Mountain biker and gravel cyclist Payson McElveen describes this road routine as one of his favorites for working VO2max to peak before a race. The session involves indeterminate sets of 1 minute on/1 minute off during a climb of about 20-30 minutes, ending at the summit.
“Rather than going in knowing that I have 10 one-minute efforts, it’s like well, you have as many one-minute efforts as it takes,” he says.
McElveen likes to set a target power to stay at or above, rather than a training zone or threshold level. For him, it’s 500 watts, but the target can be adjusted depending on the steepness of the grade and rider’s fitness.
The specifics of the climb are also dictated by what terrain is available. If there are no accessible climbs, this can be done at home on a favorite Zwift climb. The goal is to either complete the sets by the summit or until the average power dips 10% below the target.
By having the distance dictate the number of sets, McElveen says it forces the rider to rise to the occasion.
“There’s something that I find really motivating by going really hard for that minute and then only having a minute to recover and you’re trying to recover while you’re still climbing,” McElveen says. “The emotion kind of drives you to a little bit of a higher-quality workout.”
Workout of the Week: Mountain Blasters
10 min. easy riding over flat or hills with 2 × 20 sec. sprints
Perform on at least a 5% grade:
1 min. @ >400W
1 min. recovery
Repeat for about 20-30 min., until summit or if unable to maintain 10% of target power.
15 min. easy riding after descending