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  1. #26
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhbernhardt View Post
    If you ride a fixed gear, you have a built-in excuse for walking up hills. I usually wait until I'm struggling up at 5 kmh or slower (about 3 mph). I can walk at 5 kmh, so I'm not losing time by walking. At the Knoxville Double last year, it was hot and I was cramping, and Loch Lomond has at least a 15% grade (my limit for the 44x17), so I got off and walked over to the shady side of the rode and pushed the bike. And I was keeping up with the guys still riding.

    In fact, I think that if you are riding slower on a geared bike than you would be if you were walking, then why ride? Pride at not having to get off and walk? But you've got guys walking up faster! This is why I've never liked having super low gears on a bike (unless it's a tandem, where you need the super low gears and the triple chainring). If your rear cog is bigger than the front chainring, you are seriously undergeared, and you will be riding slower than a walking pace! Relax, just get off and push the bike! Even the pro's will run with the bike (check out any of the Belgian races over the cobbled climbs).

    Luis
    I like this thought process.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  2. #27
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    I think it makes sense to take it easy on climbs. It takes a lot of power to increase your speed by a small amount, that's going to hurt you at brevet-distances.
    So, you figure that a rider`s energy is better spent on flats than on climbs? That statement brings two point to my mind. First, don`t "they" say that raising your minimum speed has a much bigger affect on overall time than raising your max speed does? Granted, flats aren`t where my own max speed shows up, but the climbing sections are certainly where I`m the slowest. The second thing is that I keep thinking the extra energy I put into climbing will translate into more speed (moving slowly, not pushing as much air), whereas a little extra energy on the flats seems to get sucked up by extra drag, so doesn`t really net me much more speed. But since nobody disagreed with your original statement, I`m inclined to think it`s pretty sound. Am I looking at something wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    On a really long ride, like 150 miles and up, I find that by the finish I'll have a HR that I simply can't exceed even if I wanted to.
    That`s interresting. I take it that most (all?) people are the same in that regard? What limits HR after a long exertion? Heart itself gets tired? Worn out muscles just don`t keep using oxy at a rate sufficient to make the heart work so hard?

    Good luck with your respective rides, Jrickards and IL Clyde.
    Warning: I`ve got a 24t granny ring and I ain`t afraid to use it!

  3. #28
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    So, you figure that a rider`s energy is better spent on flats than on climbs? That statement brings two point to my mind. First, don`t "they" say that raising your minimum speed has a much bigger affect on overall time than raising your max speed does? Granted, flats aren`t where my own max speed shows up, but the climbing sections are certainly where I`m the slowest. The second thing is that I keep thinking the extra energy I put into climbing will translate into more speed (moving slowly, not pushing as much air), whereas a little extra energy on the flats seems to get sucked up by extra drag, so doesn`t really net me much more speed. But since nobody disagreed with your original statement, I`m inclined to think it`s pretty sound. Am I looking at something wrong?

    That`s interresting. I take it that most (all?) people are the same in that regard? What limits HR after a long exertion? Heart itself gets tired? Worn out muscles just don`t keep using oxy at a rate sufficient to make the heart work so hard?

    Good luck with your respective rides, Jrickards and IL Clyde.
    You are correct that raising your lowest speed makes for the highest average speed, even if it lowers the speed a little on the downhill.

  4. #29
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    So, you figure that a rider`s energy is better spent on flats than on climbs?
    I think for most slower riders, training and preparation should be aimed towards making climbing faster. However, on the target rides themselves, climbing should be done at a comfortable pace. Working at a maximum climbing rate burns energy much faster and requires more recovery.

  5. #30
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    So, you figure that a rider`s energy is better spent on flats than on climbs? That statement brings two point to my mind. First, don`t "they" say that raising your minimum speed has a much bigger affect on overall time than raising your max speed does? Granted, flats aren`t where my own max speed shows up, but the climbing sections are certainly where I`m the slowest. The second thing is that I keep thinking the extra energy I put into climbing will translate into more speed (moving slowly, not pushing as much air), whereas a little extra energy on the flats seems to get sucked up by extra drag, so doesn`t really net me much more speed. But since nobody disagreed with your original statement, I`m inclined to think it`s pretty sound. Am I looking at something wrong?

    ...
    I don't think you're wrong, I'm just looking at it from another angle...you normally on a brevet spend only a small amount of time actually climbing grades above say, 5-7%. Maybe an hour on a 200? If you increase your speed during those climbs from (for example) 15km/h to 18km/h you're requiring a noticeable amount more power, for a modest 3km/h increase in speed for a relatively short duration. If you have the fitness to spare it, by all means! And honestly, on a 200 it's fine to go hard, even if you blow yourself up you can always spin home with time to burn.

