Firstly, thanks trainer road for getting me ready for my first cycling race. 12 months ago my ftp was approx 181w, and yesterday i completed my first 40min crit around Hefron park in Sydney averaging 230w and normalising 245.
We weren’t planning on racing. A mate and i were going to ride down the coast and do some long z2, but missed the group we were supposed to be riding with. We saw the crits were running, so opted to give it a go. My prep was a bit hit and miss to say the least.
I’ve got two questions…
Firstly, how do you incorporate weekly or fortnightly race efforts into your structured training. I’m in a 3months block in build phase now (low volume), so lots of vo2 and anaerobic efforts. Do you just treat the racing as an additional session a week and shuffle the days to get a rest day either side, or do you guys essentially remove one of your sessions of structured training a week?
Secondly, on my head unit i only ever have power and cadence. But i see the value for run time in here (elapsed race time). What do you guys run on your head unit on criterium and also on road races?
The latter, normally, but it depends on the person’s overall schedule and how important the race is. Many criterium racers are racing weekly or close to it in season, so I typically plan an early week interval session that works on maintaining sustained power (but that depends on where in the season we are, too), and let the criterium/race serve as their top-end/anaerobic intensity session for the week.
But if it’s an “A” race or a particularly long race, a full taper might be in order; an important but non-A event might have a kind of mini-taper, so it just kind of depends.
Finally, if someone does a couple of crits on a Sunday, I find most people need more than just one day to bounce back from that. I typically space intervals at least two days out from intense racing. Some people bounce back faster than others, but I would err on the side of a bit more rest. For a weekly crit racer, it might be like:
Sa - Races + Endurance
Su - Easy endurance
T - Interval
R - Recovery
Sa - Openers
Sun - Race + endurance
M - Recover
T - Endurance + openers if they like them
W - Intervals…
Just depends on their race schedule, but T/W interval set is typical.
Power (on 5s avg)
Power (on 5s avg)
Elapsed Time (if it’s a time-based circuit, otherwise I probably leave this off)
Cadence? Sure, I guess but I’m not really looking at it.
I personally want speed on there for breakaways and times when I’m on the front or pulling something back. If I need to roll through a pull I want to make sure I keep speed steady and slowly build it if I can. Or if I’m solo, I want to keep it pegged.
But TBH if you’re looking at your head unit much during any kind of race other than a TT/triathlon or on a longer climb you’re kinda doing it wrong!
Congrats, hope it was enjoyable I hear Heffron is pretty tricky
I run 3s power, heart rate, elapsed time, and avg speed on my Garmin 530 for racing (crit & CX), just because 4 fields fits about the same as 3 fields anyway, otherwise I wouldn’t bother with avg speed
Just replace a workout with the race IMO, or add the crits to your plan and recalculate it and see what it does
Unless it’s a steady state event, I usually tell people to take HR off of a race screen because its just more likely to freak you out when you see some “redline” number at the wrong time in a race. By the time you see it, you’ve probably already backed off or you are going to blow up anyway. Unless it’s a TT or a long hill climb or an ultra event, it doesn’t really serve much useful purpose in racing.
A weekly fast group ride can be great for race training. A good one helps both fitness and technique.
You definitely need elapsed time on your main race screen if you’re doing a timed crit! (And distance for a road race). Power is the one data field I have actually used to affect race performance I do have other fields but they are more for entertainment or curiosity so they are there but smaller. (e.g. speed).
Turning on auto lap will automatically record individual lap data which is very helpful for post race analysis.
In addition to my race screen I have a couple other screens set up that I use pre and post race. I find it really useful to have a clock available pre race so I’m not fretting about missing the start. You also might want a specific warm up screen with a few more data fields than you’ll need during the race. I also have an averages page for a quick post race look.
I’ll add race annotations to my TR calendar, if they are designated a ‘A’ or '‘B’ race TR plan builder will automatically swap them for a workout. It doesn’t do that for ‘C’ races IIRC but when I done regular club TT’s that I designated as ‘C’ races I’d usually substitute them for a workout manually. I may also skip preceding day workouts and taper if its a big enough race.
