Potluck Discussion: The Road and Mountain Biking World-Championships Edition

We discuss van der Poel’s crashes, if one-hour normalized power is always a good estimate of FTP, and criticisms of the Worlds course in Scotland.

Potluck Discussion FT EP 283 with Trevor, Rob, and Grant

Welcome to another potluck conversation with regulars Grant Holicky, Rob Pickels, and Trevor Connor. The World Championships of road and mountain biking just happened in Scotland and for this potluck, our hosts took on a couple questions from social media about the event.  

What Is Up with Mathieu van der Poel’s Crashes? 

This year van der Poel raced both the road race and the mountain bike race and crashed in both. In the road race, he still managed to win. In mountain bike worlds, he crashed in the first lap and pulled out of the race. This prompted Coach Pickels to discuss whether it is feasible for even the best riders to switch so quickly from one discipline to the other at the highest level of the sport.  

Is One-Hour Normalized Power Always a Good Estimate of Threshold Power? 

Coach Neal Henderson designed a test called the 4DP that takes about an hour to complete. He has shown that the one-hour normalized power for that test generally matches up well with the rider’s threshold power. However, this concept has been expanded and many coaches and riders have used one-hour normalized power on almost any hard work out as an estimate. Coach Connor asks whether that’s a good idea or not.  

What Makes for a Good World Championship’s Road Course? 

Every year after the world championships, a number of fans get on social media and complain about the route. This year in Scotland was no exception. If the course was too hilly, then it wasn’t fair to the sprinters. But, if the course was too flat, then it wasn’t fair to the climbers. The question posed by Coach Holicky is whether it is realistic to create a course that works for everyone, and more importantly, can the best riders make any course work for them?  

Get ready for another potluck and let’s make you fast!   

Episode Transcript

Trevor Connor  00:04

This is a potluck episode. Hello and welcome to Fast Talk, your source for the science of endurance sports training.

Rob Pickels  00:10

Sports performance. Oh my god, get it right.

Trevor Connor  00:14

I just want to point out, Rob is not an afternoon person. We always record in the morning and we made Rob do a Friday afternoon.

Rob Pickels  00:22

Friday afternoon.

Trevor Connor  00:23

And I noticed as I was getting this set up, Rob was staring intensely at absolutely nothing.

Grant Holicky  00:29

Yeah, well, when we do our sound checks, Rob always talks about his coffee and his latte, and his soundcheck was, “I haven’t heard a lot in five hours.” But you know, if you’re that much of an addict, either succumb to the addiction and bust out a latte at one in the afternoon, or stop drinking the drug dude.

Rob Pickels  00:47

You know, it’s really funny. I talk about coffee a lot because I actually like coffee. Not that I’m addicted or it does anything. It doesn’t Grant, you roll your eyes. I was in North Carolina at the beach.

Grant Holicky  01:01

I was that way too that’s why.

Rob Pickels  01:02

For a week. Didn’t have a single thing of coffee the whole time.

Trevor Connor  01:06

It’s because you were lying on the beach. You just wanted to be Oh, cool.

Grant Holicky  01:09

I haven’t had coffee other than a race day in three years or something now. Yeah, I didn’t have any withdrawals.

Trevor Connor  01:16

I never had a cup of coffee in my life.

Rob Pickels  01:18

You drink tea like it’s water.

Trevor Connor  01:18

It is water, that’s the point.

Grant Holicky  01:22

You’re Canadian.

Trevor Connor  01:25

It’s something in it.

Rob Pickels  01:27

That’s what coffee is.

Trevor Connor  01:29

Which is. Let me give you my biggest gripe. You guys probably have coffee gripes. I hate when you go to like a Starbucks and you order a tea. It’s tea. Nobody was popular during the world. You’re gonna play this Oh, that’s British or Monarcas in their colonial Chinese people in China. But here’s my point. Starbucks. You order a tea. They ask you what size and they’re different prices. Even though every single time it’s a tea bag with water. You’re paying for extra water. It drives me nuts. that’ll serve

Rob Pickels  02:05

you right, go get a little one and deal with it. Okay. Hey, Ron, what’s your question? I don’t know. angry right now. Tis the season for knee pain as the summer sunshine inspires us to ramp up our writing mileage. Our knees don’t always keep up. If you got knee pain, we have the solution for you. Bastok labs members and follow our knee health pathway featuring our Director of Sports Medicine, Dr. Andy Pruitt. See the introduction to the knee health pathway app fast talk labs.com

Trevor Connor  02:42

We typically started here with Grant. We’re gonna start with Rob. So Rob, you want to get this going?

Rob Pickels  02:47

What’s the deal with Matthew Vanderpool?

Grant Holicky  02:49

What about it?

