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So I have a question about riding a whole season (April-November) using the the TSS, CTL, ATL, TSB model. In the past I've been able to get to approximately 90 CTL for an extended period of time, and I'm interested in targeting 95 CTL for this year. I reduce my workload in the winter (forced by climate) and come spring I start to ramp up at about 5 CTL/week so as not to do too much too soon.

Eventually, however, I will get to 95 CTL, assuming I don't get hurt or too busy, etc. What's next after that? I suppose I could try to go higher, but at some point there must a training load that is maladaptive.

The way in which training is recommended seems to gravitate to this model of periodization in which training load is constantly progressing to a higher CTL. Does anyone have experience with just keeping a fairly steady training load all season? Does it just not work? Or is there just a limit to the number of weeks you can get away with it? Are rest weeks still important if you aren't adding CTL? In that case would your training load just undulate gently?

I will add as a caveat that I don't have any A, B, or C race preferences. I'd rather be pretty good whenever I race than target something.

My apologies if this has already been answered somewhere.
 

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I've wondered about this myself. A person can get to 95 CTL by riding 13-15 hours a week consistently and have real good fitness. But it can be done with different mesocycles: 16hr, 16hr, 10 hr or 14,14,14 or 20,14,8. They all result with similar CTL but is one mesocycle better (i.e. more adaptation) than another?

I've done seasons with no focus race and with focus races. I definitely like it better with a focus race: build CTL to max couple weeks before and taper, seems to give magical performance. When I've kept a high solid CTL with constant hours and a short taper, it gave me some solid performances but nothing magical. I guess I need more freshness for magic to happen.
 
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A high CTL doesn't really mean squat except that you've been riding a lot. Anecdotally I seem to be more prone to illness (specifically upper respiratory things) if I hang out in the 80s for too long nowadays (@ 52yrs).

Another thing to consider (and I don't have any links for this, just 2nd hand info) both of my coaches have mentioned that after a building your fitness up as race season approaches, it's necessary to drop a bit of fitness to progress to the next level. Think moving from lots of z2/tempo/ss to LT/vo2+. I'm sure that didn't quite come out correct in "coach speak" but the general idea looks consistent with what I've been told. We dropped my ctl from 83 to 73 over my transition to a more race oriented plan.

I'm sure there's more than one way to accomplish this **** too.
 

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A high CTL doesn't really mean squat except that you've been riding a lot. Anecdotally I seem to be more prone to illness (specifically upper respiratory things) if I hang out in the 80s for too long nowadays (@ 52yrs).
Yeah, approximately this. It's worth noting that your CTL is based on your current FTP. What this means is that two people could have the same CTL, but one person could be at 100W and the other at 400W. So, for your case, you could start the season at 3 W/kg, and end it at 4 W/kg, all the while keeping a roughly constant CTL.

Instead of thinking about CTL in terms of some numeric "goal" where you climb the ladder and achieve success, instead think about it as your ability to go hard. If your CTL is 50, then it says a whole lot more about how you might expect to structure your training than if it was 100. In the case of 50, you'd need 350 TSS to maintain, and you'd probably be looking in the 350-400 range to raise it in a hard week. And similarly, if your CTL is 100, then 700 TSS maintains, and 750-800 might be a hard week.

The flip side of going hard is your ability to recover. If your FTP is accurate, and your fatigue spikes and you start missing your numbers, your CTL will also fall. So, it will eventually reach an equilibrium where your CTL reflects your current level of fitness and ability to recover. Used well, it may even be able to predict things similar to what a whoop is trying to tell you, albeit as perhaps a more blunt of an instrument.

Aside: I'm actually not sure if you could maintain a 95 CTL with a 100W FTP. While the two numbers aren't attached, I'm sure that especially at the lower end, they're strongly correlated.
 
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