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Archive for September, 2008

The season in review

Posted by fenner on September 18, 2008

The 2007-2008 was one of my best seasons so far and at nearly 38 that feels pretty good.  It started off with a couple of really good Enduro events, firstly the NZO 12 hour in September, followed the week after by the super tough Melbourne Docklands 12 hour.  I picked up two second places at the NZO I was second to Jason English after a very close race which came down to only a few minutes and then another second place to Ben Randal at the Docklands 12, where I was suffering big time.  My CTL (chronic training load) was racking up pretty well at that stage and led me into a little bit of a taper  before the Scott 24 which I competed as a pair with fireman gun Sam Bach – one of the Total Rush riders. That was an awesome result we smashed it coming 6th overall and won the pairs category by about 3 laps; so that was very successful.


I then hit a bit of a flat spot coming into the cross country season.  I had reduced the volume and increased the intensity  with a lot of VO2 type efforts, hoping to come off the back of the Enduro season with a great base and a high CTL up to 120 points – after a pretty good taper into the first Nationals  in Adelaide I didn’t come out with the form that I have had in other years – looking at the data I believe I let my CTL drop off too much and reduced the volume too much and that produced a very high +TSB (training stress balance)and created a little bit of blocking on my part (this is where you are too fresh and just can’t get the power down)- hence the Adelaide results and Thredbo results were not what I wanted – I rode them and completed them but wasn’t very happy.


That led into bit of specific training phase for the Jayco Bay Crits where I was hitting some 15 sec on 15 sec off interval type sessions and specific ergo type sessions where I was trying to simulate the Crit style racing I was going to do in Melbourne in the Pro Category.  It was pretty daunting being a 24 hour mtb rider and sitting on the starting line with likes of Stu O’Grady, Baden Cook and Graeme Brown you name it everybody was there – it was a who’s who of European international racing from Australia. 


First day – straight out the back and it was a shock to the system.  Second day very similar and I was feeling pretty cheesed off and really wasn’t very happy at all – I was suffering incredible tooth ache and was taking antibiotics and pain killers for that and was suffering and not 100%.  I was really upset for Simon from Total Rush – it costs a lot of money to enter the team into a race like this and I believed that I was not on the sort of form I had hoped for and not able to do my best and the team certainly wasn’t performing how it should do either.


Race three was the hot dog course and I actually had a good race and was in for about forty minutes because of a really fast lead group that got away and got a lap on the whole field and I decided to pull out although I didn’t have to. I could have sat in with the group and got a finish which was a little bit disappointing.


Race four at the Botanical gardens was awesome.  I finished just outside the top 15 – and I just missed the last selection on the climb to the sprint finish.  Felt very strong and very good and was pumped for day five at the botanical gardens pretty hilly course, however, on the first corner I got balked and had to bunny hop a curb, smashed into a TV camera man and then stupidly enough with the adrenaline buzzing and being used to mtb races tried to chase after the group and it wasn’t to be.  So I left there with the super maximal efforts and came back to put the final FTP functional threshold type training sessions on and hit my best numbers of the year.  I completed a 20 min effort at 370 watts on my return weighing in at only 68 kg so was pumping out really good numbers and was very very happy with where I was at going into the National Champs – I had the vets race all sewn up with 3 laps down and then a rider came across and done me on the last climb, he turned out to be a top ten elite rider from the year before.  I struggled to stay with him, couldn’t hold his wheel and ended up coming in second.  Second to Paul Rowney last year and second again this year, so I wasn’t very happy.  Pulled out a great short track race on the Sunday to come 9th in the elite so the power was there and the form was there – so that was good.


I then really just settled in to putting the volume phase on for the national 24 hour champs and I was feeling good and getting some cracking numbers out in the local time trial getting best numbers of the year in 54 min time trial averaged 360 watts so well over 5.2 watts per kg broke the course record and was feeling good about it. 


