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How to not get dropped in the rolling hills

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

How to not get dropped in the rolling hills

Old 11-10-20, 10:57 PM
  #51  
colnago62
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
So that's an average of 300 W for an hour, orr 3.75 W/kg. Can you give us an idea how you arrived at your estimate of 4.5 W/kg FTP?

I don't think it's a big deal. Either way, the answers you've already heard (do less work pulling, get more endurance miles, etc.) are still sound.
I believe he said that was a ride file from the rolling terrain, not necessarily his max or a FTP test.
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Old 11-10-20, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
I believe he said that was a ride file from the rolling terrain, not necessarily his max or a FTP test.
Maybe, but he posted it in response to the guy who challenged his stated FTP. So I was confused about it. I don't really think that the OPs FTP is main issue here- but rather a discussion about how he can hang with some very strong riders in lumpy terrain.
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Old 11-10-20, 11:23 PM
  #53  
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if I were you, I'd concentrate on my 1-min power at say 125%, because honestly nobody is gonna attack for more than 1 minute in a group ride. So train yourself 1min power, this is for the trainer. Now, you will also need to train your out-of-saddel sprint too like 5s and 10s power. You can't sprint on the trainer, so you'll need to do this on the road. Sprint power requires lots of upperbody and trainer ain't gonna cut it. I knew a "tri guy" who had a huge engine, but he would get popped in a cat4-5 crit all the time. It was because his sprints sucked, and he had to work too hard to hang on, and that meant burning matches in a race like a crit. Now your muscle makeup (genetics) may never make you a sprinter or short-burst type of guy no matter how hard you try to train your short power, so this is something that you'll just have to live with.

But like a few others have said, STOP PULLING INTO A CLIMB!
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Old 11-10-20, 11:43 PM
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I'm in a much lower league than the OP, so what I've been doing for years is not what I advised upthread. I'm a very fast descender, don't really know why. Short legs, I think which makes a smaller swept area. When I go over the top, I accelerate like mad then tuck and usually pass everyone by a good bit. When I hit the hill I start pedaling high cadence, downshifting a gear when I drop to 90. I keep that up. After a while, the fast folks pass me because I'm not a powerful rider. I do what I can, but they go by. However most folks go so hard they have to take a break or maybe it's just natural to slow down as one goes over the top. I don't do that, holding my same climbing effort as I go over and all the way into my tuck. So I'm out of phase with the rest of them, but I mostly do keep up. It's just a matter of endurance, which one gets by doing a lot of hard miles. I work my advantage and try to minimize my disadvantage. Riding the occasional 200k with like 7000' is helpful. Of course I was just riding with fast club riders, not racers. Whole different thing, and probably peculiar to my physiology.
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Old 11-11-20, 01:54 AM
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HIIT. Sprints. That's what worked for me. I had decent base fitness for long steady rides, but couldn't sprint worth a darn. Now I'm semi-okay for an old guy.

Our group rides are on roller coaster terrain and I always got gapped on the many short, steep hillettes because everyone loafed on flats, coasted on downhills, then hammered on every climb. The only people who ever pedaled steadily were the folks riding fixed.

But our climbs are short, maybe 50-400 yards long at most, anywhere from 3%-12%. So I worked on sprints of 30-60 seconds, mostly on a nearby loop with false flats, and a series of short steep rollers that are the worst of the worst examples of the entire terrain in north central Texas.

Took awhile to feel any difference. I didn't get significantly faster. But I did recover faster, so I was ready for those tricky bits with three or more short, steep hillettes in a row over a half-mile to mile distance.

And I quit coasting or loafing on downhills. I'd push ahead of the group so I could catch the tail end as they passed on the climbs. That would drive more disciplined groups crazy and probably get me uninvited, but some of our local groups are total anarchy, free for all impromptu crits, everybody trying to drop everybody else, so the only way to keep up is to use the same tactics. I'd still get gapped because I won't blast through red lights, while some of them do. But that's a whole nuther can of worms.
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Old 11-11-20, 05:28 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
Are you saying that finding any means to improve aerodynamics is useless in rolling hills?
I'm saying this has nothing to do with the issue discussed in the OP.
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Old 11-11-20, 05:34 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
I hate rolling hills like that, and they hate me.
It's power that matters, but if you're going anaerobic too many times you'll blow up. If your FTP is 360W, a 2 hour race could be done at an average of 340W (-5% for every double of time.) ?
95% for two hours, 90% for four hours? That's insane.

I seriously question either of those. The endurance aspect, the fueling aspect, the specificity... not that some extreme masochist couldn't specifically train go accomplish that, but there's no way on Earth that's even remotely typical.

