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Hillclimb-ish Pacing

Old 02-04-20, 05:03 PM
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Hillclimb-ish Pacing

I got signed up for a unique "race" at the end of this month, It's a 68-mile mixed-surface ride with a 6-mile TT near the end. Basically, We leave the start "some time" between 9 and 10 am, ride 48 miles, do a 6-mile uphill TT, then ride the rest of the way to a small town on the coast.

The TT is a 3-mile long false flat climb on gravel, followed by a punchy 3-mile gravel climb (1000' or so).

Current FTP is around 340, but will probably be closer to 355 by the race.

I would assume the pacing would be 90-95% of FTP on the false flat trying to remain as aero as possible, then 105-107% of FTP on the climb.

Do any of you have a better recommendation for this? Maybe less on the false flat and more on the actual climb? I figure the time spent on the actual climb will be twice as much as the false flat. Unfortunately, I have extremely limited opportunity to pre-ride the route.
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Old 02-04-20, 06:03 PM
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It all really depends upon your age, fitness, competition experience, individual strengths and weakness and how well you "know" your body and its exercise tolerance or limits.
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Old 02-04-20, 06:30 PM
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Based on experience my strategy would be to go out way too hard on the false flat and blow up on the real climb. I recommend you don't listen to me.
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Old 02-04-20, 06:40 PM
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LOL

Also, this is assuming I can hold numbers after ~3 hours in the saddle in 40º temps...
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Old 02-04-20, 08:46 PM
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The uphill TT comes after the 68 mile ride? Ouch.
Ideally, I think I would try to be in zone 4 (.91-1.05 of FTP ) for the flatter part and zone 5 (1.05-1.20 of FTP) for the climb since it should take <20minutes.
But depending on how the first part of the ride goes that might be optimistic! If possible limit total efforts that are higher than zone 3 to <10 total minutes in this first part of the ride since surges in effort will fatigue you quicker than a steady pace.
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Old 02-06-20, 08:59 AM
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This sounds like one of those fondo timed segment deals like GFNS runs in Asheville.

Can you go as slow as you wish in the first part then do the TT? The GFNS series stuff only has a minimum speed of advancement to each segment that's timed.

That's probably more important than the pacing of the TT itself.

Otherwise, if it is gravel, I stay seated always climbing gravel. Anytime I'm out of saddle I'm slipping tire and wasting my power.

On your power on tarmac I'd think 3mi of 1000ft would be sub 20min and the flattish part around 10min. Either way, you're looking at an effort longer than a 20min "kill it and forget it" effort.

The pacing is that if you can negative split that TT, it's the kind of event to definitely do it on. Less % on the lower grades and more % on the higher grades.

The optimum though isn't splitting it really heavy though. Not like 90% then 120%. It's a lot finer line. Speaking for myself. Like, I'm talking only like 10w difference or so.

Not sure how reliable that is on gravel anyway bumping around.

If possible, certainly easy as possible in the first part of ride. Then, prime the system with a few openers before the TT segment to get the right type of body energy stores activated and ready the second the segment begins. You're warmed up already for sure on the ride, just need to make sure the right energy system is rolling.

(disclaimer, I'm still nowhere near you guy's levels, I just listen to a lot of FastTalk podcasts on way to work).
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Old 02-06-20, 09:21 AM
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I always like to negative split my timed events and apply the most power to the more difficult sections. I am not a gravel / dirt racer. It does strike me that tires will matter. For me, the more confident I am on the bike the more power I can make...to a point. If anything does not feel right, I tend to be tentative. Hence knowing the course always matters.

Sounds like fun. You are going to kill this.
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Old 02-06-20, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
I always like to negative split my timed events and apply the most power to the more difficult sections. I am not a gravel / dirt racer. It does strike me that tires will matter. For me, the more confident I am on the bike the more power I can make...to a point. If anything does not feel right, I tend to be tentative. Hence knowing the course always matters.

Sounds like fun. You are going to kill this.
I'd like to get out there at least once to see what the surface will be like. My plan is to run IRC X-Guard tubeless 28's on my road bike, but if it's especially gnarly it'll be 32mm+ somethings on my gravel bike.
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Old 02-06-20, 05:23 PM
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It's just a race with a prime section?

