Q&A on LSD Rides, Topical Bicarbonates, Group Rides, and Sugar

in Q&A episode, we cover a broad spectrum of topics including sugar consumption and its health effects, safe rates to increase volume, the pros and cons of group rides, the efficacy of topical bicarbonate products, and much more.

Fast Talk Podcast Q&A
Photo: Boris Stefanik

On today’s Q&A episode, we cover a broad spectrum of topics including sugar consumption and its health effects, safe rates to increase volume, the pros and cons of group rides, the efficacy of topical bicarbonate products, and much more.

Feeling flat during a recovery week can be frustrating. Trevor goes into a bit of the science on recovery weeks and how you’re likely to feel after a tough training build. Thanks to listener and mountain bike racer, Nancy T. from Albuquerque, New Mexico for sending this question. We received a voice memo from collegiate racer Preston M. in California who has some extra flexibility in his schedule this summer. With no races on the horizon, he wants to know how long and how often his LSD (Long Slow Distance) rides should be to progress to the next level. Reminder, you can record a question for us on a voice memo app on your phone and then email it to us at fasttalk@fasttalklabs.com. We also address the potential usefulness of increasingly popular topical bicarbonate products. Trevor looks at the science literature so you don’t have to. Sports drinks, race food, candy, cookies—we eat it when we race, but how much of these simple sugars should we be consuming, and what are the positive and negative effects on athletes versus sedentary individuals? We dive in. If you’ve been on a group ride, you know they can get competitive. Giancarlo B. in Boulder asks how to incorporate these rides into a polarized training model. Gina J., a long-time runner turned triathlete, is wondering why her heart rate during her cycling training sessions is lower than her running heart rate. Trevor explains.

Let’s make you fast!


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  • Chennaoui, M., Gomez-Merino, D., Drogou, C., Bourrilhon, C., Sautivet, S., & Guezennec, C. Y. (2004). Hormonal and Metabolic Adaptation in Professional Cyclists During Training. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 29(6), 714–730. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1139/h04-046
  • Kern, M., Misell, L. M., Ordille, A., Alm, M., & Salewske, B. (2018). Double-blind, Placebo Controlled, Randomized Crossover Pilot Study Evaluating The Impacts Of Sodium Bicarbonate in a Transdermal Delivery System on Physiological Parameters and Exercise Performance: 2402 Board #238 June 1 11. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 50(5S), 595. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1249/01.mss.0000537049.16090.97
  • Misell, L., Kern, M., Ordille, A., Alm, M., & Salewske, B. (2018). Double-blind, Placebo Controlled, Randomized Crossover Pilot Study Evaluating the Impacts of Sodium Bicarbonate in a Transdermal Delivery System on Delayed Muscle Onset Soreness: 2403 Board #239 June 1 11. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 50(5S), 595. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1249/01.mss.0000537050.23714.37
  • Seiler, S, Jøranson, K., Olesen, B. V., & Hetlelid, K. J. (2011). Adaptations to aerobic interval training: interactive effects of exercise intensity and total work duration. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 23(1), 74–83. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2011.01351.x
  • Seiler, Stephen. (2010). What is Best Practice for Training Intensity and Duration Distribution in Endurance Athletes? International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 5(3), 276–291. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.5.3.276
  • Urhausen, A., Gabriel, H., & Kindermann, W. (1995). Blood Hormones as Markers of Training Stress and Overtraining. Sports Medicine, 20(4), 251–276. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199520040-00004
  • Vermeire, K. M., Vandewiele, G., Caen, K., Lievens, M., Bourgois, J. G., & Boone, J. (2019). Training Progression in Recreational Cyclists: No Linear Dose-Response Relationship With Training Load. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 1. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000003340

Episode Transcript

Chris Case  0:12

Hello, everyone, welcome to Fast Talker source for the science cycling performance. This is Episode 114. Where I am going to ask Trevor a bunch of questions to see how smart he is – you ready?

Trevor Connor  0:26

I am ready. And let’s also point out this will hopefully be our last q&a. That’s just you and I have been getting tons of questions. So apparently this is quite popular but seeing as it’s so popular. We are hoping to bring in multiple coaches and have kind of a roundtable q&a in the future. So look forward to that. Hope that’s going to really up the quality it won’t just be hearing from me in the future.

Chris Case  0:49

Yeah. And we did reach out to some people But lo and behold, people are traveling right now. Wow, Isn’t that crazy? I mean, they’re traveling solo into the woods, but things are things getting slightly back to normal maybe in some small ways

Trevor Connor  1:04

I can tell you things were weird herein Boulder yesteday they shut down Pearl Street. And it was just a giant party on Pearl Street.

Chris Case  1:13


Trevor Connor  1:14

Like this was, had this happened a year ago, you would have looked at it and gone, “That’s a lot of people.”

Chris Case  1:19

Wow, what the heck was that all about?

Trevor Connor  1:21

I don’t know. And it wasn’t an event. It was just they so when you get to the end of the mall, there’s, you get all the restaurants that are on the actual road. They blocked off the road from traffic and just put tables all over the road for all the different restaurants and coffee.

Chris Case  1:37

Wow. Well, things are changing, let’s say maybe not normal. Probably won’t be totally normal for a long time. But here we are. We’re in the studio. We have a few announcements we want to start with, obviously, big one. Cycling in Alighnment is now live. We’ve had a few episodes on the Fast Talk channel. And Cycling in Alignment channel also exists so go over there and subscribe to Colby Pierce’s new podcast where he talks both about the science and the philosophy of cycling.

Trevor Connor  2:13

Yeah, so it’s off on it’s own channel now, right? We’re not gonna be posting on Fast Talk anymore so so please subscribe.

Chris Case  2:21


Trevor Connor  2:21

Or do we have a couple more that are going up on Fast Talk?

Chris Case  2:23

I think you know when when it’s appropriate when he gets really into the science and it’s sort of fits with the Fast Talk philosophy of getting deep into the science. We’ll we’ll run them on our program just to remind people that Colby knows his stuff. But yeah, for the most part, jump over there, subscribe there, and that’s where people get Cycling in Alignment.

Trevor Connor  2:42

Great. So should we dive into our questions. We got a bunch

Physiological Responses from Recovery

Chris Case  2:46

We should. Yes, let’s get to the first one. And this one pertains to feeling flat during recovery. I know you love to talk about recovery, Trevor. This question comes from Nancy Tipton. in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she writes, I trained for endurance mountain bike races, 6, 12 and 24 hour formats, and she rides 10 to 15 hours a week in the season. My training is generally quote polarized in blocks of three build weeks followed by a Recovery Week. I generally feel flat during the Recovery Week. Is there something going on at a physiological level that explains this? Or is it mental?

Trevor Connor  3:28

And yes, I do love recovery. Yeah, that said, You should have seen my whoop score this morning.

Chris Case  3:33


Trevor Connor  3:34

they they rate it so they have green, yellow, red and then what the hell is wrong with you

Chris Case  3:39

and you are well into the what the hell is wrong with you.

Trevor Connor  3:42

I was way down.

