Using Heart Rate with Power Measurement to Track Your Fitness

If you have a powermeter, why train with a heart rate monitor too? Jem Arnold, a registered Physiotherapist, cycling coach, and Cat 2 bike racer, digs into the details of why heart rate (HR) measurement is important.

Photo: Shannon Malseed, Australian Road Race Champion, on Instagram

You might have noticed that while power should always read the same number — 300 watts is always 300 watts — HR can change day-to-day for the same effort. How it changes depends on anything from the temperature, whether you are training indoors or outside, or how rested you are going into the workout.

So what is the value of heart rate if the number is never consistent?

The importance of heart rate measurement

Heart rate is important precisely because it is not consistent! HR is the best metric we can easily measure that reflects internal workload: how hard your body is working to produce the effort demanded of it. Whereas power is a measure of external workload: the energy transferred from your body to the bike.

Power is externally consistent: 300 watts will indeed always be 300 watts. Think of it like supply and demand, where power measures the demand you are placing on your body. Your body then has to expend resources to meet that demand via metabolic energy production, which reflects the supply. HR gives you a real-time measurement of how efficiently your body is able to expend those resources to convert it’s metabolic ‘fuel’ into power.

As we fatigue, our bodies become less efficient at producing power. We have to burn more metabolic fuel (internal workload) to produce the same power (external workload). This is intuitively obvious when we feel more tired at the end of a ride and feel like we can’t produce the same power compared to at the beginning.

How to track heart rate

The fact that HR can vary so widely for the same power is important because it gives you a clue as to the inner workings of your body and how your fitness is adapting over time. I use HR a few different ways, both during my workouts and after, when analyzing my data.

One of the measurable indicators of fatigue is called ‘Cardiac Drift’ or HR decoupling, which is the phenomena of your HR rising over time, for the same constant power output. The general advice is to respect cardiac drift and slowly decrease power over time to maintain a constant heart rate under your target.

If you were to continue at the same power while allowing HR to drift higher, it would result in you working harder (internally) than intended and accumulating greater physiological strain. This would delay recovery time until your next workout and possibly contribute to overtraining.

Here is an example of cardiac drift occurring during a fairly steady aerobic training ride.

HR (in red) begins to creep further above the athlete’s aerobic threshold (highlighted), even as power (in yellow) declines through the ride. The resulting cardiac drift (Power:HR in pink) ends up significantly altering the intended training stress of this ride.

Pulling back to a longer view of a full season, I can look at how average HR changes for a given constant power output, eg. 200 W.

Average HR (red line) decreases significantly over the course of the season, while average power (yellow bars) stays flat as expected within this power band (200 ± ~20 W).

Even more interesting is that aerobic threshold power (blue bars) increases through the season, showing clearly how the same external workload (200 W) costs relatively less aerobic capacity and therefore places a lower demand on internal workload as aerobic fitness improves over the course of the season.

Conclusion

Your heart rate monitor should be a critical part of your training equipment, just as much as your powermeter is. Both metrics can give you a perspective on your fitness, but using both together can give you the deepest insight into your physiology.

 


SPECIAL OFFER
Black Friday through Cyber Monday 2018:
Get a FREE Viiiiva heart rate monitor
with the purchase of any 4iiii Powermeter.

Offer available online and through
your local authorized 4iiii dealer.

Viiiiva – More than a Heart Rate Monitor

You can be forgiven for thinking that Viiiiva is just another heart rate monitor (HRM). After all, it looks every bit like a regular, ordinary HRM like many others on the market. Look closer at the specs of this technical marvel though, and it may just get your heart beating a little faster.


It’s the Little Things

Like most monitors on the market, Viiiiva is (coin cell) battery powered. Unlike others though, Viiiiva’s design gives you easy access to battery changes. Got a coin? You’re in.

But this minor detail only hints at the superior engineering of Viiiiva.

