First failed workout (Spanish Needles)

Maybe it was the perfect storm for a failure?

Tuesday was the first day of “Short Power Build MV” and it was a mess with attempting the Ramp test, 1st text was interrupted by a work call, so I gave it a few hours and gave it a 2nd attempt. My phone did a system update and rebooted around 180 watts, lol. So I attempted a 3rd Ramp test and ended up with a 21w improvement.

Wednesday was “Pierce” and it totally kicked my tail but I finished it.

Thursday was “Spanish Needles”, I made it through the initial set at 100% then dropped it to 75% (1st time I have ever dropped from 100%) and made the second set, Dropped to 60% and completed 2 more sets. With 2 more sets remaining my legs where SHOT so I did a short cool down and spent 30 minutes stretching…

For reference I dont have a cool ERG mode smart trainer so shifting 3 gears up and down was the norm, to hit the power numbers.

1x12 set up on the MTB

I have only completed Spanish Needle once without lowering the intensity. Usually each set lowering the intensity an additional 2-3% from the last set. I’ve also had several fails if I’m not physically or mentally at 100%. This is the only TR workout that consistently beats me.

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Spanish Needle is a notoriously difficult workout, I wouldn’t be too worried that you were unable to complete it. Something to note is that Spanish Needle is intended to be anaerobic repeats. By turning down the intensity by so much, you’re turning the workout into something else, Threshold most likely.

Microburst workouts are hard to get right on any trainer. For non-erg it’s a lot of gear changing, for erg it’s a lot of trying to get your cadence as even as possible to reduce the trainer lag time. Common advice for non-erg riders doing microburst is to pick the gearing that works for your hard efforts using the big ring, then just change to the little ring for rest. This should make your on-off gearing changes simpler.


Spanish Needle is being altered in the next update to the Build plans per @Nate_Pearson. I believe he recommend to another user to replace the middle interval with a backpedal instead.

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I decided to replace Spanish Needle with Barnard +2…higher TSS but looked easier to my eye. 15 sec on/15 sec off seems pretty unreasonable and unrealistic…40/20 at lower % FTP was something I might actually be able to complete.

I have my first attempt on Spanish Needles sometime next week, but from reading people’s remarks on the forum I already calculated a fail on this one haha.

Just going to have to see for myself where my breaking point is going to be

I don’t have this one for a while yet, but boy it sure looks demanding! Looking at the short 15 sec bursts and recoveries, I think I’m going to struggle changing gears so often. I’m on a dumb trainer so going from 150% ftp to 40% and vice versa requires a lot of shifting. Any tips?

Also, should these bursts be completed seated or standing?

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I just did this workout yesterday and had an odd experience because I was trying to get my power numbers in line in ERG mode. The lag had my average below the target value so I changed to 120 percent and the numbers overshot so I went to 110 and was under so I settled on 111 percent, but after the second set I was ready to pack up for the day.
I finally turned it back down to 100 and forced myself to finish. (I had surgery today so I was willing to kill myself yesterday knowing I will be off the bike for a bit)

Here is the odd bit, if I reviewed a set and checked my power vs target I was on point even though each interval summary said I was low.

Moral of the story: never bump Sprint intervals to 120 or 110 or 111. Even on a dumb trainer I would suggest reviewing your effort to see if you were overshooting and your summary suggests you could have backed off a tiny bit at the start and held out longer at your target.

It’s going to change to Spanish Needle -3. We’re hoping to get the updated build plans up this weekend.


I feel you. I was on the same plan. I completed Spanish Needles, but was wiped out afterwards. In fact, I’ve been on a tailspin ever since. I barely completed the next workout, and then failed on the one that followed. I never recovered. Until I failed, I thought I was unbreakable. I thought I could just power through anything. I guess it’s good to know our limits. But, I guess the question is, what to do now?

I’m taking the three days off to get my legs back. Then I think I’m going back to Mid Volume Base II in the hopes of building more fitness before trying the build program again. I guess the alternative is to just say screw it to structured workouts and go to Zwift until it warms up outside.

Nice, I am starting with general build next week.

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I think is was just a combination of things that caused the failure, today will tell the tale when I do Antelope +5.

Good luck to everyone and keep on peddling!!!


I just did this one this morning. It was tough. Probably one of the most tough I have done yet. I have completed SSBMV1 and SSBMV2 up to this point. I can’t fathom how anyone could complete this if they have not done every workout in both SSB sets at 100% or more. I am not saying that OP did not do that, just if you are not following the plans 100% this workout is probably going to beat you.

Versioning on the plans would be nice. So if I have SSB v1 in my calendar and you release SSB v2 the web app would let me know, present the changes (I.e Mary Austin on the 25th to Mary Austin -1) and give me the option of going ahead and updating my calendar to match the new plan.

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I have an Elite Direto. I put it in “Resistance” mode at 40% and shifted between big chain ring and little chain ring. I also backpedaled at the short rests. Towards the end I found out it was helpful to switch to ERG mode for the 5+ minute breaks.

Depends on people’s power profile I’d think.

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I did NOT do SSBMV2, I did SSBMV1 then straight into SPBMV, just did “Antelope +5” and it was hard work but nothing to crazy. In a masochistic sort of way I kinda look forward to another shot at “Spanish needles” .:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

@Nate_Pearson I think it’s been suggested before, it would be a great feature to have changed workouts that have been planned as part of TR plans to be automatically upgraded. Something like a tag in the workout with the plan it belongs to and added to the calendar by. When that plan changes, any un-executed workouts with that tag get replaced.

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We just updated our builds plans. Some of them are auto changed, but others you will have to do manually. Info on that here: Plan Improvements: Short, General, and Sustained Build!

As making it all one click of a button; that would be cool but our engineers are working on stuff that I think everyone will find more value in.


Why are you doing SPB? You missed a lot of VO2 max work in SSBMV2 that you’ll need in SPB and in Crit, if you are going that direction. The VO2 workouts are the best after you complete them. You’ll really enjoy completing it next time around