Peak Fitness, All-Out Efforts, Elevation Training and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 311

We’re back with a live recording this week, so join us on YouTube in the chat!

Ivy, Nate, Alex Wild and I will cover how to reach and maintain peak fitness for as long as possible, how many all-out efforts does a rider have each year, if heat training can replace elevation training and much more in Episode 311 of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast!

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

Youtube Live Video:

Topics Covered in This Episode

  • How long can you sustain peak fitness?
  • How to perform well year-round
  • How to prioritize events and why it’s important
  • How much of peaking is physical vs. mental?
  • Why chronically maintaining a caloric deficit can be dangerous
  • What is BMR and should cyclists measure it?
  • Sprints on an indoor trainer
  • What impact do team kits have on race tactics?
  • Can heat training replace altitude training?
  • How to use heat training to increase RBC
  • How to use elevation training to get faster
  • Do you have a finite number of “all-out” efforts?
  • Is there a cost to overshooting your power targets when training?

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Speaking of heat training, I’ve got 2 lasko pro fans and a third fan (lasko cyclone, not as good) and I’m pondering getting another pro. Debating whether it’s worth it when my basement is 70+ degrees and I’m just blowing more warm air on me but for some reason i seem to be more sensitive to the heat when doing long sweet spot intervals than I have been in the past

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I don’t know where the tipping point might be but at 70ish deg I think more airflow will still cool you down. Since it isn’t really the air temperature that is cooling you, it’s that the moving air allows for faster evaporation of your sweat and that is what is doing most of the cooling. But as you get past 80 into 85+ then the moving hot air might counteract that.

And obviously the humidity in the room plays a big role, so it might be worth considering putting a dehumidifier in the room if you think that is an issue.


I do have a dehumidifier, but not sure if the heat generation is worth any offset in humidity. Maybe it is, not sure.

Coincidentally, I did 3x30 @ 90% today (it was 75 in my basement) and it felt super easy. I feel like I have a personal tipping point at like 92% where I’m a lot more sensitive to temps.

Just thinking out loud here… training at low elevation allows for more oxygen use, allowing you to go deeper. What if an athlete had access to a portable oxygen concentrator? Would training with a nasal cannula lead to greater adaptations?

I have heard some limited anecdotes of people doing this in places like CO where the lowest you’ll be training is like 5000ft. Frank Overton of FasCat has said that he had this and used it with pros back in the day like Tom Danielson. He would come in and do VO2 and anaerobic efforts with higher O2 concentrations so that he could put out more power and potentially get greater adaptations. I’ve never looked for any scientific research on this though.

I think I remember Nate actually saying that he was involved in a study that did this also. I think it was while running on a treadmill and he said though it was a blind study it was crazy how obvious it was whether you were getting the extra O2 or not because it was just so much easier with it.

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Really liked the discussion on peak fitness. I’ve seen a few folks on the forum who refuse the notions mentioned in the video despite the evidence backing them up. A B race doesn’t mean you don’t care, it means you do care and want to do well, but it’s not the #1 race of the year.


The calorie deficit topic discussed in this episode is extremely important in my opinion and I commend the TR crew for approaching it in a responsible manner - it should not be taken for granted. I have recently learned at the ripe age og 46 that feeding myself properly will reap heaps of benefits. I even made a post about it in april. It kinda feels like me and the questioneer (who’s name escapes me) are quite the same person in a sense.


Good on you! I think a lot of folks can learn from experiences like yours.

To reinforce your point, I’ll share a bit of my experience as well. Mine wasn’t as extreme, and also wasn’t as intentional of caloric deficit as yours. When I get stressed out, I tend to stop eating or eat less because I get so focused on the things I need to get done that I forget or don’t find the time to eat. Resultingly, I found I was in major deficits of 500-800 calories day after day. Again, this wasn’t a conscious choice and until I checked in by weighing my food for a week with a macro calculator, I had no idea how underfueled I was making myself.

And much like you, after turning that ship around, I’ve never felt better, more powerful and more fit. I’m up 10 lbs in weight, but I’m also up 50-60 watts across my whole power curve since that time in my life. It was a revelation. So now I eat what I like and to hunger, but during times of increased stress, I make sure to pump the breaks on work to feed myself so I don’t go into a hole again.


To @IvyAudrain I’m curious why you don’t race on courses that don’t suit you? I’m not challenging you at all, I just didn’t expect that response from you.

I get what you’re saying, but to me, it seems like you’re intentionally avoiding a limiter. I truly believe that every course offers some potential benefit. I’m terrible in mud, but I always embrace that and race historically muddy CX races because I know that at some point it will click, even if it results in me finishing mid-pack most of the time. I certainly could avoid all muddy races, but I don’t because that would be avoiding a weakness.

Just a little feedback. Saying “Like” at least once if not twice in every sentence is really irritating.

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Yeah! Thanks for the question! For some context, that approach definitely doesn’t apply to technical features, riding a line or a section I couldn’t prior (and the process of learning it) is a huge joy for me. Im more referring to a course with few fun/redeeming technical qualities that features primarily an uncomfortably steep climb where the only way to enjoy it more is… to get lighter haha. I spent most of my professional road career forcing myself to try and be ‘good’ at races that I wasn’t physiologically predisposed to be good at, so … I just don’t wanna do that anymore! Challenging myself in a way that feels good is riding a sand section in cx that others have to run, not… making my back hurt on a steep climb when I could get more out of just training instead. lolz.


So satisfying.

I hear you though. This is why I don’t have any desire to race criteriums. The risk/reward ratio just isn’t there for me. However, riding singletrack, where things can go wrong in an equally bad way is worth it to me.



I fell asleep listening to this one. Did I dream that @Jonathan won a race but didn’t give us a deep dive :face_with_monocle:

If so why not? They’re the best bits usually.


@AlexWild thanks to your inspiration, today’s 12mi run workout was fueled by…pancakes. Lots of them.


Did anybody watch the coverage of the racing Pete and Jonathan were in? Think it was on Flo?

Thanks for the great podcast as usual guys!

I heard @Jonathan saying that the selection for the Adaptive training is also chosen based on what the user does as a training… I am overexcited to get on board to the level that I quit structured training completely (also due to the fact that my wife did not support trainer in the flat during summer, she was ready for the winter, but not now…and possible room rental for the pain cave got a big delay :unamused: ) and still did not try to do it outside…
I am suddenly not motivated at all to try to have a training plan with a rigid structure, because my days has a lot of fluctuation now and I don´t want to have bad feelings about not sticking to my plan. So I do other strategy how to plan my rides outside (trying to focus on my endurace a lot) + I start to run with my dog…
But does that mean that I am pushing my chances to get on the AT board further away? :scream: I don´t want to do this :pleading_face: So any suggestions how not to lower my chances @IvyAudrain @Jonathan please? In exchange I promise not to spam you on Insta messages :grin:

Good question! Our criteria is definitely changing depending upon those issues/challenges that arise and our need to address them, but not uploading any workout/outside ride data into your TrainerRoad calendar probably wont help speed up your access. :sweat_smile:

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After listening to this podcast I feel that I need to know if Air Fryers work the same at altitude. Does lower air density affect crispiness?