Thursday, May 30, 2013

Season start wrap up

We're 5 races into the racing season and things have gone up and down a bit for me. Did 2 races with the elite boys and suffered their massive start speed a lot, a thing on which I will have to work soon, with a specific workout I have created.

Then it was the first round of the Quebec Cup which I was racing as an expert this year. The course in Tremblant was awesome with a lot of climbing and some super fun technical sections. Though, Tremblant does'nt like me much is seems. Last year, I broke my shoe in that race. This year, after a super good start leading the field into the singletrack with a good gap, I punctured my rear tire after 14 minutes of racing. My race was over, my tire was ruined and it ended up being an expensive week end for not much racing and no power datas. Hell! Out of 6 races in that part of the province, I had mecanical problems 4 times!!

Last week end was the second and third round of the Quebec Cup in Baie Saint-Paul. The weather was not so nice. Cold, rain, mud, yuk! Course was nice but slow and there was a lot of people slowing you down on the thecnical climbs because of the slippery roots, rocks and overall mud. Nevertheless, I was back home in one piece, with 2 wins and a very beat up bike. My SRM stoped working, dont know what's the issue, maybe a battery? Hope it comes back like new.

These were my last races as an expert. Up in the elite category for season now. I will be learning a lot with the fast guys. I dont mind getting my butt kicked hard, the experience will worth it. Stay tuned for more race report.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Race set up ready

Put on some agressive tires for round 2 and 3 of Quebec Cup this week end. It's going to be very slippery and muddy. Unfortunately I will have to run tubes so pressure wont be as low as I'd like to. Tires are heavy too but should provide decent traction.

Bike is ready for racing

Quite some weight disparency between both tires, 50g!

Now hopefully the race goes well and I dont puncture like last week end!! Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Been raining a bit here since the last few days. Second Qc Cup round on next week end in Baie Saint-Paul on a normally very dusty and rooty course. Forecasts arent looking great at all: tons of rain and very low temperature, arround 3-7 C...

Hopefully my agressive tires make it to the bike shop on time and I can fit them tubeless tonight without much pain. Hope the course will drain itself a bit too.

I dont like racing in mud, it requires a lot more concentration. It's going to be a good core workout!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

MTB specific workouts

Olympic cross-country mountain bike racing as a lot to do with high intensity efforts above FTP followed by recovery at endurance, tempo or close to FTP intensity and/or coasting on descents. Courses often feature short, 1 to 3 minutes climbs with multiple shorter, punchy, steep climbs. You're also forced to accelerate out of corners or put out more power to clear technical obstacle. And let's not even talk about the start of the race, please. Only thinking about it hurts! The overall effort patern sounds much like overloading your system with lactate, then trying to recover and clear that lactate production at a lower pace in order to be able to overload your system again once you reach the next course feature that will require a high power output.

First race of the season was brutal and an eye opener. After analysing my race file, I tweaked some of my workouts to target more specific MTB racing requirements. I have come up with 2-3 workout that I will experiment and/or have been experimenting in the past few weeks. These workouts are some type of micro-intervals workout with moderate to high intensity rest intervals. There are several goals behind each workouts which are adressing specific MTB physiological demands:

1- work at a general critical lactate ''management'' intensity, i-e. arround FTP. The average power for each efforts is generally arround 90% to 110% of FTP depending on effort duration. The ''recovery'' part is done arround 85% to 95% of FTP to force lactate clearance under significant stress.

2- include some short bursts at higher intensity to induce significant lactate production. Bursts are generally done at 120% to 150% of FTP. The bursts average power being more arround 120% to 130% of FTP and the effort spiking arround 150% of FTP.

3- it targets MTB racing neuro-muscular demand with high intensity bursts targeting specific motor unit recruitment and muscle fiber type.

The workouts description:

workout 1: 4 x 5min (20'' @ 90% FTP / 20'' @ 130% FTP) 5min easy

Some tweaked vo2max workout with the average power for the 5 minutes blocks falling arround 110% of FTP. They are 5 minutes blocks where you ride for 20 seconds at 90% of FTP alternated with 20 seconds at 130% of FTP. Mentally very different from an iso power effort. I'd do no more then 4 blocks during racing season and maybe 5 blocks during winter/pre season preparation.

workout 2: 2 x 20min (2' @ 90% FTP / 20'' @ 120%-130% FTP) 5min easy

Nothing new here, only some 2x20 variation. Average power falls arround 90% of FTP depending on how you manage it. A little harder then a regular iso power 20 minutes effort at 90% of FTP.

workout 3: 2 x 8 x (30'' @ 90% FTP / 30'' @ 120% FTP) 5min easy

This one I have not tested just yet and will do tonight. It should be interesting. The relatively low total volume is for the same reason as above, i-e. to match racing season load. Maybe I'd do 3 sets during pre racing preparation.

These workouts could also be well suited to criterium racers or cyclocross racers. Basically any intermittent discipline which results in a high average power output while including a lot of bursts above your FTP could benefit these workouts.

Try them, love them!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

D minus 4

Only 4 days before the first race of the season, very excited about getting back into racing. Last week was a good training week with intensity and a long ride on the week end. Now it's time to rest a little. Only one intensity workout is planned this week and the rest of the rides will be focused on trails riding and skills. Got to get those skills back into racing mode a little.

Stay tuned for the racing report!