Training Tuesdays from Apex Coaching
Training Tuesdays kick off now. Start your countdown to Clif Bar CrossVegas with training tips from coach Grant Holicky. Every Tuesday between now and race day on September 20, we’ll present fresh ideas, work out and tips to get you ready.
Week 4 - A Power Analysis for Cyclocross
I spent spent some time this week looking at power files from races over this season.I've had a couple athletes ask me how to read the data from a cyclocross race. This is not the easiest endeavor for acouple of reasons.
1. Power output in cross is big spikes over very very short periods of time. Dependent upon the power meter and the actual head unit, some of this data may not be recorded and maybe lost.
2.Power data does not take into account the run or barrier sections.
3. Heart rate data is also misleading because of the limited nature of recovery and therefore little or no drop in HR occurs during a race.
I intend to go through several of these over the course of the next couple of months and see if I can shed some light and enhance the uses for power data in cross.
The nature of cyclocross is that we will have sections in every course where we are at 0 for a power number. Whether that be in turns, at the start, on down hills and on run sections, we find our power andcadence at 0. A key to racing is how quickly and how efficiently we can get the power back up and be accelerating out of these 0 power sections.
There are a couple keys here.
1. Gear selection. Be sure to enter the corner in the appropriate gear to be able to accelerate out of it. Smaller gears with high cadence allow for more torque and subsequently a quicker acceleration to top speed.
2. How long a rider pedals entering into a corner or technical sections and how soonthey are on the pedals coming out of it.
3. How aggressively a rider attacks the exit of a feature to get up to speed quickly.
On this first go through I have decided to focus on how to use the data to show riders where there is room for improvement.
Here are two power files from the Feedback Cup here in Colorado last season. A little background on Feedback Cup. The course isvery twisty, turny and features short drops followed by intense short hill efforts. In many ways it resembles a Short track MTB course in its technical natureand punchy style. It was a 65 degree day and it had been very very dry in Colorado.
The two power files are from athletes I coach. The first is from a rider in the male pro field. A very good technical rider with a background in MTB. The second file is from afemale rider in the pro field. Sh is a strong power rider without a strong technicalbackground. He finished 3rd on the day and she won the race.
While the power numbers themselves are interesting and a good deal can be derived from the files in terms
of fitness and overall strength, we are going to focus on a more specific feature of 'cross and onethat is applicable to all courses, Especially CrossVegas. Acceleration.
Taking a look at the two files a couple things jump out. You can click on the pictures for larger images. Take a look at the power spikes in the top file.
These spikes are out of the ordinary when it comes to the rest of the race.The rider is jumping hard on the pedals out of features in order to get up to speed very quickly and the power spikes are representative of that. In the second file, there are spikes in power out of features but they are less pronounced and more in line with the rest of the race.
Another interesting thing is at the bottom of the power range. In the top file the 0 power periods are short with a sharp rise in power out of them. This creates a V shape at the 0 power places. The rider is quickly on the gas out of features and their power is rising abruptly. Looking at thebottom file, the 0 power sections form a U shape instead of a Vshape. This rider is spending more time at 0 power and is taking longer to raise thepower out of these features.
Take a look at your own power files from races and focus in on the 0 power sections. Isthe file showing that V shape or the U shape. If you see lots of U's, focus on gearselection entering the corners so thatyou can accelerate with high cadence out of thefeatures and leave your competition in the dust.
Week 3 - Getting the Power
Week 3 - 4th of July and American Cyclocross
Happy 4th of July everyone. We typically talk training in these posts, but for American Independence Day I thought we'd spend a moment chatting about American cyclocross.
For years here in states I've seen Belgian flags flying at cx races as the states has struggled to find its our racing culture. The past few years has brought a change however and the US is creating its own culture of racing and community. Great venues and strong racers have the world paying attention and have our racers taking pride. With a tremendous crop of young talent moving through the U23 and Junior, this is only likely to expand.
CrossVegas has been a centerpiece for showing off American cyclocross and cyclocross racers for years now. It's introduced the world to the loud, raucous and very supportive fans. It's showcased our rising talent as a racing nation and become a can't miss stop for European racers and fans alike..
See you next Tuesday
Week 2 - Nuero-Muscular Training
The reality is athletes lose their fitness. A month layoff due to off season, illness or injury will result in a loss of fitness. However, the more efficient an athlete is at pedaling a bike the less that fitness loss will affect them. We call this nuero muscular economy. It refers to how well an athlete is at delivering the power they are producing to the bike and ultimately at creating speed. Economical athletes see better acceleration, highe
We at APEX focus specifically on this type of training throughout the cyclocross season and especially early in the season. Taking the time to do thesesessions can lead to big gains late in the season and will allow for quicker recovery and less loss of power during off times.
Nuero-muscular economy can be worked on by focusing on a few types of workouts.
Try these workouts with consistency in the early weeks of your season. Increased nuero muscular capacity will translate to less loss of power and better acceleration and top end during your cross races and throughout your season.