I want the victory!

Beginning of October I will partecipate here in italy in a Race: 22km x 3 around the Lake. In the second and third round, there is a short climb in which normally I lost the race: 2,6km, 8 min of climbing, 6,3% average then 10 km flat to the arrival . Which plan or workout I can follow in the next 4 weeks? I’m well trained but I normally lose 15 seconds from the best climber in this climb and then I cannot close the gaps alone. 185cm, 75kg, ftp 250. Thank you for the advice

You don’t include a lot of details here, but from what I gather you and your nemesis, the Climber, are quite evenly matched, he is just 15 seconds faster on the uphill than you are. And since climbing is one his strengths, I further assume he is lighter than you are.

One option you should then consider is put pressure on him during the downhills where you have a relative advantage to him. Not only does he then have to expend energy in a not-so-favorable part of the race course, but also psychologically he knows he will have to work for his victory. Sometimes it is smarter not to try and compete on your nemesis’s turf, the climb, and instead invest more energy in other parts of the of course where you have a relative advantage.

Also, make sure to pace the uphills accordingly: kick up the pace before you crest and most importantly keep the pressure on after you have crested. You can easily gain a speed differential here, which is doubly important as you now start one of the segments of the course that are more favorable to you.


Thank you for prompt response and advice. I’m asking only a suggestion on how to improve in climbing this uphill. Some more details: the first and last 400mt are quite difficult … 10%. The descending is really easy so I cannot make the difference. I’m very fast in sprinting … so if I can stay with small group at the end of the last climb I’m the faster in the sprint.

There is no magic training in climbing better. You have to increase your FTP and/or lose weight. @OreoCookie provides good advice for tactics, as you won’t make much improvement in fitness over 4 weeks.

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Yes I know that there is not a magic tool. Just to understand if I can improve this 1 time 8 min climbing … increasing and working on vo2? Lactate threshold ?.. thank you again both

I’m willing to bet a drop in 4kg of fat will put you past this guy or right on him on the hill. The only thing is a fat loss like this so close to the race may cause you to loose power if done incorrectly. The trick is to loose that extra fat and keep or increase your power to weight ratio.

A small caloric deficit would be beneficial with some extra calories burned. It’s definitely possible to do if done right. You just need to figure out how many calories you consume to maintain your current weight. A slight adjustment in the amount of calories consumed and burned will get you where you want to be.

Another important thing is being more aero always being stressed in the TR workout.

Lighter equipment will help on the hills as well, I will take it that is one of the things most people do first is try and get the lightest bike.

No magic here, just an idea of what might work or might not.

What is your current normalized power for the following segments?

  • the 8min climb
  • the entire race

Also, approximately how long did it take you to finish the race?

Normalized power for entire race 228w, total duration 2hr,10min, average for the 8min climb last year 276w… 8.21sec. My pr is 7.42 in 2015

Option 1: Build your FTP by completing the last 4 weeks of a Sustained Power Build.


Option 2: Focus on specificity via race simulation. I would design a target 1.5hr race simulation session that mimics the needs of your race. For example, it should have at least two 8-10min climb-simulating intervals @ 105-115% of your FTP but each climb is preceded by its own 20-30min of sweetspot (80-90% of your FTP). Feel free to sprinkle in short 30-60s surges at 120-130% of your FTP if you feel that makes the simulation more accurate.

For some examples, type “race simulation” into the search field on the workouts page:

Then I would build a 3 week progression up to that target 1.5hr race simulation session by creating easier workouts that keep those two 8-10min “climbing” intervals but there is more rest or the total workout length is shorter, or maybe it has no surges. I would also keep the climbing intervals near the end of the workout for building fatigue resistance. The 4th week could be used for your usual race prep taper. See the last 4 weeks of the Climbing Road Race Specialty Phase for a good example of how to gradually increase the IF and workout durations and thus build a progression that makes you stronger without accumulating too much fatigue.

