Three XCM races during XCM speciality and now I'm stuffed. Help!

So far, so good. I’ve been coming along in leaps and bounds using TR and mixing in outdoor rides.
I’m 40 years of age and hadn’t ridden a bike in around 19 years when I bought a mountain bike a couple years back.
My job is physical and I’m fairly active so it wasn’t like coming straight off the couch. I’m no hero in that regard.

I started with SSB 1 and 2 LV. Compliance was a mixed bag due to the usual first world problems, but I mainly just stretched out the plan to get the bulk done.

Then came SPB LV. Ouch. I persevered and stretched things out again as needed.
That stretching out meant that I had my first race in the middle of the XCM MV specialty plan. 100km of rough sandstone with plenty of climbing and I was sore.


After an easy week with some short and intense rides I returned to the plan. Three weeks later I was doing the last two days of a stage race after the prescribed taper.
A 68km with a half hour sustained climb near the beginning and a 40 something km ride with loads of good single track.
I pulled up pretty well after the races and placed around the top 30% in all of then. I never came close to crashing because of exhaustion and poor decision making. That was my goal and I’m happy with the positions based on the risk levels. (Yep, traffic sucks, but it’s not worth an accident).

I’m hoping to get some special snowflake advice in regards to the next part of my season (TR wise).
My ultimate goal is to do a stage race in October and I was expecting to jump back into the back end of SSB MV 2 before working through GB MV and heading into XCM MV again.
The problem is that I’m failing the SSB 2 workouts. I was around 240-245 FTP on the Kickr during the races and doing sweet spot or threshold at that level is killing me this week. Taylor -2 on the other hand had me loving life again.
Is it just that I haven’t built up to the longer intervals at threshold over the entire SSB plan? Should I be doing something else before I start the GB plan? Should I simply start the GB plan and bank the extra couple of weeks as backup?

I’m in a weird spot were I’m not sure if the problem is my legs, or a motivation issue on the trainer. My heart rate is definately suggesting the later.
Part of the problem is that I’m new to cycling and the learning curve has been massive while trying to fill in the gaps. Please bear with me in that regard.

I need advice on getting my training back on track as I don’t have time to experiment before my race in October.

For further reference.
Starting FTP on ramp test of 177 using virtual power. Approx 37 watts higher than Kickr reading.
Currently at 239+ on the Kickr, which is controlled by TR.

Sounds like you just got through a pretty intense block of training/racing. Give yourself a couple of weeks to rest and recover before trying to jump back in. I’m not sure you need to worry about going all the way back to base, to be honest.

Take it easy, but go out, ride your bike and have fun.

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Thanks. It’s pretty easy to lose track of time and forget that it’s not quite two weeks since I buried myself on the last race.
In saying that, next week I’ll need to get back into full swing if I want to be ready for my A event in October. I’m hoping I’ll be able to complete the workouts.

If I had my time again I’d probably skip the specialty leading into these practice races and do the full SSB 1 &2, GB and XCM tracked back from the October race. The timing meant that I missed a heap of the XCM workouts anyway.
It feels like a lack of seasons in my legs and the rapid rise in FTP has left me with a need for more base work at my current level. If that makes any sense?

I guess the GB MV this coming week will either work, or it won’t.

You say that if you had your time again you would skip specialty and do more SSB. Guess what? You do have your time again! You’re about to start building towards your next race, so why not take the learning from your practice race and apply it? This is exactly why we do practice races.

You’ve identified potential lack of aerobic base as a limiter and with your training background I’m inclined to agree. So building that base with 8 weeks of SSB before doing a build is going to be far more beneficial than doing Build->Specialty. Especially for a stage race where aerobic base is key to getting through and recovering from consecutive days of racing. If your A race was a 10 mile TT or a sprint triathlon I might take a different view.

For a stage race there might even be an argument for doing full SSB1 and 2 and then half a Build (assuming you have ~16 weeks to play with) and getting that base as big as you can.

Edit to add: realised I mainly answered your second post not your original post. If you’re struggling with SS then either your FTP is set too high and/or you’re not fully recovered enough from your racing in which case you absolutely shouldn’t be going straight into build. Take it easy for as long as it takes to get the freshness and motivation back.