Rob Pickels  02:50

You believe this guy? He’s pretty good. He is. But he’s not all at the same time. How can like one of the greatest cyclists in the history of cycling not finish a lap of a mountain bike race fell down again. He fell down again. Did it in the Olympics did it in worlds. I want to know, using Vanderpool as an example. And grant I know your opinion. Today we see a lot of athletes who are engaged in multiple disciplines. Right. We’ve seen it with EF education. Alex is racing mountain bikes. He’s racing road bikes. Grant, you have riders that are racing road gravel mountain, it seems like it’s a common thing for people to do today more common than it used to be? How do people find success across multiple disciplines and not be a one trick pony and not try to do an event that they ought to be able to win or place in and fall on their face? Literally 30 seconds into the race?

Grant Holicky  03:56

Why is everybody looking at me? I? I have very, very strong opinions about this. And I don’t think we’re looking at it. I don’t think that necessarily what you think. I think that that broad spectrum of disciplines is essential to a well rounded cyclist growing up. I think it’s incredibly important that you watch athletes come from the track background or from the cyclocross background, and they just have something that other people don’t necessarily have. We could be cadence, it could be top end power, it could be a lot of things. It’s just really, really cool when you see it. But without a doubt. He does really, really hard to move from one discipline to another and nail it right on the fly. Vanderpool hadn’t touched his mountain bike all year, and he fell on his face and yesterday Pidcock has been racing his mountain bike intermittently, did it show in his spring campaign? Maybe he wasn’t on the top box a whole lot, but he’s on the top box at Worlds. So you know, it’s hard because we watch these guys Like Vanderpol and Van art, come to the table, and we’re like, they’re so amazing. They could do everything, but they can’t, unless they put a little bit of time into it. And they say it themselves. Vanderpol a couple of years ago when it came to the cross season out of road, everybody’s like, here we go, dude, he was terrible for him in the first two to three races. And then it clicked. Can he still win them? Yeah, cuz he’s ridiculously good. But he was falling down. He was doing this and doing that. I have my own opinions on worlds, and kind of what happened. But in the general conversation of like, Can you do it all? Yeah, but you got to focus on something. You still have to have a discipline that takes a level priority. Okay, we can move on air,

Rob Pickels  05:47

apparently. So

Trevor Connor  05:48

that was good. I’m going to throw something out. Look, I don’t have an answer. For this one. Rob sent this late last night, intentionally to make sure I couldn’t prepare for it. So I’m on the fly here

Rob Pickels  05:58

on the fly, Trevor. That’s the whole purpose of this question on the computer transition. Yeah. Why is your computer open?

Trevor Connor  06:04

Because I’m the one who sees the questions. Otherwise, nobody knows what the questions are.

Grant Holicky  06:08

That’s true. We do forget our own question you do. I’m calling you out.

Trevor Connor  06:14

But that’s all I’ve got open here. So look, as you know, pro teams, they keep the training plans pretty close to heart. So I’m guessing a little bit here. I have not seen bounder polls plan I don’t I haven’t seen his training plan. But the general trend that I’ve seen is in the old days, and I’m just talking about the racers who are winning the big names. Very different approach. If you’re a Domestique who’s just riding for very your teammates. domestiques are going to just kind of be at 5% all year round and do a whole ton of racing. But in the old days, if you were one of the big names, you might pick two, three targets all year and go further. So there wasn’t a lot of room to say, well, one target is gonna be mountain biking, one target is going to be the Tour de France and other targets going to be whatever, you really had just one discipline and you picked it. You’ve seen more and more this shift towards a Block Periodization approach where you have seven, eight peaks potentially through the season. And I do wonder if doing that has allowed some of these athletes to think well, you know, I used to be a cross rider I used to do mountain biking, I do road. I have all these points when I peek. So let’s do some mountain bike races. Let’s do some cross races. Let’s do some road races. I don’t have to pick as much. But I agree with you completely. There’s skills that you have to keep up and might cause you to crash in the first lap at Worlds.

Rob Pickels  07:27

I mean, how do you keep those skills up? Is it a dedicated block of time? I’m on my road bike for this month, and then I’m switching to my mountain bike exclusively? Or is it Tuesday is for mountain bike skills Wednesday is for road intervals so on and so I think

Grant Holicky  07:43

I think it’s hard to do it that way for a long term because they’re so different how you turn a mountain bike is so different than how you turn a road bike. And I’ve always kind of complained about this and don’t get me wrong. I see the huge benefit of being on your mountain bike for cyclocross, it takes away the fear of speed. But everybody’s like get on your mountain bike, get on a mountain bike, get a mountain bike, get ready for cross and like why you’re on a road frame, you need to learn how to turn a road frame quickly on dirt. These skills don’t necessarily translate. I remember this from years ago watching Blevins when he won in Reno and he was racing. One of my athletes, Eric, they were neck and neck all the way through it. And what kept coming up to me was Chris was having trouble on the really Crossy sections of the course the stuff that you don’t do on a mountain bike all the time. They’re really off camber, weird crap that on and off the bike. But his power was out of he was why in his individual skills of hopping three stairs at a time, we’re out of this world, and that’s what won the race. But Eric almost came back when it got really crossed the end. So you have to put dedicated time in on a bike in order to be in that place for that discipline. I don’t think you can mix it up constantly, you almost have to shift gears back and forth, I’m going to go do a mountain bike camp, I’m going to go do this. And that’s what makes it so hard to keep all of that up.

Trevor Connor  09:07

Look, I’ll tell you from experience. So I get together once a year with some friends to do a mountain bike trip. And I’m not much of a mountain biker. So about six weeks before that trip, I’ll start getting on the mountain bike ride at seven eight times. And my skills improved like to full Yeah, in that time. And then I can sort of hang on with my friends. And then don’t touch my mountain bike again for four months and just four months. By get back on the mountain bike. I’ve lost everything. Yeah, I’m back to zero.

Grant Holicky  09:33

They work different. Yeah, I mean, the bikes are just so different. And that in the in, they’re becoming more so over time, especially with the tire size and some of those other things that come into play. Getting on a gravel bike with a 44 front or a 40 front tire that’s Nobby invented it. It’s nothing like a road bike. It doesn’t work the same way. No,

Trevor Connor  09:53

I’ll even take it beyond the skills. There is a perspective I say this to my friends when I’m on the route, they will go down this hill that they want think at all about because it’s really steep and got rocks on it. And I just get to the top and go No way. They go, what’s wrong with you? I’m like, I’ve got road eyes.

Rob Pickels  10:09

Come on, Trevor aerotow. Have

Trevor Connor  10:11

you tried to ride that on a road bike? You’re dead.

Grant Holicky  10:13

Yeah, there is something to be said for that. Now, I do want to shift this back and a slightly different conversation, I think to come back to your point of how the old periodization worked and how the old training model works. One of the things I want to throw out this too, though, is that the training models have changed. We used to have this period where people were doing five months a base only base and now we’re going to do anything else. I’m only going to do base. So they had to build up to Dan I can get the intensity then I can do this. Now I can rest. Here’s my race. We’re watching guys like Vanderpol and Van aren’t using cyclocross as Offseason training that ain’t base man like so these guys, and a lot of athletes and I know that my athletes, we would do intensity year round, we’re doing intensity not very long after a break, because I don’t think you lose all your base in two weeks. And even if I put them on the couch for two weeks, they lose fitness. Sure they lose fitness, we know they lose fitness, but they don’t lose all of their base. So we can play in all these zones. And think as you see athletes now that play in all the zones all year round. They can race at a high level, a lot of season. I definitely that’s a benefit.

Rob Pickels  11:27

You know, I think that when it comes to skills, because that was the original intention of my question bar raining that you’re talking about? No, I do think that that’s super valid. We just we talked about training all the time, let’s talk about skills skill. I think that for people that want to be effective in a discipline that’s outside of what they normally do, whether it’s oftentimes probably cyclocross or mountain bike, right, I think that probably a lot of people spend a lot of time on the road and skill wise, that has its own set of pack dynamics and bike handling, and a group so on and so forth. But I do think that for some of them are these off road adventures, where maybe you’re coming into Leadville, 100, people need to be spending time both on representative of course conditions at race speed. And you might not be able to do race speed for all of the laps the entire time. But you need to be riding at least short sections at race speed, because it’s very different. In zone two, or zone five, when you’re like breathing out your eyeballs. Yeah, but then I also believe that people ought to be spending some time writing things that are more technical than they might actually see in the race. So that when you’re in the race, you’re 100% confident because you’re going to be on the edge. So you can’t be at your limit in the race. Because if you’re on your limit and 100% physical effort, it’s not a good formula.

Grant Holicky  12:49

Well, and I do think this is relevant to training, right? Because, you know, so often, we have to make sure that we’re training in conditions that are similar to how we’re going to race this what you’re talking about. So when we take the cross guys out, and we’re doing a group workout, we’re doing it on a grass or dirt, we’re doing it on a course, I’m creating things that allow them to do the workout on that. And that so that changes every week, if we’re doing 45 3015 We’re doing one thing at Robson’s farm. And then another week, if we’re doing something else, it’s a totally different piece, the more we can take that mentality to the road bike to the gravel bike to the mountain bike, the more those skills are going to be really piqued for when we go race and at the speed that you’re just not used to them. And I think that’s one of the hardest things. I mean, I know for years my issue was, every time I took a level up on the cyclocross bike, I hit features at a different speed. And then I freaked out. Yep. Like I was riding course from year to year and go like, I totally got this course you go to the course the next year. I’m like, I can’t handle this course. But I’m going that little bit

Rob Pickels  13:57

entrepass too. If you look at vendor polls crash, I do think it was just a lack of bike time, right? Yeah, it was a simple, sweeping, moderate, sweeping, right hand corner, slightly downhill a little bit, maybe a little bit off camera a little bit dusty, ultimately, a low traction situation. I’m sure he was running very low profile tires. And ultimately, I think that he just wasn’t really paying that much attention. You can see he’s kind of looking through the corner. He’s really not thinking or trying that hard. But anyone who’s written that knows that’s slippery. You gotta pay attention there. You gotta wait the front tire. Right? And I bet had he spent more time recently on conditions like that, whether it’s the race course that you have those bubbles that race speed and practice and then you know, but when you just pre ride the course at slow speeds, you’re like, Oh, this is nothing. I don’t have to think about this corner. I’m thinking about the technical section coming up in 10 seconds. Yeah,

Grant Holicky  14:54

yeah. And is it really possible he might have waited that front wheel like it was a road bike? No, dude. He’s been on it set on long and he was just got off it. And like you said before, it doesn’t matter how many times we reroute, of course, we’re not prewriting of course at the same speed, we’re race. No. Yep.

Trevor Connor  15:09

Look, that’s what I was gonna bring up that goes back again to the How are you viewing this? What perspective are you looking at from and when I do that six weeks of mountain bike training, I’m not sure that it’s so much my skills get better. It’s just, I get more comfortable on a mountain bike. And yeah, you’re right. When you go around a corner on a road bike, you don’t expect to the rear wheel to slide at all. If it does, you’re in real big trouble, right?

Grant Holicky  15:29

And little side note to his crash and road worlds. He tried to save that like he was on a cyclocross bike. He put the foot down and tried to dab himself through the ride. And it didn’t quite work. No, but it was just amazing to watch him get that foot out and on the ground that fast, because most people can’t do road juice and please, pedals nuts. Like he looked like he was gonna slam it into a rut and

Grant Holicky  15:56

he’s done it 1000 times. So cool. And then you’re like, Oh, he’s

Grant Holicky  16:00

on the ground. Yeah, well,

Rob Pickels  16:01

maybe they’re a little more curving.

Grant Holicky  16:04

Yeah, not same. Physics,

Trevor Connor  16:07

the best save ever. And this is what 1999 zobelle in the middle of a Tour de France sprint. Yeah, full speed. unclips from both pedals doesn’t go down. Doesn’t take anybody down. Yeah,

Rob Pickels  16:21

Mariana Voss, sprinting for a finish had a pothole ended up on the top tube like draped over the handlebars.

Grant Holicky  16:28

Yeah, that was not Yeah. Those guys they’re not but it is very sports specific. Right. And I think I think you would see that a little bit less my whole point. You see that and Vanderpol a little bit he tried to do a cyclocross save on a road bike. Nothing would have saved it his front wheel gone like he was going down. But it was just wild to watch the cyclocross instinct kick in and like I can I can put my foot down I’m good.

Trevor Connor  16:56

That note and then we’ll we’ll move on if you are going down. There’s a certain point we’re trying to save it is just gonna get hurt. You’re

Grant Holicky  17:04

more Oh, do it that like could have gone the wrong direction or even real bad,

Trevor Connor  17:08

which happens. So if you know you’re going down, just focus on how can I hit the ground the lightest? Yeah, yeah.

Trevor Connor  17:17

Hey, listeners. This is Trevor Connor, co host of fast talk and CEO of fast talk laboratories. For years, we’ve been sharing our training, coaching knowledge and experience through the fast talk podcast, we’ve been able to connect you with some amazing experts in an endurance sports space like Dr. Stephen Siler, Joe Friel, Dr. Stacey Sims and Dr. And Hugo saw Milan, help us keep bringing you world class experts by supporting us through Patreon. Just log on to patreon.com and search for fast talk podcast. Thanks for your support. And of course, thank you for listening.

Trevor Connor  17:47

Okay, so I’ve got a question for you. This one’s probably gonna be pretty quick look, we’re gonna make a couple of assumptions with my question. We have done episodes and FTP and how valuable FTP is. So if you’re interested in that conversation, go back and listen to those episodes. So for this one, let’s just make the assumption that FTP is a valuable number. And FTP is defined as the power that you can hold for one hour. Okay, problem is most people do not want to go out and hurt themselves for an hour. So they’re always looking for better ways to figure out what their FTP is. And I love it when Dr. Sylar is on the show, and he’s like, suck it up and do an hour. One very common method from Hunter Allen is the 20 Minute multiply by 95%. But one that I think I don’t know if Neil came up with this, but Neil Henderson loves this. And he might very well have come up with this is he found when you look at somebody’s 60 minute, normalized power during a hard effort or race or intervals, that actually seems to correlate really well with FTP? So that is my question. How much can we trust that and the reason I bring this up, I had an athlete last week go out and do sprint intervals, and he did a real hard set of sprints, but this is 22nd, Sprint’s with two minute recoveries where he’s not pedaling. And he hit his best 60 minute normalized power ever. And can I really use that number to say that’s what you could hold at threshold for an hour?

Grant Holicky  19:21

Welcome to Fast Talk where we solve Trevor’s problems.

Trevor Connor  19:26

And my athletes pay.

Rob Pickels  19:29

So I’m going to tell you guys a story. Here we go. Are you guys familiar with the y si 2300 lactate analyzer?

Trevor Connor  19:41

Why yes, Rob. I am. Well, let

Rob Pickels  19:44

me tell you for those who are listening and aren’t familiar, this thing is a tank. It’s it’s benchtop. It’s filled with liquids. It is a medical grade lactate analyzer. And it’s exactly what we had at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. And I

Trevor Connor  20:00

the reason I noticed Dr. Sol Milan was like, this is the only lactate monitor in the world don’t use anything else. It doesn’t count.

Rob Pickels  20:09

So funny story one time, Neil and I went to a team camp in California, and I put a y si 2300 into my carry on, on the plane. This was back in the day, it was easier to get stuff through security apparently.

Rob Pickels  20:28

And I bring this kind of looks like a bomb. This is, ya know, and there’s one. Explain that. I bring this story up. For this reason. Neil and I were at a team camp. Evie Stevens was on the team. It was the specialized Lululemon camp. Thank you grant. And we did lactate testing on all of the athletes. And then we did field testing on all of the athletes. And so I’m answering for Neil here real quick, because I’ve spent a lot of time with Neil. When Neil says your 60 Minute normalized power, I believe he’s referring specifically to protocol that he implements with athletes. That is a combination and very specific series of a five minute effort, a 20 minute effort, a 32nd effort and a five second effort to five seconds. Yeah. And that he has seen that. Yes, very much FTP is very similar in that fashion. So what I’ll say as the beginning of this answer is, if in an appropriate condition, and with appropriate work, then I do believe that that can be a great analog. But I don’t believe that we can apply this to any 60 minute block that’s out there.

Trevor Connor  21:41

Before you go. I’m really disappointed with that answer. really disappointed is because you did this great build up with this lactate analyzer. And then your delivery at the end? Didn’t need that lactate analyzer at all. So what what is the relevance of this lactate? analyte? I used it at the camp dude. Yeah. But you can do this whole protocol without lactate at all? Well, I

Rob Pickels  22:02

know. But that’s what we were correlating both laboratory and field based measures. And we buy and I took like a $15,000 lab grade thing in my carry on, Trevor just

Trevor Connor  22:11

wanted to tell people you took that and your carry on. Well, it

Rob Pickels  22:13

was fun. I have another funny flying story. But that’s for later.

Grant Holicky  22:16

Okay, take a step back. I do like to take some numbers from race efforts, where we know we’re kind of doing this right, we’re slightly over slightly under slightly over slightly under. And I do think there’s things that you can do in a race setting that you’re not going to do in an hour of power. My problem with the hour power is not even the convenience of it. It’s just I know how few people are going to be in the right headspace to be able to do that. Well, you know, and how much of a gap we’re gonna get because they’re not and then you’re giving them a number and going Hey, congratulations 270 And they’re sitting there like dude, I do 320 all the time and arrays setting so to be that blood with it right and go well that counts and that doesn’t I’m not a big believer in that I will take a lot of people’s threshold numbers from races are really good workouts. But one thing that we do need I think we need to throw out there about meals protocol is the reason he has that five minute power things sitting before the 20 so it takes the edge off. Exactly. If you have me go up Flagstaff for a standalone 20 minute effort. I will stand and I will muscle that thing. Yep. And that will not be an appropriate number because it’s going to be too high.

Rob Pickels  23:34

Well I will say for me if I ever do a standalone 20 minute it’s I take 92% not 95% of that number because of the anaerobic ability that I have. Yeah, it my 20 minute power is obviously going to be a bit higher than my 30 minute or my 60 minute

Trevor Connor  23:51

I love the two sprinters in room because when I do this protocol for me it’s just a 25 minute time with a break in the middle.

Grant Holicky  24:00

Right right the two of us are knock it out like you know 20% 30% higher on the five minute traverse like wow, I got 3% higher this was really good. I was really proud of myself. Like everybody in this room is the whole reason the power profile exists like no you can’t fake it on that end and you can’t make it on that. Oh Exactly. Like Neil ruining our lives for over 25 years.

Trevor Connor  24:31

So Rob, I gotta say I completely agree with your answer your mind here’s why. You should be asking though because this is what’s bugging me i before this calculated using proper methods what this athletes FTP was probably the calculator he used to calculate proper and his 60 minute normalized power off of this sprint workout. Was the sale well three watts off.

Grant Holicky  24:58

Yeah, but I Do think I think that’s lock?

Trevor Connor  25:03

really severe? That’s a bug me about I’m like, is this luck? Or is this actually that good a metric?

Grant Holicky  25:11

No, I don’t think it is in that situation because the sprint stuff can be so all over the place the recovery can be so all over the place, what do you do in between all that stuff? I do think this is one of those really neat places where if you do correlate heart rate to it, you’re gonna get some information. That’s interesting, right? You know, we talk about this a lot with credits, you can do an hour long credit and your heart rate, just they’ll sit up there, and that very much in that threshold you place, and then you get a number that correlates really well with that threshold, the heart rate, I think that might give you a little bit of good information. But then there’s the alternative of it, which is you can do a cross race and your heart rates above threshold the whole damn time. And you’re normalized is like, you know, 12, it’s nothing. I love

Trevor Connor  25:58

cross races. incredibly low average power highs, heart rates I see all year.

Grant Holicky  26:05

Yeah, it’s crazy. And it’s an amazing, it’s a problem with the recording of the data, because like, you have this TSS, that’s off the chart low, it doesn’t pertain to anything. So I don’t think that that specific case is really going to give us that much information. I think it’s happenstance, as we said, but it is kind of cool to see that I do think it’s neat to see that that there is this idea of normalized power. That is a very powerful metric. That is both kind of underused, I think, in a lot of ways for people, because it really does reflect the on off nature of racing.

Rob Pickels  26:45

Yeah. And I think that like training peaks, right? I mean, they’re really, the people behind normalized power, recognize that there are NP normalized power Buster type workouts and efforts that are just too short, and the formula isn’t necessarily appropriate for them. So anytime that normalized power is used, I do believe that we’re really looking at a relatively constant although variable but a constant effort. That’s not necessarily all out recovery, all out recovery. Right, right. Right.

Grant Holicky  27:15

But the beauty of that is, in a lot of ways that’s bike racing, right it is, it’s the heart rate stays up there a little bit and it’s on a little bit lower on little bit lower, I will never forget having Max chance in the studio one time and having him on ERG mode on a copy trainer. And having him just whine incessant, why can’t I stop pedaling? I just want to stop pedaling. And it was such a cyclocross athlete to a tee, like, knocked out this gigantic number for a minute, and then couldn’t hold 100 Watts, because he just wanted to stop pedaling,

Rob Pickels  27:54

right? You know, I will say this is a reason that I’m not a huge FTP person, I’m more of a critical power and w prime type of person. And it’s really only because I think that there was a little bit more of a robustness in the data that you’re using to come up with these numbers. Now, there are some issues that come with that as well. You can truly knocked one particular thing out of the park, and maybe that skews your numbers. But I also think that that highlights one of my biggest issues with FTP testing, is that they’re only very discreet looks in time. Because you can only do that so often. In terms of the full FTP test. Yeah,

Grant Holicky  28:34

I hate FTP.

Grant Holicky  28:35

i Don’t test my athletes for FTP because I feel like it’s the equivalent sending a kid to do his math test at school. Look, I

Trevor Connor  28:42

agree and like I said, we’ve done episodes. Sure, sure. Sure, sure.

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Trevor Connor  29:54

Okay, well we got one question left and this one’s coming from Grant grab what Your question for today.

Grant Holicky  30:01

All right, here’s my question coming out of worlds and Scotland there was a lot of criticism over that course. I saw people calling it the world crit championships, world chromis championships. But it got me thinking every year we go into national championships in the States, and there’s criticism about the course every year we go in the world. So there’s criticism about the course. And this year, and most years, the very, very best rise to the top right, you get the best racer that wins the race. So my guess my question, is this, what makes a great championship course?

Rob Pickels  30:36

Well, I don’t know. I think the first thing that we need to tackle here is is just people complaining, right? Like, like you said, Grant, you alluded to this in the question, and I feel like this is the answer that you’re going for. I think people just like to complain, let’s be honest, they complain ahead of time to protect them against what might happen. They complain afterwards to protect them against what did happen. And there’s no way you’re designing a course there’s no way anybody’s designing a course. Right? That is going to satisfy everyone out there. The riders, the naysayers, the media, the casual people who have no clue what they’re talking about. They all want different things out of the course. And we see this in cyclocross all the time, right where a lot of these riders dads are actually the ones that you know, because like Lacrosse is a family sport. Let’s be honest, the dads were the mechanics for these people. They’re also the course designers. Right? Vanderpool, dad, Audrey designed cyclocross courses, he’s designed world’s courses. Vanderpool hasn’t won on all the courses that his dad has designed, but let’s be honest about that. So I’m just gonna go out there and say, forget the course. Let’s complain about the people that are complaining.

