How do you race your first race?

SO years ago before I stopped cycling, I trained with a coach and I didn’t understand training with power. Since everything I do is 6+ hour TTs, she’s essentially tell me to have no mumbers on the screen excet HR, cadence, and Normalized power. She say “I don’t care what your speed is. Your target is XXX watts np. Hold that number for as long as you can.” I set good race records doing that.

Now that I’m back in the sport, and I understand a lot more, I have my first IRL race coming up in a month. How do I plan for it and set a target? This one is short - 33 miles. I know I can hold an NP of basically 200 for 16 miles. How do I get from here to there?

Not a great deal you can do fitness wise in a month. Is your race a bunch start or a TT? What is your group riding experience like?

What kind of race? If it’s a TT then I’d am for about 180W for the first half then take it up if you felt good. If it’s a flattish or rolling road race then don’t worry about power, just do whatever is needed to stay with the lead group. If you’re still with them at the end then empty the tanks. If you’ve overcooked yourself and get dropped then so be it - at least you’ll have a better idea of what’s needed to hang with them next time.

i would definitely disagree with this strategy. A TT is all speed; use watts to help guide you so that you don’t blow up in a TT, but speed is most important.

Like I said, I only do TTs. I’m not worried about improving my fitness, simply the mechanics of the race. I’ve been building for 4 months so I’m ready for it. More or less! I’m simply talking about when the clock starts, how do I manage it? Road races are easy. Stay behind the lead guy, then pass him sometime before the end :). But with a TT I can say with a wealth of experience that if you screw it up and go too far into your energy too fast, you’re gonna have a bad time. There’s no “next time” here until next year, as it’s a n annual race, not a monthly repeated crit or anything.

@brendanhousler you are correct - you use watts to guide you during a TT. That’s exactly my question: If I know my ftp is XXX, how do I gauge how many watts to shoot for with what may be a 2 hour race? If my ftp is accurate, it’s not sustainable for 2 solid hours. So do I shoot for 90% of that? 70? ??

The terrain will play a part, also the wind. Factor your effort into that too, look where you will push and take into account where you can get micro recoveries.

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well road races don’t really go like that, or they’d all be a bunch sprint.

maybe it’s just me, but “like I said” comes off sounding really fresh; be nice!

when I mentioned speed is more important, it’s what Murph below is saying. There are areas where you’ll need to push more. Factors that influence that are things like FRC (how much work can you do above FTP without exploding).

If there are turns on the course, especially in something like a shorter TT, if you only did % of FTP your time would not be good as you need to be accelerating a lot back up to speed versus just pinning one speed.

If its 2 hours, it depends; have you done sweet spot for 2 hours? 90 might be reasonable, but even that can explode you if you haven’t trained it enough.

Look at what your max watts is for 2 hours and shoot for 95% of that, and ramp it up in last half hour if you’re feeling good.

you don’t want to crater though half way through, so I’d lean on being more conservative first, then push on the gas.

Good luck!

Sounds like a job for which you may have heard talked about on the podcast. Plug in your numbers, course, equipment and conditions and it’ll tell you what power to put out, and when. You can also use it to see how changing the inputs, ex power, CDa, weight, will affect the outcome. At the end of the day, it’s still up to you to execute but this might be the plan you’re looking for.

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I wasn’t trying to be mean. I tend to cut people slack on the internet when I can’t hear tone of voice. I think you usually know when someone is being a jerk though. I’m definitely not.

Thanks for the advice folks. Truth is, I don’t really know how much work I can do without blowing up. I figured kind of what you advised. Stick to the plan until the last 30 minutes, then it’s hell bent for leather. There’s around 1400 feet of climbing and almost no turns. Maybe 2. I’ve never tried sweet sport for 2 hours - only in intervals. Essentially I’m just doing what TR tells me to do. But as I get closer to the date my mind turns to strategy.

I hadn’t seen that bike split site. I’ll give it a look! Thanks again and very much appreciated.

Haha I was just giving you a hard time. A lady at work in 2007 tried to start a war with me when I said “do you recall when…” and any statement like that stuck out as a no no from then on as they could be misread. And now i misread them also :rofl::rofl: Anywho! Good luck, try some longer efforts if you have time before the event and get a better gauge.

Crush it!!!

Brendan John Housler

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