Dear Trainerroad Forum and Team,
The past weekend was my A-Race, the Ötztaler Radmarathon, a granfondo style event with 220km and 5.500 meters of elevation. My goal was to finish in less than 07.45h which I just managed to achieve, finishing at 7.44h.
Despite being very pleased, I feel I could have gone a lot faster, as I was over 25 mins up on my time schedule when entering the last climb, Timmelsjoch (1.700 meters elevation). As you can see in my ride file (https://www.trainerroad.com/career/elvis/rides/61650699--tztaler-radmarathon-7-44h-saisonziel-erreicht-hsgazellen-on-fire), I paced the first and third climb at about 280 watts with an FTP of approx. 320. The second climb (which is more like a false flat) I managed to stay in the pack and recover. I had followed my nutrition and hydration plan to the dot and took in approx. 100 grams of carbs per hour through gels and my home made energy drink (with the prescribed mix of glucose and fructose). My stomach was no issue, as I had already practiced the fueling strategy in previous events.
When entering the final climb I was feeling really strong and confident. Initially, I was able to hold my target power of 270 watts which I had planned to gradually drop over the climb to 250 and finally 230 in anticipation of fatigue and elevation. However, at one point, things started going south – fast! I could no longer hold any power and was not even able to push more than 170 watts at the end of the climb. I have never encountered that feeling before. I know what it feels like to bonk, but usually I can feel that coming. This time it was only initially a slow decrease, then it felt more like being hit on the back of the head with a bat. What could be the reason for this and how can I avoid it in the future? I tend to believe I overpaced on the other two climbs but feeling so strong at the bottom of the last climb just makes me want to believe it may have been something else.
Also, how could I adjust my training in order to not encounter this problem again? In the century and climbing road race specialty plans (yes, did both – the first for my peak in beginning of July and the second for 3 weeks previous to my A-race) I often added 1-2 hours of base work after the sweet spot and threshold intervals on the weekend. Would it make sense to possibly do the intervals after the time spent at base? This is more similar to the event’s requirements but could lead to a decrease in form and possibly inhibit workout quality.
Thanks so much in advance for your responses!