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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:43 pm 
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It's true that the average power during a XCO race is very high. If i understand you correctly, then you believe, that this is a reason to train your FTP so that you can sustain a higher average power during the 90 minutes of racing. And i understand why this seems logical.

The problem is, that the high average power in a XCO race is not generated by sustained cranking at FTP, but by several peaks above FTP/LT (uphill) followed by coasting (downhill). This is of course a very different kind of effort from FTP intervals on a road bike.

You can look at Sam Schultz's power file on Strava from the recent world cup in Houffalize, it clearly shows the many efforts at >500W which in the end sums up to an average power of 330W.
[url]http://www.strava.com/rides/houffalize-région-wallonne-belgium-7007367[/url]

Of course FTP training is not totally irrelevant, i just think that anaerobic capacity and VO2max training is where your main focus should be. And of course also your technical ability/efficiency.

I also happen to think that 90% of what makes a good mtb training program is just having fun while riding your mtb fast! :)


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Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:43 pm 


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:07 pm 
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Aerobic conditioning, in the case of cycling represented by FTP, will be the best indicator of your ability to perform repeated supra-maximal efforts and recovery more quickly from them. Your anaerobic capacity really doesn't change all that much, even with dedicated training. A large aerobic "base" or "engine" is always a highly desirable thing to train for an event longer than 1min.

Additionally specificity of the power application is highly important. No point in having a stomping FTP if your wheels lose traction. Hence learning to apply power in the manner and position it needs to be applied is crucial.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 2:19 pm 
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Tapeworm wrote:
Aerobic conditioning, in the case of cycling represented by FTP, will be the best indicator of your ability to perform repeated supra-maximal efforts and recovery more quickly from them. Your anaerobic capacity really doesn't change all that much, even with dedicated training. A large aerobic "base" or "engine" is always a highly desirable thing to train for an event longer than 1min.

Additionally specificity of the power application is highly important. No point in having a stomping FTP if your wheels lose traction. Hence learning to apply power in the manner and position it needs to be applied is crucial.


Actually, in many cases that would be your anaerobic work capacity. A local pro MTB racer is coached by my coach and his FTP is definitely significantly lower than mine, but his AWC is insane.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:44 pm 
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Is he your weight?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:30 pm 
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KWalker wrote:
Actually, in many cases that would be your anaerobic work capacity. A local pro MTB racer is coached by my coach and his FTP is definitely significantly lower than mine, but his AWC is insane.


Cool story.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 11:46 pm 
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there goes my 2 cents:

1.- It helps to train on the road 80% of total Km's but some riders do it on the mtb with slick tires. Get a training set of wheels with slicks if u can afford it.
2.- It's very very different xc0 than xcm, but you must know this already. Train considreing which one of these two suits you better or you plan to participate more. as a road rider, i guess marathon is gonna be much better for you.
3.- train the upper body on the floor, female pushups and streching a lot will help.
4.- the technical training and downhill; ride with other mtb riders, repeat dificult sectors and learn to get a good technic when things go steep. Bascically learn how to put your weight way behind the saddle and get used to slide the bike with the rear brake controlling the situation. A wider handlebar helps. Geometry of the bike helps a lot at the beginning. When you master it move to an attack geometry. the other way around is dangerous.
5.- good luck and have fun. it's worthy and you ride with no cars so... tinker juarex used to train only in the mtb on the countryside, he was very good in marathons. marathons are more similar to road cycling. xco has become too short, too intense and too artificial. you have to be very explosive and constant in a very short period.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:42 am 
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1-For the MTB racers among us: what % of training time do you spend on the road bike and MTB?

For me approximately 50/50. This is due to a mixture of convenience and specificity. Closer to any event I try to maximize the time spent on the bike required. As has been mentioned above, I am in favour of using the mtb even on the road for long steady state efforts.

2-Do you guys do intervals on the MTB on technical terrain to remains as specific as possible?

As above, it is a mixture. I do intervals on the mtb on the road, and intervals on the mtb on the single track. Generally speaking those on the road tend to be a little higher in power output, but the specificity of being able to put out power on the single track is crucial.

3-I dont have any power meter on my MTB, but I feel I go quite often over 120% FTP. I fear it could bring accumulated fatigue or have other consequences.

