Greetings Peak to Peakers! What is cycling? Webster says this: an interval of time during which a sequence of a recurring succession of events or phenomena is complete. Well, what does that even mean? I read it as ride…. Again and again and again and again. Whether you’re a sprinter, climber, time trial specialist, randonneur or a social cyclist, the most important thing you can do is ride your bike and be consistent. Rest, of course, is equally as important as the action of cycling. Let’s talk about those different disciplines for a moment.
For you sprinters, focusing on insanely high watts for a few seconds should be your number one goal. You don’t want to be out in the front of the peloton crushing yourself in Zone five and when you get to the sprint, you’re gassed. Do multiple sets of 30-45 second all out efforts with three to five minutes rest in between. When you get done with your last set, you should have absolutely nothing left and have to limp it home.
For those who fight gravity and like to climb, it’s all about your power to weight ratio. Keep your weight low, your watts high and you will succeed. The term FTP (Functional Threshold Power) is thrown around a lot and it’s important to focus on that number when training for a long sustained climb. What is FTP anyway? Well, it’s the number in watts you can sustain for an hour. How do you increase that ever pressing FTP? First of all, you need to figure out what that number is by doing a 20 minute FTP test. (Ouch) This is a test you can do indoors with a smart trainer or outdoors with a power meter. Do a good 20 minute warm up and then hit it and try to build the power over the duration of the test. Don’t go all out at minute one because you will not be able to sustain it for the whole test. Break up the test into increments of four so the first five minutes you should be able to have a conversation, second five minutes you begin to get to the point where you can’t speak in sentences, the third five minutes you’re getting to lactate threshold or zone four, the fourth and final five minutes you’re at your complete max. Take 95% of the average and that’s your FTP.
Training for time trials is similar to training to climb hills in that you’re utilizing your high threshold power for the duration of the race. The real difference is you’re not fighting gravity, but you are fighting wind resistance or drag. Its a good idea to have a lean build for time trials because the smaller area that has to cut through the air, the better. When racing a time trial, break it into four parts just like the FTP test and you will rip it.