Ramp Test Openers, Explosive Sprints, Pacing Rolling Climbs and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 249

Why you don’t need openers for the Ramp Test, training your sprint for explosive repeatability, optimal pacing for rolling climbs and more is all covered in Episode 249 of The Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast. Catch it live this Wednesday, March 4 at 8 am PST!

Youtube Live Video:

Topics covered in this episode:

Subscribe to the Podcast

Listen to previous episodes on SoundCloud

Episode Notes:


Looking forward to it! On the topic of tire setups for road racing, what tire choice do you recommend for a mixed surface (old pavement and light gravel) on a flat course. Looking for something for my road bike (can fit a max of 25c wide tires). Currently, I have GP5000 tires mounted.

1 Like

That’s a good choice.



I’m sick at the moment or I’ve been sick since the last weekend. I’ve tried to recover and took four days off. Yesterday evening I’ve thought give it a go and did some easier workout Carter. My heart-rate average was 11 bpm higher compared to February 5th same workout. Finished Mid Volume I SSB. I would like to start next Tuesday with Mid Volume II SSB. What do you think completely off the bike till next Tuesday or skip the plan for next week and doing some easy sessions next week?

Thanks for reading, regards from Germany.

I was going to say the same thing. I do a lot of rides where I’ll ride 5-10 miles to a crushed limestone path, and then ride that for a while. I just do it on my road bike, but I DO lower pressure by about 10psi on those days.

I’m liking this talk over the ramp test preparation. On the forum I’m reading people treating the ramp test like an A event and starting to get ready for it a day before. I’m happy to hear the team confirm what I’ve always thought, “You should prepare for the ramp test the same way you prepare for all your workouts”.

1 Like

@Jonathan @Nate_Pearson Thanks for the live read of my 7% FTP drop lol

I posted but you probably didn’t see, just wanted to give more context: we went to Puerto Rico for a few days, didn’t party too hard, although we did go to the Bacardi facility and I did a mixology class and had 3 cocktails I made myself lol Mostly just sat the beach and walked around Old San Juan and ate some good food (we left the 8 year old at home with his grandparents lol)

I’ve been back a week and a half now and training the first week (only endurance) felt awful, endurance felt like tempo (both RPE and HR wise). After struggling with the first few sessions and not even completing stuff, I adjusted the percentage down and the endurance stuff I’ve done based on 275w the past few days has felt appropriate based on HR and RPE.

I’m starting sustained power build tomorrow with 275 and see where things go from there. But now you’ve got me thinking I partied too hard! lol I should also note that vacationing between base and build was not my idea!

1 Like

One key detail to recognize with most ramp tests (assuming normal plan progression), is that they mostly follow on the end of a recovery week. That recovery week features low intensity rides, with an aim to allowing our body (and minds?) to recover from the difficult loading weeks that preceded it.

As such, it’s quite common that the first “hard” workout that follows a recovery week will be a bit more difficult and many say they feel “flat”. They often rebound after that first workout and feel better in subsequent workouts, even if those are more demanding.

It’s in that light that I perform an opener (usually Truuli -2) on the day prior to my Ramp Test. It’s a reawakening for my body, that sometimes feels quite slow and even bad after the recovery week. I just get the blood flowing and hit an effort that reminds me what “work” feels like in the moment. That head space is something that also slips along with the feeling of working hard.

I would likely apply an opener for any workout like this after a recovery week. Something short but just intense enough to get the full systems going (body & mind) so I am ready to really get into whatever workout I do after that “easy” week.

It just so happens that the first workout after nearly every recovery week in TR is actually a Ramp Test, and that means I like an opener most of the time. Notably, I have done the Ramp without an opener the prior day. I make a call based on how I feel on that preceding Sunday and Monday, and will skip it if I feel ready. But if I am “off”, I like the opener to get back in the gear to do real work.


RE: tips for wheels in the wheel pit or wheel truck
I like to use “carabiner” style clips with luggage tags directly on my wheels if not in permanently marked wheel bags. If I need to change wheels, I just move the tag from the pit wheel to my flatted wheel when I change it. I usually have name large on one side and contact info on the other (sooner or later you’ll leave your wheels at a race). For a road race follow wheel truck, I find it’s better to have your race number rather than a large name on one side since the wheel truck driver is most likely going to pull your wheels from the truck while you are removing the flat and he knows your number but probably not your name.


Pro Tip

@Nate_Pearson tubes are great! I understand the advantages of tubeless, in fact a few of my bikes are setup that way. However, my road bike is still running tubes even though I have tubeless ready rims.

Why you might ask? Well, I have nine bicycles that I need to maintain and a few of them have multiple wheel sets. I have two wheelsets for my XC mtb, two wheelsets for my road bike, three wheel sets for my cyclocross bike, and two wheelsets for my fat bike. Trying to stay up on the maintenance of keeping the sealant topped up on all of these wheelsets is a major PITA. So for bikes like my road bike where the advantages of tubeless are minimum as compared to something like my cyclocross bike I chose to still run tubes.

RE: Heffron Park in rain. It doesn’t hold up. It will be cancelled.

Edit: It also won’t be cold. Just wear your normal kit or you’ll overheat.

1 Like

Nate talked about watching your power levels progress to the point that what started as your VO2max range is now your SST range, so I thought I’d go digging.

February 26, 2019, one week into training:


Exactly a year later:


Good feels.


Same thing happened to me!

When I first started TrainerRoad two years ago my VO2 intervals were 20 watts lower than what my threshold intervals are now! I wasn’t exactly off the couch, but I also wasn’t doing any sort of structure.

It’s insane and every time I’m hurting during a threshold interval I just tell myself that I couldn’t even hold this power for 3 minutes two years ago!


That’s VO2 to aerobic!!! :metal:


All I could think about with all the talk about thumbs up this week

1 Like

What was the vest that was discussed at the very beginning of the podcast?

I know I shouldn’t have laughed but @Pete recounting all the times he came off the rollers and the various things he crashed into in his office cracked me up. All part of the baptism by fire that is learning how to ride on rollers. Glad to hear you’re now proficient at it.


I finally started to taking the advice of fully fueling my workouts, its like doing them in easy mode.