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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'Flat ground power' seems to be my biggest weakness (I do relatively well compared to the other guys at climbing, techy bits, and descending). I also just read Friels 'fast after 50' which pretty clearly states that high intensity training is crucial. Plus, I want to improve for cyclocross, which highlights my flat-ground power weakness, and is commonly on rougher ground.

There's a city park near my house with a couple of ball-fields, tennis courts and a kids water/spray park, and well kept deep lawn around the perimeter. It's a medium sized park, about 1x2 city blocks, and I have found it takes me over 3 minutes of very solid effort for a lap around the perimeter, I get bounced around quite a bit, which is good for both xc and cx (getting better at putting down smooth power on a rough surface). From how I feel after, it seems to be a very solid workout, and because it's so close and handy, I could do a warm up, interval, rest, interval, cool down, and be done for those days I've only got 30 minutes for a workout.

There may be a similar park near you that you have not considered using as an interval track, - the soft grass really sucks the power, and the better riders seem to 'float' through the rough stuff. Ideally we should all be really comfortable riding on rough surfaces, - at least more comfortable than our competition.
This came about after watching my son run at the State cross country meet, which is always on a small rolling-hills grass golf course. Afterwards, one of the kids said "we need to do more hills". I asked my kid how much they run on grass, he said "almost never", -ah-ha!, they're missing the principle of specificity.
Talking to a cx racing buddy about this who trains with a HR monitor all the time, he was telling me how his perceived effort on rough ground (including grass) is much higher than the effort according to his HR, so the idea is to be ride rough ground more and get the perceived effort more in line with the HR or actual power.

- Just my newest training idea, maybe it give a couple of you guys some ideas.
 

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For me the only way to get the extra flat power needed for marathons are to do a lot of strength intervals with high power output at low RPM (8x4/2) or mix up the riding with some serious leg session in the gym. For me it is more about the strength than heart. But them I'm a flyweight rider and suffers hard when power output beats W/KG,
 

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I've been doing the 3 sets of 13 X 30"on/15"off during build periods, and it seems you can only do these on flat ground. The on/off nature of these intervals seem great for CX. There's some science showing this workout is better than most other intervals.

Couple of season ago I got ready for a 5K fun run that was in middle of CX season. That was best CX season I ever had, occasionally slipping in the top ten of a stacked 45+ field. Integrating more running helped my CX performance.

Another workout I like is the "30 cubed" workout around the perimeter of a football field. 30 cubed = 30" hard, 30" run, 30" spin......repeat for your intervals. I do 4X10' of these while integrating dismounts/remounts. I use a HIIT phone app with loud whistles which works better than watching a timer.

If a CX course has short hills and good amount of running, i do better. Flat grass I'm terrible.
 

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I was doing some research on this "type" of situation with the question being:
"Curious if any research has been done, doing ERG Mode Workouts in a low gear (Small Front, Big Rear),,,to help simulate climbs, MTB'ing, etc.

IOW's amplify the dead spots in pedal stroke at 12 & 6 o'clock.

I have heard other's discuss not being able to make the same power on flats as they can up steady grades."

Some responses and articles I found:

Kinesiology major's response:
"Getting into the nitty-gritty physics/biomechanics... I'd argue that your gearing will depend on the type of training you're doing, since flywheel inertia has an impact on the angle at which peak torque is applied (low inertia = more force applied kicking over the top; high intertia = more force applied "mashing" the downstroke)." I've had a person message me that studies Kinesiology say

https://cyclingtips.com/2013/09/climbing-and-time-trialling-how-power-outputs-are-affected/

https://forum.trainerroad.com/t/big-vs-small-chainring-same-power/6119

My findings in a nutshell concerning ERG Mode on trainer:
Yes, gearing in ERG matters and affects the feel.

Higher gearing = Higher Flywheel Inertia
That generally means "easier" and the flywheel works to keep the drivetrain movement easier.

Usually you want to consider applying the gearing in a way to mimic your event needs.

The rule of thumb is to try to match the flywheel inertia to the majority of your events.

Flat and Fast Road Riding = Use Higher Bearing and Faster Flywheel Inertia

Hilly and Off-Road = Use Lower Gearing and Slower Flywheel Inertia

YMMV
 

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I've talked to several people about this, including a handful of coaches, common consensus was it's simply training. I can put out a good 20-30 watts higher on a hill than I can on flat ground, but for folks that do a lot of TT's it's the other way around.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Along with this, I've started using my HR monitor again, and added an evening road workout once a week with some of the local faster road guys, - trying to hang on best I can on a 5 mile lap with some elevation (3 laps, regroup for start of each lap). I've realized my regular mtb lap does not elevate my heart rate as much as I thought, because the climbs are too short. The park lap and road workouts have been getting me to my upper HR (I find I 'blow up' at just over 180).

After about 5 weeks of this training-change (some extra sore legs and a few headaches), I'm hanging onto the faster road guys a little bit better, good road PRs and strava 'medals'. I've observed previously that it takes me about 6 weeks to see/feel a change in performance. - It's good to change up the training and re-evaluate.
 
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