I once did 3 hours at ~89% and it broke me for a week plus, and I spent about two months building up to that.
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Old 11-11-20, 05:39 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
if I were you, I'd concentrate on my 1-min power at say 125%, because honestly nobody is gonna attack for more than 1 minute in a group ride. So train yourself 1min power, this is for the trainer.
1 min at 125% is nothing. That's the intensity for 3-5 minutes for a punchy cat 1-2. For what it's worth, my 3-4 minute vo2 workouts repeats mid season are at ~128%. One minute type efforts are typically done at ~200% ftp, with full-gas one minute efforts on group rides eclipsing that.

9.5-10 w/kg are what the good, punchy cat 1s do around here (many places). For the OP that'd be close to 800w. Definitely something trainable, but as has been mentioned multiple times, race craft (positioning, time spent in the wind, etc) is even more important, and if it's later in the ride, race craft coupled with fatigue resistance is what matters most.
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Old 11-11-20, 06:50 AM
  #59  
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Interesting that no-one has mentioned zone 2 training to build your lactate threshold. Google Inigo San Millan. All kinds of interviews worth listening to.
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Old 11-11-20, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by denvertrout View Post
Interesting that no-one has mentioned zone 2 training to build your lactate threshold. Google Inigo San Millan. All kinds of interviews worth listening to.
Because zone two training lets you do lots of zone 2 training. If you're not doing 10-15+ hours a week (or even more if you've been riding a while), then the stimulus isn't going to be enough to build much higher-end fitness. Fitness comes from adapting to stimulus.

If you want to increase threshold, you have to ride at threshold.

With other life responsibilities, riding around at z2 all the time is a total waste of time from a performance standpoint.
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Old 11-11-20, 07:30 AM
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If the original posters FTP is truly 360, threshold is not the issue. Building the lactate clearance may be a key part in his success on the rides that he enjoys. Inigo San Millan, coach to Tadej Pogacar certainly is an expert on Lactate clearance, and he clearly states it is key to success.

Just another opinion for the OP to look into.
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Old 11-11-20, 07:34 AM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I'm saying this has nothing to do with the issue discussed in the OP.
I guess you're right. You should have told that earlier, would have saved back and forth replies!
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Old 11-11-20, 07:50 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by denvertrout View Post
If the original posters FTP is truly 360, threshold is not the issue. Building the lactate clearance may be a key part in his success on the rides that he enjoys. Inigo San Millan, coach to Tadej Pogacar certainly is an expert on Lactate clearance, and he clearly states it is key to success.

Just another opinion for the OP to look into.
Pogacar is training for stage races. He's probably doing anywhere from 20 hours to upward of 30 hours per week. When you're doing this much volume, then most of it is in z2. For people with less than 12hrs/wk, you're gonna have to put a lot of that time in higher intensity zones.
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Old 11-11-20, 08:01 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I guess you're right. You should have told that earlier, would have saved back and forth replies!
I did. Quite succinctly. So did Dean V.

All you had to do was read the OP.

Last edited by rubiksoval; 11-11-20 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 11-11-20, 08:03 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by denvertrout View Post
If the original posters FTP is truly 360, threshold is not the issue. Building the lactate clearance may be a key part in his success on the rides that he enjoys. Inigo San Millan, coach to Tadej Pogacar certainly is an expert on Lactate clearance, and he clearly states it is key to success.

Just another opinion for the OP to look into.
Definitely an opinion for the OP to look into when he starts preparing for grand tours at the world tour level.
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Old 11-11-20, 08:11 AM
  #66  
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My secret for not getting dropped on rolling hills? I ride solo. One hundred percent effective.
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Old 11-11-20, 08:23 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
1 min at 125% is nothing. That's the intensity for 3-5 minutes for a punchy cat 1-2. For what it's worth, my 3-4 minute vo2 workouts repeats mid season are at ~128%. One minute type efforts are typically done at ~200% ftp, with full-gas one minute efforts on group rides eclipsing that.

9.5-10 w/kg are what the good, punchy cat 1s do around here (many places). For the OP that'd be close to 800w. Definitely something trainable, but as has been mentioned multiple times, race craft (positioning, time spent in the wind, etc) is even more important, and if it's later in the ride, race craft coupled with fatigue resistance is what matters most.
you're right, i was being too conservative. My own 1min seated efforts on the trainer with legs with some fatigue is close to 200% too. My out of the saddle repeated attacks during practice is usually in the 10-13s duration and in the range of 13-14 w/kg, and i'm not even close to a cat1 (here in Socal). But on long climbs I can hang with the cat1 "big" guys no problem, but cat1 climber guys they'll drop me easily; hard to keep up with someone doing close to 5 w/kg for 4-5 miles @ 5% gradient, for interval repeats.
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Old 11-11-20, 09:20 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Definitely an opinion for the OP to look into when he starts preparing for grand tours at the world tour level.
Haha, or the OP can research what the best do and try something different from what he may be doing currently. Inigo, 25 years training and researching elite and world tour riders. I know he knows more than me.

