Dear TrainerRoad Forum,
I have been an avid listener of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast, reader of the forum and TrainerRoad user since September 2018. Since I have been mostly following the training I wanted to share some results and a few questions that came to mind following my first B/C-race this season.
On Sunday, I participated at the Alpenchallenge, Lenzerheide in Switzerland, a granfondo style event, and came in 14th. Unfortunately, the long course was cancelled due to road damages so I “only” road the 114km with approx. 3000m elevation. Since the event was shorter than expected and only a B/C-race I did not perform a regular taper, but simply followed the specialty plan as prescribed. Since then I feel I have developed quite well and now have an FTP of approx 300 on the trainer and 320 outside on the climbs at a weight of 65kg. You can see the ride file under the following link: https://www.trainerroad.com/career/elvis/rides/57591893-alpenchallenge-2019-14th-overall
Here a few things I noted and am a bit unsure of how to approach the upcoming race / adapt my training:
Race started quite hard despite the neutral zone, had to put out over 300 watts for over 15 mins on first climb only to stay in second group. Pace then settled and I was able to ride at sweet spot (as planned) of about 280 watts for remaining climb. 1. Is it normal for the first / second group of a gran fondo to start so hard and is there any way I can better prepare for this? I believe that probably the climbing road race plan might be better suited due to the increased FTP and VO2 Max efforts in the plan. 2. Do you stick with the front group or let off in such a situation? I decided to ride with the second group - what would you do?
The temperatures were quite low at approx 5-10 degrees celsius on the climbing and after descending (legs obviously got cold, despite accelerating out of the hairpins) I tried to catch a group in front of me on the flat - almost immediately my legs, especially quads, cramped. I was lucky that someone else took over the pacing to catch the group where I could relax and take in some mustard (yes, I believe this helps me). I have had this problems in the past. It appears to often occur when I have to accelarate, mostly in the flats to catch a group, or when my muscles cool down too much. The problem kept coming up during the race each time my muscles got to cold. However, the legs were still quite fresh as you can see from the final effort where I was able to put out 310 watts over 25 mins. Generally, I am definitely not the sprinter type and also feel I suffer most in VO2 Max sessions. 1. Do you also have this problem? 2. What can I do in the race and is there any way to adapt training?
As I was able to put out 310 watts on the last climb (second overall on that segment in the race) I was wondering whether I should have tried to stick with first at the beginning. What would you do?
I hope my result motivates you to follow the TrainerRoad plans and you can possibly help me answer my questions. Just an FYI, my A-race is in three weeks at the Engadiner Radmarathon a 214km gran fondo with approx 5000 meters elevation. I will then be bikepacking for three weeks and after coming back will race the Ötztaler Radmarathon, where I hope to place top 100 / finish in approx 07:45. Hence, if you have any advice for the upcoming events, please let me know
Ride on and stay safe,