I think what data is on your unit is down to the individual. I like to run %MHR, 3s power, distance and ave speed for pacing TT’s. Some folk get freaked out by HR but I like to see its below my limit and I can push harder. Power is similar (except for being less variable and more constant ), in a race for some folk it can be a limiting factor, but I like to see it as a motivation to push harder. I also dislike Speed which will freak me out so I don’t show it but perhaps other’s will find it more instantaneous and useful. If the crits are say 1h + a lap you may want to show time (as oppose to distance) so you can tell yourself I only have to hang for 15more minutes but then again that may be off putting for some, another 15mins of this hurt . TT’s are more distance based so I show that.
Like what @STP says I’ll have a page set up with a clock for pre race and swap it for one without on the line.
I treat smaller races (C or B) as a training day. A races are more complicated.
For those new to criteriums I’d recommend hitting lap at the start then put the computer in your pocket. Find the lap board at the start/finish and make a mental note where it is and to keep track of laps 5 to go. Power and speed will be what they need to be to follow moves, stay on wheels etc…looking at it other than maybe in a bridge, break situation is nearly irrelevant. For road races I keep the same screen up that I have for everyday training: Distance, speed, time, power and Kj’s (don’t recommend). Kj’s for me is a a reminder to stay ahead of nutrition. ie every 250Kj’s (approx 30 min I need to be doing something). I use it more in training fwiw and it just stays on the screen for races.
The majority of the time I’m looking at my headunit during a race it ends up calming me by showing things are not all that bad and I need to stop being afraid I’m going to blow up. (I tend not to be looking at the computer when things are really hard). I have had a few solo breaks where I was focusing on holding a specific power number and one race in particular I hands down won because of my power meter allowed me to max out a last lap solo attack. But 99% of the time the data is not for pacing but a mental aid - either the data is a cue to stop whining because its not really that hard; or its a cue to suck it up because, yes, its is hard and of course it hurts! But, racing is highly mental so use your computer however it helps you.
Hahaha! well… i had planned to race cat 3, but we missed the start by about 30 mins, so we ended up joining cat 2. My goal was to sit in, and try finish knowing that was going to be extremely tough.
I ended up feeling a bit more comfortable than i thought. I spent the first few laps learning how to not do 500w out of every corner, and in the middle of the middle of the race i was focussing on staying efficient and finding my way up and down the group as needed.
Second to last lap i recognised the winning attack and followed it, but blew up with about half a lap to go. I ended up finishing off the back of the break away group (6 or 7 riders), and on my own before the main group (10 or so riders that hadnt pulled out).
So… honestly very happy with my first race and how i rode. Next time i’m going to try race cat 3 i can experiment a bit more with attacking/sitting in for a sprint rather than gritting my teeth and hanging on for dear life for 40 mins.
Thanks guys, i appreciate y’all! Im going to read everyones responses after work
Hey mate! Just wanted to say a huge thank you to the amount of thought and detail you put in you response. I’m going to adopt all of your suggestions this week going into next week for my second race :).
I’ve also setup my wahoo to match yours with the addition of lap counter for my 30 lap road race next week end.
Was it Cat 2 or B Grade? I’m never 100% sure when TR talk on the pod about categories because they also tend to have a Pro field too, which I guess is our (Au) A grade? Do they have a timing board at Hefron Park, here in Canberra the crits I do always have a timer board so I don’t worry about counting laps as the race might be (as an example) 40min plus two laps. Having said that my crit screen is elapsed time and 3sec power. But TBH I don’t really look at the screen when racing anyway, doesn’t really help because you can’t pace, you’re at the mercy of the bunch.
do you need a lot of anaerobic work? training vo2max and anaerobic can be beneficial (albeit very fatiguing), but more anaerobic power isn’t alway better for an aerobic sport like cycling, even for crits (you prob already know this, but cliff notes for those that don’t: too much anaerobic power creates more power through glycolysis which leads to a TON of fatiguing metabolites)
head unit is going to be personal, but I have a very busy one with 3 pages of everything…you only really need to know the TIME though for a race, and keep an eye out for how many laps there are…shouldn’t be looking at power or HR, just RIP IT!!
I have found out I actually kind of need to check my power meter occasionally to make sure I’m not blowing up.
I max out around 196. Anything in the 180s I can tolerate for extended stretches and recover from. If I do more than a brief spike into the 190s…it means the wheels are coming off lol. So sure like last lap of a crit/CX race I’m not looking…the heart rate is what it is…but if I’m 10 min in and sitting at 190+ already I definitely want to know that…