Ftp. I dont have a huge Ftp and I was competitive before my injury. As others mentioned there is much more to racing then pure power.
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