If you do it in training then you'll probably do it in racing. Due to its nature mtb power fluctuates highly. In itself this is not a bad thing but from the above point of doing specific intervals for a specific adaptation then sometimes doing the intervals in a more controlled environment is desirable.


4-Your perception of road racing vs XC MTB racing.

Depending on the type/distance of the XC race I have found it is more akin to a time trial on highly undulating terrain than a road race. Depending on the structure of the race the bunch start and getting the "holeshot" can be crucial for the remainder of that race. After that it's all about how hard you can continue to push/pace yourself for the duration. In elite races, after the start, I have seen riders complete the race having not passed or been passed for the duration.

5-any racing tips would be great too

Technical skills, especially descending may not win you races but will definitely lose races.

Different conditions and terrain require different handingling. Dry sand is very different to wet sand, a clay based soil is different again. Pea gravel, tree roots, rocks (and moss!) etc. ride as much as you can in the dry and wet and get a good feel for it.


Your setup is highly personal and must be tailored to how you ride and the above mentioned conditions. Because of the road background I run my setup quite forward and low, same saddle (SMP) and narrow handlebars. Others prefer higher body position and wide handlebars, or handlebars with a sweep etc. as long as you can get the power to the pedals and keep your center of gravity in the right spot be it up hill, down dale or in flowing single track.


Finally, I just don't get "normal" mtb attire. Baggy shorts and those helmet with the semi-baggy long sleeve top. Not to mention the hairy legs.... The horror, the horror.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Tapeworm wrote:
KWalker wrote:
Actually, in many cases that would be your anaerobic work capacity. A local pro MTB racer is coached by my coach and his FTP is definitely significantly lower than mine, but his AWC is insane.


Cool story.

Not a story, you're just incorrect. Looking at a power file for an elite cross or MTB racer shows that its a combo of both. A high FTP and normal AWC will get you almost nowhere in high VI races.

As for racing, a local pro that is on the US olympic MTB team does a lot of his training on the road. He often does longer road rides and finishes with technical trail work or vice versa. Occasionally he can hit trail systems that allow you to essentially ride 100 miles+ offroad if need be, but his opinion was that the physical demands of those rides accumulates far too much TSS to do on a regular basis. I don't have a breakdown for his percentages, but I'm sure its a bit different since he has been at the top level nationally and internationally for a few years.

In addition, much to the chagrin of people on this board he does a lot of off the bike work too in terms of core stability exercises and plyometrics.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:23 pm 
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a high FTP will allow you to redline quite a bit less often then a low FTP though.

Going at 500W on a 350W FTP is different then going at 500W on a 290W FTP


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:19 pm 
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KWalker wrote:
Not a story, you're just incorrect. Looking at a power file for an elite cross or MTB racer shows that its a combo of both. A high FTP and normal AWC will get you almost nowhere...


Nice anecdote. If you can explain how I am wrong that would be awesome. So just simply explain how one has the ability to repeat a large number of efforts using alactic energy systems with minimal recovery time without improving aerobic conditioning then I am all ears.

Here's my counter-anecdote. I have seen pro mtbers do road time trials, and they perform very well indeed. Not top three but top ten in a pro fields.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:54 pm 
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I never said they shouldn't improve aerobic conditioning, but it will not help if their AWC isn't there to begin with or isn't addressed. Unless you have a natural smashing AWC then you need to do some kind of specific training that involves deriving energy from anaerboic glycolysis and/or performing specific intervals that can work to decrease the rate of glycolysis per a specific time period at a constant power output then you're missing a piece of the puzzle. Yes, training your FTP will help to increase oxidative phosphorylation and delay the the rate of lactate oxidation by moving the upper bounds on a blood lactate curve upward, but that's only one piece of the puzzle because you still have to have either economy or efficiency from fast oxidative sources. Also, you can move one's OBLA upwards via different pathways on the power continuum depending on the nature of your events, however, training at or around one's Vo2 max can generate just as significant of a physiological response.

