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Questions for Achieving an Ambitious FTP Goal

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Questions for Achieving an Ambitious FTP Goal

Old 11-28-23, 12:23 PM
  #76  
Alan K
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Originally Posted by sir_crash_alot
Interesting idea. Could I achieve similar things using a V02 altitude simulating mask? I have one and it is miserable.
It seems more complicated and impractical to be able to fully take advantage of low pressure, low Oxygen level adaptation. If you havenít already done so, please read the post made by Hermes.
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Old 11-28-23, 01:50 PM
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Life at a pro training camp at Tenerife. Could be fun...or not. Also, altitude tents can offer advantage but one has be in them long enough each day - not just sleeping. That is the dirty little secret. One must "live" high and train low. Not sleep high and train low. As I recall, the magic number is 15 hour per day at altitude. I think most of the "devices" offer little if any altitude training benefit compared to actual altitude training - beware.
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Old 11-28-23, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung
The general idea is "live high, train low." That is, you train at low altitude to get maximal volume of work, but you sleep at high altitude for the adaptation.
That "live high, train low" style of training can be logistically impractical.

But there are a few places that make "live high, train low" sort of practical. I've done a few weeklong trips in the Eastern Sierra, as there are several "live high" places to stay (7000-10,000 feet), and a valley that's at about 4000 feet. Mammoth Lakes at 8000-9000 feet, is a nice base camp, with lots of lodging choices, good restaurants, and grocery. Rock Creek Lakes Resort is more spartan at 9700 feet. Glacier Lodge, farther south but very rustic, is at about 8000 feet.

Get up, have breakfast, drive down to starting point, ride, drive back up, chill the rest of the day. Repeat.
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Old 11-29-23, 04:19 AM
  #79  
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I live low and train low. Same as everyone I ride with, so itís a level playing field. I donít see much point in altitude training unless you are a pro or conditioning yourself specifically to ride at altitude.
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Old 11-29-23, 08:52 AM
  #80  
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That power at that weight will be challenging. A little more weight it would be easier. I'd ask yourself "why" or what task you're building the hammer for and whether the tool fits the task. Short of stage racing in the US in mountains I can't imagine being really a lot smaller versus "just making the power" would make sense. I say that because yeah it's fun to be stronger, but it's more fun to have fun in the race or event you want to be in than just making a number. And the skills to go with it.

So advice is to have ultimate goal be "win USAC grand fondo event" or "win time trial" or "start racing road and cat up", then the power goal is just a behind scenes supporting role.

Have fun. Oh, and that 95%.......rarely works out that way. It's often more like 92%. If that matters to you.
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Old 11-29-23, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep
That power at that weight will be challenging. A little more weight it would be easier. I'd ask yourself "why" or what task you're building the hammer for and whether the tool fits the task. Short of stage racing in the US in mountains I can't imagine being really a lot smaller versus "just making the power" would make sense. I say that because yeah it's fun to be stronger, but it's more fun to have fun in the race or event you want to be in than just making a number. And the skills to go with it.

So advice is to have ultimate goal be "win USAC grand fondo event" or "win time trial" or "start racing road and cat up", then the power goal is just a behind scenes supporting role.

Have fun. Oh, and that 95%.......rarely works out that way. It's often more like 92%. If that matters to you.
The "why" is because I personally like to set specific performance goals, which helps me know going in that there is a concrete thing that I can control (to a large degree, but certainly not completely). My ultimate goal is to race (and hopefully do well), but winning in races from what I can tell can be a crapshoot, and my life as a hockey player has left me with the mantra "trust the process". In this context, it means to me that if I set the goal of winning races, given that results can be a crapshoot even on the best of days, I am likely to come away disappointed in myself. At least with a power based performance goal, it's something I have better control over, by trusting a process.

I do buy the point of fun though. Trusting the process is one thing. Learning to enjoy it is another. For now anyways, I'm enjoying the ride, which hopefully takes me to doing well!

