FTP, First Gravel Race of Year and Best Race Designator

Okay TR Comrades, I need some feedback regarding my training plan for the first gravel race of the year – April 13, 2024.

Here are the relevant details.

I am a 55 year old, 6’3" rider at 187 lbs -race day weight. I am currently starting week 18 of General Build plan with last assessed FTP 281 and 3.3 watts/kg.

The Rollin Coal Gravel Grinder is an extremely challenging gravel race that combines difficult gravel surfaces, muddy double-track, tar-chip surfaces and LOTS of steep climbing and descents. (E.g. The 2023 Longwall Course (I raced) – 75 mi, 7500ft elev, 15 climbs with gradients between 13%-18%.)

Even though I’ve made it to the podium before, this race has gotten the best of me physically and has produced podium ending mechanicals.

This year (2024) I’m going to change my race strategy and enter the Mid-Wall Rollin Coal race. This will be the same terrain at 50ish miles and 5000’± elevation with 13%-18% gradients)

My question: When I enter the 50mi Rollin Coal as an A Race into the TR calendar, should I classify it as a Climbing Road Race? Or a Cross Country Marathon? Given the climbing, terrain and distance, I’m thinking XC Marathon.
Looking forward to your feedback. Thanks!

Certainly sounds like XC Marathon would be a good match, but I can’t find any details on how it differs from a Rolling Road block.

Does the XCM have a bit more emphasis on high-output required for extra-steep climbs?

Here is a profile link (RidewGPS) for last year’s course. WVGS Mid Rollin Coal 2023 · Ride with GPS There was a race day audible that slighty increased the volume. This year will be roughly the same milage and course. Note that some of the designated paved segments in the profile are not actually paved. This is WV afterall. :wink:

Holy cow that course looks brutal!

having done both XCM has more VO2/Threshold, Rolling Road tilts a bit more on the Sweet Spot at least during build.

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