Nationals, VO2 Max, Rotating Mass and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 214

A guide to racing at high elevation, equipment tips and more for MTB National Championships at Winter Park, CO, why VO2 Max is misunderstood and how to use it, the science behind weight and rotating mass and many more topics will be covered on this week’s episode of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast.

Youtube Live Video:

Topics covered in this episode:

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Listen to previous episodes on SoundCloud

Episode Notes:

• Justin Thomas’ Story: The Road to Cyclocross Nationals
User Interview – Justin Thomas – Ask a Cycling Coach 182
Jonathan’s 2019 Training Spreadsheet
Jonathan’s 2019 Leadville Nutrition
Squirt Chain Wax
Alan Couzens’ How ‘Trainable’ Is VO2 Max Really? – A Case Study
Losing the Race in the Final Corner
5 Mistakes That Cost the Race
Pete’s Full Boca Road Race
Jonathan’s Math on Shoes and Rotating Mass
Surefoot Biking Insoles
Precision Hydration Sweat Tests
Lee McCormack’s Lee Likes Bikes
• Chad’s “VO2 Max IS Trainable” Diagram:

Triathlon Training Help Center Articles:
Ironman Training
Half Ironman Training
Olympic Distance Training
Sprint Distance Training


Hi TR,

Thank you for the great podcast. You always get a thumbs up from me on the TR podcasts on Youtube.

I know that Normalized Power (NP) has been discussed in the podcasts many times before.
But I can not wrap my head around this example of average power (AP) and NP.

Recently I did Baird-1 outside. On most (if not all) of my VO2 max intervals there is quite a difference between AP and NP. When you check lap 34 for example, you will see that I did an AP of 356 but a NP of 328. Can you explain how a NP of 328 is possible when I’m 95% of the time in the 340/350 watt ballpark? Is it because of the power smoothing?

I know that NP disregards big fluctions and that it is the actuall representation TSS. But I can not explain this example.

Keep up the good work with the podcast and your product.

Kind regards,

Hilgo (pronunciation will be hard…:wink:

NP on such a small time interval doesn’t make sense you know. NP is related to statistical variance and as such needs a representative sample to estimate the variance properly. In other words, by selecting the one interval, you have removed the variance.


I concur with giro being too narrow, I had a thread recently about looking for new shoes, my current giro shoes are fine enough for short races but I need to pick up new ones that I can use in a gravel race


It’s because of power smoothing. NP is computed using 30-second smoothed power. The beginning and end of your interval is smoothed together with the rest intervals on either side. That means that for short intervals, the computed NP is not useful.


You guys really need to do Ironman Wisconsin!!! It’s a fantastic venue and fantastic crowds. You wouldn’t be sorry.

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So it’s all relative as we all like to hear more about our specific discipline.

I would think though that training for a Tri would put a huge damper on Jonathan’s MTB ambitions and I truly would hate to see him aggravate his knee for something like that…

@Nate_Pearson mentions in the thread where he suggested the challenge that this would be 2 years out so as not to change ambitions already planned for next year.

Yeah totally but I’d be surprised if he changes his goals after next years nationals.

Loving the Ironman idea. I’m not a triathlete but love hearing perspective on the prep for events outside my wheelhouse. Looking forward to hearing more about this.

I’m with Jonathan - pick somewhere cool. Lake Placid would be my pick for you guys. Great location with lots of history. Gotta head east more!


Great podcast as always guys. When talking about the Vo2 max @chad mentioned that when the gap between sustainable power (FTP) and your VO2 max (6 min power) is low then it’s time to try and increase the VO2 max. Have you any tips about what training plan to follow to seek this increase?

I’m coming from 4 or 5 years of training with TR and on and off with a coach for triathlon and TT and now that I’m attempting road races I find myself in the situation that I feel like it’s my shorter power that’s letting me down.

It’s coming to the end of the road season and I’m thinking about next season where I want to do a bunch more road races, try some crits and still test myself in some TTs. I won;t be doing any triathlon.

