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Old 09-12-13, 08:25 PM   #51
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And...

Don't underestimate the effect of expectations. What mindset do you think Nibali is taking into the next few days? Horner? They're worlds apart.
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Old 09-12-13, 09:16 PM   #52
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i think he's fully confident, and if that hill ended 1km earlier, he'd have made the right decision. In a classics event, absolutely the thing to do as getting 2nd doesn't mean much more than getting 6th, and it's much better to see if you could stay with the leader to the end rather than riding for a higher position. But in his case, he blew up whereas the other riders who were dropped earlier probably rode at their own pace, caught up to Nibbles, and just went past him.
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Old 09-12-13, 11:15 PM   #53
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I guess what I'm seeing is a chicken/egg scenario. Is he low on confidence because he can't produce the power, or is he low on power because he lacks confidence?

Either is plausible.
I have found that it's difficult to judge someone's confidence level based on a few quotes picked by a journalist uttered by a guy in his 2nd or 3rd language. Given Nibali's history, and the usual mind games and fatigue level this deep in a stage race, I will give his mental toughness the benefit of the doubt. He's shown to take the long view during other GT's, losing battles but winning the war.

Stage races are all about the long game, the longer the stage race, the longer the view needs to be. I've won or podiumed 2, 3, and 5 day events, and there are times when you live to fight another day.

Blowing up, to answer the OP, is just a phrase that, like "base", means different things to different people. What you need to know are limiters, and those come in a wide range of things mental and physical.
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Old 09-13-13, 12:04 PM   #54
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I have found that it's difficult to judge someone's confidence level based on a few quotes picked by a journalist uttered by a guy in his 2nd or 3rd language. Given Nibali's history, and the usual mind games and fatigue level this deep in a stage race, I will give his mental toughness the benefit of the doubt. He's shown to take the long view during other GT's, losing battles but winning the war.

Stage races are all about the long game, the longer the stage race, the longer the view needs to be. I've won or podiumed 2, 3, and 5 day events, and there are times when you live to fight another day.

Blowing up, to answer the OP, is just a phrase that, like "base", means different things to different people. What you need to know are limiters, and those come in a wide range of things mental and physical.

Very true. Taking tactical losses for strategic gains is what long distance racing all about and a Grand Tour makes that even more pronounced.

The press quotes were just part of the overall vibe. The other side was how Horner would dig into him whenever he got a chance. Being the aggressor is always easier than being the defender.
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Old 09-13-13, 12:13 PM   #55
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Being the aggressor is always easier than being the defender.
I'll refrain from commenting on how a 41 year old guy who's looking for a new (big) contract has this much confidence in the 3rd week of a grand tour.
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Old 09-13-13, 12:25 PM   #56
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I'll refrain from commenting on how a 41 year old guy who's looking for a new (big) contract has this much confidence in the 3rd week of a grand tour.
Ya, that part is kind of an eye roll at this point.
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Old 09-13-13, 12:51 PM   #57
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Physiological, when your HR is 194 at age 46...your legs finally just give up....My mind always say keep pedaling, but eventually, you can't, implosion and 10 minute recovery after that nonsense.
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Old 09-14-13, 09:53 AM   #58
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I have found that it's difficult to judge someone's confidence level based on a few quotes picked by a journalist uttered by a guy in his 2nd or 3rd language. Given Nibali's history, and the usual mind games and fatigue level this deep in a stage race, I will give his mental toughness the benefit of the doubt. He's shown to take the long view during other GT's, losing battles but winning the war.

Stage races are all about the long game, the longer the stage race, the longer the view needs to be. I've won or podiumed 2, 3, and 5 day events, and there are times when you live to fight another day.

