Wednesday, January 4, 2017

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Saturday, August 6, 2016

DayByDay Athlete Rob Britton’s Tour Of Utah Training Camp - Part II

In Rob’s first training block, we focused on aerobic work; building the engine with long sustained efforts. For the next 7-10 days, we’ll shift to focus to shorter, harder efforts. This will help add a “turbo” to his fitness, allow him to follow and make hard attacks, and break through the ceiling of his sustainable power output. In simple terms, first, we do more, then we do harder!

July 25. 2016-

Here’s what the workout looked like -

And the Power File -

This workout was done on a tough local climb, Flagstaff Mountain. Rob completed 4 sets of 10 minutes each, riding Z-5 power output for 40 seconds, and nice easy recovery (or as easy as a tough climb allows while continuing upwards) for 20 seconds. As you can see, most reps are well over 500 watts and while the recovery is 200-300 watts (as easy as the hill allows).

Here is one of the 4 x 10 minute blocks in more detail

After these efforts, it’s back to the motor pacing for some high speed work on the flat roads around Boulder! We motor pace for just over an hour at an average speed of 29.6 mph. Rob produces 306 watts (normalized) at an average of 96 rpm!

Here’s the Motor Pacing -

For the last part of Rob’s day, it’s back into the hills, with a long climb home, on which he does one last 10 minute block of the 40 sec / 20 sec intervals. He starts these after the 5 hour mark, preparing him for the brutal effort up to Snowbird, the finale of the hardest stage of the Tour of Utah…. Ouch!  

Rob’s Comments - “Nailed it. Last set of these bastards before the taper so I really pushed them. These are the best sets I've ever seen and repeat-ability is also better than years past. The first 4 sets combined with a rippin MP session and the final set on the way home made for one hell of a hard day. Ready to race bikes now...after I sleep for the next 3 days!”

The Takeaway - There’s a good tip for everyone here; Oftentimes when rest is imminent, the day before a rest day or easy week, travel etc, is a great time to go a bit deeper than normal. Really pushing hard at these times can lead to greater fitness gains.

July 26. 2016

Even for a top pro, that day is a tough act to follow! Rob’s legs are pretty beat, too fatigued to do any high quality intensity. So it’s back to basics with a long endurance ride including more motor pacing and 2 sets of very short but maximal sprint work incorporated into the session.

Here’s the day -

Here are the Sprints.  The focus is to create near-maximal torque; this builds the strength needed for the hardest bits of racing, where he’ll be right at his limit. Rob uses a large gear on steep climb, locks out his upper body and core and pedals with maximal force, just getting “on top” of the gear at the end of 20 seconds. He then rides easy for 1 minute and 40 seconds before repeating 5 times.

Rob’s Comments - “Tough day! While I’ve had plenty of tough periods, I can tell I’ve progressed and gotten stronger during this training camp. The watts are coming with less effort and the speed while motor pacing feels easier”

The Takeaway - It’s worth noting, that training can be simple. There will be plenty of ebbs and flows in an athlete’s energy and daily outputs during a training program, but performance should be trending upwards! 

July 27. 2016

It’s time for REST!! There is simply no improvement without it. The contrast for Rob is dramatic. He goes for a nice easy 48 minute spin, with an average power output of 207 watts (normalized).

Here are the stats -
And the File -

Thursday, August 4, 2016

DayByDay Athlete Rob Britton’s Tour Of Utah Training Camp - Days 1, 2, and Rest Day


Have you ever wondered what it takes to prepare for a world class stage race? Check out this snapshot of Rally Pro Cycling and DbD athlete Rob Britton’s altitude training camp in Boulder, Colorado. It chronicles the methodical, structured and arduous training required!  


Due to the nature of the Tour of Utah, our focus is on big climbing days. Since there is no Time Trial and there are 2 stages that will be decisive, we’ve structured his training with 2 very hard days, followed by an easy rest day.