ANT+ and Bluetooth®, <3 Forever

Here’s where Viiiiva gains its advantage over the rest of the HRM market. It’s the first of its kind that can read two bands of wireless signal. In other words, ANT+ and Bluetooth 5.0, together on one device.

The legacy of that innovation lives on in Viiiiva, and helps to replace all kinds of other tech for a fraction of the cost.

Viiiiva Connects

What does all this dual-band talk mean? It means Viiiiva not only reads your heartbeat. It can read the signals sent by your ANT+ devices, like your power meter, speed sensor, and cadence sensor.

But most importantly, it can connect your ANT+ sensors to a Bluetooth device like a smartphone or tablet, or Apple TV. It can also store that data until you can sync and upload it later on.

Viiiiva Saves the Day
(Based on a true story)

Karen is a recreational cyclist who has fallen in love with cycling. Her bike has many of the latest trimmings, including a GPS head unit, and speed and cadence sensors. Karen wants to keep her Spring and Summer fitness by doing some training indoors. Specifically, Karen wants to use Zwift, the popular indoor training program.

But Karen has already invested a lot in her bike and doesn’t want to spring for a costly smart trainer. And her home computer isn’t up to the task of rendering Zwift’s glorious 3D virtual environments.

Karen’s low-cost solution is to buy Viiiiva. For $79.99, not only does she add all of the benefits of heart rate measurement to the mix, but she can also connect the tech on her bike with Zwift’s app on her phone. Karen is Zwifting happily, with accurate readings of all of her data. She sleeps restfully, dreaming of the power meter she’s putting under the tree for herself this year.

Why Train with Heart Rate?

Your heart rate demonstrates the physiological effort it takes to produce an effort. Here’s why knowing your heart rate is useful:

  1. Heart rate is an excellent measure of changes in your health and fitness in response to training
  2. Recognize the heart’s warning signs for illness or overtraining and its response to heat or altitude
  3. Good for training during longer efforts in specific heart rate zones

Viiiiva Features

  1. A first of its kind, Viiiiva acts as a bridge between ANT+ devices and Bluetooth® displays such as an iPad, smartphone or Apple TV
  2. Connects directly to popular training apps like Zwift
  3. Stores up to 65 hours of workout data until it can be synced later
  4. Up to 200 hours of battery life from an easily replaceable coin cell battery

SPECIAL OFFER
Black Friday through Cyber Monday 2018:
Get a FREE Viiiiva heart rate monitor
with the purchase of any 4iiii Powermeter.

Offer available online and through
your local authorized 4iiii dealer.

4iiii at Kona Ironman World Championships, a Photo Essay

The Ironman World Championships took place on October 13 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and our team was there to take in the action. We are proud to support many of the athletes competing and we salute of each one of the competitors for completing such a grueling event.

Former professional triathlete, Ironman competitor and 4iiii Product Manager Scott Cooper took these pics of the action in the village, at the 4iiii tent, and out on course.

The entrance to the Ironman Village

This year’s event was one to remember. With a very fast day, records were shattered with the first Pro men ever to go under 8hrs, as well as the Pro female and overall age group records being broken. 4iiii was present with a booth in the expo, helping support our Kona athletes with last-minute power meter checks, battery changes, and tune-ups to make sure they were ready for the race.

4iiii HQ in the Kona Village, where we met a lot of new friends and helped prep our athletes for the event

4iiii Product Manager Scott Cooper (in black) with the Canadian Forces Triathlon Team

4iiii Product Manager Scott Cooper with Bart Coaching Head Coach Bart Rolet

Some last minute tweaks in the 4iiii tent, and this athlete is ready to go and compete. Love the 4iiii Kona crank decals!

4iiii Ambassador Vincent Blais on the run course

Canadian Joe Maley, Military Division World Champion, coming down the finishing chute in the blazing afternoon sun

4iiii Product Manager Scott Cooper with Angella Goran, who will be trying to set the Canadian Hour Record in May. Hopefully, she’ll use her new PRECISION Powermeter!

