Dropped at >360w NP - crit race advice

Wait… what? These numbers are bonkers. What in the heck are these London cyclists eating and doing for training to be pushing those numbers?

1 Like

personally i think that good for one of your first race. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. I also happened to race that race this past weekend and secured a bunch finish with a few digs of the front. If curious i normalized 259 watts at a weigh of 59kg for the full 49 mins.

2 Likes

You don’t need a 400w FTP to be a crit racer in the UK don’t worry :joy:

Cat 1 maybe - but I know a few Cat 2 racers who are competitive with sub 350w FTP

1 Like

Nice man, well done. I’m guessing from your weight you were one of the juniors (or at least younger guys)? Impressive being right up there at 59kg. It’s amazing comparing the difference in those numbers. I need to learn some of your cornering and positioning skills. Any specific things you can think of that made a big difference for you as you started getting into racing?

@kevistraining that’s reassuring, thanks. Of course all those guys also use the watts efficiently which is what I’m aiming to improve.

I agree with @kevistraining, I didn’t mean to suggest you couldn’t be competitive without a 400w ftp, just that the OP should not beat himself up too much because the competition is often stronger than you think - and even if they are good riders and end up with a 250W NP, a lot of them (even in 2/3/4) will have a solid engine behind it - many pushing towards 400. I remain the weakest rider in my amateur dad racing team at 350W/72kg (which is why I now race XCO!).

There’s nothing special in the water in the UK; if anything road cycling is sort of dying over here much like other places. My gut tells me that like the venn diagram of “people who like riding road bikes” and “people who put in 10-20 hours a week on the turbo” is basically a circle. Everyone else has quit to become an uLTrA RuNnEr :wink:

Glad to hear you’re enjoying it - keep at it!

1 Like

So true :joy:

I see no shortage of people who like riding road bikes in the UK, just seems that not many of them want to road race any more. They’re getting their racing kicks from Zwift, or chasing KOMs, or doing mass participation events like big destination gran fondos in Europe, gravel events, etc. Maybe not helped by more racers joining race teams who often don’t put on races (not always, some of them are great), meaning the big clubs that used to do so much to support grass roots racing are more dominated by social and recreational riders these days.

1 Like

Definitely. The vibe around racing in London and some of the clubs is fairly intense and that probably puts people off too.

I’m not a member of a club but from an outsiders perspective the scene seems split between race teams and the kind of social clubs you mention. I didn’t realise those same friendly clubs were the ones supporting the racing because, as you say, many of the racers go to small race teams to wear nicer skinsuits :wink:

360NP is more than enough to be in contention at the end. (Just looked back and I can see 3 races there where I finished 3rd, 6th and 7th > my highest NP was 320W) Lee Valley has quite a few areas where the group compresses and then stretches back out, it’s easy to feel like you need to sprint to stay with the group but you’ll learn that it will also come back together again at the next corner or compression and you’ll be back on the brakes. Taking those peaks out of your race will bring you NP down and leave you with more in the tank for when it really matters. Of course you want to try and stay near the front but in a large group at LV it can get quite churny so sometimes better to accept moving back a little and aiming to move forwards strategically a little later for example when an attempted break is caught.

1 Like

I was definitely guilty of that. I had to check my speed as it compressed and generally wasn’t able to ride up the outside due to being a bit boxed in or not wanting to divebomb, kind of frustrating. Gotta focus on riding the rhythm a bit better next time and not getting too worried about the churn.

In other news after a few creaks recently my crank completely failed on the next ride I did. I don’t think it had any impact on my power transfer at the weekend but I’ve never seen the spindle fail like that. I tried to accelerate through some traffic lights and felt the tension evaporate.

I’m replacing with a shorter crank due to availability online - 165mm instead of 172.5mm. Interested to see how the shorter crank length compares. Slightly more clearance for pedaling round corners can’t hurt.

That’s what 360NP gets you! :exploding_head:

1 Like

I feel like to succeed at crit racing, you basically need to be OK with crashing. Also, shorter cranks FTW. I use 155 cranks on my bike and rip corners pretty hard. Hearing the pedal strikes behind me were a mix of satisfaction and cringe.

One thing that just jumps out at me in your file is that you only coasted for 33 seconds. That seemingly tells me that you were not riding efficiently. For races files, the game is how well can I do with as little as power as necessary. This should all improve with positioning, cornering better, knowing when to put down the power to stay in position and knowing when the group is going to come back together so no need to waste energy.

2 Likes

100% this - I always have a top-trumps with mates who are racing to see who had the lowest NP and most coasting time.

hahah yeah I couldn’t believe that. That’s literally what jumped out at me when I looked at the zone breakdown - having <2% coasting and nearly 30% anaerobic immediately told me I’m doing something really wrong

1 Like

Maximum coasting time shouldn’t be a (serious) goal. You want to be as efficient as possible, which means reducing spikes and zeroes.

Are you working against yourself on the pedals? It’s not easy to break a crank that way. You’re using pedal PM? Maybe 360np was making it to the chain.

Sorry to disagree, but coasting time doesn’t tell you’re doing it right or wrong. To be honest, I think it’s the opposite, the less coasting time the better.

When you coast, there will be a spike to return to the previous pace momentarily changed. Then you pace too hard to close that 2mt gap and have to brake, and all of sudden you’re going back and forward with no need. That’s an example of inefficiency.

You have to keep the front wheel as close and smooth as you can. Riding in an experienced - and fast - peloton would help. You need to be comfortable in riding very close to the front guy.

2 Likes

Would it be safe to say the British category system (elite, 1st cat, 2nd cat, 3rd cat, and 4th cat) be equivalent to the USA system (cat1, cat2, cat3, cat4 and novice)?

Well done for getting out there. :muscle: I wrote myself off before ever trying those winter crits years ago.

Have you tried the velodrome in Stratford? Knocks Herne Hill into a cocked hat. I suspect you might learn a lot about acceleration efficiency there.

1 Like