WTF happened to me?

I am struggling to understand what happened to me yesterday at the Cal Aggie Crit.

2021 was my first year of racing, in which I did Bariani Road Race, Lotoja, and raced 8 or so club level crits. My training was focused on building endurance for Lotoja and hence did very few shorter intervals. I got dropped from the first crit I did, but then managed to finish 6th, 3rd, 1st, 1st over my next 4 with an FTP around 240. In the race that I have linked the TR data page to, over the first 8 minutes I had an NP of 282, and was able to attack the field at the end of the first 8 minutes, ride solo for a few laps, rejoin the field and successfully attack for the win 500 meter out.

Over the winter I did SPB Low, with some extra endurance riding thrown in, followed by a slightly modified SSB Mid with a little extra Anaerobic/VO2 thrown in. My FTP was 10 watts higher coming into the race (Pending test next week after finishing\nailing SSB Mid) At the Cal Aggie Crit, it was a hammerfest from the opening gun and I got dropped 8 minutes in. Again, looking at the TR data I had an NP of 272 (FTP ~248) and was utterly trashed. Did I possibly just have too much fatigue in my legs from the training block? Any data nerds care to look at the numbers and see if I am missing something? I am pretty discouraged to be dropped so easily.

Any data sleuths care to venture WTF happened?

It has been mentioned many times that FTP is a poor gauge for performance in a crit. They are as much about VO2 max efforts, followed by recovery followed by another, etc.

The start of crits are notoriously fast….my guess is that had you managed to hang on another minute or two, you would have been OK as the pace inevitably eases after 10-12 minutes.

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Echo what Power13 says here, its almost always burnt matches that get you popped in a Crit and not necessarily NP or Avg power. If you have WKO I’d drop it in there and take a closer look. A cursory look at your race power file shows me you probably have a max sprint of around 1000w? based on that, your FTP and just a WAG I’d say you burned at least seven matches in the first five minutes. Probably just need a bit of anaerobic /VO2 Max work and you’ll hang in there next time.

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I get all that, I am just confused as why last year with a focus mainly on long rides I could hang with a harder pace but this year with better power and more focus on VO2 intervals I struggled.

You are dead on about the sprint. I think I’ve hit 1050 in a sprint once before. I’ve also managed to hit 800+ after 100+ solo miles, though that feels pretty irrelevant here.

and to reply to, erm, my own reply…you raced at the top of a ramp. it looks like you may have had a pretty high TSB. You raced this at the end of a solid ramp up of training and it may have been just a bit much.

I’ve raced fit, fat, skinny and strong…somedays you just dont have it. Crit racing is a special weird and brutal discipline.

Could be any combination of factors…depends who shows up that day, how that initial start compared against your training (maybe your recovery intervals are too long?), maybe you are lacking that base aerobic fitness you have had in the past.

I know it has become somewhat fashionable to focus on high intensity in the off-season, but I’m personally not a fan. I prefer a traditional pyramidical build, establishing a strong foundation first.

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totally agree.
inverted training is great if you have 15 years of base in your legs and ride 20 hours a week (in the off season), but for 90% of the users here I think it is a novelty training mechanism that you’ll regret.

My thinking in laying out my training was that after last year training for a 200+ mile race, I had a lot of base miles in my legs. I took 10 days off the bike in September, then started in with a little more intensity. I was thinking that last summers large base (for me) I built would be the foundation for spring racing.

I’m now frightened to race the Cherry Pie Crit on the 22nd of February. That course looks to have more surges and sprints.

Nah….best training is still racing. Get out there and do it.

Race the start smartly….don’t stick your nose in the wind, try and ride wheels during the surges, look ahead and not at the wheel in front of you so you can anticipate the surges and even them out by “pre-accelerating”, take good lines in the corners so you don’t have to brake, etc.


What he said. Cherry Pie is a good chance to practice techniques, especially sag climbing on that hill.

give yourself a break, everyone gets popped in a race. And if they don’t they need to upgrade. Maybe back off the volume a touch, add some VO2 max and go out and have fun.


Was this your A race?

If not…it kinda looks like a decent training ride. With the benefit of learning more about where your fitness actually is (compared to say the pretty graphs, numbers, blings, and “progression” you get from TR).

WAY too many variables to take anything overall from this, unless it was your A race? It’s certainly not a “whats wrong with me” moment that’s for sure.

Did you have fun? (Try assessing your ride without looking at an FTP/VO2/SS/Anaerobic/TSS/IF/TSB/CTL WTFBBQCOPTER mindset).

Nice to see the homies? Was it sunny?

I don’t think it needs to be a crisis of faith. Keep training as needed, recover as best you can, and keep racing…

Good luck!


@Jerrodg you were in a state of overreach and you did not have enough rest to recover before Cal Aggie. I know you bailed on Kong because of time constraint…but sometimes a fatigued mind confabulates schedule conflict & definitely halfway through Dade you weren’t able to hold 2minute efforts. So those are all signs that might indicate you are entering a state of overreach…right where you’d want to be before a rest week and ramp test.

But not right before a race. Honestly, though, it’s a C race so who cares. I think you learned a little bit about what is NOT the correct taper for you!

I think you are going to do very well at this upcoming ramp test.

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There’s a good article on TP by Kolie Moore, “You’re training too hard for criteriums”.

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You hit the nail on the head. Part of it was time constraint, but I did have just barely enough time to finish, shower and head out to work. I’ve cut it that close many times but I think I negotiated myself into stopping early. Dade was rough. I’m looking forward (kinda) to the ramp test. Until the very end of the block I was smashing my workouts.

For sure. I would move that ramp test to Friday if I were you, BTW. When you are looking at your calendar you might see something different than I do…you’re a little disappointed about Cal Aggie but I would be a little excited because I think you’re progression through this training meso-cycle has been about perfect.

You should pay more attention to your recovery these next few days than you ever have. Make sure to get an extra hour of sleep. Make sure to keep a clean diet with sufficient macros. Make sure you don’t start feeling pretty good & go out to do a hard group ride or attempt a few strava KOMs. If you’re able to nail recovery you should expect success from this ramp test.

Thank you. I made that change. I appreciate your thoughts and input. It is reassuring to hear that I put together a solid training block. Having 3 races in this next block of training, do you feel my load is appropriately planned? Bariani on Mar 13 is my A race this spring, but the following weekend my whole family is going to be in town to watch me race and I definitely don’t want to be dropped 8 minutes in to that one, and I am now concerned that this block is going to look just like the last block and I’ll be dragging ass coming into it.

A big aerobic base is hard to measure without lactate and gas exchange. Read the Kolie Moore “training too hard for crits” posted above, or other stuff that is out there. I’ve posted about it on the forum.

And listen to recent WKO webinar:

A couple of nuggets about balancing aerobic and anaerobic training. Looking at your calendar you were the victim of ignoring proper aerobic training and was just simply too tired from training.

Everything else was said by other people.