We saw some stellar results from our athletes, including Joel Maley who became the Military Division World Champion. All of our triathletes used their powermeters to pace themselves through the heat of the lava fields and still have the legs for world-class run splits. We want to thank everyone for stopping by the booth and we look forward to being back on the Big Island next year!

Were you there? Do you have a goal to compete next year? Tag us in your pics and stories — we’d love to hear from you.

Cyclocross: Powering Through the Winter with 4iiii



Photos by Mathieu Charruau

The new cyclocross season has kicked off and we’re pleased to be supporting our teams of winter heroes – on both sides of the pond — for another year of exciting off-road racing.

The popularity of cyclocross racing has been growing for several years and the growth in adventure and gravel riding is only adding to the interest. For youngsters, cyclocross racing is the most accessible and safest form of cycle sport and the list of road cycling champions with a background in ‘cross is endless (Peter Sagan, Julian Alaphilippe, Marianne Vos, and many others).

We are pleased to support two teams this winter – with 4iiii PRECISION Powermeters and Viiiiva Heart rate monitors – as they represent at all levels of the sport from local and provincial level up to national and also world level. Among the 4iiii-supported cyclocross riders is a reigning UCI World Masters Champion. Cyclocross riders are cycling’s tough folks who compete right through the challenging conditions of winter and really put their equipment and determination to the test.

Our Teams Racing in Canada and the UK

Cannondale Echelon is a fifteen-strong masters racing team based in Montreal, four of whom will start another cyclocross season after racing through the summer and in the support races of the recent road World Tour races in Canada.

In the UK, we are supporting the CYCLOCROSSRIDER.com Race Team for the second successive season. The team have eleven riders and is built on the admirable principle of supporting five young riders who combine their racing with academic studies. The team, largely based in the northern counties of Yorkshire and Lancashire, has expanded this year and also signed a World Masters Champion. Nicola Davies became World age-group champion in Belgium last season and will race in the specially designed rainbow stripes of a world champion complete with 4iiii logos.

The Right Equipment

As well as remaining dedicated and determined through the hardest time of the year, the cyclocross racer needs to choose the right equipment which is reliable enough to survive the harshest conditions. There is no need to doubt that your 4iiii Powermeter will not take you right through your winter riding because with the help of our cyclocross teams we are able to ensure that all our products are winter-proof and accurate whatever the conditions.

Ted Sarmiento (co-manager of the CYCLOCROSSRIDER.com Race Team) put the 4iiii PRECISION Powermeter to a full test – right through a demanding British cyclocross season – and you can read his review here.

Cyclocross at the World Level

This season the UCI World Cup will be contested over nine rounds and once again started in the USA with two races in September. Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel and Belgian Sanne Cant are the defending World Cup title holders. Last season at least 19 nations were represented in world level cyclocross, confirming that the sport is continuing to expand beyond its traditional heartland of northern Europe.

In early November the Pan-American Championships will come to Midland, Ontario, Canada. The following weekend Peterborough, Ontario hosts the Canadian National Championships.

UCI World Cup 2018-19

23.09.2018 Waterloo, Wisconsin, USA.
29.09.2018 Iowa City, Iowa, USA.
21.10.2018 Bern, Switzerland.
17.11.2018 Tabor, Czech Republic.
25.11.2018 Koksijde, Belgium.
23.12.2018 Namur, Belgium.
26.12.2018 Heusden-Zolder.
20.01.2019 Pont-Chateau, France.
27.01.2018 Hoogerheide, The Netherlands.

Major Championships 2018-19

03-04.11.2018 UEC European Championships, Rosmalen, The Netherlands.
03-04.11.2018 Pan-American Championships, Midland, Ontario, Canada.
30.11-01.12.2018 UCI World Masters Championships, Mol, Belgium.
02-03.02.2019 UCI World Championship, Bogense, Denmark.

