Another podcast golden nugget translated to a win today

I think it was Pete who was basically saying that the break is really hard to establish, but not that hard once it settles in (particularly once it’s out of sight). Or something like that. I had a “C” race today, gravel race ~68 miles and my main goal was to just get a lot of time at SS and Threshold. That translated into a strategy to be aggressive early and try to establish a small break where I could push decent watts most of the day.

I pushed the pace early along with some others and the group was down to around 10 guys. Pushed again and found myself with a gap. With 55 miles remaining in the race, I would normally just ease off back to the pack if nobody is coming with me. With Pete’s words in my head and my desire to do a hard effort anyway, I figured it was worth settling into threshold and see how things would shake out (really hoping someone would bridge up). The chase group got close a couple times, but 30 minutes later I have ~1 minute gap (they clearly aren’t chasing that hard, I’m just one stupid guy out in the wind right?). I settle into decent sustainable pace for the next hour and I’ve got 2.5 minutes and I’m getting out of sight. Another hour of similar effort and I win by 10 minutes. I assume the pack was just thinking “he’s going to die out there in the wind, we’ll catch him eventually” and never got a proper chase organized. I certainly needed some good endurance fitness to pull it off, but in some ways it felt easier than being in a group where you constantly have to respond to surges and attacks. Especially on gravel where people tend to attack at every sketchy corner.

I will also credit TR for getting me hooked on high dosages of caffeine and aggressive fueling on the bike. 400 mg of caffeine at the start and another 100 during the race along with 9 gels and 3 bottles of skratch during the 3 hour race. Never felt a hint of bonk, but I’m still wired tonight and probably won’t be sleeping any time soon (race was a noon start).


Good work! How long have you been doing TR and what have you been doing leading up to this race, plan builder?

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I tried TR briefly back in 2011 when it was pretty new, but got back into it about a year ago. I use the TR plans as my base and follow their weekday workouts pretty closely, but substitute my own things on Saturdays with 5-6 hour rides that are a mix of structure and group ride.

I’m definitely HV from a TSS standpoint (I’m 51 and my kids are away at school so have time to train). Saw great results last year with Sustained build and did SSB 1 and 2 and sustained build again this year. Good FTP bump last year, not dramatic FTP increase this year, but my endurance has increased significantly. My big event for the year is leadville, but I’ll race a bunch between now and then.

It’s really easy to get caught up in the fitness side and FTP gains since so many of us are metric/numbers driven. The training plans/software/metrics side of TR is really good, but the forum, the videos, and the podcasts are probably equally (or more) valuable whether you are racing or not.


Nice work a break isn’t easy to pull off but you stuck at it and won so well done!!

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Great work :muscle:t2:

Congratulations and well done :muscle:t2::+1:t2:

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Good testimonial about TR, I feel the same and the podcast and plans have helped me so much. I’m similar age as you and curious to know what your w/kg was was during your break? Impressive and must have felt awesome :+1:.

First hour was about 3.8, first 2 hours 3.7, entire race (3:10) was 3.6. All based on NP. My FTP is about 4.1 w/kg. Nothing earth shaking, but I stayed consistent and felt like I could have gone harder in the last hour if they started closing in. Yes, it felt beyond awesome, never thought I’d win a race that way. Good motivation for all those horrible interval sessions.

Another big factor for the race was that I gambled on equipment choice. It’s a gravel race, but most of the gravel is really smooth and only a few sections that don’t suit a road bike. I rode my Madone aero bike with deep wheels and 28mm tires and I wore a skin suit. Compared to guys riding gravel bikes with bigger tires, I figured I had 20+ watt advantage at speed on the smooth sections, possibly more. I finished only 10 minutes behind Colin Strickland (winner of the open class who started 4 minutes before the masters field) and he put out way more watts than me and was in a 2 man break. Being only 6 minutes off the fastest pace of the day felt pretty good, but a big part of that was rolling the dice on the road bike. That said, I think Colin was just out for a leisurely cruise yesterday. Colin won Dirty Kanza last year and he can put out pro level watts when situation dictates.


really inspiring, great work. You’ve given me idea!

You were the talk of the group ride this morning! Kudos on catching them off guard and attacking.

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I loved reading this. I’m 51 as well, discovered gravel riding a few years ago and have been seeing endurance and performance increases year over year, following a mv trainerroad plan, a healthy dose of TR podcasts as well as Fitzgerald’s endurance diet (which I learned about in said podcast, yay ;-)). Good on you, man.

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What was your W/KG based on average power? It might be similar, given that you had a steady threshold race instead of a surging one, but it might be much lower, depending on the terrain.

3.4 w/kg based on average power. Once I was on my own, I kept it steady and the course is pretty flat.

Great post! I had a similar experience at a gravel race last year (not a win, but a good result). Which race was this? Was it on a looped course with multiple laps? If not, how did you know (in real time) that your gap was increasing on the chasers?

Holland Classic Heartbreaker edition (the day after valentines). 3 laps with a stretch of 2 way traffic near the start/finish/feedzone. I could see the gap when I was starting the 2nd and 3rd lap as I was outbound and they were inbound.