KOM Hunting with Pros, CX Pacing, Power and Heart Rate Zones and More – Ask a Cycling a Coach 186



Jonathan goes KOM hunting with one of the best mountain bikers in the USA, why your pacing plan for CX is wrong, why your power and heart rate zones don’t match and much more in Episode 186 of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast. Join us live tomorrow morning at 8:00am Pacific!

Youtube Live Video:

Topics covered in this episode:

Subscribe to the Podcast

Listen to previous episodes on SoundCloud

Live Notes

Nate’s post about getting sick

Coach Jon’s post on how he’s addressing knee injuries

Training camp with professional athlete, Keegan Swenson


Carson City Loop ITT Strava segment

Analysis of the day Nate got his KOM snatched

TrainerRoad Calendar and list of upcoming features

UCI Elite Men CX race

How to prioritize your race plan

5 questions to plan your perfect season

TrainerRoad Kits!

Pre-race warmups

Why you don’t need to train for X minutes to be able to ride for X minutes

How to learn more about TrainerRoad



Fully expecting to watch @Jonathan gloating about taking @Nate’s KOM for the duration of the podcast. :smiley: :laughing:



I’m canceling the podcast… :triumph:


Please add any training workouts mentioned during the podcast to the show notes! :slight_smile:


You should…then I will motorpace you around in the spring to get your KOM’s back.


Quedtion / Reminder - I may have missed it but @Jonathan was going to post a link to his hip exercises a couple of Podcasts ago, no?


Posted it here. It’s darn near a bible at this point! How to fix knee injuries for cyclists


Thanks and sorry for not checking properly


No prob! This isn’t one of those forums where people yell at others to use the search function, hehe. We’re here to help! :slight_smile:


Where’s @Chad?!


Nate’s advice re: race nutrition to do a one-off blast of race nutrition & then dial it back in a binary fashion is terrible advice.

Our gut can upregulate SGLT-1 (dextrose/glucose transport) & GLUT-5 (fructose transport) in response to higher concentrations of those nutrients in the gut. In other words, you can train the gut. It’s a better idea to ‘practice’ nutrition and scale up grams/hour as a training protocol. Not only will you ultimately be able to tolerate more calories/hour comfortably on race day but your nutrition protocol will be more practiced.

Don’t just go out an blaster your gut with a high concentration of glucose/fructose. You probably will convince yourself you can NOT tolerate a certain level of carbs…but you probably CAN if you train the gut properly.

Good new is that SGLT-1/GLUT-5 training is kinda like heat adaptation: it happens fairly quickly. A few weeks will certainly do the trick.


Obviously, I disagree.

In my mind, let’s find that upper limit (train to fail) as soon as possible, then we can start training to raise it. This will be the most efficient way to go about it.

An analogy would be trying to find your FTP. Let’s train to failure, then raise it. The opposite way would be to progressively add load so that you never get uncomfortable, and potentially never find your limits.

It’s not like you have to throw up either, you just feel like you shouldn’t eat any more and you feel uncomfortable. Boom, limit found. Back it off and see how it goes.


@Nate Butt Giome. Actual LOL on a packed train commute this morning! :joy:


I just stuck that Strava segment for Geiger - Carson City Loop into Best Best Split and used the target time option. Really shows how tough a segment that is and kudos to @Nate for setting that time solo. I’d have to work at my ftp for over 2 hours to match that time and I’m currently at 4w/kg so Nate must have been flying last Feb!
I’m from the UK but heading over to the US next October and was thinking I might give it a bash - perhaps Nate could tag along and I could help regain his crown but I don;t think I’d be much help!


But the YouTube video abruptly ends. Coincidence? :thinking:

No pic no proof! :wink:


I like your FTP metaphor. Let’s take it to a rational conclusion.
So let’s say that you and Jonathan decide to go mono a mono to see who can (re)claim the Geiger KOM. Through some miraculous coincidence of luck, weather, time and fate you are able to win the KOM…but it’s close & unlike Jonathan’s magnaminity when he claimed the KOM you turn to taunt him. In a fit of rage and anger Jonathan hurls his bidon at you, causing you to crash. Your bike collects Jonathan & you’re both injured. Flash forward 9 weeks & good news! You both make a full recovery & can get back on the bike.