National Championship Races for Cannondale Echelon p/b 4iiii and CYCLOCROSSRIDER.com Race Team

10.11.2018 Canadian National Championships, Peterborough, Ontario.
12-13.01.2019 British National Championships, Gravesend, Kent.

Konrad Manning is the editor of Cyclocrossrider.com, an independent web-zine with a particular, but not exclusive, focus on European Pro Cyclocross.

Kenyan Riders-Safaricom — The Future of Pro Cycling

Photos by Nicholas Leong

The village of Iten, Kenya has a population of just over 42,000. In spite of its modest size, the tribes in the village have produced some of the top endurance running talent in the world; champion marathoners and Olympians. Now, a cycling program, the Kenyan Riders-Safaricom U23 Development Team, has been formed in the village, with the lofty goal of training the local athletes to win the Tour de France.

We caught up with Sports Director Simon Blake and Coach Ciarán Fitzpatrick, to explain more about the program, the team, and what it means to the local riders.

4iiii: Tell me about the team and the program. What’s it about? What are the goals?

Simon: The program is taking the abundant East African endurance talent and transferring this to future results on the bike in the worlds biggest bicycle races. The inspiration for the team, at the start, was to get an all-African team to the Tour de France. East Africa has not had world-class cyclists in the worlds biggest races when the distance running world is dominated by East African runners, Kenyans in particular. We’re learning how to operate in Africa: communication, equipment, politics, and the lack of bicycle racing culture.

4iiii: What does this opportunity mean to the riders?

Simon: An opportunity to show their talent and build a life for themselves from the sport of cycling.

Salim Kipkemboi was no stranger to covering long miles on the bike but had no racing experience until a few years ago.

4iiii: Can you share an anecdote about a rider whose life has been changed by the program? In what ways has the program helped them to grow?

Simon: I have had cyclists tell me they thought they would always just be another Kenyan farmer, working long days without the opportunity to travel overseas see the world, the opportunity to make real money. Now because of the Kenyan Riders team, this opportunity is now there for cyclists that are willing to apply themselves to their sport. Learning the craft and putting in the hours on the bike and figuring out the way to win races.

Salim Kipkemboi won stage three of the Sharjah Tour in the United Arab Emirates. It was a very strong and also intelligent win from Salim, against experienced cyclists. It’s so good to see the other teams wondering who is this young man from Kenya riding for Bike Aid? No one knew who Salim was before that day!

Youth rider Peter Karanja

4iiii: How do you use powermeters in your training? How important is the equipment to the success of the program?

Ciarán: We use 4iiii power meters to accurately monitor the intensity of our training. Previously we were working off the cyclists’ own perception of their effort but now we can match those feelings with actual power measurements for a more complete picture.

This means we can get a much better idea of whether we are training at the correct intensities and also allows us to monitor more effectively if our training is giving us the desired results. We have a test we use to establish their level at a particular time. 4iiii power meters allow us to measure their values in this test where previously we had to use calculations. With their values established, we then design their training around different zones of intensity. 4iiii power meters are invaluable in helping the cyclists to know that they are in the correct zones and thus allow us to maximize our training.

4iiii: What’s next for the program?

Simon: More development programs in the schools around the North Rift province of Kenya. Getting our better cyclists to races overseas to get the much-needed race experience at higher levels. Looking for funding to keep the team alive, sponsors, philanthropists, investors.

4iiii: Thank you for your time, Simon and Ciarán! And keep up the good work. We are proud to sponsor the program, and can’t wait to see the team take the world by storm.

