Monday, September 13, 2010


As I said in a prior blog, for most of you "roadies", the road racing season is over.  This is a perfect time to evaluate your season.  Even if you've made the transition to Cyclocross it's still a good time.  When evaluating your season, look at both the positives and the negatives.  The good, bad and perhaps the ugly.  Yes, the ugly.  We've all had UGLY moments in our know, those races where you were dropped (or near dropped) or just didn't have it.  Did you meet your 2010 goals?  If you did, awesome.  If not, don't beat yourself up.  Just jot down a few reasons why you think you didn't?  Could be you just underestimated the demands of the race.

So, go ahead, write em down.  If you did well, why did you do well?  Were you in peak shape/condition?  Did you taper successfully for your event?  How was the competition?  Were you better?  Evaluate your strengths of the race.  Was your endurance good?  Did you have a good sprint?  Did you have a good line throughout your race?  Were you well rested?  Good nutrition?  etc.  If you didn't do so well, why not?  What were your weaknesses?  Can't sprint?  Were you stressed out?  Not enough sleep?  Eating poorly?  Did you gain weight and have problems with the hills? etc.  Write it all down.

If you're a Power Meter user, which I hope you are, tag all of your race files and take a look at the power demands of the race.  Did you have enough power to meet the demands of the race?  Did you have any peak power outputs?  What were your strengths and weaknesses?  Did you have good 5 min. power but poor 20 min. power..or vice versa?  If you don't know how to analyze your files, find a good power based coach (like me..haha) and have him/her evaluate them for you.

All of this information is critical information in setting up your Training Plan for the 2011 season.  Remember, train your weaknesses and race your strengths. If you need some help in getting started, send me an email and I'll help you out.  If you're one of the athletes I coach, I'll be contacting you shortly to sit down or discuss your training plan for next season.  Until then..relax..enjoy the off-season..and get ready for a better/stronger 2011.  Power ON!  Coach Rob

Friday, September 3, 2010

X-Training during the Off-Season

By the middle to the end of September, most if not all road bike races will be done for the least in our area.  For most of you, that is when "off-season" officially begins and lasts a month or so.  Off-season is a time to relax, put the bike down (not completely, I'll get back to this later) and start enjoying some of the other things you like to do in life.  It's prime-time to X-train.  Perhaps it's hiking, running, going on long walks, Mtn. biking, etc. that you like to do.  Just something to maintain your weight and keep you "relatively" fit.  Granted, you're going to lose some of your road racing fitness.  Sorry, but there is no way that you can keep your peak road racing fitness level all-year-round. 

For me, I'm not much of a hiker or walker and I can't run because of my bad back.  But, what I like to do is Mtn bike and fish- particularly out of my fishing kayak.  Why?  First, fishing is reallly fun in the Fall.  Just like the squirrels, the fish are feeding-up for the Winter.  They feed often too. Second, my fishing kayak is just not ANY fishing's a Hobie Fishing Kayak with the patented Mirage Drive System.  The Mirage Drive System is a "pedal system" used to propel the kayak leaving both hands free to fish. (See the photo above, it looks like penguin fins from below) The nice thing about the "pedal system" is that in additon to fishing, I'm getting a decent leg workout in.  Especially if I have to pedal long distances on a lake or pedal upstream in a river.  You can really get a good "quad burn" by pedaling long/hard.  I wish I knew how much Power (watts) I'm producing just to propel myself 5 mph upstream on a river.  If I had to guess, I'd say 200-250w.  (Funny, they do sell a combination motor/computer for kayaks that gives power output in watts.  I'm tempted to buy it.  Be cool to download the Mirage Drive System file into WKO+ haha)

Earlier, when I said "put the road bike down" during the off-season I didn't mean completely.  The last thing you want to do is give-up all of your road bike fitness you worked so hard to build during the current race season.  When I say, "put the bike down" I'm saying give it a rest. i.e. reduce the time on the road bike.  You don't want to stop riding your road bike completely.  That's a mistake a lot of amateurs make.  You should at least get out once per week on your road bike, in additon to riding indoors and riding your Mtn. Bike.  And, if you only get out once per week to ride your road bike, that ride had better be a spirited ride complete with hills.

So, enjoy the off-season..have some football..go fishing..ride your Mtn bike..take walks w/ the wife or girlfriend (or both..haha).  Don't forget to get out on your road bike at least 1x/wk.  It will be November before you know it, and you'll be starting a new season of relatively good fitness...and motivated.

