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  1. #1
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    15% ? The racer's edge.

    A friend is coming back after a very serious crash during a TTT. 6 ribs, flail chest, collapsed lung, etc. He's a multi-time US national masters champ. He was off the bike for ~6 weeks but he is already again winning races , despite being down in his power output by what he says is 15%. According to his power logs from previous seasons on the same routes and in the same race courses.

    His contention is that when you train to race, that 15% at the top of your fitness and strength level is all you can/do train. Interesting. Think that is about right? After you get fit enough to figure you could race successfully, you do all your training to pick up a final 15% more performance?

    Don Hanson

  2. #2
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    I don't know that I would agree with that necessarily, but then I'm not sure I completely understand the question/response.

    At the top levels of the sport it's a matter of training that final 1% - 2% since many times that's what separates 1st from the back of the pack.

    However, if we are just talking normal people who go from no activity to lots of riding and specific training...it can be much larger than 15%.

    The other question is what is that "Base" level of fitness one would have and how does anybody know where it is and when they have achieved it? Also we would have to take into account the diminishing returns one will get as they age.

    Overall...there are lots of variables that could play a role in this and making a flat 15% statement I don't think really fits.
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  3. #3
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    The way that 15% was explained was that from your "off-season base fittness level" to top form...that was the 15%..

    So when we in the Northwest shut down for our 'off season' or go to indoor training and the gym during the winter months...we have to 'tune-back" about 15% when we want to come back to best racing form..
    Don Hanson

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarly 928
    The way that 15% was explained was that from your "off-season base fitness level" to top form...that was the 15%..

    So when we in the Northwest shut down for our 'off season' or go to indoor training and the gym during the winter months...we have to 'tune-back" about 15% when we want to come back to best racing form..
    Don Hanson
    With that explanation, I'm not sure I agree with it so much...and it would depend on the level of the racer (and age might factor in).

    For the Pro's, they may try and dial it back that far...though that's a fairly long ways these days, but then they are training for a very specific time span and when they are racing it's pretty intense and hard on the body so it would make a bit more sense.

    However, their jobs are to ride a bike so they can spend tons of hours building their base back up early in the year after taking a month off in the off season...while the rest of us have jobs and can't quite do that.

    Many top level athletes now train year round and don't take the "Off Season" like they used to. They might dial it back a bit, but they are actually trying to make gains in the off season leading into the actual "Season" so they are not losing that 15% any longer and trying to get it back....they are building on what they gained last season and coming in faster, stronger, able to go longer, etc.

    Myself this year...looking at my TT times from February to August I gained about 5-8% over the season and I'm much faster than I was at the beginning of the season here. So I'm far from the 15% gain over the season. Now that could be due to improper training, bad nutrition, etc....but I'd venture to say I made close to the most out of what I had this season.

    My off season will actually be trying to build on the fitness gains this season so I know I won't be dropping back 15% and trying to gain that back for next year (of course I'm not a top level athlete )...If I drop back I'd say it's 2% - 3% over the "Off Season" and trying to put another 5% - 8% back on top of what I can gain over the off season.

    Overall...I would say that most people drop back about 5% (at the most) then build on that for the next season....But that's just my opinion and what I see these days.
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  5. #5
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    numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarly 928
    A friend is coming back after a very serious crash during a TTT. 6 ribs, flail chest, collapsed lung, etc. He's a multi-time US national masters champ. He was off the bike for ~6 weeks but he is already again winning races , despite being down in his power output by what he says is 15%. According to his power logs from previous seasons on the same routes and in the same race courses.

    His contention is that when you train to race, that 15% at the top of your fitness and strength level is all you can/do train. Interesting. Think that is about right? After you get fit enough to figure you could race successfully, you do all your training to pick up a final 15% more performance?

    Don Hanson
    So, if his top form threshold power was 350 watts, after 6 weeks it dropped to 298 watts? That seems like quite a bit. I wonder if the injuries contributed.

    The 15% number seems a bit arbitrary, or maybe unique to his situation. Don't know, but I just don't see the rationale for it being applied universally.
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  6. #6
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    I don't know. I took most of the Spring and Summer off this yea (life happens) and my FTP went from 310 to 265. I've heard a lot larger numbers than 15% bandied about for loss from peak after one month. I'm sure there is a great deal of variation between individuals.

  7. #7
    What offseason?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarly 928
    A friend is coming back after a very serious crash during a TTT. 6 ribs, flail chest, collapsed lung, etc. He's a multi-time US national masters champ. He was off the bike for ~6 weeks but he is already again winning races , despite being down in his power output by what he says is 15%. According to his power logs from previous seasons on the same routes and in the same race courses.

    His contention is that when you train to race, that 15% at the top of your fitness and strength level is all you can/do train. Interesting. Think that is about right? After you get fit enough to figure you could race successfully, you do all your training to pick up a final 15% more performance?

    Don Hanson
    Having been adjacent to your friend's crash when it happened, I'm pleased to see him back so quickly. Dave is an immensely talented rider and I think his many years of racing kept his losses to a minimum. He may lose 15% of his fitness with 6 weeks off-the-bike where a less talented and experienced rider might detrain to a much greater extent. If you're talking a 15% reduction in power during the offseason - that's a big deal. A rider with a FTP of 350w would detrain to 300w. 50w is pretty significant and I don't think it's an ideal situation to lose that much fitness during the offseason.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, I am really glad for him. Shortly after he came home from his week in the hosp. he looked scary-frail and said he'd lost 25lbs since his crash..So, there is the 15% power loss..

    Don Hanson

  9. #9
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    weight loss

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarly 928
    ... said he'd lost 25lbs since his crash...
    I think I need a crash, too. ;-)
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    When my fist clenches, crack it open
    Before I use it and lose my cool
    When I smile, tell me some bad news
    Before I laugh and act like a fool

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