Chris Case  3:45

And whoop, taking into consideration both the training that you’ve been doing but also probably picking up on all the stress in your life.

Sleep, heart rate variability, it was all pretty tangled this morning.

Well, did you have some caffeine to wake up?

Trevor Connor  4:03

I am guzzling my tea right now.

Chris Case  4:05

There you go. Great

Trevor Connor  4:07

Still won’t have coffee. I’ve never actually had a cup in my life. I don’t know if I’ve ever said that on the show.

Chris Case  4:12

I haven’t either.

Trevor Connor  4:13


Chris Case  4:13

Fist bump! Jana, don’t don’t shake your head at us. You drink enough coffee for 10 of us in this office. Right? Wait, there’s only three of us. But she makes up for us. She makes up for us.

Trevor Connor  4:28

So this is actually one of my favorite questions. The second article I ever wrote for Vella news, which I still will say after seven years of writing, it kind of started high and all went downhill from there, because I’ll still say this is possibly the best article I wrote on a relative scale.

Chris Case  4:46


Trevor Connor  4:47

And I don’t remember the exact title of the article, but it was, I think it was running from lions and that

Chris Case  4:53

Is this one I edited or before we kind of paired up on things.

Trevor Connor  4:58

I’m not even sure you’re working at Vello News yet.

Chris Case  5:00

Yeah, that’s true. I might not. Have you worked there a little bit before I did.

Trevor Connor  5:03

Yeah. So this was a little before you got there.

Chris Case  5:07

That’s why it was so good. I didn’t bash all your writing.

Trevor Connor  5:10

There you go. He didn’t edit it.

Chris Case  5:11

I didn’t edit it.

Trevor Connor  5:13

It was the raw form. So, just to the article, you have to remember that we were not designed for sports. We were designed to hunt, gather and run away from lions, hence the title of the article. So when you are going really hard on the bike, when you are going at your limit, your body’s not going Woohoo. I’m winning the race. Your body’s going, Damn, that’s a big lion chasing me. And I don’t want to be dinner. So I am going to do everything possible to make sure you can run really hard. And I’m going to make sure that you can draw on all your resources and not let you worry right now about the damage you might be doing to yourself. So if you’re doing a lot of hard work, you’re doing a hard a lot of hard racing, your body is now saying, we’re getting chased by a lot of lions lately What’s going on? Right? This is not the time to let you know that you’re hurting. This is the time to support this. So physiologically, what’s going on. And I’m going to simplify this because this gets into really complex biochemistry, actually have a fantastic book, which I got partway through, I really want to finish all on the whole biochemistry of this. The basically we have a bunch of natural painkillers. Again, simplification but one of the terms if you want to throw it out at the group, right as catatonia means, but when they get flowing, you don’t feel a lot of pain. To give you an idea of how good they make you feel. Their receptors are what cocaine and a lot of your drugs target. And so when you’re going hard, and you get those painkillers flowing, you’re essentially on a little mini high. Yeah, quite literally, but it’s a natural appropriate one. The problem is, when they are flowing, your body isn’t very good at repairing damage, it gets muted. So if your body is in Remember, you’re doing a lot of high intensity work, which is getting these painkillers flowing. You are doing a lot of damage. So your body needs a period of time to clear out the painkillers, repair that damage. So if you have a rest week, and you can talk to anybody or if you’ve done a big training camp, you’ve probably experienced this. You finish your let’s say you did a five day camp and it ends on Sunday. You’ll wake up Monday going, Yeah, I’m kind of fatigued, but I could go again. I’m feeling okay. I’m not that tired, right?

Chris Case  7:54

It’s the painkillers are still in the system.

Trevor Connor  7:57

It’s Tuesday or Wednesday where your body finally goes. Alright. I’m not being chased by lions anymore. Yeah clears out the painkillers and you wake up one of those mornings feeling like you got hit by a truck. Mm hmm. That’s when your body’s doing the repair. Yeah. When I actually have athletes doing a Recovery Week, I want them to feel that recovery weeks shouldn’t feel good. They should actually feel pretty miserable. So after a big training camp, I’ll tell my athletes we’re not even think about getting back to training until you’ve actually felt pretty lousy. Yeah, I want that morning where you wake up and feel like you got hit by a bus.

Chris Case  8:32

Yeah, you see this in other ways in the in the, in the body as well, whether it’s a some type of injury or even a cut like the the maybe the next day, it doesn’t feel as bad. It’s the two or three days later where it really starts to throb and we get irritated as the recovery process. Different types of cells get to the whether it’s an infection or a cut or repair that needs to take place all that activity starts to accumulate in a spot. And that’s when you feel kind of at your worst.

Trevor Connor  9:05

Yep. Well, you got inflammation going, your body’s trying to do repair work. So, yeah, that Recovery Week, you’ve cleared out a lot of the painkillers. So you’re basically off of your high. Mm hmm. Your body’s doing repair, you’re gonna feel flat, you’re not gonna feel overly motivated. Another thing to be aware of is when you talk about a peak in training, when you hit that peak, essentially, what you’re doing is manipulating those painkillers. So you’re dropping the volume, you’re getting good high intensity work in and my theory on this is it’s a way to actually keep the painkillers flowing, while still allowing enough time even in that muted state to do repair work, that you go to a race with this combination of being repaired, right, but the painkillers are flowing and the peak isn’t so much that you magically got stronger. It’s that you’re on the painkiller high, your body’s allowing you to not feel the pain, which is allowing you to go harder than you normally could.

Chris Case  10:10

Interesting. That’s a something to consider. And something that probably takes some experimentation, as we know, when it comes to peaking is riding that little bit of a wave of whether it’s painkillers and some other things going on simultaneously and tapping into that and maximizing performance.

Trevor Connor  10:30

But it’s also why you have to be careful about a peak because what do you do when you’re suddenly putting out the best numbers of your life and feeling great? Yeah, you go and destroy yourself. Yeah, you’re doing all this damage. Your body isn’t very good at repairing it and you can’t feel it. And this is why people will have this amazing peak for a couple weeks where they’re putting out the best racing of their life and then all of a sudden they fall apart.

Chris Case  10:50

Yep. If they don’t, if they don’t back off at some point, they’ll fall off the cliff.

Trevor Connor  10:54

You talk to a very experienced athletes, they’re good at getting a peak, they’ll get a peak for a key event. As soon as that events over the like, I’m done, I take a break. And they know the other side of that is this flat feeling that our listener asked about. And that’s hard for people to do when you have a peak. You want to keep it going. Yeah, but it’s better to back off, let the body recover and get back to training.

Chris Case  11:18

Excellent. Okay. Well, as we mentioned last time, we’re no longer taking Google voicemails, but we are encouraging people to record voice memos on their phone and send them our way. So we’ve got one now from Preston Mooie. I hope I got that right. Let’s listen now.