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Thanks. Funnily enough, I’m sitting on the couch right now considering my options. I tried a silly workout on the trainer this morning and then hit the warm up for tomorrow’s scheduled VO2 max session. Then I went kayaking with my son in my lap.
Life’s good and I’m a lucky man.

Looking back over my calender I’m starting to come up with a better picture of my fitness. I agree that it could be benificial to head back to the beginning. Although, I’m not totally convinced that’s the best path given the timing.
I’ve been listening to the podcasts for awhile now and have been gleaning some great info. None of it really addresses my problem.

2 weeks ago I was pushing .9 IF for the first 1.5 hrs of a 3.5hr race and thinking it was only a short race and tomorrow is even shorter. I’m pretty sure that would suggest I was primed and ready to go. My FTP had probably gone up a little and skewed the figures, but my race plan was to blow myself up when safe and then play it safe on the downhills.

Given the training and racing over the last few months, and the knowledge of doing 8 days in October, is it possible my body is doing exactly what it should be doing and telling me to run in safe mode? I’m feeling super fit in the heart and lungs.
I’ve been pushing through a few nasty intervals before bailing and it seems that it might be a sympathetic response more than a physical limiter. It seems to be that I’m willing, my body is willing, but there’s a klaxxon blaring once I start to push. A similar thing to what happens after a bad crash.

I’m doing Blubell in the morning. Let’s see what happens.
I managed to get my wife’s plastic beast of a kayak up to 9.8km/hr today without breaking much of a sweat. ‘Go faster daddy’. Easy for him to say.

PS. I’m not what you’d call a totally untrained individual before I started with Trainerroad. I’ve spent over 20 years busting my backside for months on end when needed. The rest of the time it’s still a substantial base load.
My base fitness is well above the average Ross that I meet. I’m very strong for my size due to my work.


That went well. It hurt as expected and was slipping into anaerobic over the last 15 seconds in the last interval of the second set. The last set went the same way in the last three intervals.
That would suggest my FTP might be ever so slightly over estimated. And I did estimate the 250 on my Kickr Core. I was prepared to drop it if needed, but I’m pretty sure I’m somewhere in the high 240s on that device.
I went for a bush walk with my son this afternoon and feel a little burnt, as I should. I’m pretty confident that the numbers are about right.

Wednesday’s workout will be the real test.


I have to say I’m feeling a little more confident after pushing through some shorter intervals. I’m a firm believer in giving the old subconscious a kick up the backside every now and then. ‘See. You’re not going to die and you’ll feel better after a good nights sleep’.

Thanks for the previous suggestions. I’ll keep monitoring my progress and might look at making some modification to my training plan based on the race. So far there’s only 4 stages listed and no GPS data.

A quick update for anyone who might read this at a later date.

I’m back to normal after a new FTP set with the ramp test. It turns out the lack of structure in my training based around these three races killed my FTP.
MTB and VO2 seem to go hand in hand so no real drop there.

My take away is to always do an FTP test if things go tits up like this again. On top of that I can always up the intensity in the VO2 efforts if I can nail all the intervals.
I’m guessing the FTP will be back up high in a few weeks and I can start to complain about impossible VO2 intervals again.

Peace out.

I had a similar experience. I had two XC races (B races) in back to back weekends which had me doing a 5 day taper into each of them. That was at the end of SSB 2. I tried to make 2 taper weeks as a substitute for one recovery week. The following week (third week) I had to adjust my training due to work travel and ended up doing the ramp test on Saturday, after a mixed bag of training and traveling all week. Well, it’s no surprise that I saw a 2% decline in my FTP. Which oddly enough I welcomed because I was feeling fatigued and I’m starting GBMV (re-build).

Pro Tip: Two taper weeks bookended by races does NOT equal one recovery week, lol.

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Yep. It seems like a good idea at the time.

After two weeks of struggling through (and failing) sustained efforts I’m 7.5% behind where I was before the racing started. That feels like being kicked in the guts after constant gains for months on end.
On the other hand, once I factor in the taper weeks around the races, that’s the sort of increase I was getting as I pushed my body properly with training. Now I know it’s simply a matter of weeks before I’m back there again and that’s given me a renewed drive.

It’s all part of the learning curve. Lesson #1 Trying to complete SSB MV 2 @ 113% of your FTP sucks. You can do it until you very quickly can’t.

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