Which one do you want to win?
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Old 02-06-20, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
The optimum though isn't splitting it really heavy though. Not like 90% then 120%. It's a lot finer line. Speaking for myself. Like, I'm talking only like 10w difference or so.
I plugged some numbers into bike calculator for some different splits. I assumed a 180lb rider riding at 300watts steady and then some different splits.

At 300w for both sections
Flat / Hill = Total
8:35 / 18:04 = 26:39

At 295w flat and 305w hill (10w difference)
8:38/ 17:49 = 26:27

At 270w flat and 330w hill (60w diff or .9/1.1)
8:56/ 16:42 = 25:38

So for these type of events with the hill is more than ~2/3 of the time a bigger split in power is better for the best time.
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Old 02-06-20, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
I plugged some numbers into bike calculator for some different splits. I assumed a 180lb rider riding at 300watts steady and then some different splits.

At 300w for both sections
Flat / Hill = Total
8:35 / 18:04 = 26:39

At 295w flat and 305w hill (10w difference)
8:38/ 17:49 = 26:27

At 270w flat and 330w hill (60w diff or .9/1.1)
8:56/ 16:42 = 25:38

So for these type of events with the hill is more than ~2/3 of the time a bigger split in power is better for the best time.
Not surprised. I agree with that math.

The physiology of trying that can be different per person though.

Depends on their power duration curve.
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Old 02-06-20, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
I plugged some numbers into bike calculator for some different splits. I assumed a 180lb rider riding at 300watts steady and then some different splits.

At 300w for both sections
Flat / Hill = Total
8:35 / 18:04 = 26:39

At 295w flat and 305w hill (10w difference)
8:38/ 17:49 = 26:27

At 270w flat and 330w hill (60w diff or .9/1.1)
8:56/ 16:42 = 25:38

So for these type of events with the hill is more than ~2/3 of the time a bigger split in power is better for the best time.
these comparisons aren't strictly apple to apple, as the average for the last one is higher than that of the first (and second). The average for the last one is 308W, and a good chunk of the speed increase is due to higher overall power output

A more apples to apples comparison would have the additional constraint of same overall average power.

Personally i'd get a good estimate of my 25 min power, shave a few percent off of that for fatigue. That's the average to shoot for the entirety of the climb.

For a climb where the shallow ramps last half as long as the steep ramps, 90% for shallow and 105% for steep. The spread should get narrower if the estimated duration is longer.

If I were doing this race, I'd shoot for 98% FTP for that 25 minutes. This may be on the conservative side of things (to account for fatigue due to the three hours leading into the climb), but it reduces risk of blowing up. After 3-4 minutes on the steeper ramp, I'd get a sense of how well i'm going and can always up the watts.
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Old 02-06-20, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post
these comparisons aren't strictly apple to apple, as the average for the last one is higher than that of the first (and second). The average for the last one is 308W, and a good chunk of the speed increase is due to higher overall power output

A more apples to apples comparison would have the additional constraint of same overall average power.

Personally i'd get a good estimate of my 25 min power, shave a few percent off of that for fatigue. That's the average to shoot for the entirety of the climb.

For a climb where the shallow ramps last half as long as the steep ramps, 90% for shallow and 105% for steep. The spread should get narrower if the estimated duration is longer.

If I were doing this race, I'd shoot for 98% FTP for that 25 minutes. This may be on the conservative side of things (to account for fatigue due to the three hours leading into the climb), but it reduces risk of blowing up. After 3-4 minutes on the steeper ramp, I'd get a sense of how well i'm going and can always up the watts.
The average power argument doesn’t always hold because generally you’re capable of higher output over less time duration but power drops off for longer times. But if we did use 308w for both segments the combined time comes to 26:11 in this example, still much slower than the last split example. The reason is that for power vs. speed the speed drops off faster as a percent on a grade than on a flat road. In this example 300w=>270w reduces your speed by 4% on a flat road but by 9% on a 6.3% grade.

But we are talking about the same apples here. Pick a target power, go about 90% of that on the flat and then give it all you got for the next 15-16minutes up the hill, this will produce the best time for whatever condition you find yourself in at that time of the day.