Length and Frequency of Endurance Rides

Preston (from California)  11:42

Hey, Chris, and Trevor. This is Preston from California. I’m a low level collegiate racer that’s relatively new to endurance sport. I’m using the summer to try to get a lot of low intensity volume to build that aerobic engine to prepare for racing next spring, which are 30 to 40 minute crits at two to three hour road races. My question is about the length and frequency of endurance rides. I’ve heard people say that you should make your endurance race the length of your longest race. Once I’ve done that it’s better to progress by extending the length of your slow rides, or by doing more of them. I’m blessed with a flexible schedule this summer so I can make either work. Thanks.

Trevor Connor  12:23

This is one of those questions where you’re gonna get a whole lot of opinion. So I’m going to give you my opinion, but you could talk to five different coaches and you’re probably going to get five different opinions. Yeah, part of that’s because I really haven’t seen any research on this. And we have to rely on opinion we have to rely on experience. But this notion of your longest ride should be about the length of your longest race or I’ve heard other people say it should be 125% of your your longest race. I’ve heard personally and I’ve been looking Hmm, I haven’t seen a single study to back that up. I have In any evidence, it’s pure opinion.

Chris Case  13:03

Yeah. And it’s interesting because it differs between endurance sports. But it’s all sort of based on maybe beliefs and opinions and nothing backed really by hardcore science here. I think some of it goes back to there’s this question of when you’re talking about training, specificity.

Trevor Connor  13:27

Yeah, versus physiological systems. So we’ve talked about this debate before, there are some coaches who are very big and trained to be very specific to your event. And if you are all about specificity, then yes, your longest ride should be about the length of your longest race. I am much more on the camp of train the engine, build the engine and then let the engine figure out the race. So the the metaphor that I like to give people is, again, we’re going to use a car analogy here, which we’ve been criticized for cars or cars are simple. So it makes For easy analogies, and if you’re talking about building a car to a specific event, you can take a Volkswagen and tailor it very specifically to a particular event. I would still rather just have a Ferrari. Hmm, that isn’t made for any particular event. Yeah, I think if you have a big engine, great body, you can do amazing things with it, and it can handle the event. So, we’re getting off topic.

Chris Case  14:30

Yeah Preston has kind of all the time in the world. He’s this college student, nothing’s going on right now. He can ride. He’s got a flexible schedule. What What should he do to get to that next level for for when racing returns?

Trevor Connor  14:44

So one thing I do need to add to what I was saying before is going back to this question, I am very big on training physiological systems. Mm hmm. So and again, going back to the fundamental principle of training, you need to have a stress to your body that your body can’t normally tolerate that causes your body to adapt. So what is the right length to a ride? It is one that produces a stress. And if you go out at that LSD pace, and you do, you’re an experienced cyclist and you do two hours, it’s not going to stress you. If you’re a crit rider that’s still longer than your longest race doesn’t matter. It’s not going to really stress you. So you need to go long enough to where you’re seeing a stress effect. And actually, Dr. Seiler has been doing some research in this and looks, he’s been looking for markers, there is a certain point where if you’re riding in that zone one, where you start to see a physiological change showing that your body is is reaching a point of stress, and that’s a different point for everybody. So what is the right length ride? To me, it’s where you hit that point and you go a little past. For some people, that’s three hours.

Chris Case  15:55

How do you identify it? Just through experience,

Trevor Connor  15:58

it’s experience. You can Feel it. One of the indicators that you can use, provided you’re hydrating right and it’s not 100 degrees out is looking at cardiac pressure. So that’s, there’s a certain point where your heart rates gonna go up relative to your power. Yeah, that’s often an indicator, like hydration dehydration can cause that. So you do need to be careful. But assuming you’re staying relatively hydrated, that’s often a sign that you’re starting to produce some muscle damage, and you’re starting to lose some efficiency. So look for that point. We’re just talking with Colby a couple days ago, and he was talking about needing to kickstart was a Nathan Haas. Yeah. Sent Nathan Haas for 10 hour ride. Mm hmm. That’s, uh, he doesn’t do 10 hour races. But he’s such a trained athlete actually. Just kind of what he needed in terms of increasing your volume. Again, this is a big opinion thing. Of how much can you tolerate something you hear? Coaches throw out a lot. This is what was told to me when I was trying to raise my level is year to year increase in volume about 120 to 125% of the previous year. Mm hmm. So that’s probably a good benchmark. But where I’m going to go with this is it is always about balance between volume and recovery. So again, to give an example, if you are sitting on a beach in Hawaii with nothing to do, you could probably go out and train 2025 hours and come out of the week feeling relatively good. If you’re on a week where work is really stressful, you’re fighting with your spouse, the kids are yelling and screaming. Eight hours might kill you.

Chris Case  17:46

Mm hmm. you’re describing my life to a T, Trevor. Just kidding.

Trevor Connor  17:51

Yeah. Didn’t you go for a four hour ride in Locklin? Yesterday?

Chris Case  17:54

I did. So my wife encouraged me.

Trevor Connor  17:57

Yes. Which is good. So it’s depends. It depends on what else is going on in your life. And he correctly identified this, he’s on a bit of a furlough, he has more time to recover so he can increase the volume, but how much he can increase his relative to how much recovery he can get, if he had just spent all day on the couch every day, probably increase it relatively significantly. So when I’m dealing with this with athletes, what I look for them to do is assess how they’re feeling through the week. And they’ve really increased the volume and they are feeling really tired all the time and perpetually fatigued, you go, it’s probably too much. If they increase the volume and they’re going. Yeah, I’m feeling still like I typically would come in out of a week, then it’s probably appropriate.

Chris Case  18:44

Yeah. Once again, it goes back to the notion that there is no single metric or number or any piece of data that you can look at and say follow this line. It’s a linear relationship. Do that and you’ll be okay. No, you You have to listen to your own body. You have to assess some different sensations. You have to take in a lot of information and make some judgments on your own based on yourself, your situation, and so forth.

Trevor Connor  19:14

The last little bit of that question was the increased length of rides versus increased the frequency of rides. Cycling is a bit of a unique sport or most other Endurance Sports as they try to increase their overall volume. athletes will add more workouts and will never have particularly long workouts so runners might run twice a day. Yeah. skiers, rowers will all do multiple workouts through a day. Cycling is that rare sport where we just go I’m gonna go out for a six seven hour ride. There’s good physiological arguments for both. I do think with cycling, you do need that periodic long ride. Yeah, otherwise Yeah, you can get you you can get a lot of your training just by doing that. The multiple workouts, and that’s a real change for me, I used to be very big on. If you’re going to do five hours in a day you do it all on one ride. But I’ve just been seeing increasingly more evidence both in the research and with athletes are getting great results with the during the two days. So I am changing my opinion a bit on that.

Chris Case  20:23

So if you’re Preston, or if you’re working with Preston, and I know you don’t like to just sort of deal with a single athlete in a vacuum without all the information and things but would you tell him to do long rides in a traditional way, so to speak, where he’s riding long on Saturday and Sunday and fitting in other stuff during the weekdays, or would you have him? Because it sounds like he can do long rides on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, or does it really go back to it depends.

