The good the bad and the ugly of where I currently am and, to be completely frank, the season is heavy on the ugly with scattered rays of good.
I’m going to start with the ugly, because it has been a serious area of frustration for me and that is my DNF rate at races this season. Of nine races, I’ve had mechanical issues in four of them. In all but one of them, it has been an issue with my tubeless tires. I am, at this point, blaming it specifically on my Specialized Tracer tires as I didn’t have this problem last year on Schwalbe tires. In fact, last season I only DNF’d three races and all three were related to crashes.
For better or worse, I bought a set of Specialized mud tires, the Terra Pro, that I am going to mount. At the very least, they will get me away from the Tracer’s, but it remains to be seen if this will fix my issue. My hope is that the Terra’s are a crappy tire and that the burping issue isn’t something that all Specialized tires have.
Overall, the title of “bad” might be a bit of an overstatement. This area is probably better suited to stay “needs improvement”. With that in mind, the biggest issues I have here are:
- TTE is too low for my given events (~33 minutes for a 40 minute race)\
- Most noticeable at Schoolyard CX where I felt a noticeable drop in power on lap 4 and rebounded on lap 5
- I don’t have the horsepower to jam up short/steep climbs
- I ride them at a high power, but it’s well within the bounds of FTP/V02 instead of in the high FRC range
Regarding TTE, I’m already on the right track, but this is one of those metrics that will be hard to move in season. I’m doing extensive SST work, up to 45min intervals, which should slowly bring TTE in line with my goals. For my second limiter, raw horsepower, I am going to replace FTP/FRC intervals with Tabata style intervals as they are scientifically show to increase power at and above V02, plus they are extremely cross specific. This was recommended to me by Frank Overton of FasCat Coaching.
Believe it or not, there are good things too! Mentally, I’m doing a great job of keeping up intensity when the race gets hard, although I still find myself braking too much when I get really fatigued. In fact, I had the highest normalized power of the season at Schoolyard CX by over 20 watts. I’m finding that concentrating on forced exhales when I am red lining to be really effective. Additionally, even though skills are still not top notch, they are way better than last season and I can see these as being a strength in the next season!
That’s all for today, I think I’ve unpacked enough of my training baggage for now. It’s time to put the plans into action and see if I can make a strong course correction for the second half of the season.