San Joaquin +3 achievable?

Looking at this workout coming up in a couple of weeks and I was wondering if anyone has success with this one. I looked at the people that performed this today and it seems like just about everyone fails it. The rest periods seem so short to be able to nail it. My only time trying it, I made it 30 minutes before bailing. If anyone has been successful at this, any special advice would be welcome.

I did it last summer - looking back at it, it did not seem to be a devastating experience. Never got to 90% HR. I’m pretty poor at VO2Max workouts (I have recurring Spencer +2 nightmares), but San Joaquin +3 did not hit that button, probably because the intervals are 50 secs long.

How is your general VO2Max training experience? Are you ok with 60-sec intervals of the Bluebell variety?

P.S. - just looked at the recent rides, and indeed compliance is pretty low, people either bail out after 3-4 sets or reduce the load significantly.

I did it 2+ years ago, when I wasn’t terribly strong, and got through the +4 version. My notes show I needed to take a few 1 minute breaks to cool down. And my HR did go towards max. But I made it through.

Agree that the longer anaerobic intervals of 90 seconds+ are the ones that absolutely destroy me.

Considering that the workout is 0.97 IF (Intensity Factor) for a full hour, it WILL HURT (assuming proper FTP).

Consider that a 1.0 IF is like doing an entire hour steady at your FTP, this workout will not be easy. It will take proper prep coming in and the right mindset throughout. Some people may have an easier time on a workout like this vs steady-state closer to threshold, but that varies with each person and their training history.


I wouldn’t say I have a particular weakness with VO2 Max. Have completed Spencer +2 a few times. The 60-90 second workouts generally don’t pose any problems. It’s just they are usually at least 1 minute recovery, not 20 seconds.

I think I’ll complete it, but its suprising how many people are failing it.

And I did complete the Ansel Adams -2 the week before, which is a .95. However, on that one you still get 50 secs of rest between intervals.

I’ve come to realize that I recover pretty fast from short/intensive efforts (there’s gotta be something I’m good at) - so that makes these easier, I guess. I’d suggest working up towards it - shorter intervals with the same intensity and interval/recovery ratio would be a good place to start.

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Just completed it tonight, it was cruel. Use the short rest intervals to play with hand position. Drops, hoods, tops. Have a couple of gels handy, take them on before you need them.

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I do a lot of over-unders that I’m pretty good at (sleeping beauty +3 is 30 on / 15 off at 120%), but I think San Joaquin would be significantly harder. I got absolutely trounced by Baird +6 a couple of weeks ago (3x{5x90} sec at 120%, one minute recoveries).

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Baird +6 was an epic battle last week for me. Solidarity! I have Bashful +6 tomorrow. Ugh…Think I am going to go with a (-) version.


San Joaquin is actually one of my favourite workouts. Just reviewing the +5 version from last year and my ride notes “Legs felt awesome. No issues hitting numbers and no rest needed. Window was open and cool so may have helped.”
Finished it with a 0.95IF…

Now make me do steady state work and we’re going to have issues haha.


I tend to favor those sorts of high-intensity, short duration intervals. It was still pretty tough, though! For me the most important thing is to get on top of the cadence early. As the workout continues and I get tired, a little too much muscle tension at the wrong moment can be devastating.

The last time I did this I used Erg mode and that was fine, but sometimes I do better with these workouts in manual mode.

Give it respect, prepare properly, and commit to a hard hour!

Timely thread as I have this on the schedule for tonight. Considering that I failed Ansel Adams -2 last week I think this one will be hard.

Given the discussion on the pod about fueling for sessions, and given that I normally just bang them out after a day at work and a quick coffee I’ll pay more attention to fueling and see if that helps.

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Coming in properly fueled is certainly one piece, but learning to recover quickly and efficiently is another.
Especially later in the blocks getting on top of the breathing and getting that under control, getting as relaxed as possible, and working “actively” to get your HR down as rapidly as possible is key. Even if you have a great aerobic engine, if you dont recover efficiently it just allows the fatigue to start stacking up over the sets which leads to failure.

This is super helpful for crit racing and road racing because you learn how to effectively take advantage of the lulls in intensity, recover, go again.

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It is indeed a solid session, my Tacx in erg mode is averaging a little low on each interval compared to what TR states it should be keeping me to so I guess that just tipped it to the right side of manageable.

This time I Kept the cadence at low to mid 80’s and felt a lot more in control compared to Ansel Adams and other similar sessions

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Yeah, I…skipped bashful+6 last week :(. I started thinking that maybe jumping right into Sustained Power Build MV after my three week season break wasn’t the best idea. When I saw bashful was at 122%, I decided to do Carillon+2 instead (6x10 sweet spot). It didn’t kill me nor did I spend the day dreading it, so that’s something.

How did bashful go for you?

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I did -2 and added 30 minutes of endurance at same bashful wattage. -2 is 45 minutes - 60:60 instead of 90:60, but at 125% and only 3 min breaks between sets. So roughly equivalent TSS-wise, other than being 15 min shorter.

It was hard, but I didn’t have to turn down. So for me that’s the difference between feeling accomplished after a work out vs. feeling crappy.

I was in the midst of SSB MV when plan builder came out. I have a gravel race in April and the builder accelerated me into Build. So I went with it, but it did come on a few weeks quicker than I had planned. A little shock to the system for sure!

Ha, that’s almost exactly my story. Long CX season that ended just before the holidays. Plan builder came out, I found an April gravel event, and here we are. Which event are you targeting? I’m hoping to do Cascade Gravel, three day stage race in Bend.

First two weeks of Sustained Power were hard, but I mostly got through them. I’m unfortunately in a situation right now where I have to do the three hardest rides (usually Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) back-to-back-to-back on Tues Weds Thurs. Last week I did week five of Sweet Spot Base MV1 and it was more manageable. Enjoying a much needed rest week now, not sure if I’ll continue with sustained power or switch to SSB MV2 next week. The three minute sets at 122% I see on the horizon have me sweating a bit…

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I am on the east coast - the race is the Appalachian Journey in Virginia. April 11. I love Bend though! I have vacationed there and dream about going back.

I am finding my groove on General build. The Thursday workouts of more like threshold/over-unders are slightly more manageable than the long anaerobic Tuesday workouts.

How did back to back to back go?!

I did this one a few weeks ago and it was rough for sure; I had to lower the intensity to 96% and I took the recovery intervals even easier (dumb trainer provides me that freedom), including some backpedals a few times in the second half.

I had really struggled through Ansel Adams -2 the week before, so honestly just making it through this one, even at a lowered intensity, felt like I win. I expected it to be a much more dramatic failure. VO2/anaerobic work is also just plain not my forte.