Trevor Connor  20:56

I like to train in blocks so if somebody has all the time in the world, like when I’m working with somebody that this is their job. I like the two three day blocks. And I like to go from intensity to volume. So good block might be do some interval work on Tuesday, and now I’m talking let’s high level Pro. Yeah, do some really high quality interval work on Tuesday. Do something a little lower quality on Wednesday, maybe you’re getting close to season a little bit sweetspot work, go to get some climbing work in and then Thursday is go and get that that five, six hour ride and then take a break on Friday. And then do a two three day block Saturday or Sunday or Saturday through Monday. Mm hmm. The reason I do in that order, it’s very hard when you’re fatigued, to do high quality. So do the high quality when you’re rested, do the volume when you got a little fatigue. Right. Right. And that’s how I’ve always liked to train but I’ve seen a lot of different approaches. There’s also a arguments for if you’re a stage racer, you need to learn how to do some interval work. You do some actually get some fatigue in the legs, then do some interval work to train your bodies how to handle it. So there’s a lot of different variations. But I like the do two, three, or if your top pro even four day block, then get a little recovery, and then more and I like to finish it with that long ride.

Topical Bicarbonate Products

Chris Case  22:23

All right, next question. And I know this is going to be another one that you’re gonna surprise some people with maybe, let’s hope this question comes from Jim Rakowski. And it’s about topical bicarbonate products, which are becoming much more popular these days. There’s amp human, there’s some other brands that I’m blanking on, but they’re becoming more and more popular. So Jim’s question is I have a question about products like amp human. I tried it the other day on a mountain bike ride and it lives up to what it’s advertised to do. I hardly felt any burn in my legs. During the ride, although I was still limited by my fitness and was just as tired at the end of that as I would any ride without using the AMP human lotion. So my question is, being the product buffers the burn from lactate, would that be detrimental for adaptation? I know the body needs inflammation to cause adaptations to train. Wouldn’t this be the same with the body learning, quote, unquote, adapting to buffer lactate build up in the muscles? Say I’m doing workout with three minute v2 max intervals? Would it be better to just let my body adapt naturally? Or should I use the lotion to go at it a little harder intensity? Would it be better to use this product just during races and hard rides and not for specific high intensity workouts? So a lot to unpack there. Maybe we start with I bet you’ve looked into the research on some of these topical bi carbonate products and what is the research saying?

Trevor Connor  23:56

Let me take a step back before I Specifically get to topical bicarbonate. And I will try to find this this review. But one of the big sports bodies actually did a review of all the different supplements the research out that exists on the different types of supplements and categorize them into different levels from this definitely has performance benefits down to this supplement belongs on a infomercial at 2am. telling you it’s gonna dramatically change your life. Yeah, ignore it. In the top category of definitely has benefits. There were three things

Chris Case  24:36

Mm hmm. And I do remember we’ve talked about this before on the show because we’ve talked about some of these particular products.

Trevor Connor  24:43

Yep. There were three there was a conditional fourth, but the three the absolute three were caffeine. Mm hmm. Definitely performance enhancing but not beyond about 200 milligrams.

Chris Case  24:54

Yeah. So be clear about that.

Trevor Connor  24:56

Yeah, the good old days and people are taking the thousand milligrams supplement And having a heart attack on the start line. Not so good. Not so good creatine, but more for strength oriented sports not really beneficial to endurance sports. Mm hmm. And the third was sodium bicarbonate. And again, very short lifespan, it was only really beneficial in events that were up to about eight minutes. And you had to take it right before the event. Mm hmm. So for rowing events, things like that for track events, it could be beneficial for a prologue Time Trial can be beneficial for a five hour race. No, yeah. The other issue is sodium bicarbonate is it causes a lot of digestive issues, right. So you see there when this came out a lot of people in the past when Oh, this is gonna be really beneficial. So they’re taking baking powder or whatever it was an hour before the race, having all sorts of digestive issues. Where’s that body? By the time they actually got to the race? all the benefits are gone. Yeah. So they knew there was something to it. But yeah, hard to hard to execute. The one that was conditionally beneficial was l glutamine. And the reason it’s conditional is because in a normal state, we have enough l glutamine in our bodies, we produce enough that you don’t need to supplement with it. But if you are in a heavy endurance block, like at a stage race or you’re doing a big training camp, we can deplete our stores so there is a ergo genic benefit to it when you are when you are going really hard and depleting your natural sources. Going back to bicarbonate, the reason it is beneficial is when your body is producing assets. So when you are going hard and sub your your anaerobic fibers, you Your fast twitch fibers are pumping hydrogen ions out into your blood. Your body has to buffer that somehow, and it has natural bicarbonate that allows it to buffer. So consuming some bicarbonate adds to your body’s store of bicarbonate. And that allows you to buffer the acid a little better. So it means that high intensities above threshold intensity, you can go a little harder, a little longer. And that’s been demonstrated. So again, the issue with consuming it digestive issues short life,

Chris Case  27:36

right. So these being these being topical, the is the mechanism any different.

Trevor Connor  27:42

Yes. And we actually looked into this, did some research on it. And I was very skeptical. I really thought putting on your skin it’s you’re not going to absorb it. This is kind of silly. It’s not gonna work and then read a bunch of studies and lo and behold It’s actually proven to be beneficial. So the nice sides about the topical alignment are a, it lasts much longer because it’s slow absorbing gotcha B, it never gets to your guts so you don’t have the digestive issues. So if you are going to, let’s say you’re doing a crit or some sort of really high intensity event, and you want a little bit more buffering, there seems to be something to these topical bicarbonate appointments, right? Still new, the research is still new, but that seems to be where it’s heading, what the direction is pointing.

Chris Case  28:36

And so they probably at this point, there’s no definitive answer as to how long it might have benefits whereas the the oral version that you would eat or last what he said eight minutes, this topical stuff because it’s being absorbed more slowly. Maybe it’s a half an hour, maybe it’s an hour. We don’t know that.

Trevor Connor  28:59

Yeah. last longer. And I definitely read some studies that showed that. And I’m trying to remember what they were showing, but you were talking hour plus. Okay? I read enough research to say, there seems to be something to this, that there does seem to be some benefits. Again, they need to do more research to really see how much how long. All those questions. It’s new. Hmm. But that surprised me. I was really expecting to read the research and go this is ridiculous and got the opposite.

Chris Case  29:33

The curmudgeonly skeptic that Trevor is he doesn’t want to endorse any products.

Trevor Connor  29:39

Well, I’m not a huge supplement fan.

Chris Case  29:41

I get it. I get it. I understand completely, but it’s good. It’s good that you’re also saying, Well, hey, your science says that I’m not my my initial assumptions were wrong. So let’s look into this. Let’s see what benefits there are.

Trevor Connor  29:54

You got to follow this. The science I’m going to be curmudgeonly and not use it myself.

Chris Case  29:59

Sure, I also understand that hey, you said caffeine was one of the three that’s proven to have effects and well, there’s other ways to get caffeine but you’re not the guy drinking coffee for every ride or race. You’re just not going to do it.

Trevor Connor  30:15

First ever NRC race I ever did. I bought a caffeine supplement.

