"Supercompensation" ride the week of a century?

Hi Folks,
I am riding tough centuries on back-to-back weekends on 9/8 and 9/15. Each is ~106 miles with a little over 8K feet of climbing. On the CTS page for tapering advice (https://trainright.com/tapering-week-before-race/ they suggest a Wednesday or Thursday three-to-four hour relaxed “supercompensation” ride with the aim of “deplet[ing] your carbohydrate stores and get your body to jumpstart all the metabolic processes .” This would be followed by some degree of “carbo-loading” to follow up and rebuild fresh glycogen stores (although I doubt there is a difference between fresh and stale glycogen).

No other other websites I have perused with advice for how to ride the week leading up to a century have included anything like this long midweek ride.

My questions, then, are pretty simple: Has anyone ever tried this? How did it work out? Any other thoughts on this?

Thanks much,
John from Northeast PA

If anyone is curious, the rides are:

  • 9/8: Garden State Gran Fondo - Morristown, NJ
    *9/15: Tour de Shunk - Monroe, PA
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If these events are important to you, I would not follow a carbo depletion strategy [nor a carbo overload strategy], particularly since you don’t seem to have experience doing so. As a general recommendation, trying new nutrition strategies should only be done for training rides. I have ridden perhaps 25-30 10kft+ centuries over the past 15 years, including 4 last year and 2 this year. The “best carbs strategy” I have found is getting plenty of carbs (and protein) the night before and then pre-load for the ride (1-2hrs prior).

As for week prior training/tapering, much of what you should do (or not do) will depend on a couple of things:

  1. Your fitness level (CTL or TSS/day, depending what analytical tool you use). A CTL of 90 (weekly ave TSS ~600-650) vs 60 (TSS ~400-450), for example has significantly different implications for the volume you can handle/should do.

  2. The importance of these events (both B’s? both A’s? B then A, or A then B?). [Note: I presume these aren’t training rides for you]. For “A”s generally speaking, you’d want your TSB in positive territory, perhaps +10 to +25, B’s 0 to +10. If you don’t have analytical tools (e.g. TP Premium or WK04/5), you could sort of estimate it with TSS weekly averages (how much the taper week’s TSS average load falls below your prior weekly average) or just go by feel (how rested you want/need to feel).

Without the benefit of any such info of (1) or (2) in your post, here’s an example for you:

If your weekly TSS was about 500 and both were A events for you, here is what I’d recommend:

  • 5 days prior: Sweet Spot ride: 3x20 or 4x15 (or slightly less)
  • 3 days prior: 3-4 hour endurance ride (60 - 80%)
  • 1 day prior: 30-60min easy pedaling (recovery style)

FWIW: On 7/14 and 7/20 I did (6 days apart) I did a 105/12kft (TSS: 394) and 102/11kft (TSS: 451). Both centuries were part of a training ramp period (getting CTL back to 90s). Since both were “C” events, but really hard, I managed my CTL to get my TSB to -7 and -8 respectively for the rides.

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Thanks, Bob. I appreciate your miles-tested wisdom!

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Do you feel like you are riding strong? I had a 2 month declining PMC, from low 80s to high 60s, and then did two centuries and a double century over 4 weeks:

Felt great after all the rides. I haven’t found PMC to help much at predicting anything, once I’ve established a strong base. Just followed the fundamentals:

  • win in the kitchen
  • plenty of sleep
  • two a days with longer afternoon rides to get heat acclimated
  • get more specific closer to event

Based on previous prep for big events, I wanted to do the centuries two and four weeks prior to double, but it didn’t work out that way.

Good post… I agree. PMC can be beneficial in season planning, but it’s use in season is as an ancillary indicator of what’s actually going on in your body. Fatigued? DOMS? Tired? Cranky? Case of the I don’t wannas? Time to back off… regardless of if your TSB is -30 or -10. It’s a decent model for mapping out fitness and freshness, but it has no physiological tie to anyone’s performance, fitness, or freshness.

From my point of view the PMC is a nice tool for tracking volume ramps during base. Once I hit build the focus is on vo2 work and increasing short power, but PMC doesn’t really help with tracking the types of rides I should be doing. It’s pretty easy to have flat or negative CTL, and be getting stronger and faster. I’ve felt fresh and killing it with both negative and positive TSB, and the opposite is also true (felt like crap at any TSB).

For centuries I’ve found anything north of mid 60s CTL can be just fine to go out and hammer 100 miles. A strong base will stick around for a long time. Hope that helps.


I wouldn’t overthink this too much.

Plan on getting in a good long ride the weekend before and then keep the training easy both weeks before your events.

The two days before each, you want to make sure you’re eating well and getting hydrated, but I’d skip any major carb loading if you haven’t done it before. The most important part of fueling will be eating on the bike.

All of the tapering magic takes trial and error to dial in and is highly individual. You don’t need to take things that far to have a good performance. If you signed up for back to back hilly centuries I’m assuming you’re fairly fit and will do just fine. All of the acronym laden charts and measures are nice to have but definitely not necessary.

Have fun, and let us know how it goes!