    On longer rides though, well there's no free lunch right? The power you spend for that 3km/h has to come from somewhere, and I just don't think it's the most efficient use of it. I could be wrong, I am not a rando expert!

  6. #31
    Senior Member jrickards's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lenA View Post
    40 kph headwinds work too. :-)
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!!

    No warning when they let up or when they build up and you can't see the end of them to know that "just a couple more minutes and it's all downhill from here". LOL

    I'm not going to chase headwinds just for training.

  7. #32
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    On longer rides though, well there's no free lunch right? The power you spend for that 3km/h has to come from somewhere, and I just don't think it's the most efficient use of it. I could be wrong, I am not a rando expert!
    what I have found is that you can recover by eating properly. The issue I have had on rides where I blew myself up on a tough climb was that I ran myself out of glycogen reserves and eating enough wasn't really all that easy at that point of the ride. A lot of randos have problems with digestion, and this also can play into the calculation. In general, I don't worry much about exerting myself on any ride, but sometimes it's worthwhile dialing it back some. For example, on this weekend's ride there is a mountain and then a many mile false flat. Going nuts up the mountain is going to cause problems with the false flat.

  8. #33
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    "Pride at not having to get off and walk?"

    Bingo!

    I would like to point out though, that that is never an issue on local hills any more.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  9. #34
    weirdo
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    No Free Lunch... I guess that`s the name of the game.
    Thanks.
    Warning: I`ve got a 24t granny ring and I ain`t afraid to use it!

  10. #35
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    So, you figure that a rider`s energy is better spent on flats than on climbs? That statement brings two point to my mind. First, don`t "they" say that raising your minimum speed has a much bigger affect on overall time than raising your max speed does? Granted, flats aren`t where my own max speed shows up, but the climbing sections are certainly where I`m the slowest. The second thing is that I keep thinking the extra energy I put into climbing will translate into more speed (moving slowly, not pushing as much air), whereas a little extra energy on the flats seems to get sucked up by extra drag, so doesn`t really net me much more speed. But since nobody disagreed with your original statement, I`m inclined to think it`s pretty sound. Am I looking at something wrong?

    That`s interresting. I take it that most (all?) people are the same in that regard? What limits HR after a long exertion? Heart itself gets tired? Worn out muscles just don`t keep using oxy at a rate sufficient to make the heart work so hard?

    Good luck with your respective rides, Jrickards and IL Clyde.
    Heart's fine. That muscle doesn't tire. Very special stuff. I think glycogen slowly drops off and there's a nerve exhaustion thing that takes place. I can't remember the terminology. Usually if my HR is low, I didn't eat enough. If my HR is high, I didn't drink enough. But after a while, I'm just hammered and do well to add 2 and 3 together.

    I once walked a very steep gravel pitch and another short, extremely steep paved pitch while touring on our tandem. I've never walked a single. I never paperboy, either. You just find it. It's there.
    Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 04-18-13 at 04:23 PM.

  11. #36
    Randomhead
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    I used to make fun of people that got off and walked. Then I started riding near the Delaware, where they want you to dismount on the bridges or the trolls will come out of their little shack and beat you about the head and shoulders with a wet carp. I found out it can be a nice change on a long ride. So now, if I'm tired and the hill is too steep, I get off and walk. Hasn't happened in a while though.

  12. #37
    2 Fat 2 Furious contango's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I used to make fun of people that got off and walked. Then I started riding near the Delaware, where they want you to dismount on the bridges or the trolls will come out of their little shack and beat you about the head and shoulders with a wet carp. I found out it can be a nice change on a long ride. So now, if I'm tired and the hill is too steep, I get off and walk. Hasn't happened in a while though.
    I always thought getting off and walking was an admission of defeat. Then I figured the purpose is to get around the course within the time allowed. First choice is to ride, then walk, but do what it takes to get to the top. Sometimes walking just gives your cycling muscles a rest and uses some different ones, which can be handy if you get leg cramps.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

  13. #38
    weirdo
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    Paperboy?

    I haven`t tried getting beaten by a wet carp before -sounds kinda fun. Delaware is a long ways from me, though. Do you know if that service is offered anywhere this side of the Rockies? We do have both trolls and carp, so there`s hope.
    Warning: I`ve got a 24t granny ring and I ain`t afraid to use it!

