Example 5:"race sweet spot" & even better "stage race sweet spot. Perhaps you are using a race for training and aren't interested in the usual strategy of "sitting in and waiting for the move". Make the race hard and go off the front early. Ride the break at sweet spot wattages. The longer the break, the bigger the training effect. So what if you get caught! Nothing risked, nothing gained and maybe you will be so good at sweet spotting that you'll take yourself all the way to line for the "w". You never know till you try.
for stage race sweet spotting - it's the cumulative effect of 3 to 5 days or more of "hard racing". A stage race like the tour of the gila or mt hood with plenty of climbing is a great example. Even 7 days of superweek racing will bring your form up because most of the criteriums come in at sweet spot wattage for the race as whole.
i'm going to write a training book and call it SST, my personal pathway to training moderately. I have not seen the success from SST that others have, and yes, i'm bitter because of it.
I can't say I've seen a lot of success from SST alone.. but I'll buy your book!
Also, SST shouldn't be confused with Tempo.. which is indeed a ****ty way to train. Doing just one thing over and over again is a ****ty way to train, especially if it's steady anything.
And fwiw SST does not feel moderate to me, at all. It hurts.
SST hurts. I confirm this. I find it actually harder to sit at 90% than to just let off the restriction and just do 100%.
Hill repeats at lunch. Negative splits (increasing power). Last one was my strongest repeat of the season.
On the way back, a teammate and I made a run at a very tough and popular 1:10 strava segment. We already hold the 1-2 positions, but it's nice to bump it every so often. Legs were hating the repeats, but got my 3rd best time on it.
I guess if you're not going to pay to train, then you'd only sign up for the A and maybe some B races?
Also, team tactics come in to play so it might makes sense to combine these two and go off the front early and often
Did you guys join teams when you were a Cat 5 or wait until you upgraded? Are teams welcome of new joiners? Do some just want members so they can charge you for a kit?
LOL. A cycling team is the worst way to sell clothing I can think of. At least, if you want to make a profit selling clothing.
As misterwaterfall said too, the team thing can really have an impact here. Reeling in a break for your sprinter, and pulling part of the leadout train can be great ways to get SST (NP anyway), still actually race, and still treat it as a C race for yourself.
maybe you can find a ride to races if you join a team :-)
As for are they welcome, it depends on the team and moreso the time of year. Mid-year can be tough since kit orders happen at the beginning of the season and maybe towards the middle.
Finding the right team is hard, but start with the people you talk to at races. If you aren't talking to anyone yet, it's easy. After a race finish just find someone in your race and ask how it went, etc.
I would ask at your LBS. Or LBSes, since I imagine there are a million of them in NYC.
Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!
Big week last week:
19:40 for 345 miles and 20,670 ft of climbing
Easy day yesterday to start recovery week, 9.3 TSS
Gonna ride a couple hours easy today.
pretty sure I'd die if I did a 1000 TSS
SST has to be the softest training definition of any training I have found - I first heard of it 2 years ago. I consider it to basically be the exact same as tempo riding/hard group ride and don't get all this talk about how it is hard to do for an hour and breaking it up to 3x10 or 2x20 or this and that. I have seen it defined as right at 90% or something like that which makes more sense based on the comments here, but then you read coggan's chart and fascat you get different definitions typically in the 70-100% or 85% to 100% range ... or something else depending on what page and what graph you are looking at.
So how are we as a group typically defining SST?
If purely a 90% ride, great, not my ideal training, but if it works for you keep doing it.
For me I assumed SST is like Example 1 on the fascat website ... Start off the ride just below your threshold wattage around 90 - 95% of your threshold power. Get after it and as you fatigue let your wattage fall between tempo wattages. Then after further fatigue sets in, high zone 2 finishes off the workout.
If you as a rider can tell the difference between a tempo ride at 75% to 90% and break it up from a 70% to 100% ride on your training schedule, great you are better than me ... but I doubt many can. Further what would be the point, this is a very subtle difference that is not going to help 99% of the riders out there ... IMO. What is going to help riders is training their different energy systems to be efficient and sure some subtle differences might help a subtle amount, but a good program always come back to the basics. Get yourself a base, take breaks, add in variety (intervals) when you are ready, increase intensity and duration, add in skill work, etc ... repeat, again and again.
SST as I defined it was my only training ride for at least 10 years ... I finally figured out things needed to change, but it was a slow process. Basically, that SST still exists as part of my base training, but I highly doubt it would do me any better than a 3 hour group ride or solid JRA/tempo ride on that day. Just the same thing with a different label ... mostly.
Just trying to get a handle on all the lingo to make sure when I razz someone about their training I am razzing with just razzitude.
I use SST to mean 90% of FTP, and I don't find it especially hard, although I rarely do it for more than say 30 minutes steady state.
I think it has good benefits in base training as it seems to be the, ahem, sweet spot where you can maximize the ratio of training load over fatigue. Once the season has started I don't see much further benefit from it, as maximizing load with "easy" miles is no longer a priority.
I'm typically the only 5 out there for the team, so I may as well be unattached. We have 2-3 active 4's and a ton of 3's and Masters. There are so may 'competitve group rides / races' they've replaced racing for a lot of the veterans.
While our team is open to anyone, there is a caste system. I think most open clubs / teams have this arrangement, and for new members its annoying.
On the flip side, I've met a lot of great people, which trumps most of the negative stuff above.