Another block of base or start build?

Almanzo is 8 weeks out and while I have zero ambitions of winning the thing, I’d like to ride it hard and challenge myself. My season goals are to build FTP and CTL in order for a good CX season and do 3 100 mi gravel races (Dickie Scramble, Almanzon, Dirty Benjamin).

I just wrapped up my first block of sweet spot base and am at a point where I can start another block of SSB or go into an 8 week build block. At this point I’m leaning toward Sustained Power Build or going into Century Specialty.

I’m kind of stuck. I would typically do the normal progression of Base 1 followed by Base 2, but find the workouts in SSB2 aren’t going to set me up for the race-specific intensities I’ll face. Almanzo is littered with many 2-5 minute efforts and I like the workouts in the above mentioned plans because they include both shorter duration VO2s and some medium-duration surpra-threshold workouts. Seems perfect for gravel. Not to mention I think I would see bigger FTP gains versus another block of SSB

I’ve convinced myself to skip another 6 week block of base and start one of the plans above.

I know this defies conventional wisdom, but I’m not sure starting another 6 weeks of base followed by 2 weeks of build is going to set me up well.

Thoughts? Ideas?

Based on my experience, I’d continue on into SSB2 and then figure out how you want to fill those extra weeks you have before your event. You could restructure SSB2 a bit so that it times out to your event properly (maybe add a rest week in the middle plus another week of work, something like that).

SSB2 starts to introduce you to some VO2 work, and while it’s not the longer intervals you build up to in a build plan, they are there and they get you feeling a little more race ready. I love SSB2, I’ve seen great gains coming out of it for the last 3 seasons - the mid vol plan is such a good mix of VO2, threshold, sweet spot. Coach Chad & Nate praise SSB2 highly as (in most cases) one not to skip if you do need to cut something out.

Is the SSB1 that you already did part of your progression towards the CX season, or was that just ‘extra’?

The generally accepted advice is “don’t skip Sweet Spot Base 2”, from Chad, himself.

This is where you’re going to learn to suffer, the most, and make lots of adaptations that don’t necessarily involve FTP. Build phase can wait :wink:

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You’re right, SSB2 has a good mix. I might considering throwing in a different weekend workout that focuses more on supra-threshold efforts that simulate how I’d ride a 5-7 min climb.

The block I just finished was/is part of the overall season. I added Mount Foraker into the last two weeks for some supra-threshold work as well as modified a few of the workouts to get some 3x15 and 2x20 in there because I was at a point where I could handle that duration.

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continue to build your aerobic engine into CX season. Let’s say CX starts Sept 1, you don’t need race specific intervals until mid July.

Too much Sweet Spot can get you in a rut, so I’d switch it up, and do something different, then go back to it in May.

Check out our blogs if you’d like some more ideas, or contact me and we can chat. Good luck, let us know what you decide!