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What Does Is It Really Take?

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What’s it going to take?


With the start of the season roughly a month away now is the time to really assess where your fitness is, and where it will need to be. This is the first of two blogs dedicated to showing what it takes to win on the highest level in this state and what goes into getting there.

To show case the standard within the Pro/1/2 category I will use two category 1 racers I have the luxury of working with and two of their winning files.  The purpose here is to offer up tangible reference points so that those looking to replicate these results or be competitive within this category can look at where they need to be and how to get there.

8.31.14- Rosewood Series- Brian Piccolo Park/Crit (long course)

What immediately stands out about this victory is the manner in which the rider won. Winning is what it’s about, but winning solo is really what we want!  10 minutes into the race this rider bridged up to two riders up the road with various other riders chasing. With the pack quickly closing in this racer threw caution to the wind and decided to fly solo.  At minute 12 he was off the front alone with 40 minutes to go.

  • During those 40 minutes this rider averaged 26.21 MPH, with a normalized power of 313 watts at 4.76 watts/kg.

  • His peak 20 minute value was 326 watts normalized at 4.97 watts/kg and was dropped in the heart of the 40 minute solo effort. This effort ultimately sealed the victory as it solidified his separation allowing him to roll in solo.

  • This race winning effort correlates to a 40 minute LT effort (95-105% of FTP).  The data shows that even at this intensity the racer was right at home. This is reflected by the very stable VI (Variable Index) of 1.03 which also reflects the athlete’s ability to monitor his efforts real time.

  • The exceptionally low power/heart rate variation also supports his comfort level at this intensity.

10.5.14 Gearlink Cup- Ice cream Hill Road Race

We have another solo victory and below are the data points and takeaways from this event. The break consisted of two men and the winner dropped his breakaway companion with 5 kilometers to go.

  • Overall race time was 2:41:14, 66.51 miles, and the normalized power for this race was 275 watts and 4.51 watts/kg.

  • Just after 20 minutes of racing this rider saw his opportunity when the pack hit the first climb. He leveraged his true strength and the terrain to separate himself from the pack. To solidify the move with one other rider he rode the next 20 minutes at 316 watts normalized, holding 26.43 MPH, which equates to 5.42 watts/kg!

  • Following this searing 20 minute attack this rider went on to ride the next 2 hours at a normalized power of 278 watts at 4.72 watts/kg and averaged 25 mph. Again we saw a very steady VI indicating (1.06) indicative of the rider staying within his limits.

  • Within a zone based context this move started with a 20 minute LT effort(95-105% of FTP) and was followed up by 2 hours of sweet spot riding (88-93% of FTP).


Beyond the Data

Being fit and possessing a solid FTP in relation to one’s weight is one thing, but performances of the nature go far deeper. Possessing power like the two referenced above may get you off the front but that doesn't always equate to a podium finish. These two have spent countless hours riding in the 88-105% of their FTP ranges prior to these events. This has undoubtedly taught them how to stay in that range and internally gauge fatigue during events. Additionally, these two possess the keen ability to read and win races which comes from race experience. Lastly, their evolution was fostered by thousands of hours of structured training, linking quality blocks of training together, and their uncanny ability to look objectively at their performances and learn from their mistakes.

In the next blog we will zero in on the actual training, the timing of workouts, and what truly laid the platform for these results.  If you are struggling tying the pieces together and can’t seem to dial your training in, email or call me- or 845-629-8299.

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