About the Kenyan Riders-Safaricom U23 Development Team

Matthieu Vermesch, Investor
Nicholas Leong, Founder
Ciarán Fitzpatrick, Coach
Simon Blake, Sports Director, East African Cycling Development
Suleiman Kangangi, team captain (contracted to Bike Aid Continental Cycling team)
Salim Kipkemboi, Kenya’s best cyclist (contracted to Bike Aid Continental Cycling team)
Nixon Sewe, mechanic
Patrick Miruri, logistics manager
Simon Kitoti, coach
Kenyan Riders on YouTube
Kenyan Riders on Instagram
Kenyan Riders on Facebook

Sponsors

Safaricom
Mabati Rolling Mills
USN Kenya, Ultimate Sports Nutrition
Fly540 airline Kenya
RevBox
4iiii
Squirt Lube South Africa

Cycling Legend Linda Jackson to be Inducted to the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame

On Sunday, September 30th, at Glencairn Golf Club in Milton, Ontario, Linda Jackson will be inducted to the Canadian Cycling Hall of Fame.

Jackson was a three-time Canadian road race and time trial champion, competed for Canada at the Olympics and was third in World Championships in 1996, and in 1998 was second in the Giro d’Italia Femminile. She retired from professional racing in 2000, and four years later founded the 4iiii-sponsored team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank. It is the longest-running professional women’s cycling team in North America.

Linda Jackson cyclist

Left to right: Clara Hughes, Linda Jackson, and Sue Palmer at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics

We caught up with Jackson to ask her about her reflections on her cycling career, past and present.

4iiii: Tell us about your first ever bike race. How did it go?

Jackson: It was the Morgan Hill Road Race here in California in the early 90’s. Friends had been telling me that I should start racing and I really didn’t want to race. My life in investment banking was competitive enough as it was, the last thing I felt I needed to do was to compete on the weekends as well. But, I got a license and went off to my first race. It was a pretty tough race, lots of rollers. I think I pulled for the whole race, dropped a lot of the field, and then went charging toward the finish line. Of course, someone was smart enough to sit on my wheel and come around me for the win. I was second. But, when I crossed that finish line, my life was never the same. Cycling was in my blood and then and there I started to think about how I could train to get better.

4iiii: What is it about the sport of cycling that inspires the kind of passion that drove your racing career and continues to inspire your involvement?

Jackson: Well to start with, cycling is a beautiful sport The freedom I feel on a daily basis riding my bike grounds me and sets me up for the rest of my day. Being in nature, feeling the wind on your skin, who could not love it?

Image result for Linda Jackson cyclistBut on a deeper basis, I found the sport late in life. I quit my investment banking career in ’93 to see if I could make it to the Olympics. I was giving up a lot to pursue my goal, so I always wanted to give it my very best. I was 100% dedicated to being the best that I could be and I trained really, really hard. It was very fulfilling to work so hard for something and to see results. The sport gave me a lot of skills that are critical for success in the “real world”. It gave me confidence, I developed a really gritty “never give up” attitude (ok, maybe I had that one before but it was so important in the sport), it taught me the importance of teamwork, it helped with my leadership skills, it dramatically improved my public speaking, etc.

When I retired from the sport, I was never too far away from it. I really missed it. When I got involved in helping female cyclists in 2004 it was to give young women the same opportunity that I had to chase my Olympic dream. My experience taught me how much cycling could give young women that would be important for the rest of their lives. It isn’t just about winning or losing, it’s about what this sport gives these women that will last a lifetime.

4iiii: What advice do you have for young cyclists (who may wish to one day race for your team, for example)?

Jackson, at right, offering advice to Amber Rais

Jackson: Train hard. Train your weaknesses. It’s no fun to train your weaknesses. You want to go out there and do what you are good at. Get a good coach (with the appropriate degree and coaching background) who has in-depth knowledge of training with power meters. Follow your program. Listen to your body.

4iiii: Tell us about when you first started training with power, and about your relationship with your power meter now.

Jackson: I first started using power in the 90s. I bought an SRM back when they were over $3,000. I put it on my bike but didn’t have a coach that trained me with power. I saw a bunch of numbers but didn’t really do anything with them. It really was a waste to not have fully utilized that information back then to reach my goals.