Chris Case  30:20

Uh oh, here we go

Trevor Connor  30:21

To see if it would help me. Oh, didn’t for me personally. No, it did not. Okay. But no, it has been proven to be beneficial. Yeah, I just found it made me feel really awful. Mm hmm. And that was about it. Okay. But I’m also I’m not a coffee drinker. So yeah, I think I’ve already told my story on here but the first time I ever had caffeine was in college. Because I didn’t drink Coke or Pepsi or any of those things as a kid and I I will pretty much Yeah, no, I pulled an all nighter. I had no work to do. I was just running up and down my dorm knocking on the door asking people to come play with

Chris Case  31:01

his two bad iPhones or foot camera phones with cameras.

Trevor Connor  31:05

Not in funny. I think back then in college, everybody had dry erase boards on their front doors. Yes, you could write notes on it because we couldn’t text one another. So finally, when nobody would come out and play with me, I went to everybody’s door and drew pictures on their dry earse.

Chris Case  31:24

Wow. All right.

Trevor Connor  31:26

So that’s caffeine. That was perhaps in that case, performance enhancing. There you go. You could look at it that way. So going back to the final part of this question of should you use this for a workout? That’s a really good question. And I would love to see some research on this. So this is just brainstorming right now, because I haven’t read any research on this. Yeah, are very limited. I would say it’s not black and white. Mm hmm. But the fact of the matter is, if it’s allowing you to buffer Better. It means that if you go out and do high intensity intervals, you can do them harder. You can do them longer. So that’s a greater stress stimulus, right. So there are potential gains to using it. His question though is if you are giving your body and exoticness bicarbonate does that then have your prevent your body from building its own buffering capacity, and there might actually be some legitimacy to that. So it’s a if you’re doing work that’s designed to help your body’s natural buffering, don’t use it, but that’s not your really high intensity. What time trial is due to build their buffering capacity is actually training just sub threshold right? often at hike locations, right? If you’re doing the really high intensity stuff. That’s probably not an issue. My bigger concern with doing it with doing high intensity intervals with topical bicarbonate is that allows you to go so hard. You push yourself over the edge. Right?

Chris Case  33:06

Yeah. Well, that leads to a whole other list of issues that we we don’t have time to get into. But yeah, I would, I would fear the same thing like you’re you just end up going so hard that the workout becomes counterproductive, right in some way.

Trevor Connor  33:25

Okay, well, very good

Performance and Health Variables of Refined Sugar

Chris Case  33:27

The next question is all about the great subject of sugar comes from Ryan Bates in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He writes, I’ve read Dr. Robert Lustig, his book Fat chance where he lays out that refined sugar is basically poison. I don’t remember all the biological mechanisms but basically eating sugar without natural fiber, from say a fruit or vegetable to buffer its absorption into the bloodstream creates all kinds of problems. Over time you become insulin tolerant, which is the route to diabetes. And other mechanisms that cause your body to lay down adipose around the liver and belly. Okay, fair enough. He goes on and writes yet on long rides, we generally have to consume tons of refined sugar to replace lost carbs. During my five hour ride over the weekend, for example, I consumed a bunch of sugary stuff. I would never touch off the bike sports drinks, cookies, gels, he actually writes I still bonked exclamation point. So here is the question. Do endurance athletes have to be concerned about the body wrecking effects of refined sugar consumed during long energy depleting efforts? Does consuming refined sugar during exercise still have the same insulin sensitivity effects as when sedentary? Big question, Trevor, where should we start?

Trevor Connor  34:54

I’m going to start by saying this is an absolutely huge question and probably a really good one to do an episode on. I think So, to answer this question, I’m just going to touch on a few things here without really getting into the complexity, which is why I think this would be an absolutely great episode. So there’s two sides of this question. One is the performance side. The other is the health side. So which one would you like to start with?

Chris Case  35:24

Let’s start with performance. Okay.

Trevor Connor  35:29

So in terms of performance, absolutely. This has been demonstrated. We’ve had Dr. Holly on the show talking specifically about this. We did have a whole episode on carbohydrates and performance. And it’s pretty conclusive in the literature that if you are doing a sport that has high intensity in it, so a bike race, yes, we can talk about all the fat burning when the fields going slow, but when you get towards the end of that race, or if you’re in a crit, you have to go really hard. And it has been shown that without proper glycogen stores without the carbohydrates in your diet, you get blunted, you lose that ability to go really hard. So if you’re a race across America rider, if you’re Ironman triathlete, probably not as important. And you don’t have to focus as much on the carbohydrates as a bike racer. No, you you need them. That’s just where the research is at.

Chris Case  36:34

And for anybody that wants to listen to that episode with Dr. Holly, it’s Episode 23. Way back in the Time Machine.

Trevor Connor  36:42

Yes. So then the second question for performance. Do you need to be having a giant pass the party’s trying to force down 700 grams of carbohydrates a day? packing him wherever you can. I don’t think so. Hmm, that’s certainly not panning out. Also, I will mention we recently had Dr. Youcame Group on the show, and he talked about our absorption rates and they’re not that high. So he recommends consuming 90 grams of carbohydrates per hour in an event. You can do the math on what that works out to. It’s not a ton. Mm hmm. Really, most people can’t even absorb that.

Chris Case  37:25

Yeah, that it takes some getting used to getting up to that level, I should say.

Trevor Connor  37:30

There are all these fancy products. And again, we’re gonna kill any potential for sponsorship here. But most of these products are just candy with better marketing. Mm hmm. Yep. So they have a slightly better mix often of glucose to fructose to aid the absorption but that’s really about it. And this whole the thing that caught my attention, Chris, you mentioned this as well that caught your tension is bringing up this we have to write he uses in the question, he specifically uses those words, we have to consume tons of refined sugar. Well, that’s not true. So that’s the question, do you and I haven’t seen the evidence for that. That’s the belief. That’s what’s been pushed. That’s certainly what’s been marketed. I don’t see the evidence for that. There. You have to have some you need to have some carbohydrates. But the evidence that you have to consume tons of refined sugars, just not there. Yeah, I have certainly noticed. I mean, I used to be one of those some talking anecdotally. I used to be one of those consumes seven 800 grams of carbohydrates a day and I got through all refined sugars. I’ve now dropped down to consuming 150 200 grams per day. So I’m certainly not going keto or anything like that. Yeah. And I get it mostly Through more natural sources, and if anything, my performance improved, it didn’t go down. Yeah. And I’ve seen that with a lot of other athletes who have experienced the same thing and just said, You know what, we don’t necessarily need it. I’ve seen a lot of high level athletes that are making sure they’re getting their carbohydrates, but they aren’t consuming the tons of refined sugars out on the rides. Certainly in a race. It helps your digestive systems breaking down you don’t want complex foods. So you when you’re going that hard, having something that’s simpler helps certainly drink mixes help. And you don’t want to not do that and train in suddenly do it in a race. Yeah, yeah, that’ll kill you. So you do need some in training.