Grant Holicky  31:47

I think that’s fair. Right. I think that’s legit. I think my point with this whole thing is, so what isn’t the point to have different skill sets be served with different courses? I mean, look at it when Cavendish one it was obviously a sprinters course. Right. And then there’s been years that it’s obviously been a climbers course. Isn’t that kind of the whole point? I mean, we’re in an age now where we’re athletes won’t even go to Worlds if it doesn’t suit them, right. People are like, Oh, venga go didn’t go to Worlds. Well, crazy, didn’t go to Worlds, this is not going to be a good course for him. Why would he go? Why would he risk hurting themselves?

Rob Pickels  32:20

Yeah, well, I think that every every world course if we’re going to sue, everybody equally needs to have in an above category climb that’s above treeline, it needs to have some tight technical dissents. It needs to have a sprint finish. And then everybody has an equal shot. But I come on, that’s not going to happen. And that’s not even good racing. I think that grant what you’re saying, ultimately, is the answer to this. I think each year, the course ought to be different than I think that it’s okay that some people aren’t going to excel on that year’s worlds course, that’s totally fine. Right? We have seasons of racing. And throughout that season, there are multiple courses, different types, different skill sets, different people are going to be able to be successful. And the hard part about worlds is that it happens once a year. But if we look at it in the longer term, over the course of 10 years, if you have one rider winning consistently, it’s either because they’re the best darn rider out there, or because there’s been exactly one type of course and they’re the writer that’s going to be successful on it. So variety is the spice of life. That’s what I was gonna

Trevor Connor  33:25

bring up is the suppose it ideal worlds course has enough climbing that the climbers can do something, but not so much climbing that the sprinters can’t get over and potentially win the race. But a very hard to find that perfect mix of the two so that it appeals to everybody. And when you do find that, it just tends to be a breakaway riders course. And if you have that sort, of course, the perfect worlds course you’re gonna see exactly what you’re talking about Rob, which is there’s gonna be a few people who are always going to win because it suits them. So I agree with you guys. You know, the world’s cautious needs to change every year, some years it needs to be a sprinters course some nears it needs to have some crazy climbs in it and appeal to a different type of rider. You

Grant Holicky  34:11

know, one thing I will throw out there. And then I thought the Rio Olympic course, was one of those courses that kind of Trevor’s talking about right that had that climb at the finish that was enough for the climbers to get away. And then there was what four or 5k After a crazy descent where things could kind of come back together. Those courses make for unbelievably exciting racing. And it’s a lot of fun, but it is kind of the same every single time. Now one place I would like to take this is one thing that I would love to see is no matter what is the championship course I mean, I don’t care if it’s a National Championship or a world championship, you’re having host cities bid, they get it, and then have the course reflect where you are in the world. Right? Like if Spain gets the world champion and chips, put it in the mountains. That’d be fun, right? And if Ireland or Scotland gets the World Championships, it’s rolling hills, and it’s like constant weather and all those things. I really think that it’s cool when the course reflects the area in which the race is being hosted. It gets them the chance to show off, you know, and it comes right back to what we’ve been saying. Right. So, okay, that may not suit this part of the peloton. Oh, well, that’s okay. I mean, we go to Grand Tours, and there’s like sprinters stages, and there’s climber stages, and there’s roller stages. And that’s what makes these Grand Tours awesome. Even the vault which is kind of crazy, like all over the map, but it’s fun to watch, because it’s all over the map.

Rob Pickels  35:42

Now, sure. You know, one thing that I will bring up here, as we’re on the topic of just championship courses, and common denominators, one thing that I’d really like to see is these countries, host countries, host cities, they know long enough ahead of time that they’re going to be hosting the biggest the biggest event on the calendar that year, I would love to see more emphasis placed on safety, and course conditions. And that was a big conversation about the course this year for Worlds was how poor the road surface was. And in my opinion, stuff like that should never happen. If you have to resurface that route, resurface that route. If you’re going to bid. If you want this in your city or in your country, you really have to be able to make it a world championship caliber event. And I think that that is really important because somebody breaks their bike, somebody breaks their wheel, somebody gets a flat tire because of a stupid pothole. Nobody wants to lose a bike race that way, that’s not a fair way for somebody to have their day made or broken. In my opinion,

Trevor Connor  36:47

particularly when you consider the fact that the world championship course I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that was a point to point. It’s usually a surrogate. So it’s not such a big course that they couldn’t go and repave the whole thing,

