Fitness at the time of winning your race category

I know there is a lot more to winning a race than just a high level of fitness but would be really interesting to see how fit you were when you were winning races in your respective category. This can include, FTP, other power durations, Hours a week of training, TSS and the type of training you were doing at the time when you were at the top of your category.

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I did the 2018 National Championships Time Trial race (21km) and won my Cat/slotted near the bottom of the pros. It was a come-back race for me on multiple levels and after been away from the sport for so many years (15+), I really had no idea what I was doing in terms of training. My breakdown:

FTP: 305w (4.8w/kg)
Hrs/wk: 12 weeks @5hr/wk
Type: Over-Unders (2x20; 2/wk); VO2max (5x4min; 3/wk)
TSS: ???
PDC: ???
(was not a TR/power meter user at the time)

I was fast (anaerobic) but definitely not fit (aerobic). Struggled on long steady-state rides.
Pre-race KOMs were all in the <1min range; post-race KOMs were 3-5min jobs.

Now it’s all easy peasy Z2 for me. Jealous? :stuck_out_tongue:

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I won State TT Masters 2, 14th in Aus and 14th @ Worlds Masters 2

FTP 330
Weight 85kgs
3.8w/kg

Training 10-12hrs / week
Nearly all was
Tues and Thursday 2.5hrs in Endurance with 20minutes SE efforts @65rpm
Friday Sprints x 5
Saturday Race 40-60kms
Sunday Race 50kms

Currently 340w
Training avg 7 - 90% on my TT bike.
Over / Unders
V02s
TT Efforts

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Considering I could hold 305w for 10 minutes at most, yes… yes I am.

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Those zoomy days are a distant & dusty memory for me. Enjoy where you are & what you got! :+1:

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I won races in cat 3 and 4 this year at 85kg and 340 FTP (at 4,200 feet). Right around or under 4 watt/kg up in Reno.

I’ve won by sprinting or 1 minute power. But of course FTP gets me to be in position for the last lap/sprint.

Beginning of the year I was doing like 1000ish watt seated sprints and getting top 3ish in cat 4.

Worked that up to 1200ish for 5 seconds. I won some cat three sprints in breakaways with less watts than that though (everyone was tired).

For 1 minute power it’s around 550-620 depending on how tired I am at the end.

If you look at our YouTube channel you can see all of my TR race files and PRs for all the races I won to get a better idea.

I just got my cat 2 upgrade email :muscle:. I REALLY want to get cat 1 and here’s what I think I need to do:

FTP 360 in Reno (about 380 at sea level)
5 second sprint of 1,500
Hold TT power in position of 350 for 40 minutes

Cool thread! I’m interested in what everyone else has to say

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Take FWIW as this was my Cat 5 season…

Win and multiple crit podiums Cat 5, and a pack finish in a 50-mi masters open race with Cat 2s/3s.

All around 3.8-3.9 W/kg, roughly 270W FTP off of SSB and General Build MV.

In my podiums/wins, all had short/punchy hills where I was able to attack as one of the smaller riders (70kg) putting out between 800W (20s attack) and 1300+W (5s attack), create a gap and hold on for the final minute or so. In a couple of instances, including the road race with the 2s/3s, I went too soon and too hard to sustain the gap. I would’ve been better off with a moderate attack (600-800W) followed by sustaining threshold for as long as I could, but instead I threw down 1300+ and petered out after a minute… I’m sure it looked impressive… :laughing: Live and learn.

But, racing against 2s/3s as a 5, I was better than fine hanging in and competing with gas in the tank at the end at ~3.9W/kg.

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Won a few Cat 2 MTB races last season.

269W FTP
70kg
3.84 w/kg
Was coming off a strong block of sweet spot to get to that output so my sustainable power really helped me here.

I had been about 3.65 w/kg earlier in the season and found myself off the podium.

The block of sweet spot before my wins I was about 6.5 hours a week and 430ish TSS while earlier in the season I was maybe 4.5 hours per week and low to mid 300s TSS.

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What if it’s been so long since I won anything that I don’t remember?

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Cat 1 XC MTB Races
150-155 lbs
290-310 FTP
4.0-4.5 W/kg
Sea Level

I have many wins this year in cat 1 mtb races ranging from 1hour30 to 2hour15mins. Raced Cat 1 35-39 xc nationals - 16th overall - altitude of 9.2k

I haven’t done any road racing this year so no numbers there to talk through.

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I won a couple of training races last year in cat 5, couple of podiums, won a cat 4 race this year and had a couple of podiums in training races and a track omninum. The

Both years my FTP was between 330-340 and I’m right at about 200 lbs, so my FTP IS roughly 3.6 or so. In the race I won this year, the finish is up a small grade, I waited until a little bit last the bottom of the hill and attacked with 30 second power. In a longer, hillier race this year, I just stayed with the pack, suffered through the splits, and managed to stay with the lead group until the end.

