Sunday, January 5, 2014

Xprezo T-29 2014 race bike build part 4

Hey folks

my 2014 race bike is slowly taking shape. Im waiting for my rear brake and extra bolts to start building it up completely. I've added a few parts, among which is my beloved SRM powermeter to keep track on my training and racing demand. This bke will see a lot of training kilometers so it needs a 2x10 setup.

Here is the updated build list, and some pictures of course.

Frame Xprezo T-29 medium Columbus Zona (inc. GXP press fit bottom bracket, cable guide, lower headset cup, front derailleur mount and bolt: 2001g
Fork Rockshox SID RLT uncut, including crown: 1648g
Handle bar ENVE sweep 740mm: 172g
Stem KCNC arrow -17d 100mm: 133g
Headset FSA (inc. headset cover): 69g
Seatpost ENVE setback: 192g
seatpost clamp Xprezo: 26g
saddle full carbon: 102g
Crankset SRM sram 2x10 175mm GXP: 699g
Computer SRM PC7: 82g (inc. handlebar clip)
Front derailleur Shimano XT 2x10: 136g

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Multipurpose, controled stress maintenance workouts: they are important.

Im a firm believer in some very specific type of workouts that will help an athlete maintain some key physical qualities during a period of lower training volume and/or intensity. Being forced to ride the trainer may be good because it allows targeted, specific work to be done in a controlled environement. On the other hand, the nature of riding the trainer is very different from riding outdoors, which means some physical qualities may be forgotten or lost during winter time for athletes who can't ride outdoors. Over the years I have tested some of these workouts and with the accumulated experience and help from others, I can now point out the essential caracteristics of these special workouts.

What do I mean by multipurpose and controled stress? First, these workouts are multipurpose because they help maintain (and maybe improve) several key physical attributes needed to perform in the specific sport; here, we'll be talking about cycling. Second, they are controled stress-wise because they are not intended to induce significant systemic stress first hand. The physiological stress is not high enough for major improvement but could serve for maintenance and minor improvements in some areas. They are sporadically inserted in the training schedule and do not form any particular block or focus during the training period.

So, what are they? I generally make them short supra-maximal efforts with equally short recovery time. The total work volume is generally very low and totalizes 3 to 5 minutes of accumulated time at high intensity.

Here are a few practical exemple:

- 2 x 10 x (20s / 40s)
- 2 x 4 x (30s / 30s)
- 2 x 8 x (15s / 15s)

We could create many other possibilities but you should now get the main point.To help you further understand the purpose of these workouts, here are a few more key elements:

1- Intensity needs to be supra-maximal, i-e. above 150% of FTP or above your Maximal Aerobic Power.

2- Short rests help target the aerobic system more then if you'd use longer rests. Remember the goal is not systemic stress but given cycling is an aerobic sport we're better off targeting the aerobic energy pathway then the anaerobic one. There will be an anaerobic contribution to such workouts but as the workout progresses, the aerobic energy contribution should increase.

3- The low total work volume should contribute to ease the post-workout recovery and not compromise further training sessions during the week.

Why do I believe in those workouts? Here are a few advantages I see.

- The high intensity allows for specific neuromuscular targeting. Muscle recruitment and firing patern can be maintained in a sport specific way especially when using a realistic cadence when doing those high intensity efforts. It is therefore good for overall muscle memory.

- The structure of the workout allows for a secondary goal which is energy system solicitation. Like I previously said, I do not think they play a major role in energy system adaptation but they probably won't hurt. The volume is just too low to induce progressive and continuous energy system adaptations. That being said, there will be an anaerobic and aerobic energy contribution and hence, a certain solicitation of those systems.

If you want to maintain some key muscular sport specific requirements, I suggest you try these fairly hard, yet easy to recover from workouts. It could help you step back more easily into outdoor training when the time comes. It would include some variation in your training plan while targeting several useful sport specific elements.