Sweeping the Podium at LandRun 100 and Rage Against the Chainring

IMG_4505For the past two weekends Bob Cummings and the Panaracer/Stan’s NoTubes p/b Bicycle X-Change team, also sponsored by Source Endurance have engineered a clean podium sweep first at the Land Run 100 followed by Rage Against the Chainring.
First of all, full credit is due to the fitness of the team, the sound team tactics as well as race strategy, and a tremendous support crew and sponsors. The group of riders that Bob has assembled and his trusted partners are all a big part of the process. Diving a little deeper into what has helped Bob be at this level at this point in the season, aside from the reasons listed above, Bob has adapted new methods to his madness when it comes to the way he trains and the way he approaches his nutrition.
As Bob’s previous approach and strong athletic mindset have served him very well in the past, Bob has dialed in his efforts through a multi-faceted training approach incorporating the the use of power output, heart rate, and even perceived exertion at times. He attests to the tremendous value of learning how to train using these metrics in the most effective way possible and how that has contributed to his success. As his coach, I have thoroughly enjoyed our conversations and am honored to help bring him to where he is at this point in the season.
Looking specifically at the Land Run 100, Bob an his team coasted in to town and quite literally putting 19 minutes on the next closest finisher.  Interestingly enough, they could have done more. looking at his data, the last three hours of his race was merely steady state endurance as his average heart rate was 146 bpm with and intensity factor of .72. For some basic definitions on this, click here, in the meantime just know that its a good endurance ride type of intensity.
Knowing that the podium finishers came in just above seven hours, that leaves the first four hours of the race as being the most pivotal. From a training perspective you have to able to last seven hours, yes, but in order to be a contender after 7 hours, you have to be contending the battles within the race, especially leading up to the second half of the race.
Having a look at the graph (minus the power data) we can see exactly what Bob had to do. After a 15 minute neutral roll-out, the first hour was marked by a very fast and assertive effort, much like a cyclo-cross race, where the race generally sorts itself out. The next 45 minutes, there were undulating intensities however trending downward in effort. The next section of the race is arguably the most important in terms of who got to podium and who became mere top 20, with 1 hour and 45 minutes of undulating intensities around threshold before the last SAG stop. Finally there was one more hour of sub-threshold before the group was home free. In looking at the data file below, it shows these breaks in action including the downward trend in effort as Bob connected with his teammates to ease his effort and the effort of the team. Because he was able to put in these efforts early in the race, he was able to enjoy the later third of the race knowing that the podium was theirs. Knowing this will definitely make you rethink your strategy in a long gravel race as being more than just doing your best average pace.

From the training standpoint, one can see the importance of knowing, at least roughly how hard you can go at any given moment and for how long. Key factor: Bob and is team know those numbers exactly. Furthermore its important to note that though this is a bike race, the conditions render it a bit of an adventure race, with having to traverse cakey or slippery mud sections. Should training account for those sections as well? You bet!
Aside from what Bob has learned in terms of applying a different training methodology,  Bob has been focusing heavily on his nutrition on and off the bike which has helped him become more fat adapted. For those unfamiliar, to be fat adapted means that you are much better at burning fat as a fuel source not only during exercise, but also throughout the day. On the whole, the bodies metabolism and ability to burn fat depends on two things, what you eat and how you exercise. Many athletes focus on the consumption of macro-nutrients as if the most important thing is to restore enough to ride again tomorrow, however many of the things we have refined have focused more on the quality rather the quantity. It may seem simple enough to try to hit a caloric intake goal, but there is a major misconception that Calories in = Calories out. In basic terms, we look not only at how much, but what and most importantly the “why”. One specific element has been formulating Bob’s feeding strategy leading up to and during a training ride, versus his feeding strategy for racing. Yes, those are different things. Without giving away too many of our secrets, it’s enough to say that we have seen observable changes in Bob’s fitness and his ability to have more productive workouts through various adjustments in his nutrition strategy.
Overall the adjustments to Bob’s training and his lifestyle have proven to be a major asset to help the team be where they are at this point in the season. As we count down the days to DK200, Leadville 100, or your race of choice,  consider how might be able to optimize your training and formulate your strategy for success on all fronts. As Bob and his team are enjoying the benefits of what we our coaching staff has to offer, we invite anyone to inquire about any of the services we have mentioned.
-Grant Harrison
Senior Consultant, Source Endurance
For more info, please email inquire@source-e.net, or visit Source-e.net/services