July 15. 2016 - Day 5
This is the beginning of Rob’s second block of altitude training here in Boulder, Colorado.  He’s done one moderate transition day and two tough days followed by a day of rest leading up to this.

This initial block of training is designed to rebuild Rob’s aerobic fitness, endurance and economy after a mid season break. These are the elements of a solid foundation for the more intense work to come. I like the “engine” analogy… we’re building a V12, later we’ll add the “turbo” using more intense training.

Here’s the stats from the day:

And here’s the day’s power file.


On this ride, Rob descends from his base in Nederland and completes two climbs shown below: 1x30 minutes on Flagstaff mountain and 1x20 minutes on Sunshine canyon. These are both done just below LT, or the point at which lactate accumulates in the muscles faster than the body can process it. In Rob’s case, that is 375-380 watts. Note how steady his output is; he finishes just as strong as he starts and there are very few spikes in power above the target.

Here’s a close up of the 2 climbs:

After these climbs are completed, Rob meets up with his coach for 90 minutes of motor pacing, or riding behind a motorized scooter. This allows a rider to train at race pace, improves leg speed and adds micro accelerations into the training. Rob averages a normalized output of 310w and an impressive average cadence of 100 rpms for this portion of training.

A pic with the stats from the Motor Pacing:

Last intervals for the day are two more climbing efforts done on Sugarloaf and Magnolia; two of the most brutal climbs available. The efforts are 15 minutes each and done right at LT or 390-400 watts.

Here’s the last rep of the day!  


Rob’s Comments: “Solid day. Getting back into the swing of things here now. Altitude isn't affecting me nearly as much, I’m able to sit on the watts relatively comfortably now. Biggest thing is really holding back and riding easy between LT and MP efforts. Super hot out these days so have doubled up on bottle refills, probably 10-12  big bottles today!”

The Takeaway:
-Riding VERY easy between intervals is essential to maximizing the quality of each rep
-”10-12 bottles”!!! Hydration is paramount to working near your personal limits. Even in less extreme circumstances, ample fluid intake can make the difference between a failed workout and a breakthrough!

July 16. 2016 - Day 6

For the second day of this training block, we’re having Rob focus on a long, hard, steady ride. We want to challenge his economy and fuel utilization, increasing his body’s ability to use fat as opposed to carbohydrate to fuel efforts. Since he’s well under his limits, this is also a great time to focus on his riding technique. Things such as a smooth pedal stroke, momentum preservation and long out of the saddle efforts are often overlooked, but very valuable skills.  

As you can see, Rob covers 97 miles with over 11,000 feet of climbing in just under 6 hours. During this ride, he burns nearly 5 thousand Kilojoules, which roughly corresponds to calories.


Though, much less intense than the previous day, Rob still climbs mostly in high Zone 2 and Zone 3. Here’s an example towards the end of his day:

Rob’s Comments - “Was a little slow out of the blocks today and definitely not sharp but really managed to ride into the day. Lots of new roads helped to keep things exciting. Lots of dirt...good bike practice. Never really went too deep but still managed to get on top of it pretty good for the last couple hours home. Felt surprisingly solid in final hour, not my usual shattered self!”

The Takeway - As you can see, even top pros don’t feel “sharp” following a tough day. While it is important to recover properly at regular points in a training program, it is necessary to “push through” some fatigue to reach a high fitness level.

Also, note the psychological aspect Rob pointed out.  “Lots of new roads helped to keep things exciting”. One of the great aspects of cycling is covering new ground, and exploring our backyards. Go ahead and see 
where that new road goes!

After two monster days of focused training, it’s time for a rest day. The focus here is recovery. Without rest, we don’t absorb the work, so it’s important to rest just as hard as we train!

Because he’s staying in Nederland Colorado at 8228 feet for the altitude effect, Rob was a bit limited with his options. So he was forced to climb when a completely flat route would be preferable. Regardless, he keeps the pace very low, averaging 189 watts normalized for the one hour ride. This yields a Training Stress Score (a measure of ride difficulty) of 27.6. Compare this to the hard days he’s done, which are in the 320-400 neighborhood! Hard days are hard, and easy days are easy!

Rob’s Comments: “Bike hard, rest harder. Super chill today. was nice to have a rest day even though we're doing 2 on instead of 3 the last 2 days were massive and I was ready to have a bit of a recharge. Easy spin this am then Sauna/ Massage this aft. Should be good to go tomorrow.”

The Takeaway: This one is simple, easy means EASY!! It’s necessary to have drastic “contrast” between your hard days and rest days. While on your active recovery spin, be thinking about the difficult days coming, that’ll keep you in check!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Le Tour de France DayByDay Coaching Promotion

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Day Report - Stage 3 USA Pro Challenge 2015

The Day Report – Race and Power Analysis of the
USA Pro Challenge
Stage 3

Copper Mountain to Breckenridge

More than half of today’s 163km Stage 3 of the USA Pro Challenge was raced above 10,000ft. The climbing commenced from the drop of the flag, but different to yesterday, the peloton was a little more subdued going out of the gates, somewhat cautious of what lay ahead of them. 9 riders eventually forced clear over the top of the first KOM, in it, 2 riders within 1.5minutes of the general classification lead. BMC would need to keep the break on a short “leash”.

Starting at 107km and peaking at 131km and 3678 meters (12,065ft) of elevation, this climb was a real lung-buster. There is no easy way up this climb. The race has been won and lost here plenty of times before, but for those who persist, there are opportunities to catch back on during the long and fast descent into Aspen.

On this particular day, the right hand turn towards Twin Lakes and the base of Independence Pass saw the riders start working into a decent headwind, making it tougher for the riders on the front, yet easier for the riders on the wheel and shaping the tactics. BMC and UnitedHealthcare put their riders up front to sacrifice themselves for their respective team leaders, hedging bets on their team’s best chance of success. This is the beauty of cycling –  all for one and one for all.

Kiel Reijnen’s UnitedHealthcare’s teammates, Marco Canola and Jani Brakovic, waited for him once over the crest of Independence Pass, foregoing their own chances of success and pain-preservation, and proceeded to chase the front group of 13 riders full gas. Once there, they delivered the perfect leadout and Reijnen took his 2nd victory in Aspen at the USA Pro Challenge, but on very different courses.

Canola spoke of Reijnen’s intense motivation for this race and the importance of the team working as one tight unit in order to be collectively successful. We grabbed both of their Pioneer power files post stage.

With Marco’s file, you can see how difficult the stage was already from the first climb, with him spending the first 20minutes at nearly 320W – try doing that at 3400meters (11,000ft)! Onto Independence Pass, his final 20minutes were also at 320W but the altitude was getting even higher – 3678meters (12, 065ft).

You can see on the file that at the beginning of the descent, Canola was taking it easy, waiting for Reijnen to latch onto his wheel, hook up teammate Brakovic and go in hot pursuit of the front group. Canola led Reijnen through the final turns and started his leadout averaging 20seconds at 685W.

Interestingly, you can see that Kiel’s hi-definition power pedaling data showed that in his laborious efforts up Independence Pass, his pedaling efficiency was at 48%, whilst during the final sprint, he was delivering power more effectively with a pedaling efficiency of 63%.

In the sprint, you can clearly see how Kiel had to accelerate hard out of the corner to come back to the wheel of Logan Owen before kicking again and actually sprinting to the line seated. This effort lasted for 19seconds at 913W and with a top speed of 70.3km/h (44mph) to take the stage victory.

Stage 4 challenges the riders to ride up and over Independence Pass again from Aspen to Breckenridge. The stage includes a category 1, category 2, and category 3 all at high altitude. Interestingly, the category 3 climb could be one of the most decisive of the entire tour. Be sure to tune in.