  14. #39
    Senior Member joewein's Avatar
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    Last weekend I did a 200 km brevet with over 3,000 m (10,000 ft) of climbing, the second in as many months. Most brevets here have lots of climbing.

    On slow climbs, take an upright position and spend as little energy as possible on your arms and upper body. Put it all into spinning, holding the handle bar lightly. Higher cadence is more sustainable than high torque. Stay in a comfortable gear unless you have run out of comfortable gears. Only stand on the pedals for short burst or to occasionally relieve pressure on your bottom so it doesn't get sore.

    Drink enough as you sweat more with less cooling. Eat some food or just stuff some in your mouth at the top. Descent is a good time to digest, it helps you recover.

    Get a triple or a compact crank and a cassette with the largest cog your rear derailleur will handle. I am of the "no walking" school of thought, but then I ordered my Bike Friday with a 21.3 gear inch lowest gear (50/39/30 triple, 11-28 rear with 20" 451 wheels). With this kind of gearing I virtually never encounter any hills where my cycling speed would drop below walking speeds. I end up walking only if the surface is slippery, e.g. wet mud or some ice.

    I try to stay at my maximum long term output on climbs to reduce the time spent at the minimal speed, as the slow parts have the biggest impact on your average speed. I then use the descent for recovery (little to no pedalling unless the descent is fairly shallow). If you have a heart rate monitor or power meter, it becomes much easier to stay in a safe zone for an effort you can maintain over the whole distance. Aim for a constant heart rate rather than a constant speed or a constant gear because the effort level for a given speed changes with the grade. Even if you just spend part of your time training with a HR monitor you learn what level is reasonable for you, though this will change over time depending on your training.

  15. #40
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    ^ Exactly.

  16. #41
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by contango View Post
    I always thought getting off and walking was an admission of defeat. Then I figured the purpose is to get around the course within the time allowed. First choice is to ride, then walk, but do what it takes to get to the top. Sometimes walking just gives your cycling muscles a rest and uses some different ones, which can be handy if you get leg cramps.
    A couple of years ago, I did a ride with some longer steeper climbs than I'm used to. A friend of mine only had a double and had to walk some of the stretches. I had a triple and was able to ride them. But, she probably walked up them at 3 mph, and I rode up them at 4 mph, so there wasn't necessarily a big gain in performance.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  17. #42
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joewein View Post
    I try to stay at my maximum long term output on climbs to reduce the time spent at the minimal speed, as the slow parts have the biggest impact on your average speed. I then use the descent for recovery (little to no pedalling unless the descent is fairly shallow).
    Maybe we have different interpretations of what that means, but if you are climbing at your maximum long term output then can't you just continue on at that same rate after the hill?

  18. #43
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    I don't think you're wrong, I'm just looking at it from another angle...you normally on a brevet spend only a small amount of time actually climbing grades above say, 5-7%. Maybe an hour on a 200? If you increase your speed during those climbs from (for example) 15km/h to 18km/h you're requiring a noticeable amount more power, for a modest 3km/h increase in speed for a relatively short duration. If you have the fitness to spare it, by all means! And honestly, on a 200 it's fine to go hard, even if you blow yourself up you can always spin home with time to burn.

    On longer rides though, well there's no free lunch right? The power you spend for that 3km/h has to come from somewhere, and I just don't think it's the most efficient use of it. I could be wrong, I am not a rando expert!
    Okay here is an example where I have tried to use somewhat realistic numbers. Take 2 riders, both 200lbs rider +bike, rider I will always do a constant 250W while rider II can also do a constant 250W but is also able to do 350 for about 5 minutes and then needs to recover for about 1 minute before going back to doing 250W.

    If we now look at a 7% 1 mile climb, followed by a -7% 1 mile descend, where rider I will go up and down at 250W and rider II will go up at 350W and down at 100W these are the numbers (rounded to 1 decimal):


    Rider I : Up (7.6 minutes) + Down (1.4 minutes) = Total (9 minutes)
    Rider II: Up (5.6 minutes) + Down (1.4 minutes) = Total (7 minutes)

    This means that for these short steep hills it makes lets say a 20% difference in time between rider I and rider II, so if you estimate that you spend 1 hour on these steep hills during such a long ride, it makes a difference of 12 minutes. But a long ride is made up of many more smaller hills, where you can be playing this game as well, adding up to a much bigger difference.