Blowing up, to answer the OP, is just a phrase that, like "base", means different things to different people. What you need to know are limiters, and those come in a wide range of things mental and physical.
you think he'd have done better had he just sat on Horner's wheel? His best chance today was to get 3rd place and outsprint Horner for the bonus seconds. Maybe they discussed that at the meeting in the morning, maybe they didn't, but we are looking at a downhill run-in to the line, and assuming they mopped up the break (another miscalculation on Astana's part), it's perhaps the easier path for Nibali.
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Old 09-14-13, 10:46 AM   #59
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Who knows? Probably, but sometimes you see an opportunity and roll the dice.
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Old 09-14-13, 10:56 AM   #60
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but in his case it's almost like seeing 8-9 offsuit and going all in pre-flop
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Old 09-14-13, 12:10 PM   #61
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Physiological, when your HR is 194 at age 46...your legs finally just give up....My mind always say keep pedaling, but eventually, you can't, implosion and 10 minute recovery after that nonsense.
i met a guy in the past few weeks who is 56 years old. his HR during a 45-minute TT was 193.

those are not typos. his HR was higher than his power.

this is not a 1-time thing for him, and he has been thoroughly checked out. his HR is just that high. goes to show how 220-age and other rules of thumb do not reflect the wide range of 'normal.'
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Old 09-14-13, 12:40 PM   #62
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i met a guy in the past few weeks who is 56 years old. his HR during a 45-minute TT was 193.

those are not typos. his HR was higher than his power.

this is not a 1-time thing for him, and he has been thoroughly checked out. his HR is just that high. goes to show how 220-age and other rules of thumb do not reflect the wide range of 'normal.'
Ayup. I seldom see 170. My buddy who is a couple years younger sees 190+ all the time.
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Old 09-14-13, 03:35 PM   #63
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Heart rate is a red herring. It's different for everyone.
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Old 09-14-13, 11:39 PM   #64
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This is a tricky one. Living in hilly country and being a flatland rider, I have a fair amount of experience getting dropped. There are two mental aspects directly linked to physiology. The first is the fact it's a bike race and not a life or death situation. The second is storytelling after the fact. Getting dropped is a temporary state of affairs made permanent by the physics of bicycle racing. There are limits to the human body. There are points where the muscles are not going to give any more than they are giving. The problem the brain has is that this state of affairs is temporary, while getting dropped is permanent.

During the event of getting dropped, your brain is doing trade off analysis. The moment the going gets difficult, your brain starts erring in the side of giving up because, you know, this is a bike race, not life or death. Certain brains of certain people can be convinced that the race is a matter of life and death, and these folks probably disproportionately make up the pro ranks of every sport. In sporting lore, this might be the difference between the star athlete and the journeyman. The journeyman is good, maybe on par with the stars, but their brains cannot be convinced that the game is life or death.

After you get dropped, after the race is over, the psychological effects continue. The brain is the ultimate storyteller. The events leading to getting dropped are temporary, the body is put in temporary distress, but getting dropped is permanent. So, to preserve the ego, the brain makes up the story that it gave up prematurely because it can withstand the shame of this storyline better than it can withstand the truth that the body wasn't up to the task. The former implies it is a problem that can be immediately fixed by changing the state of mind, by swearing that it'll never happen again. The latter implies that an entire year's worth of training effort wasn't enough to do what you wanted to do. That problem can't be immediately fixed (you'll probably fail in the same way again tomorrow), and it might imply you will never actually achieve what you want to achieve.

The fact remains though that there are physical limits to the human body. I am simply not going to will myself the ability to put out 500W for 10 minutes to stay with the little climber f***ers up a long climb. This is both the genius and the tragedy of the powermeter. It is brutally honest. It counters these stories your mind make up, but at the same time, takes some of the lore out of cycling legends. Winning isn't everything; the stories are fun too.
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Old 09-15-13, 09:53 AM   #65
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^^ bravo. well put.

