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Discussion Starter #1
So I've been thinking about my last two races and I've noticed a few things. (Note: Both races were only an hour long and around 13miles)

-I'm great in the climbs....I'll normally pass 2 to 3 people each time.
-I'm slow on the flats.....I can't keep up. I can't seem to keep the pace and I fall off the back of small groups.

I really want to improve my performance on the flats.....how do I go about doing this? I read "The Mountain Biker's Training Bible" and I'm confused on what type of training would work best.....do I need to increase Anaerobic Endurance or Muscular Endurance more?

Note: I'm 5'9", 155lbs and my aerobic capacity is pretty solid....I feel like I need more power.
Any tips or suggestions are welcome!
 

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The Punk Hucker
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I'm roughly in the same situation although training for XCM. Yet I do XCO races as training.

What I did in the past weeks are power workouts. Short (15 to 40 seconds) all-out efforts followed by a rest of 2-5 minutes depending on the length of the sprint.

Once I get a hand of this I'll go with 4-5min effort in HR zone 4-5 (something like a simulated climb) followed by a sprint of around 30 seconds then rest 5 mins or so. The reason for this is simple, learn to push yourself when you've just given a hard effort, which happens often at the top of a hill, in which we excel yet can end up exhausted after the climb.
 

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The best cure I've found for gaining speed in the flats is to go hop on a road bike for two hours, and pedal until you want to cry. After a few of those rides, you'll be A LOT faster, especially if you haven't done many road rides.

Focus on achieving a higher average speed every time you go out. Painful, but it works.
 

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SS XC Junkie
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Road riding seems to have worked for me. Specifically, riding into the wind. Luckily for me, I live on the bay so we always have wind. Having a coach has helped a lot too. But I'd say my main speed increase in the flats is due to solo training on the road and not having anyone in front of me to block the wind. It sucks, but I'm considerably stronger than most of the other guys I ride with now. This gained strength has transferred quite well to mtn biking.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
jd1072 said:
The best cure I've found for gaining speed in the flats is to go hop on a road bike for two hours, and pedal until you want to cry. After a few of those rides, you'll be A LOT faster, especially if you haven't done many road rides.
I trained that way for a marathon and only got marginally better. I later found out that I needed to incorporate interval training into my regimen. I feel the same way about mountain biking. For the last year all I've done is go out and try to ride hard as I can, be it 30 minutes or 120 minutes. I'm faster for sure, but no where near what I need to be to get a podium spot. Interval training is the key from what I'm understanding....I just don't know what type of intervals to do.
 

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I got passed on the flats last year. First race this year I did pretty good on the flats, and even passed people. I put in 400+ miles on flat roads this year, and its windy here every single day. So, half of that mileage was fighting the wind too. Seemed to help me with endurance also, going on the 30 mile rides. Most of the advice is practice what your NOT good at, so, I figured if I get passed on flat sections, I'm gonna ride flat road. I've pretty much tapered off the road rides and hit the trails much more now though. I just bought a road bike, so that may change for my next race coming up in august. I'll probably hit the road pretty hard for the next few weeks.
 

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Stumphumper2002 said:
I trained that way for a marathon and only got marginally better. I later found out that I needed to incorporate interval training into my regimen. I feel the same way about mountain biking. For the last year all I've done is go out and try to ride hard as I can, be it 30 minutes or 120 minutes. I'm faster for sure, but no where near what I need to be to get a podium spot. Interval training is the key from what I'm understanding....I just don't know what type of intervals to do.

If you live somewhere that has hills, just try and throw every nasty one you can find into your road ride. When you get to each hill, give it everything you have to get to the top as fast as possible and continue to pedal hard off the top, only stopping to recover when you begin to go downhill. When I say to pedal until you want to cry, I'm not exaggerating. The biggest benefits come from pushing yourself well beyond what you think you're capable of doing.
 

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Giant Anthem
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The grass is always greener

I'll trade you guys-my limiter is the climbs while the flats are my strength. As a younger athlete in other sports I did lots of strength training for legs. This is for later, but In your off season you may want to work on squats, lunges, deadlifts etc. Then you can manipulate the newly gained strength onto the bike by intertwining the strength schedule into your biking schedule.

For right now power intervals (hard as possible) for 3 minutes x 6 sets with 3 minutes rest between each will do the trick. Do em on a road bike. As mentioned before the road bike WILL help you on the flats.
 

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I am in the same boat as you, I just moved up to CAT2 and can "kill" the climbs but "get killed" on the flats. I am going to incorporate some steady state power intervals to get my speed/power up on the flats.
 
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