Input - Specialty Phase for Gravel Race

Thoughts on the best specialty phase for this upcoming race? Course profile here: Broken Pedal - A bike ride in Wabasha, MN

It’s 50 miles and looks to be about half paved, half gravel. With 6 solid climbs (…solid for the midwest), I’m thinking either rolling road race or climbing road race and swapping out a few weekend rides for longer durations to maintain endurance. Will do low volume either way (work/parenting/life can’t handle the bump to mid-volume right now).

Other context (not sure if applicable): I have a pretty good endurance base coming off of 110 mile and 50 mile gravel races earlier this year (followed SS base, sustained power build, century specialty). I’m a little over halfway through the experimental 8 week polarized build program and feeling very good (currently at an all-time high FTP). I’ve never hung with the sharp end of a race, but this course profile might suit me (4.2 w/kg right now) and I’d like to show up ready to compete.

Don’t know if you’re using plan builder. I’m doing Gravel Worlds 75mi later this month. Entered it as my A event. Plan builder gave me rolling road race speciality phase. Of all the various specialty phase options, it seems like a good fit. And this being the first season I’ve used TR in earnest, I figured I’d follow its recommended plan and see how it goes. So far, so good.

1 Like

I’d go Climbing Road Race as it has sustained effort workouts. With Rolling Road Race you’re getting just VO2 and anaerobic workouts. So unless you’re leading and dictating the race, this probably isn’t the best fit. With CRR you get both sustained and punchy workouts.

1 Like

I am using plan builder - it gave me sustained power build instead of specialty (not sure if that’s a bug, I’ll chat with support today).

That build vs. specialty question aside (is its recommendation a bug or accurate) I agree that plan builder is fantastic and works well! Good luck at Gravel Worlds.

That’s what I was leaning towards - I’m assuming most hard efforts will cap at threshold unless I find myself on the front end (unlikely). If I am at the front end, I can still dictate pace to my benefit and avoid repetitive anaerobic efforts.

If you don’t have the full 28 weeks available until your A event, PB will typically cut back on speciality phase. In your specific situation, where you are halfway through experimental polarized build, I would suggest backdating the start date in PB, to pick up the Build you have already done.

That’s exactly what TR support suggested (thank you Zack!). I ended up setting up a new plan that started on the same start date as my current polarized phase. It resulted in:

  • 5.5 weeks of Sustained Power Build (starting Wednesday)

  • 2 weeks Climbing Road Race

  • 1 week taper

There is still some weirdness with having two mid-plan recovery weeks spaced only 2 weeks apart… I’ll see how I’m feeling closer to those planned recovery weeks to see if I need both.