Chris Case  39:46

I think the the one thing to be pointed out here is for some people, it might feel like they have to consume tons because their body is used to that and and is driven by that. But with some experimentation and it’s not even that much experimentation, you could transition yourself off of a lot of this stuff this crap onto, you know, call it real food, call it Whole Foods call it just better foods and you do just fine especially on your long rides where you’re going a bit mellower, it’s, it’s a really pleasant thing to do, instead of reaching for yet more gels or more crap like that.

Trevor Connor  40:30

Remember, any change to your diet, your body is initially going to respond negatively to even a positive change. Yeah. So that’s kind of the catch 22 here is somebody will go I need to stop consuming less simple sugars, which they’ve been consuming a lot of so they reduce it, and then they start feeling crappy. Mm hmm. Yeah, that’s gonna happen in the short run. But the question is, after a few weeks, where do you go? How do you feel after that? Hopefully we will do this episode and then we’ll bring in a lot of the research. But anecdotally, with myself with a lot of my athletes, I tried to have all of us get our carbohydrates or fruits and vegetables, which are a little more complex, which have a lot of other nutrients to it. And once they adjust, you know, they they recover better. It doesn’t impact their recovery. So you just don’t really see that need. So short answer is yes. I don’t think you can perform at your highest level without some carbohydrates. You don’t need the tons and tons of simple sugar.

Chris Case  41:38

Yeah. And this actually referred made me think of Peter coach’s answer from the last q&a episode that we did where he said, you know, he’s a professional. He’s He’s racing a lot but right now being on lockdown not not racing a lot. He’s sees this as an opportunity to sort of reset his system go back to better healthier sources have all the nutrients he needs. And I would encourage Ryan to maybe try that same thing right now, if you can and get off of some of this stuff that he feels like his body needs or that that his body relies on right now to transition off of that onto better sources of fuel. Right.

Trevor Connor  42:22

So do we want to tackle the other side then?

Chris Case  42:24

Yeah, also, I think we must. We must. It’s a very, I mean, it’s a critical component here. And it’s obviously very complex, but let’s touch upon it.

Trevor Connor  42:34

Yep. So it is very complex. It is a long story. I think what might be interesting is just to give a little bit of the history. So back in the 50s and 60s, they started to do research on the effects of simple sugar on heart disease. And there was an increasing body of research creates a number of studies showing that simple sugars does contribute to heart disease? Obviously, there were a lot of people in the food industry who didn’t like that. They didn’t want that known. And so there was research funded in the 70s and early 80s by the sugar Consortium, and I know this all sounds very, very conspiratorial, right? I only ever bring this up because actually, this was published, I believe it was in JAMA, but it was a very high, highly respected, peer reviewed journal, looking at the communications Mm hmm. And showing that the basically the sugar industry didn’t like this. So they hired some researchers to look at the effects. Not to say sugar is bad, good for the heart. But just to point the finger elsewhere to look at fat Yes, point that finger on. That research led to the trend in the 80s and 90s. Have fat as bad for you.

Chris Case  44:02

high carb diets low fat everything with that stuffers dinners.

Trevor Connor  44:07

Yes. And if you look at the trends in obesity in North America, it really you saw it skyrocket when the the recommendations became avoid fat, avoid fat, it’s bad for you, it’s bad for your heart, etc, etc. Because of that a lot of that increased sugar consumption. I could go forever about all the different negative impacts simple sugar has been shown to contribute to inflammation, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, these are all inflammatory diseases. And there is now they’re going back and looking at the effects of sugar on these diseases and the research is pretty damning. It’s simple sugar is not good for you another, you know, just to give you a visual table sugar high fructose corn syrup are both high in fructose. A lot of the junk food that you get is high in fructose. fructose is different from glucose. It has different transporters your body absorbs it differently has its own unique transporters, and it goes directly to your liver. It’s only in your liver that you can process fructose, so it’s processing glycolysis. We talk about that all the time because your body uses glycolysis for rapid energy. But we’re glucose goes through the entire process of glycolysis. fructose doesn’t fructose enters about halfway in. It enters right below a enzyme called fossa fructose kinase, which is the rate limiter of glycolysis. Which means that when fructose hits the liver, your liver processes it processes it maximally has no ability to control it. So if you consume a lot of fructose, it’s all gonna get processed. And then you end up with the end product of glycolysis. Which then your body goes, Well what do I do with this? And it’s got a couple choices. One is it can pump it out of your cells as lactate. The other one is converted to fat. And in recent years, you are seeing something that’s never been seen before, which is all these children with fatty liver disease, which 20-30 years ago or something, you only saw a middle aged man who drank a lot. Mm hmm. So these are some of the wonderful things that simple sugars do.

Chris Case  46:45

Yuck. So as much as you can off the bike, and at all times in your life, when you’re not needing those simple sugars to go really hard on a bike, you should be eating you know, just eating as well. As you can try not to take let let the the cravings you might have on the bike carry over to everyday life. And before we move on to our next question there is this last question from our listener, does consuming refined sugar during exercise still have the same insulin sensitivity effects as when senate sedentary? What’s the short answer to that question, Trevor?

Trevor Connor  47:27

You which is a really good question. So obviously, the health impact that most people know about what sugar is the fact that it causes insulin insensitivity can lead to diabetes. If you over consume, it’s a matter of fact I’ve heard in the south, they actually refer to diabetes as getting the sugar. So when you are on the bike, when you’re exercising and going hard, your body I’ve covered the full explanation behind this, I think on previous episodes, so just the very short version, when you’re going hard, your body essentially shuts down the insulin response. So if you consume simple sugars, insulin really isn’t elevated. So you don’t get that negative side effect. Likewise, I just talked about fructose, when you’re sitting on the couch, your body’s got nothing to do with that fructose. When you’re training hard and you’re depleting your glycogen, you’re bleeding your glucose stores, your body will start doing something called gluconeogenesis. And basically convert it back to glucose and pump it out to your cells so that your cells can use it fuel. So it doesn’t just sit in your liver with your liver and not want you know, wondering what to do with it. Right? Right. So you don’t have quite as many negative effects which is part of why I say when you’re on the bike, some simple sugar is okay. But I would say definitely when you’re off the bike, it’s something to avoid.

Chris Case  49:03

Yep, absolutely. Except cookies,

Trevor Connor  49:07

or Swedish Fish. Definitely we didn’t bring up Swedish Fish. That whole conversation.

Unknown Speaker  49:12

I know that you’ve sort of turned a corner and and

Trevor Connor  49:16

this amount of nerds.

Chris Case  49:18

You’re on to the nerds. Do you want to talk about your recent experience with sugar Trevor?

Trevor Connor  49:23

Oh boy.

Chris Case  49:25

Let’s let’s say Trevor isn’t perfect. I am not sometimes he has sugar too.

Trevor Connor  49:31

But this is actually an example of what we were talking about of getting used to it.

Chris Case  49:36

Yeah. The quote addictive properties.