(p.s. FTP is now 219, with w/kg at 3.5-ish).
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Old 11-30-23, 10:45 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by Alan K
It seems more complicated and impractical to be able to fully take advantage of low pressure, low Oxygen level adaptation. If you havenít already done so, please read the post made by Hermes.
Right. I posted before I saw the replies below it.
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Old 11-30-23, 10:48 AM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by Hermes
Life at a pro training camp at Tenerife. Could be fun...or not. Also, altitude tents can offer advantage but one has be in them long enough each day - not just sleeping. That is the dirty little secret. One must "live" high and train low. Not sleep high and train low. As I recall, the magic number is 15 hour per day at altitude. I think most of the "devices" offer little if any altitude training benefit compared to actual altitude training - beware.
Haha my partner already thinks I'm weird. Probably adding an altitude tent into our lives might literally drive her to reconsider her life choices. I suppose that somewhat takes me to a question that I *think* is already answered, but worth reiterating: is altitude training more of a marginal gain that may not be worth the quality of life headache, particularly for someone just at the beginning of their cycling journey?
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Old 11-30-23, 12:00 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by sir_crash_alot
Haha my partner already thinks I'm weird. Probably adding an altitude tent into our lives might literally drive her to reconsider her life choices. I suppose that somewhat takes me to a question that I *think* is already answered, but worth reiterating: is altitude training more of a marginal gain that may not be worth the quality of life headache, particularly for someone just at the beginning of their cycling journey?
Very good and a practical point, I fully understand.
For similar reasons, I have stopped buying more bicycles. 😉
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Old 11-30-23, 12:37 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by sir_crash_alot
is altitude training more of a marginal gain that may not be worth the quality of life headache
That, sir_crash_alot, is the right question.

IMO, for those of us who don't make a living from racing, the only type of altitude training that's greater than marginal -- and practical -- is when you're preparing for an event that's held at altitude. Doing a high altitude ride/race without any altitude acclimation is brutal, and could have bad health outcomes.

I've done several high altitude events, and I try to get as many days (and nights) at elevation beforehand as possible. That definitely helps during the event, but the high altitude work doesn't seem to help my sea level performance. In fact, it usually takes a few days back at sea level to regain my pre-event fitness.
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Old 11-30-23, 06:30 PM
  #86  
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A few years ago, I took the USAC altitude training course. First, adaptation is highly biased by genetics. Some people improve with altitude training and some do not. The max gain after 21 days being at the right location was 5%. To use altitude to gain advantage at sea level, one must live at altitude but have some VO2 efforts at sea level to maintain VO2 max at sea level. Tenerife is the perfect location where one can cycle down the volcano and do intervals at the sea and cycle back up to 7100 feet. Then one must time the sea level event perfectly with the altitude training and hit the short lived window of advantage, assuming one gets a boost.

Altitude training is for specific events generally at altitude.

IMO, an FTP gonzo goal is somewhat of a fools errand. I agree with burnthesheep that an event goal will be better served that requires a large FTP. Whether you enjoy the process or not, FTP is going to stall at some point. And gains of 20% from where you are now are typical. Cyclists that hit 317 w FTP are typically born not trained and are larger in stature - lungs, heart and blood volume.

By reading your additional posts of how you like to cycle and the shape of your power curve, you do not strike me as a high FTP, constant power candidate. YMMV.
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Old 12-01-23, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by sir_crash_alot
At least with a power based performance goal, it's something I have better control over, by trusting a process..
I can understand that point of view.

Reason I originally posted was that I originally joined this forum years back with almost the exact same first posting into this section about the goal being a power goal of some kind also and even tried it again a bit ago in the 33 forum.

With all the stuff like Trainingpeaks and forum resources like Slowtwitch I realized that training for me personally was simply leveraging best practices within my known hourly bounds per week as it related to what tool I wanted to build for the task.

I like time trial and I like cyclocross. Not really a great venn diagram on those two so I've chosen to build the tool around time trial since I'm more talented at the "overall process" of it with aero/efficiency and power. I may try gravel races this year instead of so much cyclocross simply because the venn diagram of that and TT overlaps a lot more (Ashton Lambie the 4km IP record holder before Ganna is a "gravel" rider guy).

Leveraging the existing resources for training has allowed me to kind of make power goals a much lower focus than "skills" or "aero" or other goals I find more interesting or fun. I still have them, but trusting the resources means I can execute the needed workouts within my allowed time and adapt them over time as is necessary.

So, if that's your focus, enjoy!
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Old 12-01-23, 03:29 PM
  #88  
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I also have power-based goals, but they are tied to achieving event goals, which in my case are timed Sportives.

