I wanted to provide another insight into what goes on in my life. This time we will look at a week of training. I will pull from last week as it was a good solid typical week of training for me. Last week marks 4 weeks out from my JMSR is my A race for the first half of 2017. Joe Martin Stage Race (JMSR) is a 2 day - 3 race - stage race. A stage race is a cycling event in which the overall winner on day two is determined by cumulative time of the races. You must finish every stage in order to win the overall. Note, this is different from your typical omnium because you do not have to finish every race in an omnium in order to race the next stage.
Joe Martin Stage Race, located in Fayettville, AR is one of America's oldest stage races; celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017. Surviving 40 years in American stage racing is quite a feat! America has a tumultuous history with races popping up and disappearing in a year or two. The race's history and growth to become one of the most popular stage races in America is a direct result of the amazing leadership organizing the event. So, when it comes to training the most important question to ask is, “what aspects of fitness will I need to obtain my goal at the event?” One of the easiest ways to get a grasp of what I need to train for is by looking at the parcours.
Stage 1: A challenging 2.4 mile uphill time trail. This is all about power to weight ratio for 10 minute power. The average gradient is 5% with an elevation gain of 725 feet. All of the climbing is done in the first 80% which includes 7 switchbacks and averages 6.6%! Looking at some historical data of riders with similar weight I will need to average around 420-430w in order to win or guarantee a podium.
Stage 2: This is a 68 mile hilly road race later in the afternoon on day 1. There is a minor climb, which should be handled pretty calmly within the first three miles. After that, there is a 9 mile flat trip to the 23 mile loop, which we will do twice. The loop begins with a 1.2 mile Category 4 climb (according to Strava). There is a slight descent after the categorized climb and then back into a more gradual climb to a plateau. After completing the loop twice we head back to downtown on the same route we came out.
Stage 3: The final race of the weekend is a 40 minute technical crit with a hill top finish. The course has 8 turns and a long (for a crit) 110ft climb to the finish. This will be a crit where it is important to stay at the front and punish legs on the climb. It is a course designed for the breakaway. Here is a link to a video file from last year's CAT 3 criterium: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qi78GzPCbW0
Now it is time to break down how the race was won last year. The overall GC winner came in second overall in the TT, pack finish in the RR, and 3rd overall for the Crit (part of a breakaway). The road race stayed together for the entire race and it finished in a group sprint. With this knowledge, what kind of fitness will I need to be successful at JMSR?
Important workouts going into this will be:
Timing of these workouts is extremely important. Certain aspects of fitness will have a slower decay rate (like base training and sweet spot work) and can be focused on farther out from the race. This allows focus closer to the race being placed on threshold and above threshold intervals. Throwing in the occasional longer tough ride will maintain any fitness in endurance. Alan Couzens wrote a great article about periodization and training specificity. He also created a great illustration for decay rates. His article can be found here (https://www.alancouzens.com/blog/periodization.html) which is where I grabbed the following graph.
It is clear from the chart above that ‘sharpening’ training – the type of training designed to elicit the maximal changes in VO2max has the most positive impact ~16-70 days (2-10 weeks) before the event. Threshold training tends to have the greatest positive impact 4-16 weeks before the target event &, any time prior to that, training designed around improving aerobic economy leads the way. -Alan Couzens
Tomorrow I will post a look into what training looks like 4 weeks out from the race.
2016 Results Cat 3: