Time Trialist/Triathlete wanna be more of a Puncheur.

Hi there! - I’ve been doing triathlon for a couple of years (middle/long-distance) and have a decent FTP at around 350-370w (4.4-4.7w/kg) and have mostly been training for steady state/middle distance (40, 90k TT on races efforts mostly) similar efforts on steady coursers/trainer and with not much hills.

Started recently to do some crit racing and more regular road cycling and even though I definitely don’t have the technical skills, tactics and specific physical capabilities for this - it’s for sure loads of fun.

Now to the question: If I want to become more of a snappy puncheur and be able to push some watts also for 15s, 60s or perhaps 4-5m etc. w/o comprimizing too much on my middle/longer distance type work; where do I start in terms of structuring my workouts? adding in more sprint training? etc. (did nothing of that yet…).

Or the same question formulated more generally: Given my background as described previously, how can I now adapt to become a decent crit/road racer?

Thanks! (5* all the way ;-)))

I’ve gone on a similar journey, getting into road racing from a background of tri, TT and doing recreational riding and gran fondos/sportives. I’d say there are 3 elements to look at:

  1. Incorporating more anaerobic work. Take a look at the short power build and Criterium specialty plans. Also be aware that to get the most benefit from those workouts you need to be fairly fresh. I found the single biggest boost I got to my short power was when I stopped running and simply had much fresher legs! Can push through the sweet spot and threshold training on tired legs, but the high intensity stuff is different.
  2. Positioning and handling. Got to learn how to ride efficiently in a pack, so you’re not having to put in surges to get back on out of corners, etc. Best way to do this is simply practice - either lots of racing and/or finding suitable local group ride(s) which are good race practice. I.e. lots of fast people pushing it through technical sections, sprinting for road signs, breaks, etc. Doing those kind of rides will also help you meet people who can help give you advice, maybe find a good team to join if you want to. Definitely recommend joining a team at some point (important to find one that is a good fit though), will help your learning curve, also makes racing more fun as even when you’re not successful yourself you can get satisfaction from helping a team-mate.
  3. Tactics and course selection. At lower levels your outright W and W/kg is going to mean you’re one of the strongest riders in the race and you’ll pick up points and maybe wins just from overpowering the field. As you go up though you’ll pretty quickly find that even if you’re the strongest rider that’s not enough to win if others are riding smarter and/or in teams. Even in a bunch sprint it’s not necessarily the guy with the best 15 second power who wins, it’s the guy who has conserved energy the best through the rest of the race to not lose too much of that sprint power AND is in the right position to unleash that sprint AND gets his timing right. At least initially your background is likely to make you better suited to getting in breaks where you can TT away from the field than competing in bunch sprints. And/or racing on courses where there is enough climbing to make your W/kg count and eliminate weaker riders.

I suspect your physical capabilities are already much better suited to crit and road racing than you realise and that it’s more your tactics and skills that are holding you back. Good luck!

1 Like