  19. #44
    Senior Member Commodus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_pedro View Post
    Okay here is an example where I have tried to use somewhat realistic numbers. Take 2 riders, both 200lbs rider +bike, rider I will always do a constant 250W while rider II can also do a constant 250W but is also able to do 350 for about 5 minutes and then needs to recover for about 1 minute before going back to doing 250W.

    If we now look at a 7% 1 mile climb, followed by a -7% 1 mile descend, where rider I will go up and down at 250W and rider II will go up at 350W and down at 100W these are the numbers (rounded to 1 decimal):


    Rider I : Up (7.6 minutes) + Down (1.4 minutes) = Total (9 minutes)
    Rider II: Up (5.6 minutes) + Down (1.4 minutes) = Total (7 minutes)

    This means that for these short steep hills it makes lets say a 20% difference in time between rider I and rider II, so if you estimate that you spend 1 hour on these steep hills during such a long ride, it makes a difference of 12 minutes. But a long ride is made up of many more smaller hills, where you can be playing this game as well, adding up to a much bigger difference.
    I certainly can't argue the math, but in my experience a rider can't just add 100 watts indefinitely. You don't recover completely. Maybe you can push out that extra wattage ten times, or even fifty times, but eventually you're done and left to spin yourself home at 'recovery' pace.

    Let's say that over the course of the 200km ride you have ten climbs, and you follow your strategy, +100 watts every time you climb and you finish feeling great! Well...great! You're a strong rider! And you've saved, over the course of those ten climbs, twenty minutes, which is great. But, I would argue that if you are capable of doing this, you're really not pushing as hard as you can be the rest of the time. So how much faster would you finish if you were really riding to your potential for the other 8 hours?

    If you are riding at the actual fastest pace you can sustain over the course of the entire ride, you will push past your lactate threshold every time you do this and eventually kill your legs because the recovery period will never be sufficient.

    BUT...I could be wrong. My understanding of such things is at a novice level at best, really...these are just my feelings based on having been at it for a few years now. And, I didn't intend this to apply to rides under 300 kms. It's definitely interesting to plug these numbers into a calculator and see that the effect of some extra wattage on short climbs.

  20. #45
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commodus View Post
    I certainly can't argue the math, but in my experience a rider can't just add 100 watts indefinitely. You don't recover completely. Maybe you can push out that extra wattage ten times, or even fifty times, but eventually you're done and left to spin yourself home at 'recovery' pace.

    Let's say that over the course of the 200km ride you have ten climbs, and you follow your strategy, +100 watts every time you climb and you finish feeling great! Well...great! You're a strong rider! And you've saved, over the course of those ten climbs, twenty minutes, which is great. But, I would argue that if you are capable of doing this, you're really not pushing as hard as you can be the rest of the time. So how much faster would you finish if you were really riding to your potential for the other 8 hours?

    If you are riding at the actual fastest pace you can sustain over the course of the entire ride, you will push past your lactate threshold every time you do this and eventually kill your legs because the recovery period will never be sufficient.

    BUT...I could be wrong. My understanding of such things is at a novice level at best, really...these are just my feelings based on having been at it for a few years now. And, I didn't intend this to apply to rides under 300 kms. It's definitely interesting to plug these numbers into a calculator and see that the effect of some extra wattage on short climbs.
    I like to use bikecalculator.com.
    You are right that not everybody is able to recover from these hard efforts fast enough. But it is certainly achievable, only it requires specific attention. I think the "default" approach if you just start riding is to go out increase the length of the ride and try to increase the average speed as much as possible, without stressing the anaerobic level. You need to include short 1 minute intervals in your training to train these levels.

    The point is that you will be doing your long rides at let's say 90% of FTP. After doing an hard effort for 5 minutes you need to recover for a minute or so, but should still be able to go back to 90% of FTP fairly quickly.

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    At any given training level / FTP, gearing, and body fat percentage, there's a maximum grade that you can climb sustainably (30+ min nonstop) without blowing up or getting out of optimal cadence range (which is not very different from blowing up.)

    This depends on a person, but I'd say that, for an average individual with some excess body fat on a 34/32 or 30/28, it's usually somewhere in 6% to 8% range.

    If you get tired and you don't replenish your reserves by eating enough regularly, this maximum grade goes down.

    A separate issue is that you might be able to sustain the power needed to go up 7% hill at 90 rpm for 30 min, but you can't sustain the same power for 6 hours. This is where pacing becomes important. You go up at a sustainable but comfortable pace (which involve working a lot harder than you usually do on rides - you won't know till you start trying), you go easier on flats, you take it easy or coast on downhills.

