Getting out the saddle when you're already maxing out to follow a surge in a crit

Long title I know, but I need to train something specific.
The situation is when I’m following wheels in a crit and it’s going fast and I’m pinned. Then there’s a surge and I have to go with it. Everyone gets out the saddle for a few seconds to pick up the pace.
In this situation I always feel like a wet noodle; knees and elbows all over the place, head cocked to one side.
In less intense situations I can climb and sprint just fine out of the saddle, I’m generally a mtb and cx racer so spend a lot of the time pushing big gears, standing up.
I think the issue is it’s high cadence sprinting, at a point where I’m deep into the red already.
I figure core strength needs working on as well as needing to practice high cadence sprinting.
Any other ideas on what I could work on?

TR library check out Float Sets under Vo2 should be super helpful for those efforts when you’re cookin

I’m not currently using TR.

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There’s the issue. Haha I kid, but I would focus on riding in the high tempo/SS area and then surfing into Vo2 and then back to SS and break it up into blocks so maybe do that 5x 15-20 seconds on and off then take a break and another set.


Do you reckon it’s simply a product of being at vo2 max and training that more is the solution or do you think there’s a need to improve my whole body strength so I can maintain stability when on the very limit?
I think it’s both.

Do you feel you need to get out of the saddle to match the pace? Some people do it with watts. Others with cadence. Others with legs.

You could shift, increase cadence, stand, or use race tactics to stay with the surge - doesn’t have to be standing.

To try and help answer - practice going up with the upstroke. This is something we train on the track cause with fixed gears if you do things out of whack it hurts.

I think it’s an issue of repeatability and being able to a. Turn up the pace after already being kind of uncomfortable and b. Being able to go back to being kind of uncomfortable after sitting back down.

In these situations I always stand because I can generate more power quickly and the surge is usually short so my HR may not even rise as a result (I’ll be cruising at 300w, kick it up to 500-600 for 20 seconds or so, then back down to 275-300).

One thing I think you’re missing is from. Don’t be a wet noodle, don’t try to sprint as hard as you can to match the pace, rise smoothly, raise the pier smoothly, and smoothly sit back down. Did I say smoothly enough? If you are sloppy getting up, sloppy pedaling, you’re wasting energy and driving up your HR.

I would maybe try working in some burst intervals. Start with SS bursts and then threshold bursts then maybe VO2 bursts (is that even a thing?).

For example, do 4x10min SS Intervals but every 2 min get out of the saddle and burst. Not an all out sprint but a 5-10s effort at maybe 200-300% FTP. After the burst try to sit back down and get back on the power at SS.

The comment about doing everything smoothly resonates with me. Will work on that whilst mountain biking as well.

Yeah - it’s easy to think you need to hold the wheel tight but often in crit racing you’ll get surge and lull. Learning when you actually need to put the surge in is critical as often you can simply smoothly increase power and let the wheel go a little before the group comes back together naturally in a breaking zone or something. It’s something you often see new racers doing - blowing themselves up to hold a wheel and then hitting the brakes hard in the next compression of the group. Save energy, save energy, save energy.

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I’m going to come in from a different angle: work on sustainable power / threshold if you haven’t maxed that out. Trying to handle surges and micro-sprints when one is red-lining is bad for everyone.

If possible, I think a solution is to raise sustainable power so you aren’t red-lining. Riding at or above threshold with bursts → not great, riding at sweet spot (because sustainable power is higher) with surges → still not great, but better and more sustainable than the other option.

I’ve got so much potential to increase my vo2 max power! Not done any interval training for three years :laughing:
I do however ride a ton and a lot of that’s off road which is stochastic in nature.
The crits I’m referring to are actually crit training but seeing as they are on a proper circuit, with a legit coach and 30 of the best riders in the region and we have one or two races per session, they are essentially like a pretty decent crit.
These sessions will become my vo2 max training from now on. I push so much harder in company. I used to do them for years before I took a break from it all.
I figure as I’m rebuilding my speed, I’d like to make sure my form was really good to match it.

may want to consider doing threshold bursts: The Difference between Road and Mountain Bike Power Output the last highlighted workout in the article. Also right after that Frank talks the anaerobic capacity workout, another good one.