Trevor Connor  49:39

It is very addictive and we haven’t since we start up this business been working hard. There certainly a correlation between your stress and sleep deprived that you don’t eat as well which I have been going through case study. So I have been letting my diet slip a little bit and I was on a six hour, six hour ride on Saturday. Probably consumed about 1100 calories of simple sugars that I shouldn’t have consumed and the whole time is that they’re going I know I shouldn’t but Screw it.

Chris Case  50:08

Sometimes you just have to, right.

Trevor Connor  50:10

But I can tell you last year getting ready for my target race. I was probably on the best form I’ve been on in four years. And I wasn’t doing that at all. Yeah, I did a little bit the couple weeks leading into the race because I knew that just for convenience sake, I was gonna be using Clif blocks. Mm hmm. As my fuel for the races. So I just needed to be I need to get my body adapted to it before the race, but I was eating more complex foods and not eating the candy. The whole build up and I was the best form I’ve been on in years.

Group Rides Place in Training Approaches

Chris Case  50:43

Yeah, yep. Yeah, there’s so many examples of not needing this stuff to perform at your best and we’ve gone on at length about that and in different ways in different episodes, but yes, an episode upcoming on the topic of sugar as a whole will be, would be great. So I think we should do that. I agree. All right, let’s get into our next question which has to do with group rides and the polarized approach. It comes from john Carlo Bianchi. He’s actually from Boulder, Colorado. He writes, what are your thoughts on how a group ride fits into the polarized approach? Do they count as a day of intensity? Or as part of that 20% of sessions as he says, If so, and say you do two group rides on the weekend, are you pretty much doing zone one training the rest of the week? Obviously, we’re talking about a three zone model here.

Trevor Connor  51:44

This is actually a complex answer. I wrote him a reply, and I rewrote it twice. And I’m still not certain my reply made sense. Because there are two important questions to ask if an athlete came to me and said can I include Group riding my train. One is what type of group ride it is because there’s the group ride that’s supposed to be the training ride. And then there’s the group ride that is just a flat out race. You just don’t register for it. Yeah. So that’s one question, which is it? The second question is, Are you trying to use this for effective training? Or is this your focus? So for example, I coach an athlete right now has never had a race license. He is competitive. He wants to perform really well. Never had a race license. His race is a Saturday morning group ride.

Chris Case  52:36

My assumption here for john Carlos question would be he defines group rides as fast rides, not just social group rides. He’s he’s referring to group rides here and they sort of on the race side of things. And I would say he’s up he wants to know how to incorporate them into training because he’s a racer.

Trevor Connor  52:58

So let’s just start with dispelling a belief. I’m not going to say this never happens. But when somebody tells you, oh, there’s this group ride going on, it’s controlled. It’s training pace. We don’t race. That’s close to delusional, right? That just rarely exists on group rides, group rides. Ego always comes out. It always gets hard, you hit a little climb, people go hard to stop it. Some lights, people sprint out of the lights. It is rare that a group ride is a true steady, controlled pace.

Chris Case  53:41

It’s true. And obviously, not everybody in that group ride is built the same. So for one person, it might seem medium paced. For another person, it might be super hard.

Trevor Connor  53:54

So the simplest version I’m going to give to the answer is if you are going to a group ride to get some base miles. Bad idea. Yeah, it just isn’t going to work out that way, it’s going to be harder, you’re going to tend to be in that in between place you’re not. So if we’re talking about the three zone model, it’s not zone one. It’s not zone three. It’s averages out to zone two. But if you look at it, it’s just little bits of all three all over the place. Yeah. And you know, my bias, right? My personal biases, I don’t like that hit every system a little bit type training. Mm hmm. So the group ride is just all over the map. And like I said, if it’s a group ride, it’s not a declared this is a training race, but just the group ride. It’s probably also not hard enough to actually be really good high quality intensity either. So it’s just as in between thing that I don’t think you get a lot of gains from and I can tell you I personally avoid them like the plague. If my athletes using them for training and they go to them I usually have a talk with them. And if I can get athletes to stop doing that, you tend to see an improvement in their performance because the these are just, this is the black hole of in between writing. If your goal is training that’s a really good thing to avoid. We’ll get to a minute of is that your focus? Is that what you love? And talk about how to how to deal with that. Yeah, for right now, if you’re like, I need a good bass miles training ride I’m going to go the group ride. Don’t do it. rethink it. Yeah. Let’s talk about the other type, which is the training race. Yeah. And I think they can be great training, great high intensity, often we can go harder than we would in any sort of interval session. They can be more fun, they’re more exciting. And also, they’re a great lead in but if you are a licensed racer, they’re a great way to get some intensity Before the season to get some race intensity before the season at low cost. Last thing you want to do is drive three hours to a race, pay $80 for it and get popped in the first 10 minutes because you got no racing in your legs, where you can go to the local group rides, throw down for the three weeks leading up to that, get that race intensity and be ready for your event. So I think that can be great high intensity training. But yes, it is high intensity.

Chris Case  56:32

Yeah, it’d be fun to do an episode on the best training races in the country. maybe it’d be cool to have our listeners send in their nominations for the best training races. Oh, that’s a US. That’s a good question.

So the three that I will call out, yeah, Swamis. Mm hmm. Down in California. Yep, that’s one heck of a ride the shootout in Tucson. And then Believe it or not the override in Fort Collins. Yeah, those are I’ve done training races all over the country or all over North America. Yeah. Those are the three that I look at is going. Those just set the standards.

There’s legitimate training races. Not this in between stuff

Trevor Connor  57:17

It’s not that they’re legitimate train races. Yeah, those three are just at a level of Yep. Oh my god. I’m hanging on for dear life. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. This is harder than the actual races. I do. Yeah. Type training races. Yeah, they’re fantastic. I will tell you, when I do a training race, that’s actually what I look for. I don’t go to a training race to train it smart. I go to it to train it hard. Sure. What I’m paying for a race and I care about it. I will race smart. Mm hmm. But I actually if I’m going to do a training race to get my legs ready for the race season. I want it to hurt more than a race does.

Chris Case  57:54

Yeah, exactly. And try things too. It’s it’s an opportunity to try things. If you’re looking to do something different in your in race environment, go to a training race first and try something out.

Trevor Connor 58:06

And now there is, we should point out there is this new opportunity, which I think is fantastic with the virtual race with something like Swift. The issue you still have with the training race, or with races that you pay for, is you get to try something, but if it fails, you’re out the back. And it’s another week before you can try something different. So I have an athlete right now that we are working on his tactics, we are working on his ability to navigate the field be in the right place at the right time. Lots of different sides of his strategy, so I’ve been getting on Swift with him. And probably some people that are watching my strategy going, what the heck is going on? Well, what we’ve been doing is all sorts of practice. We join a race. We get to that critical moment he tries something it works or doesn’t work. Then we pull out of that race. And sure enough, there’s another race Five minutes later, we jump it in the next race. Yeah, we try something different. We try something again. And we’ve had a few of these Saturdays where we’ve jumped into five, six different races. And in one morning, got the sort of practice that used to take you six weeks. Yeah. Interesting. And his progress has been amazing. So there is these opportunities. That’s really low risk. You don’t have to leave your house.