    However, on the target rides themselves, climbing should be done at a comfortable pace. Working at a maximum climbing rate burns energy much faster and requires more recovery.
    There isn't that much difference, energy wise, between a "comfortable pace" and a "maximum climbing rate" that you can maintain for 30 min. 180 W might be "comfortable" and 250 W might be the maximum sustainable for 30 min. The difference is mainly that, in many cases, you have the gears to go at 250 W @ 80 rpm, but you don't have the gears to go at 180 W @ 80 rpm. In this case, trying to be "comfortable" is counterproductive.

  22. #47
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_pedro View Post

    The point is that you will be doing your long rides at let's say 90% of FTP. After doing an hard effort for 5 minutes you need to recover for a minute or so, but should still be able to go back to 90% of FTP fairly quickly.
    90% of threshold is riding at tempo. If you can do that for 200km you're a better man than I am. A couple of hours at tempo is enough to toast my legs on a training ride. There is no way I could do it for >6 hours.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    90% of threshold is riding at tempo. If you can do that for 200km you're a better man than I am. A couple of hours at tempo is enough to toast my legs on a training ride. There is no way I could do it for >6 hours.
    That's right. I wasn't thinking about >6 hours. I guess 90% FTP is a hard 2 hr ride. For the real long term 85% should be achievable, but most of us are probably lower.

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    The highest average power I've been able to achieve for 6 hours (over several climbing centuries in the last months) is about 65% of FTP. For 9 hours, it's 62%.

    Better-trained cyclists can do 75% for 6 hours. I don't know if 85% is achievable.

    At this point you are already starting to run into energy balance problems. If FTP is 220, 85% of FTP for 6 hours is 4400..4500 calories. Even if you eat by the book, you can digest 1200..1500 during the ride, which leaves you with having to find 3000..3300 in your fuel stores (mostly glycogen). You better be fully loaded before you try this.

    P.S. this is what my 70% of FTP for 5hr30 looks like: http://i35.tinypic.com/vy1c91.png It's hard and physically draining. You can also notice that, toward the end, HR and power curves increasingly diverge. That's called "cardiac drift" (one of the reasons is that I may have been getting a bit dehydrated).
    Last edited by hamster; 04-21-13 at 01:50 PM.

  25. #50
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hamster View Post
    The highest average power I've been able to achieve for 6 hours (over several climbing centuries in the last months) is about 65% of FTP. For 9 hours, it's 62%.

    Better-trained cyclists can do 75% for 6 hours. I don't know if 85% is achievable.

    At this point you are already starting to run into energy balance problems. If FTP is 220, 85% of FTP for 6 hours is 4400..4500 calories. Even if you eat by the book, you can digest 1200..1500 during the ride, which leaves you with having to find 3000..3300 in your fuel stores (mostly glycogen). You better be fully loaded before you try this.

    P.S. this is what my 70% of FTP for 5hr30 looks like: http://i35.tinypic.com/vy1c91.png It's hard and physically draining. You can also notice that, toward the end, HR and power curves increasingly diverge. That's called "cardiac drift" (one of the reasons is that I may have been getting a bit dehydrated).
    That's where fitness comes into play, I understand that as you become more fit it also means you are using more fat, so the 3000 Cal would come mostly from there. I have done century rides in 6 hours burning 4200 Cal. I was staying with a group and definitely not at the limit and that was at an estimated 65% of FTP. But the 6 hrs was moving time, we had a nice long lunch and couple of short breaks with 3 hrs of stopping time in total. So that makes the 65% easier to achieve and it makes the calorie equation a bit easier as it gives 3 more hours to digest everything. I will be doing a faster century ride later this year with less breaks and higher pace, so it is interesting to know that it means I need to pay closer attention to feeding.

    I see that in your long ride you stayed below FTP at all times, with no spikes in power.
    This is how the last century looked like.
    Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 5.44.41 PM.jpg
    My FTP is around 260, as you can see even for a ride that I considered not super fast I spend quite some time above FTP. It also meant that I was regularly waiting for the group to catch up after hills or windy stretches.


    The importance of performing above FTP is bigger in a race where you can save energy by drafting, but only if you can keep up with the pack. This is how the power profile looks like when just staying in the pack and finishing 18th in a Cat5 race I did yesterday:
    Screen Shot 2013-04-21 at 5.35.24 PM.jpg
    Average power was 250W, but it seems like most of the time I was above. Somebody doing the entire race at 250 would be dropped in the first hill or after the first corner and would have a much slower speed on the flats as well, being in the wind.

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