Fenner’s Total Performance Training Blog

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Archive for January, 2008

MTB National Championships Stromlo 2008

Posted by fenner on January 31, 2008

 This year the National Champs were again held at the fantastic Stromlo venue in Canberra. With the rain over the past few months and all the extra work that has been done by the CORC club the trails were in good nick with a promised climbers course with good technical downhills, I was fully frothing at the prospect of the weekends racing.


Picture Taken at The Scott 24 Hour National Championships 2007

As I turn 38 this year I was down to race the Vet’s category for the XC race and Elite for the short course. Last year Paul Rowney smashed me in the XC and I came in second, this year with my functional threshold up by around 20 watts and my power to weight touching 5.2 watts/kg I was confident of being up there and in with a chance of winning. The build up was great this year with the Jayco Bay Crits coming at just the right time to really bring on the peak I was as I have all ready said frothing and raring to go.

The Vets race was going to be 4 laps which going by lap times would be around 1 hour 45 mins and with temps due to hit 30 plus degrees hydration and nutrition were also going to play an important part in the race. Having been racing the young guns all season I was actually looking forward to 1 less lap and the initial speed of the young whipper snappers.

I should know better by now the gun went and the hammer went down, I was cranking it off the front and the first section of fire road climb (on the start loop) was tough. Warren Burgess (KOM) who always starts fast came by with Tim Bateman (Wheeler) close behind. I jumped aboard and welcomed the help into the wind on the open sections. Warren was going well but I felt very comfortable and bided my time. I was planning to attack on the final small pinch before the descent, however, Tim fluffed a technical section on the climb and Warren made a small gap which I couldn’t shut down before the descent leaving me to have to rain it in on the downhill where I was looking to make a good gap before the next climb. The opportunity didn’t arrive until the last section of single track before the start finish area so I flew by and quickly gapped Warren for a 15 second lead going into lap 2. I was feeling really strong on lap 2 and increased the lead to around 45 seconds by lap 3 and actually thought I had the race in the bag. Then The Phil Orr factor came into view as I switch backed up the climb. I had never raced Phil and really had not expected anyone real me in as quick as he did. He rode up to m back wheel and attacked hard, I just couldn’t respond to his attack and had to settle into my race and try to close the gap back up to him on the remaining lap.  After passing the feed zone I felt as though I was closing the gap, but, it was not to be and it was another silver medal for the old Fenner.  I would like to offer big congratulations to Phil Orr as he rode a superb race and really showed his class in his first year in the Vets.

In the elite race it was a one man show with Chris Jongeward leading from start to finish in truly awesome style. Rohin Adams of Total Rush had a great race to finish 16th in the elite field well done mate a solid ride and good luck for the year and the Euro exploits.

I spent the night in a reflective mood but happy that I had ridden as hard as I could and had given my all, next up the short track.

The morning came around as a hot one and after a few early laps of the short track course and a warm up lap of the XC course I was ready for the start. The start positions were seeded according to the second laps fastest times from the day before, this meant I was in 17th position on the start line which was 3rd row. It was going to be tough to get through the field and into a good position before the first berm and little pinch single track climb. The gun went and the pace right from the off was full on, I was only able to make up a couple of spots before we all ground to a halt at the berm and again at the pinch climb. This was unfortunately game over for the top spots as the gap was made, is was now about moving up as best as possible and seeing where I could finish. I was feeling real strong picked riders off one by one. The short track course was amazing and a real buzz to race well done CORC. In the end Andrew Blair (Spearmans Giant) and I were ducking it out for the top 10. It was a great race and all that saw the event were shouting and hollering at the riders antics on the course. The Jonginator took the overall to add to his win in the elite XC with Paul V in second and Dylan in third.

And so now it’s all go for the National 24 Hour Champs on the Easter weekend, followed by the World Marathon Champs in Italy in June and the 24 Hour World Champs in Canmore Canada in July. It is exciting times and I will be going full time from April onwards so that I can prepare properly without having to work 70 hour weeks. We will see how it goes.