Chris Case 59:33

Yeah. And there’s races going all the time. Push a few buttons, enter another race.

Trevor Connor  59:33

Yep. So that’s, I want to explore that more. But that is a great opportunity to go get some really good intensity, get some practice, you know, obviously, racing on Swift is not quite the same as on the road. For example, you can ride through people don’t try that out on the road. Won’t go as well.

Chris Case  59:55

Bad race etiquette.

Trevor Connor  59:57

Yeah. So one of the things you have in real race Which is a valuable tactic is the whole blocking is boxing people in it’s the sitting on the front. So nobody can jump around on Swift. They just ride right through you.

Chris Case  1:00:10

Yeah, they do need to work on that aspect of it. In my limited experience with swift I already know like, Hey, I shouldn’t be able to just barge my way right to the front by just pedaling

Trevor Connor  1:00:21

that would be really interesting. If they built the ability to crash one another out is

Chris Case  1:00:27

probably not too far away.

Trevor Connor  1:00:30

It would make for something different, but at the same time, it makes the racing a little bit harder. It makes it tougher, a lot of tactics that you could pull to when you’re hurting make the race easier. You can’t pull so again, as somebody who likes training races to really go and hurt myself. They’re great.

Chris Case  1:00:52

Yeah, just don’t overdo it people.

Trevor Connor  1:00:55

The whole doing six races in a row. I don’t want to do that too many weeks.

Chris Case  1:01:01

To get back to john Carlos question, I think the the simple answer here so his last question being, say you do two group rides on the weekend and let’s assume he means I’m going to go to these group rides and they’re actually going to be training races. If he does that two days in a row then yeah the rest of his week should be pretty mellow Don’t you think?

Trevor Connor  1:01:22


Chris Case  1:01:23

fit with the polarized approach.

Trevor Connor  1:01:24

I’m also not huge on the due to training races Saturday on Sunday. Yeah, unless you’re much stage racer and you want to get some practice with that. I would personally rather go on Saturday hit the group ride destroy myself and then just get a good base miles ride on Sunday.

Chris Case  1:01:42

Do the big the big mountainous ride if you’re near mountains just go up and do it that way.

Trevor Connor  1:01:48

When I was coaching up in Toronto, the group rides are very popular because trains not great so the way you can get your enjoyment is go out to the group right and and I worked with a lot of athletes. who are doing the two every weekend, and often also doing one or two during the week. And you saw exactly what you would expect was you would turn into this in between thing where they would sort of go hard, not go really hard. And I remember going out to some of those weekend group rides. And even though it’s a three hour ride, it was again, kind of all over the map and I apologize Oh, my Toronto friends are listening to this right now. But the actual race portion was 45 ish minutes. And you didn’t see a lot of race tactics. It was much more we’re just gonna ramp up the pace of a group ride too hard, but nobody was attacking nobody’s pulling tactics. And that was because I think a lot of us because you were seeing the fatigue and the legs. Yep. So every once in a while some of the local pros would show up. And what you would see them do is they are right was earlier I was called. So here’s the theme in Toronto they had, the donut was the original Toronto ride. The ride that I did a lot was the bagel than the croissant, which was the user group ride, and it just kept going down from there. But a lot of the pros would come to the bagel. Go and hit that kind of hard. And then if you you could time it. As soon as the you hit the end of the racing portion of the bagel. You can Beeline over, catch the donut, and then race the donut. And then all of a sudden you had something where you were getting a lot of good intensity. You’re getting a good hard workout, and it was valuable, but I wouldn’t see them do that two days in a row. Mm hmm.

Chris Case  1:03:41

Yeah. Yeah. Perhaps that’s a poor assumption on my part to believe that john Carlos asking to do two training races on a weekend but we covered all our bases by answering it in a lot of different ways. So I hope that helps, john.

Trevor Connor  1:03:57

Well, there is one other so we did. We talked about using for training, yeah. Now let’s talk about this is your focus. Okay? Like my athlete. Yeah. You have to have some fun for you riding with other people’s a lot of fun. We’re telling you ride solo all the time. Yeah, then you’re not really going to enjoy it. So and again is is your enjoyment the training race? Or is your enjoyment the the group ride? If your enjoyment of the group ride just like to go out with people, then yeah, you got to have your fun, but it’s not high quality training. So I wouldn’t say do that every day. I would say pick once or twice a week that you do that except that you’re not going to hit the sort of fitness that you could have hit. But you enjoy this. You enjoy riding with some people and make the rest of your week valuable. And maybe you can do things like limit the portion with the group, find ways to make it hard or you can do unique things like go do some intervals and then hit the group ride or do some intervals after the group ride. So you can call it your high intensity day, or ride with them for an hour and then separate and go do some good zone one training, right? Lots of different ways, but just accept the fact that this that portion is you’re doing it for enjoyment, not for the quality of the training, right? If your focus is the training race, like my one athlete, the Saturday morning group ride the donut right up in Toronto, that is his event, then we don’t use it all year round. I don’t have him going to it in December. So we treat it like a race season. And when he’s going to it, we treat it like a race. We do race prep for it. We build the week around it. And then that event, it’s not about what’s the portion of training. It’s not about how to optimize it for training. It’s, this is your race, go race it and we’ll figure out the rest of the week.

Heart Rate: Running verse Cycling

Chris Case  1:05:56

Yeah. Our next question comes from Gina G. Jackson, who I must note is originally from the great nation of Canada, but now lives in southern Germany. She writes, I’m a longtime runner turned triathlete. Over the past few years have tried training, I’ve noticed that my heart rate when Cycling is significantly lower than my heart rate when running for a given Rpe. For example, my average heart rate during a 20 minutes cycling FTP test is about 12 beats lower than a 20 minute running time trial. Even when subjectively I’m the same amount of almost dead at the end. I’ve read that this is common, but I was wondering if you could explain why. And perhaps more importantly, does it matter?

Trevor Connor  1:06:43

I’m sure there are other factors, but I’m just going to give the simple main answer, which is in running, you’re using more muscles. So if you think about it, if you’re positioned well on your bike, your legs are doing a lot of work, but your upper body should be fairly relaxed. You’re really just using your arms to support a little bit of weight. And like I said, if you’re positioned, well, that’s pretty minimal. So it’s all in your legs. And your legs can only demand so much blood, right? When you are running, you use your arms, so you have more muscle tissue that is requiring blood. So your heart has to beat faster for the same sort of perceived effort. And this is part of the reason. You look at cross country skiers who really use their arms, right? You see the highest vo to max values and cross country skiers because of that need for blood flow. So a lot of the good training software out there will actually allow you to have cycling and running heart rate zones, accounting for the fact that Yes, she is right. Generally for running for the same relative intensity. You’re going to be higher up to 10 beats per minute.

Chris Case  1:08:05

That was another episode of Fast Talk. As always, we love your feedback. Email us at Fast Talk at Fast Talk Labs comm or record a voice memo on your phone and send it our way. Subscribe to Fast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcasts. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talker are those of the individual for Coach Trevor Connor. I’m Chris case. Thanks for listening.