I looked back at my calendar and realized I carried a 6 wk average of more than 500 TSS through February and about 450 wk 6wk average through May. My power to weight isn’t killer, but I’ve been able to do pretty well, since there aren’t a lot of sustained climbs around me.

My belief is you can do well, especially at lower levels of you have good aerobic fitness and the ability to repeat efforts, even if the watts/kg aren’t all that impressive.

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Here is a question for all of you winners. Did you expect to win or did it surprise you?

@Nate Massive congrats on your upgrade :ok_hand::facepunch:

Can I ask a question on two fronts.

What’s the difference between Cat 3/4 to Masters 1/2 in terms of power profile?

And is your FTP based on an hour of 20 or 30 minutes?

Because its in on my to do list to come to US and race the Crit Series, Americas Tour of Dairyland or Intelligentsia Cup in 2020 in Masters 1/2

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The podium and I surprised each other!

Considering I registered for the ‘Citizen’ category — I didn’t really want to race per se, but did want to see what I could do in an “official” event — the result was…propelling.

@Chad has said a few times throughout the podcast’s history that racers should spend some time trying to win at the various levels rather than compiling points to get to Cat 2 as fast as possible. I think that’s true, because winning is winning, and until you know how to do it and are confident that you can do it, it’s going to come a lot harder.

I came from a triathlon background into this year just racing bikes. I’ve had some experience with podiums and wins in tris and running events, so I had confidence I could figure this bike racing thing out.

Going into my first crit, I just wanted to keep the wheels down and was aiming for a pack finish. At the bell, I was presented with a golden opportunity to attack on a slight incline where the field slowed. Knowing what I know now, I probably could’ve won the race with that attack… but I didn’t attack. I didn’t have confidence that I should win that race.

My next Cat 5 only crit, I learned that lesson, and l I put in the attack, broke from the field and finished second (I’d let someone breakaway before that as I just didn’t feel well). Same field, same race a week later, I felt much better and was able to cover any attacks, throw in the same attack on the last lap, gap the field and win going away. A couple of weeks later, same race, three of us broke away early, the other two guys were able to cover my attacks, and we had a fun 3-man sprint in which I finished second.

TL;DR - I think if you don’t expect to win, you might not be ready to seize the opportunity when it presents itself.

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So far Cat 3 and 35+ 1/2/3 seems pretty equal. Cat 3 seems to have more punch and masters seems to have higher FTPs where breaks stick more often.

My FTP is based on Intervals I can do in TR workouts. Now that it’s off season it’s gone down a bunch :frowning:.

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In my region I would describe the difference as follows

  • P/1/2 - hardest field, lots of people who can win but each in their own way
  • 35+ - second hardest field to win but fairly large discrepancy between the people who are at the pointy end and the rest of the field (in a 50 person field maybe only 15-20 are racing to win). Said differently - there are plenty of guys who can sit in these fields but will get tailed off when things get very hard
  • 3 - more balanced field with a few guys who are quickly moving through the category, but most of the field is fairly competitive with each other
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Cat 2 / Sport, XCO Races
290-295 FTP
3.8-3.85 w/kg
42 yrs old

First 4 races were wins (:1st_place_medal:) and my 5 race was 2nd place. I won our local CPS (Championship Point Series), which takes your top 5 races. I didn’t expect to win the first couple races, but then started believing and expecting to win. Aside from fitness, my bike handling and mental training were big contributors to my success. I have since moved up to Cat 1 / Expert.

I felt the best racing through training during SSB 2 and the worst while racing during the second half of GB. Training started in October 2018 all mid volume: Traditional Base 1, 2, 3, General Build, SSB 1 and 2, General Build. I’m in XCM Specialty now peaking for my A event, a MTB 100.

@MI-XC, what does your mental training consist of?

My mental training has been a long journey of understating, practicing and maturing. I equate it to raising your FTP, it doesn’t happen in the short term and it needs regular attention or it tends to slip. For me it started by reading books: Endure, How Bad Do you Want it, The Brave Athlete, and Let Your Mind Run. Listening to podcasts from The Sonya Looney Show, Faster-Podcast and TR ACCP related to mental training, mindfulness and meditation. Lastly, and most importantly, consistent and daily meditation/mindfulness training. I do this through the Headspace app for 15 minutes a day. Other apps similar to this that are also highly rated are Waking Up and Ten Percent Happier.

If I had to put a number on the benefit that all my reading, listening and meditation gave me, I’d put it at about 15% +/-. How much effort would you be willing to put in to do something that makes you 15% better/faster.

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