Grant Holicky  36:59

not to mention how much money they spend the host those things, right. I mean, this is this is one of the big issues right now for UCI, I mean, it was a big issue in swimming with fina, World Cups, World Championships, those things go to a place that can pay the money to host the event. So they’re chunking out a but big amount of money already to host the event pave the road, it’s not going to cost you that much more, it’s not going to put you in a bad spot. And almost as Trevor alludes to, I mean, almost every one of these things finishes on the circuit. So let’s get that circuit at least laid down and paved out. And you know, if it’s not great leading into the circuit, well, that’s not the end of the world, things don’t really break up or do that going into it as much. And there’s a breakaway, and everybody kind of sits in it’s the circuits where things really get messy. Now, I do want to take this back a little bit to what Rob said. And I’m not going to be it’s not a public service announcement. But it is almost a request here to the Masters riders that are listening, who cares, ride the course that shows that you got to come to I mean, it’s a running joke and cross that every year is somebody who has a YouTube point of view lap of the cross course posts it, then we get three weeks of people complaining about how there’s no elevation, or the course is going to be boring, or all this stuff. And then we show up and it snows a foot. And the course is an absolute epic thing. Just wait a minute, to see what it’s coming, just see what it actually looks like, never can tell elevation on YouTube, like just let it let it go for a minute and then show up and race where it is. And that’s the mental strength guy in the can’t control the course you can control your response to the course. Exactly. And I think you heard that a lot from the athletes going into worlds. I mean, some of them did flat out said, you know, we don’t love it. But this is the chorus. So this is what we got to get ready for.

Trevor Connor  38:57

The other thing that I want to bring up. I can’t remember who was the organizer at the time. But I always felt some of the most boring years of the tour to frauds was when the organizer tried to get into setting the strategy of the race meeting and he wanted it to be decided in some epic final day of the race. And he didn’t know who was going to win until then, and designed the course around that. And it just made for a really boring Tour de France. And my response to that was always that’s not your job as the organizer. Your job as the organizer is just to make an interesting route and let the racers figure out how they want to race it. And I got to say the same thing with worlds to me. It’s really simple. You want a good world course just have a course that’s got some interest in it. And then it’s up to the racers to decide how they want to race it.

Grant Holicky  39:50

Yeah, it’s it’s really hard to complain about this year’s course. I mean, I said it in when I was intro and the question, the best route or one that’s in your opinion. Well Okay, the best five riders were at the front. I mean, the point is that like the cream rose to the top, and nine times out of 10, it’s going to, you can get me going on on course designed for cross all you want in the States and I have very, very distinct opinions. But it’s still the course in front of you. There’s nothing you can do about it. We rolled into nationals, it didn’t love the course, but you still gotta race it.

Rob Pickels  40:25

No, I think grant you’re entirely true and controlling the things that you’re able to control, right? Understand the course know what the course is, know what the surface conditions are, like, if we’re talking cyclocross, know what the road conditions are, like, if we’re talking roads, so on and so forth. All of that helps your preparation, right. And so this information, it might not play to your strengths, but it can play to your training, and that can get you stronger at these skills or power profile, whatever it is that you need to be as successful as you can possibly be.

Grant Holicky  40:56

And then take that one step further looking at their course and say, Okay, how do I get my strengths to play for me on this course, my strengths in this course, may mean I have to go on the first 10 minutes of the race, or I got a hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on, and then try to attack when everybody’s tired. Like, that’s the biggest piece is that that’s what these guys are doing on a daily basis, when they go and show up for these races. Either they adjust their training to the course, because they know what’s coming with Ruby or Flanders or something along those lines. And their training really highlights that. But you see it all the time. And in the Grand Tours, they’re talking about a grand tour with one TT people don’t think about their time trial at all. They focus on their climate, or there’s three and they’re in a wind tunnel 15 times before the race starts. And we don’t as razors necessarily have those resources, but we can really tailor what we’re doing toward a type of course, and a type of training in order to be good. And this is something that I’ll bring up a lot in the States with a lot of my riders is we don’t have epic one hour climbs. But yet a lot of our training is geared towards these epic long, kind of in my feeling climbing based training, that’s power weight. How can I get my FTP up as high as I can do all that stuff? How often do we raise something like that? Maybe we do here in Colorado, but I’ll tell you in upstate New York, we never raised anything like it’s all rolling hills. So I think that stuff’s really important. And it’s a great point, Rob, really tailoring your training toward the race that you’re looking at.

Trevor Connor  42:30

Well, guys, why don’t we finish it up there? Grant, you’re gonna have to explain to me how well we got to your question. You somehow made it sound like you weren’t in the room anymore. I’m quite impressed by that.

Grant Holicky  42:41

I will say this grant brought up a question. That wasn’t appropriate. It didn’t work. So we had to rerecord a question. And I left the room. Yeah, so

Trevor Connor  42:51

grant got sent to the corner.

Grant Holicky  42:52

I asked my question from timeout. So I’d love to say goodbye to all of you in person, but I’ll do it virtually.

Trevor Connor  42:58

All right, guys.

Rob Pickels  43:00

That was another episode of Fast Talk. This episode is totally on Trevor’s shoulders. Grant and I are not responsible for any of this and your complaint should be delivered to trevor@fasttalklabs.com.

Grant Holicky  43:15

Deep sigh.

Trevor Connor  43:16

Alright, finish it up Rob.

Rob Pickels  43:17

No, there’s no finishing. It’s done. For Trevor Connor and Grant Holicky. I’m Rob Pickels. Thanks for listening.