Bonking, Outside Workouts, Predictions for Cape Epic 2021 and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 261

Why bonking on your rides is not making you faster, tips to increase your FTP while riding outside with TrainerRoad’s Outside Workouts Feature, the coaches’ predictions for racing Cape Epic in 2021 and more in Episode 261 of The Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast.

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Bonking conversation was awesome! Great info.

I’m still in the middle of the Cape Epic portion, but I’m a bit confused. Ive never ridden a mountain bike, so I admittedly have zero knowledge of the differences. But if this entire multi-day event, with the same climbs, descents and distances were paved, would there be any doubt that Brandon and Amber would have the clear advantage? So then it comes down to mountain bike skills. And they have multiple months to work on it. So unless one of them is a total mess on a mountain bike, I’d say on paper, they have the advantage. That said, I agree with Coach Chad that there are too many variables to make a strong prediction.

There’s a large difference in learning the basics of MTB skills vs having years of ingrained use that is available with no thought or extra effort.

Getting those applied in “normal” conditions is one thing. Applying them with mounting fatigue day after day will be something else entirely.

That is evidenced from some the the comments about other pros errors in the past, Jonathan’s own crash in Singletrack Six, and countless other “small mistakes” made by any other skilled rider when they are fatigued and/or on their limit.

Main point being that the skills can be learned, but those with the best experience and history can rely on those skills when everything starts to slip from extreme strain.


Any good employee knows it’s a career limiting move to beat your boss at his/her favorite pastime.

My money is on Team Nate for the win.


I think Nate has a bit of hubris here. If the weakest link is the slowest rider, he’s going against two ex-pros. Nate is a phenomenal athlete, but he’s not an ex-pro.

That said, i do think Nate is a good dude and, even in the spirit of competition, he’s not going to saddle Amber with extra projects or book Brandons travel to get delayed.

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Yah, I’m flying them in the night before instead of the morning of the race :joy:.


If it was just road it would be pretty close.

Remember, amber and I will probably come in at the same watt/kg.

The multi day stuff will be my biggest weakness I bet. I haven’t been tested.

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I’m curious as to why everyone chose 50mm as their preferred everyday wheelset depth. Is that what you’d choose to race on as well? Why not 60mm? Or 40mm? Or a 40/60 front/rear setup?

I totally respect your watts/kg, but this isn’t a crit or a single day road race. I’m putting the multi-day experience as the trump card in Ambers favor.

That said, it is a cool discussion. Does this mean that the triathlon you guys were going to do is on hold for now? What year was the plan for that one?

Tri will be sometime after Cape Epic. I was going to try to go for Cat 1 this year but that’s not happening. That puts a damper on the tri plans, but I might start training for that in the late summer.


Brandon had trouble at Tahoe Trail 100 though. Every day at Cape Epic is like a Tahoe Trail 100 (except the prolog).

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I do 5.6 Enve for road race and 7.8 for crit.

I like 50s because they like the maximum aero you can get before the wind really starts to grab them. And I think they said if you could have just one wheelset, so that was a good balance.

I listened to the Cape Epic portion of the podcast and I cringed. Nate, be mindful that Amber is a former professional cyclist — you know this because that’s one of the reasons you hired her. And although road bikes and mountain bikes are vastly different disciplines, I’m certain the former professional cyclist will use her already proven track record of success in her preparations; she appreciates the difference so she will prepare accordingly. I listened to that portion of the podcast and it sounded like “classic-man-splaining”

As a former motorcycle racer (road courses), I appreciate the vast difference between my discipline and a motor cross rider. But understanding the differences, would drive my preparation if I was asked to compete in motor cross.

Be mindful that you don’t man-splain to a former professional female cyclist.


Great episode!

Thought I’d crashed a private Zoom meeting for about 30 minutes :wink:


@Nate_Pearson will you invest in the Cush Core XC Jonathan recommended? I had no idea they existed before that pod. Now I’m thinking it seems like a really good idea, but I want to know if I’ll notice the difference in rotational weight.

Absolutely love the Cape Epic chats. I for one will closely follow your progress. As a new TR user focusing on mtb I’m pumped to have such an awesome resource for training and learning.

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well said, felt the same

When will the 2 new podcasts be live on Apple podcasts?

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@ambermalika comment about being nauseous and not wanting to eat at the end of a tough session or race, reminded me of my first marathon. I walked to my charities get together and they had bowls of pasta, rice, chicken. It looked lovely, but I didn’t want any of it.

I had to visit the toilet and some guy was in there throwing up. I said to myself, I must eat something. I went back and had an apple. WIthin a few minutes I couldn’t stop eating the pasta and the rice. I feel if I hadn’t had that apple I would have been the other guy.

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