If the duration was longer you wouldn’t change the spread for power but instead you would lower your target power inline with that duration, this is what would give you the best time.
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Old 02-07-20, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
The average power argument doesn’t always hold because generally you’re capable of higher output over less time duration but power drops off for longer times. But if we did use 308w for both segments the combined time comes to 26:11 in this example, still much slower than the last split example. The reason is that for power vs. speed the speed drops off faster as a percent on a grade than on a flat road. In this example 300w=>270w reduces your speed by 4% on a flat road but by 9% on a 6.3% grade.

But we are talking about the same apples here. Pick a target power, go about 90% of that on the flat and then give it all you got for the next 15-16minutes up the hill, this will produce the best time for whatever condition you find yourself in at that time of the day.

If the duration was longer you wouldn’t change the spread for power but instead you would lower your target power inline with that duration, this is what would give you the best time.
See my other posts.........it's still ignoring physiology that's very unique person to person.

If you Zwift, fatigue yourself then do the daily or weekly Bologna TT on the gravel bike. It's the same pacing strategy, flat into a climb.
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Old 02-08-20, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
If the duration was longer you wouldn’t change the spread for power but instead you would lower your target power inline with that duration, this is what would give you the best time.
I should have been more clear. Duration refers to duration of a particular ramp (as opposed to duration of the overall climb).

Imagine doing a 30-min long workout alternating btwn over/under of 7.5 minutes each, and one where the over/under is 3 minutes each. One could get away with slightly greater delta in the latter situation (and thus higher intensity during the over section), whereas holding the same intensity to 7.5 minutes may lead to failure 2/3 of the way through the workout. One could target VO2 max intensity for the 3 min ramps (say 112%) and recover at 88%, but such a spread would be unwise if duration of the over section is 7.5 minutes.

The other thing to clarify is that if truly all out, the average power sustainable over a set period is always the highest when performed in an even manner (at the critical power for that duration). Any over/under would lower that average power sustainable for that period (b/c lactate generation isn't linear with respect to intensity). The only reason why over/under is optimal in the first place is due to gradient differences.
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Old 02-10-20, 10:33 AM
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The plot thickens....

I mapped it out and it looks like a false flat followed by a huge steppy kick, followed by another false flat.

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Old 02-10-20, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by echappist View Post

The other thing to clarify is that if truly all out, the average power sustainable over a set period is always the highest when performed in an even manner (at the critical power for that duration). Any over/under would lower that average power sustainable for that period (b/c lactate generation isn't linear with respect to intensity). The only reason why over/under is optimal in the first place is due to gradient differences.
Remember you are racing for shortest time not highest power. As mentioned the gradient fluctuations are important, but it not the only reason. Acceleration, head / tail winds and potential coasting* can vary the ideal output profile.

*In cycling and speed skating you can be going very fast near the end while power output has already dropped off significantly. A big burst at the beginning and a burst just short of the finish can get you a faster time with less power. Mostly applies to short events or a downhill finish.
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Old 02-10-20, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
The plot thickens....

I mapped it out and it looks like a false flat followed by a huge steppy kick, followed by another false flat.

21% grade on a dirt road in the Oregon forest after riding 70 miles? I would switch my pedals to SPD because I would be walking that part and hope it’s not too muddy. But that’s just me.
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Old 02-10-20, 10:13 PM
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Yeah - that is no joke. ouch.
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Old 02-11-20, 08:56 AM
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Considering the grades on dirt, your mountain bike skills and experience will pay off with this ride. If the roads get wet, this ride could turn into a highway to hell.
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Old 03-31-20, 08:36 PM
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Did this race ever go before the shutdown?
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Old 04-01-20, 07:32 AM
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Ahemmmm...........
https://www.zwiftpower.com/events.php?zid=415124

Check the profile, if you have a smart trainer and need something "similar".
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Old 04-02-20, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Did this race ever go before the shutdown?
Canceled due to lack of entrants due to weather and point-to-point format
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Old 04-02-20, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Ahemmmm...........
https://www.zwiftpower.com/events.php?zid=415124

Check the profile, if you have a smart trainer and need something "similar".
That's spot on!

And also, *facepalm*

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Old 04-02-20, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Cypress View Post
That's spot on!

And also, *facepalm*

That is a skinny, old dude. Is the 45 kg him or the trainer or both?
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