Zwift – Why you shouldn’t take it too seriously.June 23rd, 2020 by paulhart
I decided to attack the KOM on the Watopia Hilly Route on Monday as part of my anaerobic interval training. It’s a tough little climb but its a good length and gradient. I thought it would suit me so I attacked it.
I got the KOM jersey and rode around Watopia proudly showing off my polka dot jersey. I did 1min43, which took 516watts / 523NP.
Whilst I appreciate these numbers aren’t the best in the world, they are pretty good. I’m quite pleased with them. I’ve achieved higher on the road but this is on a turbo, and I find hitting high power on a turbo hard because you cant throw the bike around freely.
Anyway, logged onto Strava and guess what… that effort has me 33 seconds off the Strava KOM and placed 4545th ! It appears lots of people can ride a 6% climb at 28.6mph. Impressive.?
I think Zwift is brilliant, but it’s important to keep perspective and remember it’s just a bit of fun and great training, nothing more.
Don’t let Zwift decide whether you are a good cyclist or not, because if I did I would be giving up now!
Losing WEIGHT to ride faster?June 23rd, 2020 by paulhart
Did you know… at 230watts with a standard position and fairly decent bike you will ride a 10mile TT on the E2 in:
If losing weight makes you healthier, happier and more confident then you can multiply this 15sec time saving x 6 because your motivation will be sky high leading to far greater training, improved sleep etc.
BUT… If losing this weight makes you stressed, weaker, causes your training to suffer because you have no energy, reduces your sleep quality (because you can’t sleep when you’re hungry), causes depression…. then guess what, YOU WILL GO SLOWER!!!!! In fact, it will probably cause you to miss races all together and probably lose the enjoyment the sport used to give you.
At some point your power will reduce as your weight reduces too, so those 15 secs will dilute based on the reduced power. If you want to improve at cyclocross, road racing, hilly sportives, racing your mates up hills, then weight will have a far greater bearing on the outcome, but if you dream of a time trial PB, you will be very pleased to know that weight isn’t the deciding factor.
Get yourself to a healthy weight, and be happy with that.
“The training you do must be horrific !!”.June 23rd, 2020 by paulhart
This is one of the many things that has been said to me recently. Many think I must have completely removed the fun from my cycling and now just hammer the turbo trainer until my heart rate reaches maximum… every day!
Here is something that might surprise you. You can train hard, you can follow a structured progressive training plan, you can improve, AND you can enjoy it! It doesn’t have to be miserable!!!
It’s crucial to me, and fundamental to my coaching approach that everyone enjoys the process and the mind remains fresh. Sure we do hard sessions, but we look after the mind as much as we look after the body. After all, you simply cannot be fast year after year if you do not enjoy the process. It has to be sustainable.
I’m a big fan of smart trainers and Zwift etc, but make sure you ride your bike outside when you can. You cannot beat country lanes and fresh air. Isn’t that why we starting riding bikes?
Make sure you have an easy day and a rest day. Sometimes a few. Also ride your bike with your mates and put your garmin in your back pocket. Its magic.
If the mind ever starts to feel drained, RECHARGE IT.
It will make you happier and FASTER.
Wout Van Aert – Phenomenon?June 23rd, 2020 by paulhart
So… Van Aert has won the biggest cross races in the world. He also beats the best in time trials, and now out sprints the best on the world’s biggest stage. This shouldn’t be possible.. should it?
Cross races and time trials are polar opposites aren’t they? The power delivery of a time trial should be a perfectly consistent horizontal line. The power delivery of a cross race is the opposite, the graph looks like the teeth of a saw, just like a crit. BUT if you remove the first 5 minutes, the heart rate of a cross race is identical to a time trial.
To be a great cross racer a fundamental component is HEART RATE TRACE. It takes a significant amount of training. Just ask a time triallist how much time they spend training to hold a high heart rate for long duration’s. The answer should be lots! Cross racers are the same, they need to hold this high heart rate for an hour. It requires huge aerobic endurance. Remove the madness of the first 5 minutes of a cross race, it’s basically a 55min time trial. Everyone rides at the highest intensity they can sustain until the finish. Van Aert would have spent lots and lots of time doing 20-30min Zone 4 efforts. It’s about holding a high heart rate and not letting it drop.
Cross racers also need big 30sec and 1min power. After all there are parts on the course where you wont be able to ride unless you have this. This is why Van Aert won yesterday’s sprint. The stage 10 finish was on an incline which meant the sprint was more about power than aerodynamics. Viviani’s aerodynamics are considerably more refined, hence why Viviani cannot ride his bike in the drops other than when he is spiriting, but Van Aert has a superior 30sec power, that’s why he deliberately started his sprint early and he won. It was a competition in power delivery.
Tom Pidcock also excels in many cycling disciplines. The current world U23 cross and junior Paris Roubaix champion has previously won a Time Trial world title and a National crit title. Obviously both riders are unbelievably talented, but their cross training has them perfectly prepared for crits, punchy sprints and the time trial.
So to summarise. If you have been time trialling all year try cross this winter, you are better equipped than you realise. Also beware the cross racer! They will probably outsprint you, and possibly beat you in your next time trial!
First eastern region cyclocross event is the Amis Velo @ Hilly Fields, Colchester on 8th September.