https://peterattiamd.com/inigosanmillan/

https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/z...ance-athletes/
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Old 11-11-20, 10:07 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I meant that's a fall-back position for those of use who for one reason or another, can't manage longer weekday rides. Holding steady at 75% for most of an hour is surprisingly effective in terms of aerobic adaptation. On outdoor rides there's that constant power variation. There's a "flat" road near me where my power goes up and down ~15% from my target if I hold the cadence constant, just from those tiny undulations.

My guess is that you have been a competitive rower and thus competing in under 7 minute events. That gave you a huge anaerobic engine for which you probably had a genetic propensity. As others have said, now you need to build an aerobic engine to match. I'm in sort of the same boat as it were, as I've been doing hilly rides with better climbers than I for 25 years. I used to be able to outsprint all of them. It's time for me to take a step back and build up a stronger aerobic engine this fall and winter. So that's all I've been doing: 75% FTP on my rollers and outdoors, in and out of saddle. The high end comes back quickly for me, the low end is a long slog, not as much fun. Posters here diagnosed my problem, whether they realized it or not.
Yes, I was mostly rowing on a coxless pair, for about 6 years. Sometimes I would row on an 8+ which is a much faster pace. For most of the 2k race you utilize aerobic/threshold kind of power and final 300-400m you get into the red zone. Even in my rowing days I lacked that explosive power. I am thinking about giving rollers a try tho idea scares me a little bit.

Originally Posted by billridesbikes View Post
I hate rolling hills like that, and they hate me.
It's power that matters, but if you're going anaerobic too many times you'll blow up. If your FTP is 360W, a 2 hour race could be done at an average of 340W (-5% for every double of time.) On the flat part take short pulls and conserve your power as much as possible. Try not to needlessly exceed your FTP too many times. Make the bigger guys do the work and tuck in behind them. Your already at a disadvantage against bigger guys with with same FTP.

Try to carry as much momentum downhill as possible and just before you hit the saddle point shift to a small gear and spin like crazy. Don't wait to shift and don't not pedal downhill hill to the saddle point, you'll loose too much momentum. It's better to shift early and spin at 110rpm or higher until you hit the grade. Try to spin up at high cadence and keep your butt in the saddle.

A 0.5mile 7% grade should take around 3 minutes at 340W, so hill intervals spinning at this power in the saddle would be good drills to get your brain used to the idea.
Who ever said it was all downhill after 40y?
This is good stuff Bill and certainly will try these next time.

Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
Maybe, but he posted it in response to the guy who challenged his stated FTP. So I was confused about it. I don't really think that the OPs FTP is main issue here- but rather a discussion about how he can hang with some very strong riders in lumpy terrain.
My FTP now could be lower but as you said (and I agree) generally power is not the issue.
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Old 11-11-20, 10:27 AM
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Did I do it right? I will print this and put it on my basement door so I see it every time I get out for a ride.


By the way thanks to everyone for the AMAZING amount of response. I have a long to-do list and will share the results as the season progresses.
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Old 11-11-20, 10:29 AM
  #71  
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I'll have results from my AeT work maybe in February. It's a slow process..
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Old 11-11-20, 10:34 AM
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The mistake I see triguys \ TT'rs make is that they spend all day at the same effort. Intervals, over and under, recover makes you faster.
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Old 11-11-20, 10:42 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by popeye View Post
The mistake I see triguys \ TT'rs make is that they spend all day at the same effort. Intervals, over and under, recover makes you faster.
It is not really a mistake. For the type of event they are training for, that is where their focus needs to be. Those events require a steady output, which is different than the needs of a criterium racer, as an extreme example.
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Old 11-11-20, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by rower2cyclist View Post
<snip> I am thinking about giving rollers a try tho idea scares me a little bit.<snip>
If you do that, get a set of rollers with resistance. Plain rollers, even small drum rollers, are really only good for recovery. Get used to them by riding in a doorway. After a couple months, graduate to doing it next to a wall or post. I think I've come off 4 times in 20+ years. Worst injury has been a pedal cut on my ankle. That said, my rollers are set up where there's nothing to the left of me that could hurt me. Some people set up next to a bed. Two 24" box fans are mandatory.
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Old 11-11-20, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
It is not really a mistake. For the type of event they are training for, that is where their focus needs to be. Those events require a steady output, which is different than the needs of a criterium racer, as an extreme example.
True but they will not get stronger. You need to challenge your body to make gains.
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