Once again thanks to my fantastic sponsors Total Rush Specialized, HIGH5 and Fast Gear without your support my racing would not be possible.


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Power Performance Data Jayco Bay Crits

Posted by fenner on January 21, 2008

Well it’s all well and good going out and racing, getting smashed and just going they were faster, fitter, stronger. With a power meter, however, you can analyse what the demands were and what is needed to do better.

Let’s have a look at a SRM screen shot from the hotdog circuit at Gelong. I have removed cadence, speed data to clean things up a bit.

Hotdog Data

The SRM chart showing a 10 minute micro bursts session on the erg. Note peak powers are a long way short of the race file peak powers

Ergo Session

The SRM chart I believe is clearer than the Cycling Peaks chart to understand and interpret and I have removed the smoothing so that peak powers can be seen. It is very clear that the repetitive nature of the Hot Dog style race needs to be prepared for specifically and can be replicated quite easily with the micro bursts type training session. In the lead up to the Jayco I was hitting 2 of these sessions a week completing 3 x 10 minute blocks of 15 seconds on 15 seconds off. This type of session can be nailed when using power with the on segment at 150% of the athletes current Function Threshold Power (FTP). The off 15 seconds I was backing off to around 50% of current FTP and spinning out. What was very apparent at the Jayco, however, was that the way in which I generated the power on the erg was not the same as in the race. On the erg the power was generated at lower cadences and the static nature of the erg didn’t lend itself to specifically repliate the demands of the race. Quadrant analysis would show that the erg sessions would fall into high power being developed initially a lower rpm’s than during the crit. Also I was not able to generate enough power on the erg. My 15 second on phase was at around 520 watts and on studying the race data this was not hard enough with the power being spread out over the 15 second interval. Race analysis shows that the peak powers were nearer 1200-1300 watts but that this was only for a few seconds then power was held very high for on average 10 – 17 seconds with average powers of 600 – 750 watts, quite different to the 520 watt averages in training and applied in a different manner. So the question is can this be replicated on the erg???? I think with a weighted flywheel on an erg like a Monark or PT300 it may well be able to I will look into it.

Let’s now have a look at a SRM screen shot from the Botanical Gardens Long Course. I have again removed cadence, speed data to clean things up a bit.

Jayco Crit Race 4

It is clear to see that the race was a lot less rhythmic and is a more like a road race. Peak powers are less and the physiological stress much easier to cope with. A larger portion of the bunch stayed together than on all the other races.

Over the course of the next year we can look at the training required to compete at this level and I am working on the training plans for the Total Rush Team for the season ahead, as well as my upcoming National and World 24 Hour MTB Championships.

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The Jayco Bay Crits

Posted by fenner on January 18, 2008

The Jayco BayCrits 2008

Williamstown – Stage 1.

