Training on the Race Course

My A Race – National Championships – is in my hometown this year. The TT course is about 10 minutes from my house and over the last 20 years I’ve ridden it countless times; I know it so well I could probably Bird Box it.

Theoretical question: what would be the difference between spending the next 4 months doing TR workouts/plans vs only riding the race course 3-4 times a week? If we should train according to how we plan to race/what the course dictates, what could be better than training on the actual course?

Looking forward to the answers! :grinning:


I’d be out there at least once a week.

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@Captain_Doughnutman Which national champs? Masters or amateur? If Masters - did they announce the course for that as well as the RR? I have to assume the RR will be close to what we do at Air Force. Disregard if you’re talking about amateur nats!

Being that you know the course so well, I’d say there is limited use in riding it day after day. Why not just focus on the training without any outside influences that may decrease the effectiveness of what you are doing. (Traffic, punctures, etc).

No harm in riding it once a week or month etc as part of your plan but 3-4 times is overkill imo.


You can get a good look at a T-bone steak by sticking your head…

Race course at most twice a week, interval sessions indoors. You know it so well not much to gain, more likely to overthink it if you go full OCD.

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How technical is the course that you think you’d gain a significant advantage by training repeatedly on it?

Not to say you shouldn’t be out there occasionally to make sure you have it fresh in your head - but TT courses are generally not very technical, and if they are technical you often can’t take the tricky parts safely at speed while the course is open to traffic

The benefits of training indoors are better interval adherence and consistency - I’m not sure I see the benefits of training exclusively on the course


The community has pretty much nailed this one on the head :+1:

Our periodized plans are carefully designed and will help you improve your fitness far more than you could by practicing riding at threshold outdoors 3-4 times per week. Not to mention the interruptions due to traffic, bke maintanance, stops signs/lights etc.

If you spend 4 months training indoors with a very high level of structure, you will see a much more significant gain in FTP and improvement on your Time to Exhaustion. These improvements will have a much greater impact on your race day performance than familiarity with the course, especially if you could already Birdbox it :wink: .


@Bryce keep in mind the Captain recently took the 8 week sustained power build HV and compressed it down to 5 weeks. And is now doing his own derivative of SSB2-HV, partly because the intervals in the plan are too boring.

Given what I know of the Captain, and my own need to ride outside to prevent going stir crazy, I personally would substitute one ride a week for an outside threshold ride on the course and treat it as a C race. My 2 cents.

This is certainly a good approach if the course is unobstructed and safe for training when open to traffic :+1:

You get the added benefit of familiarity with your TT bike out on the road in wind and other variables, which will improve your comfort and confidence on race day.

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thanks for pointing that out… if you ever come over and ride in Sacto you may know we have a 10 mile time trial course along the south canal. From my house its a 40 minute warm up and then you only need to look out for rocks that tumble down the hill. In the other direction I can do a 15-20 minute warmup and then ride (almost) without interruptions for 45 minutes. So yeah I was taking that for granted and should have stated it.

I actually grew up in Roseville so I know those long, straight roads very well :wink:

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ride on!

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Thanks for all the replies.
It was a general hypothetical question, just gave my specific situation as an example.

I won’t be doing exclusive route training. Last year I rode it twice a week during the month prior to the race, figure out lines, gearing, bike handling, wind (it’s a coastal route), and just to get acclimatised to TTing.

The thought came by remembering Graeme Obree saying something like he trained for the Hour Record by doing one hour time trials. And less so by pros who try to find terrain similar to the races they’ll be doing.

Another example would be Paris-Roubaix. If a pro did nothing but train on that course for 2 months, how would they fare against another rider who did training elsewhere (e.g. Matt Hayman)?

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also living in a windy area, in my (limited) experience there is no substitute for going out at least once a week and doing my workout in real-world conditions. Call it threshold, over-unders, or whatever you want. One of your reasons for modifying SSB2-HV was for specificity, so apply the same logic to substituting at least one inside ride for a weekly C-race effort outside.

50% correct.
If I have the ability to do 30, 40, 60 min SS intervals then I see no point in spending 2 hours on the trainer limiting myself to doing 10-20 min intervals with almost as much recovery, e.g. Hunter, Antelope, Tallac.

If TR’s own definition of ‘sweet spot’ is “specifically aimed at improving your ability to resist fatigue at reasonably high power outputs over substantial lengths of time”, then why not do actual substantial lengths of time. Giving me 15 minutes of recovery time on a 20 minute interval (or 5 on a 10!) is neither improving my “ability to resist fatigue” nor improving my “reasonably high power outputs over substantial lengths of time”.

The plan is 6-weeks between FTP tests so unless you manually do it, your power isn’t changing, but also neither is duration. If you’re doing a 120min workout it’s very possible to do 2x45min…unless you never want to experience riding for 45min without a break. :man_shrugging: There are plenty of SS workouts with intervals of substantial lengths of time which could be adapted to the SSBHV plan, or create your own. :+1:

Wow did I ever hijack my own thread! :man_facepalming::laughing:

Train for your race, just don’t do it on the course! :wink:

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It’s why I said partly. Ride on my friend, and may the wind be in your face during C races and at your back for the A race!