Moreover, it also depends how an individual derives energy in the first place and needs to for their event. Take this table below, for example:
Image

How could you honestly know where on the continuum one needs to improve their energy systems without actually knowing which factor is their weakness? Sure, lots of people have shitty FTPs, but lots of triathletes have great FTPs and shit AWCs and probably would get dropped from a category 4 criterium if they weren't careful. In fact, last year a local rider managed to go from category 4 to 1 in about 3 months. As a former triathlete he had been taught FTP, FTP, FTP that's all you need for years, yet his coach actually had him do no FTP work after January and he was smoking fields from April until August. He spent the 3 seasons before that eeking out top 20 finishes and almost gave up on bike racing completely after having 3 different coaches put him on the FTP above all else type of plans. His new coach took him into a lab and blood tested him and found that he had such a steep blood lactate curve that his functional vo2 max was only 12w above his FTP. After spending a full 6 months of targeted L5 and above work he widened this gap by over 100w. So far this year he has done 3 total FTP workouts and recently received an invite to the Nature Valley Grand Prix by winning a pro qualifier event as an amateur. Quite simply, he has an amazing natural FTP, but doesn't respond to intervals over 8 minutes in length. He also does AWC work almost year round, even during the winter when others had told him to just do SST and FTP all day long.

I'm a great example of this case. Early in the season I tested with a 320 FTP, a 406 5 min, and a 430 2m. My fatigue profile tested 'average' and 'below average' for values from 5s out to 2min.

3 months later after loads of FTP work, my FTP moved up to 360. After 2 blocks of vo2 max my 5 min max increased to 420 and my 2m to 445. If you take that by percentages, my percent of FTP for 5m and 2m actually went down despite my FTP going up significantly. Performance wise I could drop many people on longer training rides or steady state climbs, but I wasn't finishing any better in races. Even with specific training, I still lacked the ability to recover from surges until I specifically trained my AWC and did stochastic vo2 max work. My 5s-1min. values stayed almost static. After 3 full blocks of AWC work, my repeatable 2min. bumped up to close to 500w and my 5min. up to 432.

Back to MTB training, I the MTB racers I know all do quite a bit of aerobic training on their road bikes, but in terms of specificity, they also do a lot of AWC and neuromuscular work. Microbursts with high cadence, microbursts with low cadence, L4 and L5 intervals with bursts, stochastic intervals based on terrain, cadence, and power, and even loads of LSD. All of them race on the road, but often will ride to the race, race, and ride home or they race on/off on the amateur elite/domestic pro circuit. Yes, all of them have high FTPs, but they also have absurdly high vo2 maxes and tested strong in both regards right out of the gate as juniors. But, I'm sure if FTP is all that mattered they could've just submitted power tests instead and development teams still would have brought them on....

I'd take a look at your local race series or ride series, talk to some riders, and take it from there. Once you can figure out exactly what the courses require, break it down a bit to plan your training. If there are lots of sharp, short hills then do some AWC or L6 work and FTP work with bursts/attack simulations. On your more aerobic days work in some technical work. Its a lot easier than it seems and if you can find someone with power files its even easier. Doing 2x20 at 95-105 RPM might help, but if that's all you do then you'll be SOL when you do an 800w 30s start and try to settle into FTP while hitting short, sharp rollers at 500w and 45 RPM.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:38 am 
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Once again KWalker, once you have extrapolated beyond a simple knee-jerk statement I agree with you more than disagree.

And highlights why I'm not "wrong".

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:56 am 
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Tapeworm wrote:
Once again KWalker, once you have extrapolated beyond a simple knee-jerk statement I agree with you more than disagree.

And highlights why I'm not "wrong".


Image

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:07 am 
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How about some ideas on workouts interval sessions etc specific to xco & xcm. i.e. what type of sessions/intervals would you use and why.

I know it's a pretty wide ranging question but it's just out of interest really.

For xcm I tend to concentrate on workouts close to my threshold i.e. 2x20's, SST i.e. 3x20's & LSD with long tempo sessions. I have also over the last 8 weeks introduced some vo2 max type intervals into my weekly routine i.e 5x3min intervals.

I have also stated to include some nasty over & under interval sessions starting a few weeks ago at 6min x 4 OU (2U,1O) 5mins RBI and the session I completed this week 12min(2U,2O) x 3, 8mins RBI, next week I'll have this to look forward to
2min x 4, 1min RBI, 8min rest then 4min(2U,2O) x 3, 3min RBI, can't wait :(


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Posted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:07 am 


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 3:43 pm 
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Very good idea

friday I did something cool. A few anaerobic efforts with long recovery. Efforts were 1min long, on the last 2 efforts, I was heading to a technical section right after finishing my 1min interval. VERY good simulation for bike handling under massive fatigue!


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