Well for 2008 Team Total Rush was fielding two teams in the Jayco Bay Crits.  For the first time five lucky riders were going to be lining up in the pro class alongside arguable the best criterium field seen in Australia.  The other five riders were going to be racing the always super competitive and equally tough A grade support race.   First round Williamstown.Conditions were good at the start of the first round in Williamstown.  The Total Rush guys warmed up around the course and spirits were high amongst all.  First to get off were the A grade support and with over one hundred starters and a tight challenging technical circuit, the pressure was on from the start.  The winner for the day was ex Total Rush rider and super gun Joel Pearson, who sprinted to a commanding victory.  Lining up on the Elite start line nerves were tense and looking around was a whose who of Australian Pro-cycling.  The likes of Stu O’Grady, Baden Cook, Mark Renshaw and nearly every other Pro made for a large lump in the throat.  Stupidly and naively, having raced for over twenty years, including racing in Belgium, I figured the Continental Pros would take it easy, not wanting to risk crashing or jeopodising their chances in the Tour Down Under and early season Pro Tour races.  What a plonker!  The gun went and the hammer went down.  Eighty riders, shoulder to shoulder, head to head rocketed towards the first 90 degree roundabout.  This dog eat dog, very aggressive style of racing was the style for the rest of the week.  With average speeds of up to 45 to 46 km per hour on tight criterium courses, there was no room for error and positioning was one of the major factors for still being in with a chance at the end. The first ten minutes at Williamstown my SRM power meter was showing up to 1200 Watt accelerations out of corners and repeatedly 700 to 900 Watts, these sorts of power outputs unfortunately were beyond a 24 ultra endurance mountain bike rider like me.  With a grimace on my face and pain in my legs, I got dropped, as did about 70 per cent of the field.  So it was time to regroup and talk with the crew as to how best to tackle the rest of the crits.  We were definitely out gunned and really this was to be expected, otherwise we would be fulltime professionals.  however, I was sure with the right course and right positioning in the pack we could get some finishes and actually take part in some of the racing. 

Port Arlington – Stage Two.

Conditions were tough on stage two with a strong headwind on the climb.  This was to prove decisive in both races with very small packs finishing Matt rode well in the support race finishing with the pack or what was left of it.  Joel Pearson winning again with a sprint finish.  The pros race was much the same with the pink train of Total Rush getting smashed along with most of the other riders. 

Stage Three – Geelong Hot Dog.

It was a hot dog alright – stinking hot, just like last year, 35 degrees with a light cross wind and large crowds.  The support race saw a few Total Rush riders having a much better time with Matt, Will and Skinny all riding well and doing their best to miss the multiple crashes that always seem to affect a large field on the super tight hot dog course.  In the Pro race the Rush boys faired a little better, with Brett managing a bit of a turn on the front and getting quite pally with Baden Cook.  Both Jake and myself managed to stay past the half an hour mark and if it wasn’t for a lot of dropped wheels, I’m sure we could have finished with the main pack, even though this had been lapped by the big dogs.  However, things were feeling better and our time would come. 

Botanical Gardens – Stage 4 long course.

With a slightly longer 2.4km circuit the racing was going to be a lot tighter with less people getting dropped in both the support and pro race.  In the support race Will finished well and strong within the top fifteen.  This was going to be the day where the more road based riders could shine and even the old Fenzmeister maybe able to get a result.  Things started real well and the pack rolled around for the first lap.  Jake, myself and Myles moved ourselves up towards the front of the main peloton.  As we approached the start finishing area I was just thinking of making an attack when a flash of pink went by me on the right.  Jake had had a pop and both Myles and myself moved on to the front of the Peloton for a little blocking.  Finally, the pink was seen at the front.  This was a start of a good race for the boys and we were never really out of the top twenty.  Only in the last few laps were a few of the lads tailed off.  I just missed the top ten or twelve riders who sprinted out for the overall victory.  Again, just losing a wheel on the final climb to the finish.  The Total Rush team was pretty stocked with the effort in round 4 and the pro race was run at an average speed of nearly 46km/h.  Over seven km/hr faster than the support race.  The peloton was smoking. 

Round 5 – Botanical Gardens short course.

This was to be a short and bitter day for all concerned.  After a fantastic Amy Gillet fund raising ride in the morning, both teams were smashed on the short course at the Botanical Gardens.  With only around 15 riders in each race something really should be done about the incredibly tight bumpy circuit that allows no room for anyone outside the top twenty in either field.  Lets hope next year this circuit is dropped. I would like to offer my apologies to the channel 10 cameraman who I bunny hopped over the central kerb at the start to aviod a crash and narrowly running into and taking out.

I would like to offer my thanks to Simon at Total Rush for the opportunity if racing the pro’s at the Jayco Bay Crits and I am sure the young guns learnt a great deal and with my valuable power data will be back next year with a few more watts in the engine room. 

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