W/kg Myths, Specialty Training, Ultra-Endurance, and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 364

I much prefer watching the very best athletes doing things most of us can’t. I find it massively impressive watching Pro’s ride a hill, or feature, at insane speed or skill. It makes it a lot more relative when I get to do the same things.

I can watch Anton Cooper mix it up with Nino Schurter in Nove Mesto, and I’ll never know what it’s like, but if he rides the same race as me, I can experience it first hand.

Each to their own, but I never had interest in watching the “feel good” stories on IM coverage, or Leadville, or whatever. I absolutely commend their efforts and the challenges they’ve overcome, but I want to watch the superhuman efforts (to me) and it’s even better when I can do it on course and during the telling of war stories at the finish line.

ETA: I won’t enter an event based on the Pro’s that have signed up (considering you don’t know who will be on the start line until race morning) but I am absolutely interested in the Pro’s that do show up and it is how a lot of us find out about races that we’d have never heard of, and it’s how a lot of events develop a real mystique.


Me three. For some reason I wasn’t able to comment on this thread the other day. I couldn’t even like posts! :cry:

I am listening to Pat’s podcast regularly and also thought of him immediately. I would also consider a trip from here (Reno :slight_smile: ) to Spokane for a race like this. Another idea: stage race similar to the Cascade Gravel Grinder. That way a trip from farther away is more justifiable - especially to significant others.


I understand why that would be motivating for sure, but I’m not sure I follow you. When you do a race with Nino, or Ted King, or whoever, you don’t actually see him riding, you’re way back in the pack. The only way to see them actually race is from the highlight reels. Or maybe you’re fast enough to mix it up with the big boys? (Not meant as sarcasm, I’m just not! :rofl:)

Totally agree that you hear about the rides from them on socials though. I follow lots of pros to learn about the races and watch the highlights.

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It depends on the course of course. I’m fast enough to see them early on, but not stick with them!

I guess I am also using examples in my mind that may or may not directly link to Gravel. XC races I do it’s possible to see them coming the other way on a different trail or if their race is prior, or after, the amateur one. It’s more so even on the days prior, I’ve followed Pro’s and have a few mates at that level and it’s one of the most impressive things watching how easy some things are, how much you can learn, or how fast they are when they do the “hurts the same, only faster” thing.

To specifically address the watching Pro’s on raceday, I’ll use Ironman New Zealand as an example, due to the old two lap circuit I’d see the Pro’s near the turnarounds on the bike and again on the run, usually the first place male would pass me on the way out to the turnaround on lap one (their lap two). That was always super impressive.

Gravel I see as super closely related to Ironman in it’s development as a discipline. Obviously single loop courses you won’t see the Pro’s much, but you might at some point, and usually you can see them in the lead up.

As I said, I’m totally aware it’s not the only point of view, my assumption is it’s probably half and half. Or at least, even those who couldn’t care about Pro’s are pretty excited to see them at some point race weekend.

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I like going to big events for the atmosphere and of course ride/race. i’m going to Belgian Waffle Ride North Carolina, I’m doing the shorter wafer version. With the wafer I actually have more of a chance to place better in my age group and overall. Ultra endurance just isn’t in my wheelhouse since I only ride about 8- 10 hours a week. I also don’t like being on my bike more than five hours.
Another big event is the rule of 3 which looks really awesome, that would be more of a survival ride and less of a race. To each their own, my true love is cyclocross.


I had a cool thing happen at gravel locos. I was about 10 rows back from the front, off to the side, waiting for the start. Laura King, who is 9 months pregnant, walked past me kitted up, with her bike raised over her head so she could get through the crowd up to the front. I pulled out my phone and texted her to say that seeing her do that was incredibly inspiring. She actually replied and we shared a laugh.

As I was suffering in the heat, I reminded myself that Laura traveled all the way across the country, kitted up, and pushed her way through a crowd with a bike over her head while 9 months pregnant!

All that to say I can’t hang near the front, but I do enjoy interacting with the pros before and after.


Love it!

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I rode a race 2 weekends ago (Pony Express 160), and the pro field (9 or 10 riders) started an hour after the “normal” folks. It was neat when Alex Howes climb past me like I was standing still on the last big climb when I was already 4+ hours in. Made me remember I am slow. The pros are faster, and it is impressive. I had signed up for the race with no care of the pros that would be there, and I didn’t care. But it was a neat bonus, having a 1 hour head start, and having them still beat me by more than an hour, that was for a much smaller purse I am sure.


I love the podcast. It makes my 30 minute commute to and from work much more enjoyable. Love the interaction between all the crew. But lately there always seems to be someone banging away on their laptop keys during the show. It come across like a herd of wild horses tearing through the studio. My guess is it’s Amber or Ivy, because I know the guys can’t type that fast :rofl: :rofl: So please, mute your mike before you type.


I moved your post under the related podcast. See above, that the issue was mentioned, noted by TR and plans are already in motion to address the issue in the future.

