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Old 09-14-11, 10:12 AM   #1
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Returned to racing, can't match accelerations in races anymore. Advice?

I returned to racing seriously again this year (did cross last year, but only did it for fun) and I'm having issues with accelerations. I seem to be able to match the first couple, but then can't recover and am done after that.

I used to be able to train for this by racing myself into form. Due to limited time and funds, I can only race so much and so have been concentrating on 3 minute intervals and high intensity hill repeats or short intervals twice a week. While helping somewhat, I am seeing limited results in actual application.

Would this be where a powertap would really help? I have never trained with one because I had a pretty decent handle on how much power I could put out in the past, but not so much anymore. I could get one relatively inexpensively if need be. My goals would be to be able to finish out the cyclocross season and to be in racing shape to peak in mid April of next year so that I could peak again for cyclocross.
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Old 09-14-11, 10:33 AM   #2
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what category are you racing in? hows your threshold power ?
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Old 09-14-11, 11:04 AM   #3
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You're racing into form while your competition is probably periodizing and analyzing their training with a power meter. Not to mention, racing into form loses a lot of effectiveness once you're over say 30 or so.

You also mention that you're training with 3-minute intervals. That's fine for developing a sustained effort, but what about 30 second bursts? Or 10-minute breakaway efforts?
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Old 09-14-11, 11:21 AM   #4
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I'm a Cat 4 and never progressed beyond due to time/ injuries etc. I'm 36 now and haven't been serious about racing since about 5 years ago. Racing into form was a lot more effective then. Don't have a power meter, so can't measure my threshold power, but I can tell that it wanes quickly with sustained effort.

As for the 30 second bursts, I'm at the point in my training (probably too late for this season) where I have been adding 20 second sprints dispersed throughout in my rides and intervals and will be dropping the hill climbing in favor of Tabeta intervals.
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Old 09-14-11, 11:57 AM   #5
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You need to focus on getting your threshold up so that these accelerations no longer count as "matches" that you're burning during the race.

The burst training can help, but raising threshold will raise everything except for maybe 5s power, and you're not having a sprint problem in the middle of a race.

Note also that you may have some efficiency issues if you're coming back and not as comfortable in the pack. If you find yourself with too much room in front of you, or grabbing your brakes when not necessary, you're burning extra energy. You can also anticipate some of the surges if they're preceded by slowing. If this is happening every lap, let a gap form before the slow-down, then you can just maintain speed and rejoin as everyone else is accelerating.
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Old 09-14-11, 12:55 PM   #6
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I think this winter will be time to completely re-evaluate my training and get all new baseline numbers. I just ordered up a Powertap hub and will be lacing it to a Kinlin hub to get some baseline FTP data. So as far as getting my threshold up, continue with the 3 minute intervals and add some 10 minute intervals to the mix? I'll probably work in burst power intermittently throughout the shorter intervals.

True, I am not as comfortable as I was holding a wheel and am not fighting to hold on nearly as much as I used to, but I am finding that I still feel fine with incidental contact etc.
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Old 09-14-11, 01:43 PM   #7
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Hit the workout recipes thread that's a sticky at the top of the racing forum. There are lots of different workouts in there.

Vary it a lot. Find something you like, and maybe do a handful of workouts repeated for a month or so, then change it up. Also work in sub-threshold and super-threshold phases. Don't spend all your FTP workouts hammering above FTP. Sometimes pulling it up is good, and sometimes pushing it up is good.
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Old 09-14-11, 02:46 PM   #8
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Hmm, thanks. Been lurking around the 33 for a while on and off and never noticed that. Been using Training Peaks, but find it to be a little too "canned" for me.
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Old 09-14-11, 06:25 PM   #9
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A good friend of mine quit racing recently. He did a year of that high temp yoga, some other stuff. Got on the bike on a lark. He used to do 180-190 bpm when working hard. Suddenly he was at 160 bpm and totally redlined. Being off the bike took away the sharp part of the equation.

He hasn't figured out how to fix his "problem" (not a problem since he doesn't race and doesn't really do group rides even). I suspect that regular riding (structured or not) will help immensely.

Another friend returned to racing after a long, long time off, 10 or 15 years. He tried to optimize his training by doing only short intense days. What happened is he became really inefficient at pedaling. He no longer looks at ease, smooth, etc on the bike. He used to be much more efficient, smoother, beat me all the time.

Now, with some weight gain (both muscle and fat), this short-workout-form, he struggles in longer rides/races. He finally got stronger when he started training for some brevet type thing in South Africa, doing some longer rides in preparation.

I think you'll need to do some longer rides, no matter what your time constraints. A trainer for 3 or 4 hours may not sound like fun but it may be possible depending on what is limiting your time (kids, darkness, etc). It'll also allow you to focus on form; rollers would be better.
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Old 09-14-11, 09:15 PM   #10
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That makes a lot of sense w/ regards to longer rides. I am doing some, but they are sporadic and often have lots of waiting as well. A lot of my time issues are that I am a seasonal employee at a bike shop during the summer so spend 6 months of the year working 7 days a week. That has since slowed down and I once again have weekends and so am able to get my butt on the bike for longer, but have my race schedule as well.

I commute to work via bike and have been tying workouts into the rides, but I think I just have to be smarter about it and leave earlier for longer rides. Luckily, commuting has meant that I've never really taken a break from the bike and still have a smooth pedal stroke, but as WR says, I burn a match every time I try to follow a wheel. Also, there's the mental factor where I know I'm burning a match and so will progressively back off during a race. Steady intervals are helping with that, but I agree that I need more mileage, even if that occurs after dinner on rollers.
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Old 09-15-11, 12:50 AM   #11
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Commuting to/from the shop was key to one of my good years in the 90s. It was 18? miles, a coworker met up with me (usually), and I rode pretty hard. That kind of consistent riding is good. Just make sure you're not reinforcing bad pedaling habits, bad cycling habits. Straight line, good cornering lines (imagine someone to your inside, someone to your outside), smooth one handed riding, etc.

If your commute is less than 20 minutes or so, and you can afford to ride more (i.e. shower or similar at work) then extend the ride. If you can't extend it going in, extend it going out.

When I had a shop, worked 7 days a week, etc, I'd someone regularly do 2-4 hours after work, either on the trainer (indoors at the shop), road (night loop 2 miles all one way or median roads so no oncoming traffic). If I was too tired I didn't ride. Sometimes I'd set out on a ride at 11 PM or later, going for 1-3 hours. I didn't force it though, and if I got on the bike and felt tired, I worked on pedal smoothness and not much else (39x17 or so, spinning 120 rpm avg for an hour, or at least trying to do it).
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Old 09-15-11, 02:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qcwtom View Post
You're racing into form while your competition is probably periodizing and analyzing their training with a power meter. Not to mention, racing into form loses a lot of effectiveness once you're over say 30 or so.

You also mention that you're training with 3-minute intervals. That's fine for developing a sustained effort, but what about 30 second bursts? Or 10-minute breakaway efforts?
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Old 09-15-11, 06:52 AM   #13
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eippo1, I agree with what the others are trying to tell you. You are focusing on high effort, short duration work, which is your strength right now. The problem is that you don't have the base to recover from those efforts. Believe me, the M35+ will eat you alive if you don't spend some time working on base, tempo, and FTP, in that order of importance. Really fit Cat4 Masters get blown off the back in every Masters race I do. Racing into shape works for sharpening the knife and peaking after a good long period of the kind of training we are suggesting. You'd have to be an exceptional athlete to race yourself into shape from literally nothing these days.
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