Times have changed over the past two decades that’s for sure! Training with power is now widely recognized as being critical to reaching your potential as an athlete. All of our riders train with power now, and we definitely look at numbers when we are considering a rider for the team. Training with power, in combination with heart rate, gives you so much more information. For me personally, I have a 4iiii power meter on my bike now that has breathed new life into my training. It’s very motivating even though I am just a recreational rider, to see the watts I am putting out in certain workouts and strive to be better.

4iiii: Linda, thank you so much! From all of us here at 4iiii, we are very proud to see you get the recognition you deserve and to continue to support your very successful team.

4iiii Issues Challenge to Power Meter Industry

Boulder, CO: 4iiii Innovations Inc. requested a study to independently test the accuracy of the PRECISION Powermeter technology at the Locomotion Lab. The complete results of the tests have been released in a white paper written by Rodger Kram, Ph.D. and Wouter Hoogkramer, Ph.D.,  both of the University of Colorado, Boulder and Scott Cooper, P.h.D. of 4iiii Innovations Inc.

These third-party test results prove the accuracy of PRECISION and Podiiiium PRECISION Powermeters.

The tests included multiple PRECISION PRO and Podiiiium Pro PRECISION Powermeters on alloy and carbon cranks being compared to power calculated by a bike treadmill for outputs ranging from 150-350W. Results showed an average error in power reading of 1.58% for PRECISION PRO Powermeters and 0.84% for Podiiiium Pro PRECISION Powermeters on carbon cranks.

Following the results of the test, 4iiii CEO Kip Fyfe issued a challenge to the rest of the cycling power meter industry. “We’d like to establish a new gold standard for testing in the industry,” said Fyfe. “We challenge all of our competitors to have their technology independently tested by the lab in Boulder.”

About Locomotion Labs

The Locomotion Lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder is a world-class facility renowned for independent analysis of biometric performance systems. Rodger Kram, Ph.D. and his team at the Locomotion Lab have developed an objective testing protocol to confidently determine the accuracy of power meters used on bicycles.

Podiiiium PRECISION Powermeter Now Available in Ride Ready Options

FOR RELEASE Sept 18, 2018

Reno, NV., U.S.A (Sept. 18, 2018)- 4iiii Innovations Inc. announces the much anticipated Ride Ready offering of Podiiiium PRECISION powermeters at Interbike 2018, the largest annual industry bike show in North America.

Podiiiium, the rechargeable, low profile offering in the PRECISION product family is now available and shipping on Shimano Dura-Ace, Ultegra and 105 non-drive side crank arms. Previously only available as a Factory Install option on user supplied cranks,
Podiiiium now joins the PRECISION Ride Ready lineup online and in stores worldwide.

At just 7.5 grams, Podiiiium shares the same lightweight, accurate, waterproof and extremely durable features that cyclists have come to expect from 4iiii, and is compatible with other PRECISION Powermeters to complete dual configurations. Podiiiium Ride Ready is available starting at $399.99 for the 105, $499.99 for Ultegra and $599.99 for Dura-Ace in US dollars.

“The Podiiiium platform shows our commitment to building innovative products with our customers’ needs in mind. Being rechargeable, Podiiiium removes the need to change batteries and the low profile fits discreetly and protected behind the chainring. ” says Product Manager, Scott Cooper, Ph.D.

For those looking for the best powermeter to be installed on their own crank, 4iiii offers its custom Factory Install program with compatibility options including SRAM, Campagnolo, FSA and many more. 4iiii supports powermeter installation on alloy and carbon cranks maintaining an accuracy of +/-1% on the products delivered. Podiiiium is designed to support a full suite of dual compatibility which gives the customer more flexibility to choose single or dual to support their training needs. A full list of Factory Install compatible cranks can be found at https://4iiii.com/support/software-and-documentation/

Ride Ready Podiiiium PRECISION Powermeters will be launched at Interbike 2018 in Reno, Nevada and will be available for customer purchase immediately.