I donít think it really matters what your personal goals are as long as they are realistic to achieve and you are motivated to reach them. It is also okay to revise your goals as you gain experience and insight.
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Old 12-02-23, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
IMO, an FTP gonzo goal is somewhat of a fools errand. I agree with burnthesheep that an event goal will be better served that requires a large FTP. Whether you enjoy the process or not, FTP is going to stall at some point. And gains of 20% from where you are now are typical. Cyclists that hit 317 w FTP are typically born not trained and are larger in stature - lungs, heart and blood volume.

By reading your additional posts of how you like to cycle and the shape of your power curve, you do not strike me as a high FTP, constant power candidate. YMMV.
That's fair. I think a part of me (although not all of me) knew it was a fool's errand pretty early on. Regardless, something worth pursuing as long as I don't take achieving 5 w/kg or 317 FTP as the be-all-end-all of my cycling journey.

As I'm starting to learn about my body type and power curve, I'm trying to figure out how to ride to my strengths in race scenarios. Next spring/summer will be very illustrative, and I'll just try to race as much as I can.
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Old 12-02-23, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by sir_crash_alot
That's fair. I think a part of me (although not all of me) knew it was a fool's errand pretty early on. Regardless, something worth pursuing as long as I don't take achieving 5 w/kg or 317 FTP as the be-all-end-all of my cycling journey.

As I'm starting to learn about my body type and power curve, I'm trying to figure out how to ride to my strengths in race scenarios. Next spring/summer will be very illustrative, and I'll just try to race as much as I can.
That sounds like a good plan. At your weight I would be inclined to focus on climbing because thatís where you have an obvious natural advantage. Of course that means aiming for high W/kg, but if you can get to 4 W/kg (around 250 W at your weight) you would be much more competitive on climbs than you would be on a flat course. You would certainly drop big guys even with 300W+ FTPs.
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Old 12-03-23, 10:26 PM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
That sounds like a good plan. At your weight I would be inclined to focus on climbing because thatís where you have an obvious natural advantage. Of course that means aiming for high W/kg, but if you can get to 4 W/kg (around 250 W at your weight) you would be much more competitive on climbs than you would be on a flat course. You would certainly drop big guys even with 300W+ FTPs.
Yeah, a 250w FTP in a 136lbs package would be a real climbing weapon!
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Old 12-04-23, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster
Yeah, a 250w FTP in a 136lbs package would be a real climbing weapon!
Exactly, and it is also a realistic target given that the OP is already at around 220W. Another 30W is not unreasonable, but could take some time.
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Old 12-04-23, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Exactly, and it is also a realistic target given that the OP is already at around 220W. Another 30W is not unreasonable, but could take some time.
If the OP is young, gains may be possible and may come quickly. Relatively quickly.

As a similarly sized person (133 lbs), and with a similar FTP (est. 230 W, 3.8 W/kg), I'm a climber has-been. I'm still able to beat up on most of my age group buddies (65-69), but only on steeper climbs. I'm a one trick pony. Many of them can destroy me on a flat section. If I can't hold their wheel, they are gone. Even on climbs, there are some guys out there my age who can rip my legs off on Strava segments.

20 years ago, I had those extra 30 Watts, which made me a fair-to-middling 45+ climber. With some more training, I think I can claw a few of those watts back. But the age clock is ticking. Gains come more slowly now.
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Old 12-04-23, 12:12 PM
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you skinny guys - bleeepity bleep bleep bleep!!!

5/wkg would give me an FTP +/- that of Pogs.

Sitting at 3.1 right now, 85kg, 270W+/- - and gains are very slow/hard earned. My goal last winter was = unobtanium. I wanted to go from 240+/- to 300 -didn't happen. Gained 30 with the winter/spring hard training and 4000+ miles on the road with a mix of training, heavy Z2, climbing and some free riding over the summer/fall.

I will shoot for 300 again this winter.

Lose weight? Sure... not so easy. 2 meals per day, 18 hour fasts, low carb to "keto", 130-150 miles per week... change any of that and I rapidly gain weight, weight loss is slower than a turtle riding on a slugs back!! My winter goal is 80kg.

Flat land advantage - yes, I have some. But wide shoulders/big frame is a big aero disadvantage. I'm working on body position over the winter...

Some are asking/discussing why we want to do this...

