Coach John Hughes prepares his clients for a key event the same way the pros prepare for the Tour de France. Although his clients don’t ride at the same level as the pros, he uses the same process with each rider to peak for the key event in which the client is pushing his or her personal limits.
For example, this past weekend 71-year-old Elizabeth Wicks raced 291.5 miles in the National 24-Hour Challenge, setting a course record and a personal best. Not all of Coach Hughes clients are ultra riders. Jack McCombs (75) won the Virginia state road race against two 50-year-olds! Each of Coach Hughes’ clients, including Wicks and McCombs, has an individual, specific and tested strategy going into the rider’s event. The rider doesn’t “Just do it!”
Coach Hughes’ new eArticle, Your Best Season Ever, Part 2: Peaking for and Riding Your Event, shows how you can develop, test and employ a personal strategy for your Key event. He uses five hypothetical events as examples:
- Climb Whiner’s hill in 15:30. Whiner’s ascends 525 feet in two miles (160m in 3.2 km), a 5% grade.
- Finish the Hills and Valleys Century in 7:15 (or 200K in 9:00).
- Ride your first 100K on a personally defined route.
- Finish the Race of Truth 10-mile (15 km) club time trial in 27:30 (averaging 21.8 mph / 35.1 km/h).
- Finish with the Big Dogs’ “A” group on the 50-mile (100 km) Saturday ride rather than getting dropped.
In this and the following two issues of RBR Newsletter, we’ll share strategies excerpted from Coach Hughes’ new eArticle. This week we share the strategies for climbing Whiner’s hill and racing the Race of Truth time trial:
Success depends on a tested strategy. At the start of your Peaking phase you did a careful Event Analysis. Based on this analysis youdeveloped Specific Training Objectives for the phase. As you train during this phase you also need to develop and test your strategy for your Key event. The strategic considerations depend on the type of event:
Non-drafting time trial
If you are riding against the clock (Whiner’s hill climb, Race of Truth time trial), then the strategy is simple—go fast! But it’s not that simple unless you’re doing a 1-mile sprint. How do you budget your energy so that you go as fast as possible without blowing up, cross the line, and collapse with dead legs? You’ve already scouted Whiner’s hill climb or the Race of Truth time trial as part of your Event Analysis and you have an initial idea of how to attack it. Depending on the terrain you use a different strategy:
Constant grade. If your Key event has an almost constant grade (time trial or hill climb), then the fastest ride results from a negative split, i.e., riding the second half faster than the first half. For example, your Key event is racing up Whiner’s hill in 15:30, an average of 7.74 mph (12.46 km/h). Whiner’s climbs 525 feet in two miles (160m in 3.2 km), a 5% grade. You should start a little slower than 7.74 mph and pick up the pace about half way up it. You will test different paces in your Simulation Rides.
If you use a power meter, you have better data than just speed, and the same principle applies: start slightly below your expected average power and pick it up about halfway through. A heart rate monitor is less useful because heart rate lags effort. As you start you feel your legs working as hard as they should be but it takes a couple of minutes for your heart rate to rise to (almost) steady state, so you may go out too fast.
Rolling course. Posting your fastest time on a rolling course or on a windy out and back course is a little more complicated. The idea is the same, you don’t want to start out too fast and blow up. This is the most common mistake in any time trial. On a rolling course you want to go harder when the course is slow (uphill or into the wind) and back off a little when the course is fast (downhill or riding that tailwind).
For example, your goal is to finish in 27:30 (averaging 21.8 mph / 35.1 km/h) on the rolling 10-mile (15 km) Race of Truth Time Trial. Here’s how you’d race the rolling course:
|35 mph (56 km/h)||Get as aero as possible and coast|
|28 mph (45 km/h)||Back off a little|
|22 mph (35 km/h)||Pedal at target effort|
|15 mph (24 km/h)||Pedal a little harder|
|8 mph (13 km/h)||Pedal even harder|
An effective strategy is one of nine ingredients to a Peak performance. Your Best Season Ever, Part 2: Peaking for and Riding Your Event, teaches you how to:
- Analyze your event to figure out what’s required for success
- Develop specific training objectives based on that analysis
- Create and test a personal strategy for your particular event
- Train for peak fitness for your individual event
- Learn what you should eat, and when, leading up to and during the event
- Select the optimum equipment, including how to get the most bang for your buck
- Learn mental focus so that 100% of your energy goes into your performance
- Taper so that you are fresh and on form on the starting line
- Control how you ride your event for best performance
In his eArticle Your Best Season Ever, Part 1, Coach Hughes walks you through how to create your own specific, personalized training plan and then get the most out of your training.
Part 2 takes what you’ve learned in the first article and builds on it to help you achieve your ultimate goal(s) for the season.
Coach John Hughes’ new 37-page eArticle Your Best Season Ever, Part 2: Peaking for and Riding Your Event is available for only $4.99 ($4.24 for Premium Members after their 15% discount).
Next week we’ll share the strategy for finishing with the Big Dogs’ “A” group on the weekend ride. This insight will help you on any similar hard group ride.
‘Defunk Your Junk’ Article Provides ‘South of the Border’ Hygiene Tips
OK, guys, we all know that the long (and even short) rides of summer can result in copious amounts of sweat, which tends to adhere nicely to the rules of gravity and trickles down “south of the border,” shall we say.
I have one particular pair of bibs that seem like a wet diaper after any sweaty ride. It’s certainly not a nice feeling, and the resulting funk can present some, well, unpleasant odors, too.
Apparently, cyclists aren’t alone in this, and – news to me – there seem to be a bevy of products aimed squarely at keeping the male nether-region fresh as a daisy. (I was under the misguided notion that bathing was the answer! Seems I was only partially correct.)
Some of these products, along with a few southern-exposure hygiene do’s and don’ts, are spelled out in a recent Mashable article forwarded to me by an eagle-eyed RBR reader.
I won’t spoil the fun you’ll have reading this article. Suffice it to say that you might want to skip ahead to the names and descriptions of the products – which are seriously amusing.
— John Marsh
Video: Cop Argues with Cyclists After Passing them Too Closely
This one was sent to us by our friend Ernest Ezis of Close Call Database, who keeps tabs on such things.
It’s a video of a police officer in an animated discussion with a cyclist after the rider and his buddies – in the mind of the officer – “failed to yield” to the officer on the road.
It’s pretty self-explanatory and, sadly, is just another example of the police often not even knowing the laws that govern cyclists on the road. If the police themselves are ignorant of these laws, is it any wonder that so many drivers are, too.
John Marsh is the former editor and publisher of RBR Newsletter and RoadBikeRider.com. A rider of "less than podium" talent, he brought our readers consistently useful, informative, entertaining info that helps make them better road cyclists. That's what we're all about here—always have been, always will be. Click to read John's full bio.