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Bad Days And Performance

mac220mac220 Posts: 53
Hi Everyone,

I was hoping someone on the forum might be able to give me some insight into some experiences I've had of bad days when doing cycling events. I've recently got back on the bike and have been doing some base training on my turbo trainer mainly sweet spot intervals sessions, a few V02 Max intervals along with longer rides on the road with 10s sprints. I've been improving steadily and signed up for a sportive event which is on my local training area. A couple of weeks before the event I went out on a similar router with some friends and felt great, was doing well on the hills.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to the day of the event. I started of fairly conservatively as I didn't want to blow and felt this would give me the best chance to ride hard towards the end. I got to the first hill and felt terrible, it wasn't that my legs were burning from pain, they just didn't seem to have any power, I struggled up the hills unable to ride at an intensity where there was any pain, when I tried to up the intensity nothing really seemed to happen.

I've had similar experiences on a couple of other races/sportives in the past and wondered whether if you start very conservatively and don't get yourself working early on you can put yourself in a state where aren't able to ride at full tilt. I know pro riders warm up for quite some time at fairly high intensities, is one of the reasons for doing this to help stop what I've experienced.

Of course, I know it may just be bad luck in that sometimes you just have a bad day and that's how it goes. Any thoughts would be very welcome.

Many Thanks for reading.



  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    What did you do in the fastforward weeks?
  • mac220mac220 Posts: 53
    Thanks for reading my opening post and taking the time to reply.

    It was two weeks this time between the previous ride when i was riding well and the event, so I wouldn't have thought that would be long enough for my fitness to change a great deal in that time. Training was pretty similar to previous weeks, mainly turbo trainer sessions but nothing particularly high intensity or killer sessions. For this event i didn't taper as I'm relatively unfit and I didn't think my training load was high enough to warrant it and it was only a fun event anyway. I certainly had what I would have thought would have been fresh legs. . On previous events where I've had a similar experience I have had a proper training plans which included a taper for the event.

    Its certainly not every time I do an event, but there seems to be a correlation between when I'm maybe a little too cautious or not confident in how I'm going to do so I ride conservatively at the start, to make sure I pace myself within my capabilities.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,473
    I don't think tapering is really about just fitness. Sure you want to align your peak to the event, but you also want to fully recover before.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    There is the issue of recovery - which is one thing I was thinking about, the other was the possibility you had done nothing inbetween - which could've had similar results, but you've said you didn't do that.

    You said you ride conservatively at the start - how conservative is that? When I ride out for club rides I average towards the top end of my usual solo riding pace - I'm warm by the time I get to the start (about 10 miles) and I'm ready for the hills we then hit - sometimes pretty early on. I would think that had I ridden out at a lower pace I'd still be cold and it'd take time to warm up before hitting the hills - perhaps that's part of your problem - too slow a pace to start with and hills are coming early on?
  • Eating enough for breakfast?
    Not used to riding early in the morning [i.e all your training is after work]?
    Mental pressure of doing an organised event?
    VO2 Max - 79 ml/kg/min
    W/kg - 4.9
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,038
    I dont think you have a good enough base that you think you have.
    Work on base starts in the October and can go thru into the New Year - consistent, consistent riding.
    Then you start fooling around with intensities ready for your competition or whatever season you have.
    I'm a bit old fashioned I suppose.
    Times have gone even at amateur level where you are allowed the grace of a number of races to ride into your fitness... it's bang right from the off and it hurts.
  • +1 what was said above re tapering.

    You won't loose fitness over a week or so that's particularly noticeable .. you can however, easily wear yourself out in the same amount of time so that come the day your body is tired.

    For tactics on the day, you say that on a similar ride with mates that you were fine .. so why not do exactly the same on the big day? TBH training rides are about learning pacing, feed strategies and comfort just as much as fitness .. so try to learn what works for you on those training rides and change nothing on the day.

    The usual outcome is that it all works as planned and then the hype of the day actually helps you perform better.
    Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

    strava profile
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