I don't want to race. I have personal goals that I use as motivation to keep on keeping on. I want to (and now can) ride a comfortable 20mph+/- on the flats. I want to ride in the "A" group. I want some excess ability built in to handle stiff winds, climbs and the occasional effort on long rides. And I want to climb - and climb big.

I can climb 6-8% at 210-230w for 2-3 hours - but that is very slow going, and 10%+ pitches in the road send my power to FTP++ levels. A long 10-12% grade puts me right on the edge of blowing up.
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Old 12-04-23, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
you skinny guys - bleeepity bleep bleep bleep!!!

5/wkg would give me an FTP +/- that of Pogs.

Sitting at 3.1 right now, 85kg, 270W+/- - and gains are very slow/hard earned. My goal last winter was = unobtanium. I wanted to go from 240+/- to 300 -didn't happen. Gained 30 with the winter/spring hard training and 4000+ miles on the road with a mix of training, heavy Z2, climbing and some free riding over the summer/fall.

I will shoot for 300 again this winter.

Lose weight? Sure... not so easy. 2 meals per day, 18 hour fasts, low carb to "keto", 130-150 miles per week... change any of that and I rapidly gain weight, weight loss is slower than a turtle riding on a slugs back!! My winter goal is 80kg.

Flat land advantage - yes, I have some. But wide shoulders/big frame is a big aero disadvantage. I'm working on body position over the winter...

Some are asking/discussing why we want to do this...

I don't want to race. I have personal goals that I use as motivation to keep on keeping on. I want to (and now can) ride a comfortable 20mph+/- on the flats. I want to ride in the "A" group. I want some excess ability built in to handle stiff winds, climbs and the occasional effort on long rides. And I want to climb - and climb big.

I can climb 6-8% at 210-230w for 2-3 hours - but that is very slow going, and 10%+ pitches in the road send my power to FTP++ levels. A long 10-12% grade puts me right on the edge of blowing up.
Same ballpark here. Currently 84 kg and 280W FTP

My summer peak was 75 kg and 300W FTP. That made a big difference on long mountain climbs, but not a huge amount on the flat or even on short punchy climbs, where I can actually put out more power over a couple of minutes at my higher weight.

Getting down from 84-75 kg took a bit of discipline (Iím 184 cm tall, medium build) and hitting 300W for an hour was really hard work. I can maintain 280W on less than 5 hours riding per week, but needed 10+ hours per week to find an extra 20W and I canít maintain that level indefinitely.

My spring target is now 80 kg and 290W FTP.

4 W/kg appears to be my upper limit and I have never been able to break through that barrier in the last 5 years. So I guess Coggan was right about the average Joe! I never measured my power before I turned 50, so I think I could have been pushing well above 4 W/kg in my 20s and 30s. But thatís history now! I will turn 56 before Christmas.

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Old 12-12-23, 10:56 AM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by RChung
Yes, smart trainers have enabled precision and hyper-structure in workouts. I wish there were more evidence that precision and hyper-structure per se resulted in better performance. That said, structure promotes variety in workouts and if variety keeps your interest up so your volume increases, those benefits seem pretty solid.
Hi Robert,

I don't think there is any evidence for that, and to be honest, i advise against it. That is, when i set say intervals and give a range, i'd rather the athlete rode against whatever the topography is (which may involve power going above and below the range) rather than riding in erg mode on an indoor trainer and the athlete keeping within say a narrow 5 W range. Out in the real world riders have to cope with bigger changes than that... Of course that doesn't mean i don't think structure isn't important, i'm just saying that keeping within a tiny range isn't real world!
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Old 12-12-23, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
4 W/kg appears to be my upper limit and I have never been able to break through that barrier in the last 5 years. So I guess Coggan was right about the average Joe! I never measured my power before I turned 50, so I think I could have been pushing well above 4 W/kg in my 20s and 30s. But thatís history now! I will turn 56 before Christmas.
FWIW, i think i have the worlds largest data set of power on a single rider (me). I started collecting power data when i was 24, and i'm now 54. I've raced every year since i was 14 y old, I've varied from awful to reasonable (scraped a cat 1 licence in my early 20s prior to getting a power meter, but i was definitely fitter after this but rode less races so didn't accumulate sufficient points to move up). Currently, i train ~15 hrs/week, 7 days/week, and manage 2 to 3 strength training sessions per week.