I’m thinking that doing Sweet Spot Base + Steady Build + 40KTT Specialty + General build + Rolling Road Race would let me peak right for the early season TTs then take me right up to the last few week of the road season where I could target a road race or two then as my A races. This would fit well with the schedule but is there a better way to go about addressing my weakness earlier on in the base or 1st build phase? I have enough flexibility in the schedule for example to add an additional 4 week block before or after sweet spot base to address the short power weakness.

Thanks guys.

I’m not the ultimate resource by any means, but what I can say is that General Build has a ton of VO2 Max work in it, and in my experience was a great plan for improving that.

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Is there any way you can post the link to the spreadsheet Jonathan mentions near the beginning please?
Another great podcast, keep it going, I absolute love them.


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Does the USDA have infuence in the National events at all versus Winter Park?

@Nate_Pearson Regarding the chain discussion in this week’s podcast, picked up an interesting tidbit in this article ( This is from Adam Kerin of Zero Friction Cycling:

“As a teaser for an article in the works, Kerin chooses to use a different chain depending on whether he’s training or racing. ‘[The] SRAM Eagle XX1 / AXS chains are the longest-lasting in the world, but they have been tested by two separate independent labs as being very slow.’ For racing, Kerin chooses KMC’s Eagle x12 chain, ‘[which has been] tested as pretty much fastest chain to date, but is also extremely short-lived, with controlled machine testing being not too great, and field testing taking an average of 600km of mountain biking for it to reach .5% wear mark.’”

Too late for Jonathan to get one of the KMC chains before Leadville???

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USDA, as in agriculture? No.
USADA, as in anti-doping? Yes, they can and should. Whether they are actually there is another matter.


Yes, USDA as in the Forest Service that manages the land Winter Park resort is on…or at least I thought they leased a bunch of the lands resorts are on.


Ahhhhh, I see now. USFS, which is part of USDA. Never mind…


Hey @Jonathan

Thanks for posting the LT100 nutrition sheet and sharing the details on the show. I’m building my own plan out for a similar (highly aspirational) time goal, and had a couple questions (because I could be reading the sheet incorrectly):

  • Any reason you could not blow thru Pipeline Out by taking the nutrition with you (given your goal to reach TL Alternate Out by 3 hours), and at 100g CHO/hr you could have a pack and 2 x tall bottles and be good? My assumption is the weight but wanted to check.
  • Is a tall bottle 500ml or 750ml? I just asking given the dilution of the Maurten.
  • At TL Alternate Out, you’re taking 2L of Maurten 320 and 4 gels for the Columbine climb. That’s 480g CHO according to the sheet.
  • At TL Alternate In, you’re collecting 2.5L of Maurten 320 and 4 gels. That’s 560g CHO. But it’s only a one hour ride to Pipeline In. Is that right?
  • Then at Pipeline in, you’re collecting 720g CHO. But it’s only 2.5hrs to the finish on an 8 hour pace. So that would be almost 300g CHO per hour.
  • In your calculations for carbs per hour (column P), you are using total carbs over elapsed time (column D) to get your average consumption. But that elapsed time is your overall race time, not the time between each aid station. So that throws off your projected CHO/hr.

So according to this sheet, for the entire race, you’re planning on 2240g CHO (i.e. 17 gels and 19 packs of Maurten + a Skratch pack).

Am I being a dumbass and just reading this all wrong?

BTW, @Nate_Pearson question for you and @chad based on the crewing for your race last year (and nothing to do with my Cape Epic tome this time). You said your Maurten pack at PL In was funky because it wasn’t kept cold. I unfortunately don’t have crew this year (as CTS isn’t attending the event), so any advice for using neutral aid? I was thinking of freezing half the bottles/USWE that I would take at TL Out, 3/4 of the ones I will take at TL IN, and my entire pack and bottles for PL In. Would be curious if you had a view.

Thanks for all the info, gents, always a good listen.


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