Power ON!  Coach Rob

Demands of the Sport

For a lot of you, the road bike racing season is winding down and you're either a) making the transition to cyclo-cross racing or b) entering the "off-season".  Regardless, this is a good time to evaluate your 2010 road bike racing season and identify your strengths and weaknesses. i.e. what races did you do well in...why?  What races did you do poorly in...why?  Was your season a success?  Was it a bust?  Is the reason why your season was a "success" because you were racing Cat 4 when you should have been racing Cat 3?  Is the reason why your season was a "bust" because you finally bottomed-out in Cat 3 and can't hang with the Cat 1 and Cat 2 riders?

When you begin to train for the 2011 season, the emphasis should be on training your weaknesses.  (Remember: race your strengths and train your weaknesses)  If you got dropped on the 20th lap of a 28 lap Criterium, perhaps you need to work on your endurance for 2011.  If you just missed the podium, numerous times, because you can't hang during the final sprint..then perhaps you need to work on your 15 sec and 30 sec power.

If you race with a power meter, you can pull up the files for races you did poorly on and take a look at the power profile.  You might discover that the reason you got dropped on the 20th lap of a 28 lap Criterium is because you weren't able to sustain the 450w for 30 seconds up a hill- just to hang with the lead pack.  Hey, when is the last time you did a 28x30sec @ L5/L6 interval workout?  I don't know about you..but I think the most reps at VO2max (L5) that I've ever done was maybe 11..and I felt like puking at the end of the workout.

Even if you don't have a power meter, you should be tested periodically on an ergometer (such as a Computrainer) so you know what your 30 sec., 1 min., 5 min., and 20 min. power are.  Maybe you'll discover that the reason you can't hang with the Cat 3 guys is because your 20 minute max sustained power is only 275w when the rest of the Cat 3s you're racing against are averaging over 300w.  Put simply, you're just not as strong as the guys you're racing against. 

Take a look at the training and power requirements chart I provided above.  The first 3 columns will give you an idea of how much time your fellow racers are putting in each week for training.  If you're a Cat 4 racer, you should be averaging 173 miles/week or about 13 hours.  I don't know about you..but I'm a "pack fodder" Cat 4 racer and I can tell you for fact I don't put in more than 150 miles in per week.  And, that's during prime-time.  Hell, in the Winter when it's nasty outside I don't think I get in more than 50 miles per week..and that includes indoor trainer work.  Hey, maybe that's why I'm Cat 4 "pack fodder"...I just don't ride enough.  BTW, that is the truth.  With my hectic work/travel schedule..I'm just not getting the miles in per week that I need to.  What's worse, take a look at the climbing requirements for a Cat 4.  For a Cat 4, the source is saying that in those 13 hours of should be climbing almost 10,000 ft.  So, if my average ride is 3 hrs/ride that would be four plus rides per week.  10,000 ft/ 4 rides per week= 2500 ft of climbing per 3 hr. ride.  That's quite a bit of climbing in a 3 hr. least around here it is.  My toughest 3 hr. ride has 3000 ft. of climbing in it.  And, I have to go out of my way to target hills to get that much elevation in.  And I'm lucky if I get that much climbing in once per week.

Lastly, take a look at the last 3 columns.  You can see that the 20 min. power requirement for a Cat 4 is 286w.  Based on my experience coaching, I'd say that's pretty damn close.  Remember, the power requirements are for a 175 lb. male.  If you want to know what your power requirements are for your weight, just multiply the w/kg number by your weight in kg.  (To calculate your weight in kg, just divide your weight in lbs. by 2.2.)  So, if you're a Cat 2 racer and your 20 min. power is only 350w (and you weigh 195 lbs.), no wonder you're getting dropped by the Pros and Cat 1s.  According to the chart above, you should be averaging 460w for 20 minutes.

So, for 2011, in additon to identifying your strengths and weaknesses from your 2010 season, take a hard look at the chart above and see what your peers are doing for training and what their power outputs are.  I think you'll be surprised that your competition might be training a little bit more than you are..or perhaps they're stronger..maybe worse- they're training more AND stronger.  Train smart for 2011- know the demands of the sport so you're ready and know what to expect in/during your races.

Power ON!  Coach Rob