My only contention is that the better riders I know seem to care less about the race. It isn't life or death, it's a race to them. In my experiencing that attitude it gives them the ability to push to the edge, because they don't fear getting dropped. If they try and fail, it's just a race, but they aren't afraid to try.
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Old 09-15-13, 06:08 PM   #66
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yes.
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Old 09-15-13, 06:12 PM   #67
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Re: life and death - I believe those are essentially the core emotional cues that allow top riders to sprint so fast, dig so deep in the pain cave. "Desperately holding on to a wheel" is not just a metaphor.

I try not to call on that level of psychological stress unless I really have to... it's very painful and IMHO when you call on the lizard brain for these panic-driven superhuman efforts, it extracts a huge toll both during the ride, and, cumulatively over the years.

So I prefer to lie to myself things like "that guy on the front can't hold this up much longer" or "200 meters and the grade eases off" ... focus on clean pedaling and good breathing and being efficient... etc.
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Old 09-15-13, 06:19 PM   #68
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re: Nibali - mental toughness is weakened by fatigue... I got the impression Nibali was just worn - out and mentally done, tired of the suffering. I might've been projecting a bit...
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Old 09-15-13, 07:43 PM   #69
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, it extracts a huge toll both during the ride, and, cumulatively over the years.
It does. Some people have a huge bit lizard brain reserve. I think it's renewable, but that renewal can't be ignored. And few people in this day and age have really visited it.
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Old 09-15-13, 09:01 PM   #70
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Ayup. I seldom see 170. My buddy who is a couple years younger sees 190+ all the time.
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Heart rate is a red herring. It's different for everyone.
I used to see HR's in the 190's a few years ago but lately the max I've ever seen was 185 and usually when I'm out of shape or had lots and lots of rest. I think HR is a big red herring too, doesn't mean jack! I've climbed better on climbs where my avg heart rate was 160 vs days when its 170 or hitting max. Joe Friel talks a little bit about this in his book, especially about the part where people talk about how "easy" it is to get their HR up.

I'm not quite sure in the value of HR since I have power but I still use the HR strap in case I might learn something in the future. Still reading Friel's book so maybe it's in a chapter I haven't gotten to yet.

When I first started riding with HR, I would back off when I was getting close to my max, now I just removed HR from my display so I go based on power only.
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Old 09-15-13, 10:12 PM   #71
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Heart rate is a red herring. It's different for everyone.
I agree that HR is not relevant when comparing two riders.

It is relevant when looking at oneself, i.e. comparing HR numbers for the same rider over some set of time.
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Old 09-16-13, 03:41 AM   #72
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I agree that HR is not relevant when comparing two riders.

It is relevant when looking at oneself, i.e. comparing HR numbers for the same rider over some set of time.
Yup. On a group ride last Saturday, another guy who just started getting serious about training asked me what my HR was. It was a pretty relaxed pace, ~20 mph in a paceline, and mine was 118. He was surprised, since his was 135. He's about 20 year my junior, and doing an excellent job of paring off the lard he's accumulated while building a very successful business. Differences in our ages and physical makeup, plus genetics, account for the differences. Like Ex, I rarely see 170 bpm.
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Old 09-16-13, 09:02 AM   #73
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...

My only contention is that the better riders I know seem to care less about the race. It isn't life or death, it's a race to them. In my experiencing that attitude it gives them the ability to push to the edge, because they don't fear getting dropped. If they try and fail, it's just a race, but they aren't afraid to try.
That's what they say, but in the moment, in a race they care about, when they have to put out the effort, they ain't thinking that it's "just a race". I talked to one of our (now retired) top match sprinters congratulating him on a good effort in a keirin race. I was describing how I was waiting for his move but then couldn't follow his acceleration. He told me he didn't remember it, that once he gets rolling, his mind basically goes blank. That's full lizard sprinter's brain right there.
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Old 09-16-13, 09:13 AM   #74
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that's a good post Brian Ratliff.
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Old 09-17-13, 04:36 PM   #75
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Free full text paper by Noakes.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3323922/

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