So what’s the best way to set your power pace for that 24 hour mountain bike race (which Jonathan now has to ride in your service or you will fire his butt for that super dangerous bidon chuck)?

Well, how about this: seems like a pretty common FTP on TR is about 3 W/kg. So just set up a workout at 3.5W/kg (I think we all know that you and Jonathon are a little better than just ‘common’, correct?) and spin it for about an hour. If that’s too hard, try 2 W/kg. If you can do that, try 2.5 W/kg. Etc. Once you find a power mark you can maintain for an hour, that’s the power you want to target to pace your 24 hour MTB race.

Make sense?

No, of course not. Number one, you’re both detrained. You don’t know what your competition power mark will be until you have some idea what your trained condition will be. Number two, Jonthan’s off-the-couch FTP is likely to exceed yours due to individual variability. He’ll probably think that 3.5 W/kg mark off-the-couch is completely reasonable.

So, to, I would submit, is your ability to absorb carbohydrate likely to exceed the average person’s, which is why gunning for 90g/hr seems like it’s an ok idea for you. You can do it, so no prob. (if you don’t think you have an above-average ability to digest carbs, ask your friends) But many people, while they can achieve 90g/hr after training their gut for a couple of weeks, would find 90g/hr very uncomfortable without building up to it. Especially during an endurance bike race. It can be really miserable! Worse, those same people will then be really dis-incentivized to properly train their gut EVER.


@Brennus seems to me like you both end up in about the same place, no? (I also think you both have make excellent discussions/rebuttals. I think both of your plans are nice options for people to try and see which method they prefer. I’d compare it to getting in a pool. One can just jump in and get it over with or dip their toes in, then calf, etc. Always nice to have options when testing things!


I had a question about HR. You all touched on Lionel Sanders max HR being a bit lower than typical-on the podcast- (~170 bpm) when the old crummy standard is 220-age (which would put his around 190). @chad mentioned that his is similarly somewhat lower than expected. I find myself in the same boat with a lower max HR than expected. My question-is there anything to be changed in training when one finds themselves in the boat of a lower max HR? I find VO2 max intervals quite challenging. My 5 min max power is only ~110% of my FTP but I’m pretty strong at threshold intervals. Just wondering if other people find themselves in a similar boat, if there’s anything to do about it or how it’s impacted training/racing.


@darunner1621, that formula is indeed, as you put it, “crummy” since it was only useful in telling us where the HR of most of a particular population fell in the 1970’s (it included smokers and patients on heart disease too, btw). Hirofumi Tanaka at U of Texas’ Cardiovascular Aging Research Laboratory recommends 208 - .7(age) putting me at 175bpm maxHR since my 47th birthday is just around the corner.

This is really close to what I suspect my actual max HR is just now, but even this better formula is general in nature and wouldn’t have worked for me when I was 30 and putting out 350w right around 160bpm for an hour (formula has me at 187 which is something I couldn’t touch if a whole pride of lions were chasing me).

And as far as your 5min power relative to your FTP, this is almost as subjective as HR itself. Plenty of cyclists find 110% FTP enormously challenging for consecutive minutes while others can sustain something closer to 120% or even higher. How closely you can elevate your FTP to your VO2max is often used as a training prescriptor (That a word!? Is now) in that athletes who can operate at 90-ish percent of VO2max power (though that term is another can of worms I’ll open later) are topped out in terms of fitness or need to raise their VO2max in order to see any further improvement in FTP.

This sort of thing can be useful but has to be considered right along with the type of events in which you participate (or those you’d like to excel in). Steady-state athletes ideally have a high level of stamina and can work at high percentages of VO2max for long durations while more stochastic-event riders might benefit from having a greater FTP-VO2max separation along with the ability to ride at highly powerful outputs for highly varied lengths of time with much less emphasis on steady work.

So this power disparity could be a limiter or it could just be an indication of the type of rider your are or the type of training in which you typically engage - probably shapeable in any case. HR itself is really just more information to work with and not necessarily a sign of a rider’s physiologic shortcomings.