Generally missing power on climbs MTB XCO

Hello. Thanks for your great product! We (my wife and me) are using your training platform since wintertime. We are racing MTB XCO, our race season just started and we improved a lot. When racing she loses most of her time on shorter climbs (<2min). Her power on short sprints and starts on the flat is really good. She is a low cadence (<80rpm average) cyclist. What advice can you give? Up the cadence and save the power for the climbs? :slight_smile:

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  1. What precise training plans has she been following?

  2. How well have the workouts and plan been followed and performed?

  3. Is this a limiter that existed for her before, or is it “new” with respect to the current training above?

Gotta learn where you are and have been, to help offer where to go.

Thanks for your reply.

She has been following Sweet Spot 1 and 2 and just finished Build. All between low and medium volume. Additionally she did twice a week strength training in the gym also pretty structured (phases according to the cyclists training bible from Joe Friel). She started with base training at the beginning of November.

Last year was her first full cycling season. Started with focused training in summer 2017.

She followed it pretty strict but sometimes had almost to much training load, so we backed it down on some days when she felt really tired.

That was also her limiter before. Steep uphills and also longer uphills. On the flat on a roadbike she is pretty strong.

Now she has two races at the next two weekends. After that we planned a week off training after this long training period and then starting the speciality phase.

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How hard you can go on a 2 minute climb depends a bit on the course profile, and how much recovery you need. But generally these are mostly aerobic, but still above threshold efforts. Especially if the course is rolling and you have to repeat them a bunch. Going up is mostly a battle of power to weight. Going up repeatedly also factors in your ability to recover quickly, and then repeat. Repeat-ability is highly related to overall aerobic fitness.

Mostly, it sounds like it comes down to fitness. If her competition has a higher w/kg than she does, it’ll be really hard to keep up on short hard climbs. Especially if they’re frequent.

The mix of medium/low volume, with added strength training stands out as something that can be looked at a bit. It’s easier confidently follow a plan without modifying it much. It’s harder to mix a couple plans, and add extra anaerobic training in, and still stay on track. You can absolutely do the later, but just make sure that while doing so, she’s still seeing the fitness increases each block that you’d expect. If she starts to stall, take a good look at what was actually done, and try to figure out how to fix it in the future.

I think overall, if she’s still making fitness increases throughout the season, it doesn’t really matter if she gets dropped on a climb. Fitness will increase, and eventually she’ll be dropping people on the climbs. If fitness is stalling or dropping though, it’ll be important to figure out what to change.

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I am guessing she did the Short Power or General Build? If so, I would make certain that she is nailing the VO2 Max workouts with the 90-180 second intervals. Those, and maybe the over-under threshold workouts seem like they will hold good payback for her.

Consider exactly what gearing she wants to use outside, and make sure those training efforts are done in a similar fashion if possible and safe. Think of the specificity and how close you can get her training to align with her particular needs.


Really appreciate your answers. She did the Short Power Build. Do you want her account name so you can have a look? I will check the plans and make sure she will nail the VO2 Max and over-under workouts. And also check that she uses the same gearing and cadence as outside.

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I don’t really need her info, unless you want me (or likely someone with deeper knowledge than myself) to have a look. It sounds like you guys have a pretty good handle on this and may just need to check a few things. But I am happy to offer an opinion if you have more questions.