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Having something for the sprint

jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
It is probably a lost cause as I am over 60, but I do end up in a decent position to contest the final sprint but nothing there. The fibres are just wasted after the x number of road race miles having taken their toll.. find it very hard to accelerate.. basically no zip.
Ok , todays race didnt help with a 12% prologue to the finishing straight which isnt the normal case but lost quite a number of places due to the legs feeling empty and almost anaesthetised in trying to get them going.
I was doing 25+ mph as it was still going up but it is all to nought if I cannot dig in another 3mph as what I needed to today to hold position.
This is something I reckon almost impossible to replicate in training but does anyone have any training tips for overcoming that barrier to that acceleration required in the final few metres?

Posts

  • crikeycrikey Posts: 362
    It's a huge cliché, but it's all about MTFU I'm afraid.

    You can do sprint training after big rides, but that again requires that you get your head around hurting yourself when you are already wasted. Everyone else feels just as bad as you do so the difference is all mental.
  • Maximise the power you can produce, minimise the power you must produce.

    Neuromuscular power responds best to freshness.

    Training to improve your sustainable power so that you are fresher for the pointy end is key to having something left, or better still substantially improve your odds by reducing the number left at the end. But also think carefully about the demand side of the equation.

    Think about all the things that you can do to reduce the energy required to arrive at the finale. That's a combination of craft, skill, race nouse, team support and applied physics to reduce the resistance forces. Too many waste a lot of energy in the manner of how they race. It can happen when you are feeling pretty fit and you want to "make the race" or not miss the winning move and end up chasing everything and it ends up as a bunch sprint and you've cooked yourself.

    Think about when and where you sit in. If you are using brakes that suggests possible opportunities to have done less work beforehand. Work on cornering skills - can save a lot of energy there, as well as make others suffer more. Position, clothing, equipment - can improve aerodynamics and lower rolling resistance. Look at your power meter files - in a race you are looking to see how well you conserve energy, and avoid having to make lots of hard efforts/surges.

    Follow a successful rider in a race, see how they manage themselves and learn. The opportunities to train for it are endless, but it's not all about the intervals you do. Racing is training as well, training the brain in race craft.
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    It is the same course next week but the race is split more evenly over the age categories.
    Because of the course profile it is as attritional and power sucking before someone does make a selection attack as happened. I do quite well in the face of me being a big lad and the fact that behind me there were some good riders.
    On review I should be quite pleased as it is one of those races where plenty will climb off the bike.
    However, as I am majorly targetting a crit in May, this is where my thoughts about the sprint are lying.
    To square the circle about neuromuscular power and freshness....?
  • MagliaMaglia Posts: 24
    Maximise the power you can produce, minimise the power you must produce.

    Think about all the things that you can do to reduce the energy required to arrive at the finale. That's a combination of craft, skill, race nouse, team support and applied physics to reduce the resistance forces. Too many waste a lot of energy in the manner of how they race. It can happen when you are feeling pretty fit and you want to "make the race" or not miss the winning move and end up chasing everything and it ends up as a bunch sprint and you've cooked yourself.

    This is getting pinned on the fridge, thanks Alex.
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    I always had similar problems and despite training to improve matters I couldn't sprint any quicker after 30 miles sitting in a large group on a flat crit than I could over after being away in a break after a 90 miles of lumpy road race. I had to rely on others coming down to my level in the longer/harder races.

    Whilst with the appropriate training/practice almost everybody can get better at almost everything some people are naturals at stuff and others are naturally poor. Those that are poor have a lower skill starting point, will progress slower and reach their ceiling at a lower point.
    I've seen good riders who are still feeling strong get to the line in a small group and be blitzed in a sprint and others who have been yo-yoing off the back on climbs and looking like death with a few km to go win sprints.
    There's a quote from a DS about his rider "if he got to the line in a group on 9 he would finish 10th".
  • giropaulgiropaul Posts: 414
    JGSI - I was judging last Sunday - it was more of a war of attrition than a sprint (easiest judging I've ever done - mostly 2's and 3's coming in.)
    In other words, I'd say that it wasn't a typical sprinters finish at all (Phil Thomas would probably have won it if it was :-) ).
    It's also harder that there seems to be a trend to over 50's races, with little for over 60's (like you and me). All the research I have seen shows that peak power drops with age, typically 3 watts/yr from say mid 30's to 40's depending on the individual.
    There's also the individual fast/slow twitch muscle makeup.
    However, we are stuck with these things so my view would be to:
    - try to increase peak power - Wattbikes are great for this if you have access to one. Intervals like we did at the place I go to last night - 40 seconds level 2, then 20 seconds level 5 and keep repeating, then 20 seconds 2, 20 seconds 5 for some more reps. I find it's difficult to do this level of power on the road consistently and safely. (doesn't mean I'll ever outsprint you, but I might be closer than I would be without the Wattbike work)
    - practice sprinting -it's a skill as well as a power thing. I saw quite a few going from the wrong side given the wind on Sunday for instance.
    - get to the line with as little energy expenditure as you can - there are people in the TLI races who can show you how to do this :-)

    PS - it also helps if the judges can see the rider's number - several had theirs under a gilet!!
  • Was this the tli swynnerton race by any chance?
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,027
    It was ... and so be it for the coming Sunday.
    Have been using the ueber zone Sufferfests of late... just for that peak power thing .. but age is agin, sadly... but I almost enjoy thrashing the intervals until number 33...
    It was my point that this circuit is fully attritional but I finished in one of the larger groups behind and it is that 14%er for a yard or 2 that you have to go for that before it sort of levels out for the finish just does the flippin damage as regards a good finish for me.
    Saighton circuit suits me better but as the race is split D/E/F... this Sunday, well live in hope... oh I was number 80... on view ;-)
  • ozzzyosborn206ozzzyosborn206 Posts: 1,340
    being rubbish at sprinting i have found myself in a similar position many times, I figure you can either try to (in my case) polish a censored by doing sprint training but am unlikely to see big gains, or train threshold and climbing ability so when I get to the finish I have more in the tank to sprint at the end or can arrive at the finish without such a big group
  • jgsi wrote:
    It was ... and so be it for the coming Sunday.
    Have been using the ueber zone Sufferfests of late... just for that peak power thing .. but age is agin, sadly... but I almost enjoy thrashing the intervals until number 33...
    It was my point that this circuit is fully attritional but I finished in one of the larger groups behind and it is that 14%er for a yard or 2 that you have to go for that before it sort of levels out for the finish just does the flippin damage as regards a good finish for me.
    Saighton circuit suits me better but as the race is split D/E/F... this Sunday, well live in hope... oh I was number 80... on view ;-)

    It's certainly not any easy finish. Wasn't there last week but I'll be there in the under 40s trying to cling on to the racing snakes. I'm no cycling God however I think you got to split this problem into two time segments. Short term you are not going to change you fitness significantly therefore you have got to try and race as smart as you can to leave as much in the tank for the end. longer term I think you have got to try and increase the capability of your engine so you spend more time at lower heart rate zones as well as developing power output for the final kick. Good luck sunday, I'll be in the stafford colours
    Dave
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