Let me ask you: do you want to be faster than him on the climb or win the race? You are treating the two as synonymous, but I don’t think they necessarily are. I get the impression you are trying to find a magic bullet on the trainer, but instead of working harder, perhaps you need to work smarter. That’s doubly true given the time constraints you have, putting too much energy into your training could leave you fatigued for the race.

Here are some other suggestions:

  • Train in the aero hoods position, which is the most energy efficient (unless you are using tri bars or “virtual tri bars”, which I do not suggest). This means you are more aerodynamic and are either faster at the same wattage, or you are fresher.
  • Practice sucking wheels in group rides. The energy savings here can be huge.
  • Come up with a strategy for yourself in advance. You can use tools such as best bike split to help you with approximations to optimal pacing.
  • Resist the temptation to chase people when you can’t keep up. There is no point hammering it for two laps just to explode in the third. You need to be aware of your limitations and stick to them.

I would look at improving your short power, 10 min power, and if you are a better on the flats you can afford to lose 10-20 seconds over the climb and get it back on the flat. Work on your sprint as well. That’s exactly what I would do to someone that can out climb me.

Do whatever you did in 2015 then :wink:

Focusing on one rider seems like a poor strategy (unless I’ve misunderstood and by “losing 15 seconds from the best climber” you meant generically the best climber in the race and not one specific guy. If you’re referring to one specific guy it doesn’t seem a great idea:
a) are you sure he’s racing again this year?
b) do you know what training he’s been doing? He may be faster or slower than he was last year
c) even if he doesn’t show up and/or you figure out how to beat him, there are no guarantees somebody else even faster won’t also show up!

In other words focus on your own performance, and then adapt to whatever’s happening on the day. There isn’t a whole lot you can do to improve your fitness in 4 weeks, other than that having a good taper in the 4th week will help. VO2 max work will get you best bang for your buck at this stage. There’s a lot you can do tactically on the day, but you’ll have to adapt to what’s happening and who shows up. Generally if you’re a heavier guy who struggles on the climbs then you want to conserve energy for the climbs and take any opportunity to put smaller opponents into the red on flats/descents. Also helps to be near the front of the pack when you hit the climb and then pace steadily so that you drop back through the group but stay in touch. This conserves energy a lot better than being near the back as you approach and then having to dig deep early to stay on.

Last point that hasn’t been mentioned is gearing, I’m assuming if you’ve done the race before then you have enough gears to get up those 10% sections at a comfortable cadence? If you’re undergeared that can mess up your climb as you can be forced to go anaerobic to keep the pedals turning on the steep sections and are then gassed on the easier sections.

How to improve the 10 min power? which plan/workouts? the problem of getting them back on the flat is beacuse they are normally 2 o 3 riders so they are collaborating to go togheter to the arrival. Soem other details/assumptions

  • I have mounted as a gears the 34x30 (recently I raced in Maratona delle Dolomiti and Sportful Dolomiti (220km, 5.100mt+). Climbing is not a problem for me … but I need to be faster in this short one
  • I will start the climb in front of pack, as usual
  • Strong climbers are more than 1 (normally 2 or 3). 1 of the that won last year … is also a good time trialist (better than me in the flat course, so I need to stay with him at the end of the last climb)
  • i will save as energy as I can before climbing
  • I will try to lose 2kg, and also to check the bike if I can lose some weight
  • I’m the strongest sprinter in the group, my objective is to arrive in the small group

Thank you all for the suggestions and also for the constructive criticals. We are all here to improve ourselves! :slight_smile:

Sorry … Just undestood that the race will be on 22th Sept!

Do you have a local climb which is 10min long? or even 5-7mins long? And do 5 repeats of that at SST or Threshold. You might need to mark the guy that can TT as well, sit on him, you don’t need to pull a turn at all, conserve as much energy as you can. But you never know what’s going to happen in a race. Go in a with a loose plan but be flexible.