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XC Power Profiles

YellaBellyYellaBelly Posts: 130
edited November 2016 in Health, fitness & training
Does anyone know what a good power profile should look like for an XC racer? I've invested in a power meter for training this winter and just completed my power profile as detailed in the Coggan/Allen book. The profiles they give are designed more for road racers and track racers.

My wattage ranked notably lower for my 5 second and 1 minute power compared to my 5 minute + FTP readings. Is this normal for XC? I appreciate given the time of year I've likely lost more top end than bottom end since racing finished in early August, but it still seems a big gap. Are those short sprint durations critical in XC, and will working on them give noticeable gains to race performance?

Thanks for any info and advice which will be gratefully received!


  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    I don't do XC, but from having watched even only a few races I would say "short sprint durations critical in XC" are the lifeblood of the sport. If you cannot do short hard efforts over and over then you will find it very hard to ever be real good on the sorts of courses I've seen.

    Of course having a big engine will help too, I know an elite MTB rider, he's a decent time trialist too, so not that you can't have decent engine AND ability in XC but I should imagine his repeatable short duration ability is very good.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing -
  • Thanks for the reply, and I agree with you there OKGO. The key is repeatable efforts. It's hard trying to gauge if increasing the overall wattage is important, as the sample figures are skewed towards track cyclists and road sprinters. Powering over technical terrain doesn't necessarily require enormous total output as much as it requires repeatability and fatigue resistance. Ultimately improving those areas can only help, but trying to understand if or how much of a weak spot those areas are for me is what I'm finding hard! At the moment I feel improving my 1 minute effort would be beneficial, but I'm not so worried by my 5 second output, despite both ranking the same on a power profile. It'd just be nice to see the "shape" of other xc racers profiles as a marker.
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    Are you winning races?

    If so, probably not much of a weak sport, if you are not, then why not? And if you're getting dropped badly, when does that happen?

    I would imagine it would be fairly flat as a profile, in that they're unlikely to be knocking out 1500w peak, but probably have decent short term stuff, and a decent overall engine, the guy I know has an FTP around 380W.

    While it may not feel like the longer term numbers mean as much in the context of a race, the bigger the capacity, the less those efforts tax you. Obviously that's fairly top line, but I've managed to brute my way around some pretty horrible sprinty crits where my cornering has meant I've been using much more energy than others to stay with, but just by being able to sprint again and again as I can recover quick enough I've been there at the end to sprint still.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing -
  • I could give you the answer but data is the precious metal of coaching hence why even Joe Friel Andy Coggan don't share everything!

    I use TrainingPeaks to keep track of that info with the riders on power meters that I coach.

    Feel free to send a power file from a race you've done with a few details I.e. Age, category, track to me and I'll see if I can provide a bit of feedback for you.
    [email protected]
    For professional MTB & BMX coaching, training & guiding!
  • Thanks Hendo, that's very kind of you and much appreciated. I'll pop an email over to you this evening.
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