Converting test numbers to race day performance

Hi everyone, this is my first post on the TrainerRoad forum - what’s up?

It’s hill climb season here in the UK and back in March I changed my focus for training knowing that this stage of the year was the most likely to host races due to early lockdown measures (side note, hill climbs are actually a great way to race in a socially distant way).

Thanks to the last few months of structured training I’m feeling stronger than ever and I know my numbers in testing and training reflect this. I’d be confident in saying I would be one of the stronger riders on your average club ride. However, I feel as though I am not getting the most from my legs on race day.

I have seen the numbers of a few other competitors who are getting top 10 finishes and I know I can produce numbers in this ballpark - it just doesn’t seem to happen on the day. Been hovering around 15th, with a 25th last weekend.

Has anyone else found their test results don’t seem to match up with race day performance? If so, what has helped?

NB: Using an accurate power meter during training, tapering properly with openers before the event and generally my nutrition isn’t terrible.

I don’t race Hill Climbs but I do race, so I’ll paint with a broad brush.

Focus on what you can control. You have done your homework and believe your numbers are where they need to be to be competitive. Own that. Believe in yourself and your ability to perform.

Don’t get caught up in the event. If it’s a climb you know, roll off and get your mind into the space you use whilst training.

For me personally, those two things really help when racing. I also tell myself that I have done ‘this’ and I can do it again. As Amber always says on the Podcast, build yourself up and believe.

I hope you go well :muscle: :+1:

Positions are potentially not the best way to judge your performance as some fields could be stacked (Longstone edge you’d got Feather, Kenway for example). As a fellow UK hill climber I tend to look at other things including how I did against people I know who are at a similar level, (you’ll tend to know this as it’s the same guys racing each time) then my power for the duration of the climb, the position then becomes a by product.

I think you need to workout what your optimal climb duration is then accept that dependent on how you’ve focused your training you’ll do better at some than others. Monsal for example, (roughly 1m 40s for me) I am quite a bit behind some guys who I’d beat on 4-10 minute climbs etc.

Above all, enjoy it!


How far off are your numbers on race day from test efforts? Are test efforts in similar conditions I.e. Outdoor climbs of similar length and gradient to your races, preferably at similar times of the day? Is pacing an issue or are you just putting out steady power throughout the event that’s a bit lower than you can do in training?

If you’re doing test efforts in similar conditions to race day, then it’s something about race day that’s the issue. Which means it’s just a case of isolating exactly what. Could be nutrition on the day, could be whatever you’re doing (sleep, training, eating) the few days before the race, could be your warm up, could be psychological. I would start by replicating what you’re doing in testing as much as possible. E.g. if your test efforts are just in the middle of a training block, but you’re tapering for races, then try racing without a taper. I’ve found that my best tapers are either just 1 easy day, or at least 7 and preferably 10 days, nothing in between really works for me, I just feel sluggish.

Cheers! I’d recognise a Monsal profile picture a mile away :grinning:

Longstone was a great event, really looking forward to next year already! You’re right and I have kept this in mind for my next few hill climbs; Whinlatter, Mam Nick and Horseshoe Pass. They should suit me better so feeling much more optimistic results wise.

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Sounds good, just don’t make the mistake I did and not sign out :man_facepalming: