Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Anaerobic Racing Pace

This was Michael (of Bikemax) response to my Burger Race Feedback, “Regarding the race.. There is only 2 words that can describe it “oxygen debt”. I think we spoke about this before? It mainly goes like this: If you don’t warm up enough and you start riding hard from the start then you go into oxygen debt because your muscles are not warmed up, don’t have enough oxygen in them and your heart/body cant supply them enough oxygen when you start so fast. I always hated Die burger because of that, but once I started warming up well. Doing my 1x2min etc intervals before the race I was fine. Another thing, once you go into oxygen debt, there is no way out of it- so it really can end your race from the 1st kilometer.”

This graph clearly shows me hitting 97%mhr for 16min after a 7 min warm up, my lactate threshold is 91% mhr. Note my steep increase to +90% mhr in the first few minutes of the race. Now look at my power (blue line) dropping off in the second half of the race while heart rate remains 85-90% mhr. So the fast ramp up from cold to a HR way over my threshold, + burning way too many matches in the first 30 min killed my legs after the first hour.

My challenge is to identify what is ‘too hard in the beginning’, and the second challenge is, to ‘allow’ my starting bunch to race away from me if the pace goes beyond my limits, before I burn to many matches, while I still have enough energy to hang on.

My pondering on this has lead me to do some googling on the topic.

This extract from Joe Friel on the subject of race pacing (highlights contain his posts), “Here I go again .. ….. It seems I need to repeat this topic several times a year. I suppose that’s because it’s so hard to learn this lesson. It’s really difficult to keep our emotions in check, I guess. Or perhaps it’s because we believe that some sort of miracle has occurred and we are suddenly capable of doing things we have never done before.”

This provides me with some comfort that there are many cyclists faced with the race pace challenge, and in my case…. Improved performance in races = improved seeding = stronger starting group, which is going to require me to have patience to race at the level of my new start group as I move up the seeding ladder.

This pic is from one of Joe Friels post’s and shows the ideal pacing that needs to be achieved. Note the increase in hr and power when comparing 1st, 2nd, 3rd and final quarter of the time trial.

Another tidbit I picked up on is, train for what is going to happen in the race (referring to 20 min threshold intervals and 10 – 30 – 60 sec sprints at max), which inversely means that I should ride my race as I have trained / prepared my body. When I do interval sessions 3x20min @ 88-92%mhr (LT) interlaced with 15-20min rest, roughly a 1.5hr session, I am totally knackered afterwards, so these training sessions should be used as indicators for setting limits when I race. And I should not be under the disillusion that I can race at 97% mhr 20 min intervals.

Another post shared the following "Some numbers... for a local course with a 1.3km 4% climb, doing the climb starting at the front with the goal of being the last person not dropped... changes it from a 2:30 minute L5/L6 interval to a 2:50 L4/L5 interval. Much easier to do eight reps of that and still be fresh for the finish"

So I should be using my Edge 500 to monitor my hr and power so as to race not more than 90-92%mhr for 15-20min intervals during a race.
In my first 10 min, where I can handle a 20-30 sec sprint at max, don’t do longer periods at +87%mhr.
Max efforts should be limited to no longer than 1 min duration followed by some easing off during the race.

The other thing that I should be doing is improving my Threshhold Power, a topic for another day.

Let's Ride

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