Pescadero RR / California (my only race of the year). Climbing or Rolling specialty?

Highlights of terrain:
Climb 1: 1.14 miles, 4%, my time: 4:31
Climb 2: 0.77 miles, 6%, my time: 3:55
Climb 3: 1.51 miles, 7%, my time: 8:49

I Recon’ed this exact route 4-5 times before race. Ran it like a TT.
I raced it in June. I was 3.72 W/KG FTP then.

I kept up with the group first lap and got dropped hard with a few others on the “big” climb. On the downhill then into the flats, we caught the front group of 2-3 people fairly easily. Then I kept up on climb 1 while we dropped a few people. I Got dropped the second climb and rode solo until the end of the race finishing mid pack. I still recovered and rode pretty hard after getting dropped though.

One important thing to note from the race is that at Cat 5 level it’s all decided on the climbs. No one really attacks. I had suuuuuper easy time riding in the group and arrived climbs fresh. My overall weighted power for the race was much higher than my recon rides since the climbs were ridden way harder. However my average power was much less since I spent minimum energy in the group and barely seen over 200watts on the flats.

My goal this year has been weight loss as well as gaining power. I’m doing Sweet Spot I, II then Short Power Build. Considering this, I’m still undecided between Climbing Road Race vs Rolling Road Race for the specialty phase of my training.

What would you train for? I know 8 minutes is kind of the mark where an effort can be considered sustained but with my desired weight loss and power gain I feel like I’m gonna climb that last hill sub 8mins which is more what the top 5 in the race does. But the race ending on a climb twists it a little further.

Another way to look at it as arriving last climb as fresh as I can so I can push my maximum 7-8 minute effort up that climb at the end of the race.

Any ideas?

If you had an easy time in the pack already, might go with a build plan other than Sustained.

The concern with Climbing is that it spends very little time above 110% FTP, but you’ll be above that in the first two climbs.

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That’s actually an excellent point! I have no idea why I picked that one as the build. It should be short power build. I’ll fix my initial post but the question for specialty remains the same I suppose.

I raced Pescadero last June too, in 35+ 4/5. I was just under 4.5 watts/kg and the race came down to the final climb up Haskins. I did it in 7:26 and got 2nd place. Video here:

I did SSBMV I and II, then general build mid volume then rolling road race mid volume. I peaked for Berkeley Hills a few weeks earlier, then took a rest week and restarted general build and was 2 weeks into that leading into Pescadero. I was happy with my numbers at Pescadero. I’d recommend doing what I did. :grin:

Also, you should race more than just Pescadero!


Hey it’s nice to see you here! (David, right?)
Looking at Derald, you and some other guys and how easy you made the climbs look, I knew you must have been on your way to cat 3 :slight_smile: Congrats!

I’m definitely happy with what I had that day for where I was in fitness but yeah I’m gonna go in much more prepared this year and see what I can do! Already 10lbs less and the way I’m eating I’m hoping to be around 4.5w/kg as well for the race. w/kg isn’t everything but seems pretty important that race if you end up with the first group on Haskins climb. That and saving something in the tank.

Berkeley Hills is another one I was considering but gonna see how much I can improve for Pesky first :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for the input and video! general into rolling also makes sense. There’s definitely a little bit of everything in that race. I would love to hear what Cat 3 is like if you ever post about it here or elsewhere!

PS: I’m the dude in all black at 11 seconds of the video haha

Yep, I’m David. Cool to see you here too, Gurkan!

Yes, I got my final points for a cat 3 upgrade at Pescadero. I got a handful of points toward cat 2 during the rest of the season—I have some more videos up on YouTube. I’m going for a cat 2 upgrade next season, but it’s going to be tough.

It sounds like you’re well on your way to increasing your w/kg! If you truly are just focused on Pescadero, it’s really all about that final Haskins climb, so you know the effort you need to do. I was in that lead group that got a small gap after the first time up Haskins and I thought it was funny that some of the guys (I think there were about five of us) were trying to keep the effort up and stay away from your chase group. Not to be a jerk, but I knew that if you guys got dropped on that first Haskins climb there was no way you’d be in contention the second time, so I wanted to chill and let you guys catch! :grin:

I’d really encourage you to race more. Definitely do Berkeley Hills! It’s a month before Pescadero so it’s a great training race. It comes down to a few 3-5 minute climbs and also has a finish at the top of the last climb. It will help you build your fitness toward your A race at Pescadero, and help you go through the motions of a race day/effort.

Good luck with your training!

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@fidracer That’s the first time I have seen that video. Awesome final climb! Where can I find your other videos (great Saturday eve entertainment :slight_smile: ) ?

@gurk700 Great advice from @fidracer across the board. A few other suggestions:

a. Sea Otter RR! It’s April 16-20th and has a hill profile similar to Pesky (opening is similar to Stage Rd and final climb similar to Haskins). It will be great practice. @fidracer and I did it this year and it was great!

b. VO2: Make sure you are loaded up on VO2 work! Perhaps the @fidracer recommended plans include them (I haven’t checked). But this past year I was focused on long sustained climbs (was training for Hamilton at the time) so I was dropped on Stage (a VO2 effort) early on.

c. Descending skills: I’m on the Alto Velo Race Club that sponsors the Pescadero RR so I have ridden these hills perhaps 100x. The Stage descents and back side of Haskins are deceptively technical. You can gain or lose several valuable seconds. In my case, despite getting dropped on the climb (3.6WpKg at age 62 in the 45+ 5s), I caught the chase group by the time I hit 84. So I’d suggest practicing descending skills as well.

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You guys are convincing me! Not that it takes much. I got a taste of it and loved it so perhaps I should throw in a couple of them! Sea Otter has been on my mind. Riding Laguna Seca on a bike should be fun! Never raced it on my motorcycle and always wanted to.

I’m definitely leaning towards VO2 for stage 1, 2. Definitely gonna focus on sticking with front group so high VO2 capacity feels like it would work towards saving energy. That’s the reason I was thinking short power build for build phase.

YES! I’m absolutely not gonna claim I’m a great descender but I felt great in the group I raced. Honestly I feel like I could/would’ve been dropped way earlier if I didn’t have a good 5-6 seconds in the pocket while descending. But yeah always paying attention to it and focusing on my braking, lines, vision (where you look etc). Same stuff from motorbikes, just a little slower and more momentum based really :slight_smile:

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Yes, @bobmac suggestion of Sea Otter would be another great training race. Also the circuit race, not just the road race. The circuit race is just vo2 max efforts over and over.

@bobmac You should be able to click on my name under that video in YouTube and that will take you to my channel with all of my videos.