Plan Builder - ride category Fred Whitton

Hi All
Looking for a bit of help categorising the Fred Whitton for plan builder. Yes, it’s over 100 miles but with some very steep sections, it’s impossible to keep the power down.

I rode the route on Sunday through the night with a couple of friends and its the first time I have ridden the route with power data. We plan to ride the route again on the longest day (I know don’t ask) and I want to improve.

I am heavy at 92kgs and I know dropping this is the easiest gains on this terrain I would expect to be around 85kgs coem June. Also you should know I fitted a 40 tooth cassette to help me on the steeper sections.

Honister 5 min section at 300 watts at 3.9mph max 434 watts
Hardknott had to get off at what looks like 467 watts

So after the rambling my questions for discussion…

  1. Given the lumpy nature of the route should I choose something other than a century plan to allow me to cope and recover better from the power spikes?
  2. Or as I will never be able to get my FTP high enough to truly ever cope with 400-watt spikes should I train to be as fast as possible over the rest of the course and accept walking up 3 sections, for hopefully a faster overall time?

Any thoughts much appreciated

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Bet some of the descents were pretty hairy at night! Bloody hell you’re brave :exploding_head:

I think this essentially comes down to 2 things:

  1. Reducing weight
  2. Improving FTP

This is in no way intended as a dig, but 90+ kg is going to make 20%+ gradients seriously, seriously hard, like needing to hold 500 watts for an extended period hard. That’s tough for almost anyone.

Personally I’d do the century plan and try and focus on safe and healthy weight loss. The only other thing I’d suggest is actually practicing steep climbs, because I do think there’s a mental aspect to it.

Good luck!

What are you running up front to go with the 40? I did the Fred off the back of Full distance Triathlon base in 2018. I was rehabbing from a broken hip and had to walk Hardknott as my Femur wasn’t enjoying the torque from the low cadence mashing. I would say the century plan is fine as long as you have your gearing sorted but it’s also worth brining in some longer periods of low cadence work in your sessions.

I’ll be there again next year, my primary focus will be Ironman Wales in 2021 (both COVID permitting) and I don’t plan to do anything special for the Fred in terms of programming, except for scheduling a recovery week going into it.

I do a mountainous Fondo every year, (longer than Fred Whitton with more climbing, but not quite as ridiculously steep), and low cadence work is a key part of my preparation. Although I try to do this outside, rather than trying low cadence on the trainer.

I start tackling some short local 2 minute hills at 70 rpm, then over a few weeks work my way down to 60, 50 and then 40 rpm. On the day, 60 is about as low as I go, but I feel better knowing I can tolerate lower than that. You don’t have to find really steep hills for this, just select tougher gears.

I also try to find some slightly longer hills, and work my way towards being able to tolerate out-of-the-saddle efforts for 5-10 minutes.

I have a compact upfront so a 34 then a road link and Shimano 11-40 on back. I normally have an 11-30 but know I wouldn’t cope on this terrain without the extra help.

Not offended at all, I know I need to reduce some mass but at the same time I know I will never be a feather weight.

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Nice, you’ve done the most you can in regards to gearing. I did similar, fitting an MTB derailleur and a 36. Dropping bodyweight and upping FTP is your next go after…

Forgot to say the descents were horrendous I really hope before the next event (whenever that is) they do some repairs otherwise there will be some bad accidents. My dad damaged the wheel of his car on Newlands!

You make very little time up on the descents… Better to take them conservatively (especially Honnister and Wrynose) and make up time on the sections between the passes and on the climbs themselves with decent pacing.

A few years ago I had a lucky escape after rolling a tub off the rim coming down Honnister, shrill shudder at the thought of what could have happened!

I’ve never done the Fred Whitton, but I’ve done some riding in that neck of the woods, and the downhills were arguably worse than the climbs. Kudos to you for doing that in the dark - I wouldn’t have had the nerve!

Edit: that’s actually on my list for next year, looking at the date