Having carefully calibrated my power meters with known certified masses of ~ 40kg i've been able to compare my power data over this time period. I'm the same mass as i was in my 20s (at least at the time of my best FTP values in my 20s, which for clarity was prior to the term FTP being invented). Anyway, with decent training over the last few years I've managed to surpass my FTP from my 20s by 5 W.
My 5-sec peak power is ~150 W better than in my 20s
my 60-sec peak power is about 30 W lower than in my 20s
my MAP/and VO2max is about the same
my FTP (this summer) was 5 W higher than my best in my 20s

(currently within 4% of my summer best values)
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Old 12-14-23, 10:41 AM
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One thing I'm learning is that my nutrition habits were less than conducive to performance. Long story short, I need to bump up the carbs substantially. A workout that would have smashed me a week ago I made it through yesterday after I was reading about the need for carbs for harder, longer workouts, and decided to try consuming more carbs spread throughout the day.

It makes me wonder if I may have actually performed better on my FTP tests if I had better knowledge of nutrition for endurance athletes at the time...

With this knowledge in hand, I'm thinking now about how I can get more precise with my macros, particularly based on the type of ride I have scheduled. I can imagine longer zone 2 sessions don't require as many simple carbs, and I can shift for the day to a more balanced macros (e.g. 30-35-35 fats-carbs-protein or something like that). but for harder days (over 1.5 hours with intervals near or above FTP) I should shift to a higher simple carb intake, e.g. 25-50-25 fats-carbs-proteins. Perhaps I don't need to be super precise, but treat these as more of a rough guide combined with as many natural and whole foods.

Quick question though: for those who are trying to keep their nutrition as natural as possible, how do you fuel during a long, hard ride? I want to save gels for race day and not make it a habit to consume those during training. Bananas maybe?
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Old 12-14-23, 10:50 AM
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Ric Stern
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Originally Posted by sir_crash_alot
One thing I'm learning is that my nutrition habits were less than conducive to performance. Long story short, I need to bump up the carbs substantially. A workout that would have smashed me a week ago I made it through yesterday after I was reading about the need for carbs for harder, longer workouts, and decided to try consuming more carbs spread throughout the day.

It makes me wonder if I may have actually performed better on my FTP tests if I had better knowledge of nutrition for endurance athletes at the time...

With this knowledge in hand, I'm thinking now about how I can get more precise with my macros, particularly based on the type of ride I have scheduled. I can imagine longer zone 2 sessions don't require as many simple carbs, and I can shift for the day to a more balanced macros (e.g. 30-35-35 fats-carbs-protein or something like that). but for harder days (over 1.5 hours with intervals near or above FTP) I should shift to a higher simple carb intake, e.g. 25-50-25 fats-carbs-proteins. Perhaps I don't need to be super precise, but treat these as more of a rough guide combined with as many natural and whole foods.

Quick question though: for those who are trying to keep their nutrition as natural as possible, how do you fuel during a long, hard ride? I want to save gels for race day and not make it a habit to consume those during training. Bananas maybe?
I would avoid setting your macros in this way, as percentages, as it can lead to under/over fuelling. You should set them in relation to body weight, and based off current known daily energy intake. You should also prioritise your protein macros first, then your carbs.

long rides i tend to eat sandwiches with PB&J. however, you should also practice using gels or whatever it is you're going to race/etc with so that your body can learn to process it. i'm allergic to bananas so can't help you there!
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Old 01-26-24, 10:41 AM
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It's been a hot minute since I updated the "journal".
  • FTP is hovering still at 219, but I'm due in 4 days for an AI determined update from TrainerRoad. Not sure how accurate that is, but at least it's something.
  • I am now a member of a cycling team, one that stands for a cause I believe in: the gender-expansive and women in sports. I now ride for Team Gryt, one of Crystal's Teams.This is a gravel riding team, a discipline I decided to focus on given the lack of road races in the northern midwest.
  • My race schedule is coming into vision. Right now I plan to race in 2024:
    • The Wisconsin La Crosse Omnium Road Race and Criterium
    • The Snacking Bear Gravel Race in Wisconsin
    • Epic Gravel Race in Wisconsin
    • Iron Range Roll in northern Michigan
I would be racing more in the second half of the summer, but we are now expecting our first child in July, so...priorities must shift. :-)
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