Have you quantified your strengths and weakness and are you proactively racing to your strengths? All too often I hear someone say they are a breakaway rider or a sprinter with little tangible data supporting their statement. If you are truly interested in classifying yourself and looking for a different angle on training and racing your strengths this blog is for you.
1. Power Curve/ Power Profile
There are a few ways to obtain the necessary data points needed to evaluate the type of rider you are. The standard methodology is to conduct the power profile test below
45 min - easy riding
3 x 1 min (1 min RI) Fast Pedaling, 110 rpm
5 min (3-5 min RI) - FTP effort
1 min - all out
10 min - easy riding
5 min (10 min RI) - all out
1 min (5 min RI) - (out of the saddle, all-out effort from 20mph, be seated and drive to the finish)
1 min (5 min RI) all out
2 x 15 sec (2 min RI) - hard sprint
15 min - easy riding
This is not the only way to obtain the values needed to assess your present profile. For example, the majority of those I work with produce their best efforts in competition. That being said using the power profile graph in conjunction with the peak power chart is just as useful. Pulling peak values from your power curve and referencing them against the power profile chart offers a clear depiction as to the type of rider you are at the present time. Defining your strengths and weaknesses will be a guiding factor in your training and you will learn even more precisely the physiological systems that you need to train. Click the below thumbnails for visuals on a power profile of a solid all-a rounder and the power curve for that same individual.
2. Competition Preparation
What are the demands of the event you are targeting? Is it a crit with a punchy climb, a time trial, or a 60 mile road race where you can expect to encounter stiff cross winds? Given the fact that most venues in this state have been used previously, the power files exist. If I don't have a prior file from a race, I will generally suggest that the racer take a day and go ride the course. Knowing how many efforts are needed to complete the event lays the foundation for training the efforts needed to be successful in the race. This is where the periodized training approach becomes extremely valuable. Training particular energy ranges in a systematic fashion over time offers the ability to quantify growth. The biggest miss I encounter with self- trained athletes is that they aren't doing enough work in the required zones that align specifically with the demands of the events they target. If you want to improve your power at VO2 max, then you have to ride between 106-120% of your FTP and would need to do so for a minimum of 3 minutes and maximum of 8 minutes. If you do an effort for 4 minutes but only ride at 100% of your FTP, then you are not training intensely enough to elicit enough stress on your Vo2 max system needed to facilitate growth.
3. Racing Your Strength
Lets just say that your true strength is your 5 minute power and your target event is a typical 6 corner crit. You have two cards to play; 1. You can sit tight and conserve your energy to launch a late race attack just outside of 3 laps to go or your second card would be ton use that 5 minute power to ride across to a move that's stayed away and in the third quarter of the race.
Regardless of your strength, its vital that you remain patient and conserve energy. For one to throw down their peak values real time in hopes of maximizing their strength, you have to save your bullets. Within a data based context, this typically entails spending 60% of your time below your FTP prior to showing your cards. In addition to that, spending 18-20% of the race in the 0-20watt range is equally as important.
An important subset to the above points is to try and quantify how the majority of races have played out on that same course; where are moves going and when. This ultimately allows you to apply your strengths and overall game plan with the best odds of yielding a result. A big part of my process is maximizing ones strengths at the most opportune time. As a self-trained racer this may seem like a lot of moving parts. If you are struggling with results or have yet to identify your power profile, contact me directly. I can help.