Training advice for racing

lately I’ve been racing and have been doing fairly okay.

The distance isn’t really a issue for me but I need to be able to recovery quicker from hard attacks. There is a breaking point for me, I know I can make it to the end to go for the win, just need that fine tuning of my motor.

I race in the cat 1/2 sometimes the masters. I guess I need like crit power in my body because I know I can 100 miles any day but I only have so many matches, I know everyone has matches but I feel like I’m more limited than other when I know this area I can improve on.

If anyone can give advice on which efforts are best for me or training that would be great.

Thank you.

My opening piece of advice would be, can you do less work, during the race? Are you the one who’s always covering attacks? Forcing others to burn a match is win-win. You keep yours, one of theirs has been used.

Might be a good use of your time to review past races and analyse what happened in the last hour.

Training-wise, I can’t look past Over/Unders. I think these sessions offer so many benefits both physically and mentally. I also factor in a couple of 30/15s sessions. Nothing crazy, maybe 130% FTP. These seem to help me keep a little snap in the legs.

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I would say times when I’m just seating in sometimes when the speed of the pelotón going off and on i find myself struggling in the change of pace.

When you throw attack on top of it, I’m in trouble not able to recover with group.

I do need more top end that’s for sure. Old friend of mine said" if you can do 20 vo2 max effort 5 minutes at a time you’ll be a good cat 1/2 racer".

I wouldn’t automatically assume you need more top end. Increasing your FTP would both improve recovery and also make those efforts more aerobic and therefore easier.

i would also agree with the advice above about whether you can do less work. E.g. If you’re struggling to match the acceleration of the peloton that could be down to positioning - if you’re near the back of the bunch then there is a lag in responding when the front accelerates (the cumulative effect of each rider taking that split second to respond, or if it’s out of a corner then they simply can’t respond until they’re through the apex and able to put power down again) meaning the accelerations are much harder at the back than at the front. Better positioning can make your race a lot smoother and therefore more aerobic. As can better anticipation - identifying parts of the course where people are attacking and being ready to respond. Spotting which riders are threats and trying to monitor what they’re doing. Or alternatively spotting a rider who is regularly closing down gaps and getting on their wheel.

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40/20s can be a great way of getting used to using cadence for accelerations and also the feeling of breathing really hard but also having to continue to complete efforts. Good mental prep and a decent physical sharpener for racing.

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If you haven’t already I’d suggest a watch of the WKO Tim Cusick webinars on YT that look at Fatigue Resistance (you dont need WKO to get the benefit from them).

They do a good job of describing exactly this and he has some interesting things to say about ‘burning matches’.

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My take on the subject is that if you are aerobically gifted (primarily slow twitch fibers) you could possibly benefit from more short intense intervals. If you are more anaerobically inclined (primarily fast twitch) a greater aerobic capacity will be beneficial. Adding intensity in that case would put to much fatigue on the body and likely decrease performance in the long run.

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Yeah, riding far isn’t the issue but being able to ride the distance with power is where I’m lacking.

I have good sweet spot but the on off are difficult for me.

Surprised no one asked. What type of racing are we actually talking about?

The number of matches is related to the size of your aerobic engine. Volume is king here, you have to put in the miles. No real short cuts.

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What would you assess your strength to be? And weakness? You should race you strength and train your weakness. As I mentioned previously it is important to have an idea of whether you have mostly fast twitch or slow twitch fibers as that will indicate what type of training you should conduct.

It does sound like you are primarily a slow twitcher based on yor difficulties with repeated efforts above FTP and your ability to ride att sweet spot? If that is the case you may never excel at efforts in that domain. You can, however, mange quite well with increased FTP as that will decrease the distance between what power you need to produce and what you can hold for a long time. You can also try to better predict when to put the power down so you don’t have give it all in every acceleration.

I’m just guessing as you haven’t provided much details about your power profile, which in turn will be an indicator of your abilities and challenges.

I do road Cycling for my races with crits here and there as well.

I can do sweet spot all day, i do natural preform better at the road races. But when it comes to crits i am dying just trying to hang on.

I know i can do well at just need to find the right kinda training that suites. I believe once I find that it well even translate into my long road races too.

A few people have mentioned one potential issue and you’re dismissing it because you can ride 100 miles and do sweet spot all day.

Rider A can ride 100 miles and do two hours of sweet spot at 280W.

Rider B (same weight) can ride 100 miles and do two hours of sweet spot at 240W.

Which rider has more in the tank at the end of a race?

If you want people to tell you to do anaerobic capacity intervals, just say so. But the issue is just as likely with your aerobic power output relative to your competition.

You can train anaerobic capacity and repeatability and that will help a little bit for a short time. I’d wager you need to be aerobically stronger relative to your competition.

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Spot on! And listen to the last aacc podcast about anearobic work capacity. They go more in depth into this concept of raising aerobic capacity to improve the anearobic efforts.

How do world tour riders race for 5 hours but still put in there best effort in last hour of the race?

It’s like a bottomless pit of endless power Brandon McNulty style.

Above all, blessed with superior endurance genes. For example they burn more fat at each intensity level than the population average. This means they use less glycogen in hours 1-4 and have more high octane fuel available for the final hour. And they nurture this ability with riding a lot of volume which is supposed to develop this capability.

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That is called fatigue resistance. This article has some nice charts that show even among pro cyclists some are able to replicate near peak numbers in a ‘fatigued’ state vs other riders that show significant power drop off as energy expenditure increases or after multiple hard days.

I find this an interesting area of research as we don’t really know what all the causes of fatigue are and why some people are more fatigue resistant. I think in a separate article I saw that Tadej Podgecar is able to put out almost peak numbers at the end of hard races, where other pro riders can put out the same power numbers for the same durations when fresh / rested but cannot do it at the end of races.

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Ding, Ding, Ding.

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