Going into the National 24 hr champs the race went from the gun faster than it should have – Jason, Troy, myself and Clackers were going off really fast.  Troy blew a gasket after about 10-12 hours and that left me in third place chasing down the leaders English and clackers who were only about 10 mins up.  I battled on till about 2 in the morning where I hit my first flat spot and it was a bad flat spot it lasted about an hour and I really didn’t get myself together again.  Knowing I was going to the worlds I sort of resorted to really not pushing myself into the locker and just tapped around thinking I had third place – or so I thought until the inevitable happened and Dan came through for third and I was into fourth place again – so now two fourth places in national championships.  I sat out the last hour on the side lines as I had several laps on fifth place. 


So it meant that my 24 was pretty easy and led me into a really good training phase for the World Championships.  Getting over to Canada with two months to go meant I could acclimatise to the medium altitude that I was at of about 4,500-5200 feet which had a significant effect on my FT which was really quite interesting.  I saw between a 10 and 15% reduction in my power outputs for any given ride and after concentrating on increasing my FT with shorter higher intensity efforts I decided after the Nationals that I was going to put a real volume phase on.  Knowing that I was going to be full time riding I knew I could do a lot more volume and still be able to recover properly.   So I put in a big phase of volume and took up my CTL up to 150 TSS points a day still based around good quality effort, not just riding along – most of my rides normalised power was around the 220-240 watts range for rides up to 200km which led to a couple of races in the Canada cup series where I picked up some UCI points and I was feeling pretty strong and pretty comfortable.


That led into the world championships, which was definitely a highlight for me in the season.  Everything came together in a real focus and it was a real purposeful race.  I started out strong and felt really good – I had just come off a ten day taper after a really big 3 day off road slog from Canmore to Nelson which was about a 400km ride and had a good taper where I backed off the volume coming into the worlds very fresh.  The race went from the gun pretty much but I had my powertap on and was really monitoring the output and was trying to keep it below 400 watts knowing that those V02 efforts have a habit of creeping up and biting you at the end of the race or even a few hours into a race.  After a bottle was dropped on a handover on the first lap I lost the lead group.  So instead of chasing them down I decided to settle into my own race and I never came out of the zone really right up until I took Jason English for second place with about 4 hours to go.  I then had my first really bad spell and got too focused and forgot my eating pattern and was a few grams short on my carb intake.  It was a real shame as I was riding so strong until then.   I slammed in a few HIGH5 gels and got some drink down me and came great for the last lap and pulled out a great last lap a 1.28 – fastest lap by far of all the solo riders and pulled within 6 minutes of Jason English for third place and a clean sweep for the Aussies in the World Championships.


Numbers in the race were quite interesting average power down at about 180 watts which is what you would expect with the long downhills.  We climbed more than 35,000 feet and normalised power was 224watts so significant outputs for 24 hours of riding.  18,000 calories were burned according to the powertap so you run in a considerable cal deficit seeing as you can only consume 3-350 calories per hour. 


This result led me into getting selected for the World Cup back here in Australia – Canberra and the rest, as they say, is history.  I got as sick as a dog and was puking up and rode a shocker – didn’t have anything in me and decided then to call the season a day and have a bit of a break.  So that leads us to this year. 


A big season ahead; my numbers have been as high as they have ever been at the start of a season.  So, again I’m looking for a 10-15watt increase in my FTP, which will bring me up to around 5.4watts/kg.  If I can achieve this then I really believe I can win the 24 hour Nationals and go on to win the world championships.  So the focus is on longer SST and FTP type training to really push the envelope to see what my genetics can handle in terms of raising that threshold.


My goals for the season are really four fold.  Coming in the month of January I have the Elite National Champs time trial and road race.  I will go onto the National Vets XC and try to win that in my last year as a vet.  Then the mtb stage race just before the 24 hour Nationals in April.


Then the focus will really be on the World 24 hour Champs and trying to improve on my third place.  So that is my season in review.






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