Metabolic Efficiency, Marking Riders, Sustained Power and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 314

Does metabolic efficiency change at different intensities, when do you choose to mark a rider or go solo and make them chase, how to increase your sustained power abilities and much more all covered in this week’s Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast!

Tune in for the YouTube Live Stream this morning at 8:00am Pacific!

Youtube Live Video:

Topics Covered in This Episode

  • Carrying momentum while cornering in a group
  • Does metabolic efficiency change at different intensities?
  • The hosts’ thoughts on the start of the 2021 Tour de France
  • Sodium Loading
  • Should motor pacing and group rides be excluded from KOMs?
  • A practical way to gauge VO2max capabilities
  • Improving sustained power
  • When to mark a rider or go solo

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That was great, not because the topics were the most interesting (not every episode can cater to everyone) but because the banter and chemistry is back!
I don’t know any of you personally but it seems both Chad and Nate have gone through some rough times but are on their way back to a happier place. Sorry for you loss, Chad!
It just felt genuine and fun, it’s hard to fake that if you are struggling.

Oh, and good luck at Nat’s Jonathan!


To your point about pedaling efficiency @Jonathan , since you didn’t get the time during the discussion to expand on it fully.

Take the Tour de France last year. Pogacar won in 87h20m05s. 10th place went to Caruso 14m03s down. That huge gap is really just 0,27% of the total riding time. And the difference to second placed Roglic? 0.019%!

Now on the other side of the argument, increasing pedaling efficiency from 22% to 23% is really a 4.5% procent relative increase in efficiency (which would translate directly to a 4.5% increase in power).

If riding time would scale linearly with watts, increasing effiency from 22% to 23% procent leads to a difference of 3h58 minutes (say 4h) over the Tour de France… That’s huge! Enough for 56th placed Neilson Powless to win the TdF in dominating fashion over Pogacar, by over one hour :slight_smile:

In reality the difference would be less though since

  • speed doesn’t scale linearly to watts (although we are talking about tiny speed differences here so the order of magnitude should be correct)
  • More importantly though, the difference is only made in a few key sections rather than the whole race duration

Fun as it would be to see Powless pull that off, I’d enjoy even more seeing Nate at 90% bio-mechanical efficiency! Imagine him cruising around at IF 0.6 = 810W. One man lead out train, full gas from the start to the end of every stage :slight_smile: Can you imagine the sponsor exposure TR would get? You guys have got to find a way to make that happen! :grin:


Wow, 6,000 in AT Beta, that’s so great, so amazing. I’m so happy for those beta testers :neutral_face:. @Jonathan tell me again about how you couldn’t train without progression levels.


Came here to say exactly this. The banter was on in this episode. Great episode!


Really minor thing I noted while listening @Jonathan - when the guy was saying he was in a certain bracket of a power chart, you guys started talking about the Coggan w/kg chart - I’m pretty sure your correspondent actually referring to the chart or similar, which compares your personal performance to that of other athletes within your subset (since he referred to his performance relative to the database).

This is what it looks like:

(Check out how bad my sprint is though :laughing:)

Great episode though! Enjoying having Chad back.

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I agree that the chemistry and the banter among all the hosts was great to hear.

I’m pretty sure I heard Nate say that outdoor workouts for AT are working. I think he should check with his tech staff because as of 2 days ago I am still working with support on TR workouts with a Garmin outdoors having issues, And they tell me they continue to have things they have as priorities to get working correctly and consistently, specifically that AT is too strict in defining outside workouts a struggle or fail.

Anybody know what time Jonathan races at Nats? And is it on Flo?

Is it today?

Looks like it’s tomorrow. 2021 USAC MTB Nat Champs- Thur, July 8 XC, 07/08/2021 : : my.race|result

Just popped onto here to see if there was info on Jonathon so cheers for that link! Do you know what age cat he is in?

to answer my own question :slight_smile:

Bob, You’re correct. The question was from me. and I was referring to but didn’t want to specificaly mention that since it might be viewed as TR competitor. Here’s my chart for W/Kg for 65-69, which shows my 30 and 60s power is better than my 20 to 60 m power against peers. The advice from Chad and others was to ignore weight, and focus on increasing power. Fair enough, but a slow weight loss of 10 to 15 lbs. would be good, especially when climbing hills against younger riders.

I think it’s this type of data that TR could scrape and mine if it wants to. @Nate_Pearson made a podcast comment last year that (paraphrasing) over 50 cyclists should always ride within their FTP if they want their best overal time, as recovery during a ride from burning matches is not possible. That indicates they’ve analyzed age-related trends and have the potential to put those to use. Hope a similar feature to compare against TR peers can get rolled out sometime.

And just for comparison, I checked the Coogans Power chart they mentioned, and there, my longer power (such as it is :grimacing:) is proportionally better than my short power - opposite from the Intervals peer chart.

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It’s interesting comparing across the ICU charts. They are super useful, but rely on people’s recorded efforts (I think). I was 90%+ for 2 and 3hr power, but I’m almost certain that’s only because few people go out and ride Sweet Spot for that long :man_shrugging:. I’m mid range in the more normal categories.

That didn’t really add much I’m sorry, but I like the ICU charts.


Did you work out where/how to watch? Or what time his race starts?

ETA: per Nate’s IG he’s racing right now.

Note there are only 150 athletes in that range, and the number of 65-69 year olds using is probably highly biased to highly trained individuals.

I don’t think it’s on air anywhere, but you should be able to follow the time checks for each lap here.


Anyone know how many laps it is?

Looks like at least 3 based on the live update right now.

Jon is up to 6th with close gaps all around him, not sure if it is over?

And throw a blanket on the top 3 riders (1-2 tied) for lap 3, wow.