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This has irritated me also. I understand they need to comment in the live chat or whatever, but it gets a bit much sometimes. Hopefully they can mute or put rubber mats under the keyboard to keep it from transferring to the mic. I also love the podcast and appreciate all the hard work!

Hey, y’all! :slight_smile: We re-edited this episode and cut out (most) of the typing noise. Hopefully, this won’t happen again!


Finally got round to listening to the end of the podcast about ultras… I tend to put it on when I go to bed so I kept sleeping through it! Had to go back and listen to it during daylight hours!

Some good advice about pacing, but would be interested to hear more about training advice for such events?

I am doing an event called London-Edinburgh-London in August (so it’s probably a bit late to be completely changing the plan…), it’s 1500+km and quite a bit of elevation (with the elevation mainly in the middle), 125 hour time limit.

I set up Plan Builder with the event as a 5 day stage race with “Gran Fondo” as the event type, picked LV and am trying to get as much extra Z2 in on top of the 3x TR workouts as possible, for about 10hr a week. Plus a few multiday warmup events. I also had a professional bike fit…

Would be interested in the TR recommendations here!

Great approach with using the Stage Race function of Plan Builder! In regards to the plan, doing a Low Volume plan and supplementing with more Z2 like you are doing has a proven track record of success in our Successful Athletes Podcast for athletes doing Ultra-Endurance events.

Good luck!


Everything is just filler for cyclocross season.

I thought of doing the shorter BWR, but it’s hard for me to justify $175 for 35 mile gravel ride. I am up in that area the following weekend so may try out some of the segments on my new n+1 cross bike (that I have yet to put many miles on).

The only problem with heading up to that part of NC is I am not sure if I have enough room to take all the bikes I want to ride (cross/gravel, road, MTB) as well as the kids.

So I hope the kids are ok by themselves at home LOL!


Thanks, yes I listened to a few of those and they were interesting - I would still be interested in a more general, less N=1 view on it though (Chad’s opinion…). Appreciate it might be a bit niche :slight_smile:

Im not sure if it was this podcast or a previous, but Nate mentioned the book “Endure.” Thank you for the recommendation. Its fascinating!

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Just listened to this one - suggestion regarding the W/kg and FTP comparisons -

@Nate_Pearson have you seen how intervals.icu does this? It’s pretty much the perfect format and antidote to people looking at the Coggan chart and concluding they are “fair” or “untrained” :smile:

It would be super interesting to see on an even larger TR population, but they already have thousands of people in some of the 5 year AG buckets and I think the data lines up pretty well with TR.

It just shows percentile based within whatever age group / gender you pick and you can select lots of durations, toggle W/kg vs. pure Watts, overlay multiple seasons, etc.

There was one limitation I recall in how they originally did this in that the maximal efforts for your data may be over a very long period of time, while I believe I once read the reference data for the percentile rankings were something like the best efforts in past 84 days. So it’s not a totally perfect comparison when you look over a whole season, but easy enough to adapt the code to manage that.

Below is an example showing the format for anyone that’s never seen this site - really cool way to see relative strengths/weaknesses at a glance:

Also, as the podcast and TR data set suggested, more evidence that in the real world, 3.5 W/kg “FTP” is already getting solidly above average across all males - and it can be super fast in upper age groups. And 4.0 W/kg actually demonstrated for 60 minutes is pretty rare in most age groups. Even 4.0 W/kg for 20 minutes puts you way up the curve.

And as mentioned this is again a population that already has a lot of selection bias in that they ride with power data and cared enough to link their info up to this specialty website - likely well above “joe and jane bike rider.”


My approach has also been to use the LV version for a ‘Gran Fondo’(results in SSB I/II, SusPB, Century Spec) and then add in as much Z2 riding as feasible(usually shooting for one 5+ hour ride each week. Much more than that and you end up in a hole that just takes up too much time for recovery.

Hi all,

I’ll listened to this a couple of weeks back (I’m a little behind on podcasts, but catching up :wink: ), and have a question about how Plan Builder is optimised for Sprint Triathlons.

I’ve asked similar questions about how best to prepare for a Sprint Tri in the past [1] & [2] and also submitted a similar question earlier this year which sadly didn’t get answered on the podcast.

I built a training plan back in January for 28 weeks before my main (and only at the time) event - ETU AG Sprint Champs. Plan builder gave me Base - Build - Specialty - Build - Specialty - which totals 12 weeks of Base/Build and 16 weeks of Specialty. In particular the last 20 weeks have been predominantly Specialty.

This would seem to be contrary to the advice/details given in this episode, and going by that advice it would suggest that more build over the extra specialty would be more beneficial?

How is plan builder optimised for Sprint Triathlons, or would I be better next season building a training programme myself (as I have before) and leaving the Base/Build/Specialty Sprint Tri plan until the latter stages?

Love TR, product, people, ethos, support - it rocks!


[1] Sprint Triathlon - Plan choice
[2] Sprint Triathlete - which plan next - #7 by Jdr0berts