Boulder White Paper

 

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To download our full media release click here.

3 Workouts to Turn Your Road Fitness into Cyclocross Sharpness

By Jem Arnold, a registered Physiotherapist, cycling coach, and Cat 2 bike racer. Images by Jeannine Avelino of VanCXPhotos.

Canadian cyclocross champion Michael van den Ham demonstrating a good cornering technique.

It’s that time of year. The road race season is coming to a close, and the #crossiscoming hashtag has become the go-to theme on Instagram for many a bike racer.

As the leaves start to change colour and the days grow shorter, there are a number of things you can do with your training regime to get ready for cyclocross season.

Capitalizing on Your Road Fitness

Assuming you’ve just spent the summer training, riding, and racing you’re probably in great shape right now. You’re smashing the weekly group rides, and your favourite Strava segments are rewarding you with new PRs, KOMs, and QOMs.

Now it’s just a matter of transferring that road fitness to cope with the sharper demands of a 45-60 minute high-intensity cyclocross race!

The nature of CX racing is, you spend much of the time at a baseline intensity already very near your threshold, then you have to repeatedly spike your effort to jam up a hill, jump an obstacle, power through a sand pit, or shoulder your bike up a flight of steps. You have to be able to handle those repeated efforts and recover quickly without dropping your power.

The type of training to do now should be focused and specific to these kinds of efforts, to sharpen your top-end for when #crossishere.

4iiii-sponsored athlete Mark McConnell of Hot Sauce Cycling takes a few seconds to recover on a downhill.

Practice the Technique

Without a doubt, cyclocross is a lot more technical than road riding. The first thing to do will be to throw your leg over your ‘cross bike and start practicing those tight turns, dismounts and remounts, and bike-handling in technical conditions.

These workouts aren’t focused on power, but they might be the most important for a successful CX season. Your power won’t matter if you can’t get around the features on the course and maintain some speed.

Your local racing scene might have a weekly cyclocross practice session, with friends, rivals, and coaches to help you polish your technique. If you’re on your own, find an open park and start practicing your skills. You can even challenge yourself by laying out a mock ‘cross course and trying some hot laps!

Masters ‘cross racer and 4iiii ambassador Jordan Behan powers up a (paved!) climb.

Power Based Training

Your key workouts for the week can be short, but need to be very hard to replicate CX efforts. You should focus on repeating short anaerobic efforts of 30s-2min, with reduced recovery time and slightly harder recovery intensity than you’d be used to from road training. Your heart rate should remain very close to threshold through the entire workout.

In general, the best recommendation is to stick with no more than 2x high-intensity workouts per week, with the rest of your riding remaining easy in order to prioritize the effort required in those two key workouts. Your easier rides can be where you practice skills work, but you should aim to keep your heart rate (HR) below 145 bpm and give yourself plenty of recovery opportunities.

Elite cyclocross racer Craig Richey zips up while powering through a speedy section of the course.

Try to have one or two easy/rest days between high-intensity workouts to make sure you’re fresh, and don’t worry too much about training load (TSS, CTL, etc.) since those numbers might appear ‘inflated’ from the summer road season. Just focus on hitting your workout targets and polishing your skills, and you will naturally be at the level you need to be for racing ‘cross.

One of the most underrated benefits to having a 4iiii left-side or dual-sided power meter is that as long as both your road and cyclocross bikes use the same drivetrain and bottom bracket, you can easily switch your left-side crank arm between bikes, meaning you’ll have consistent power numbers to train with across disciplines.

Masters racer Gail Harrison takes a fast line through a twisty corner.

The Workouts

A good place to start is with microbursts, which will help kick-start your high-intensity energy systems for the on-off nature of CX racing. This workout is based on some of the research presented here.

VO2max Microbursts
Warm-up (at least 20min)
10x reps of 30sec @ 130% FTP | 15sec @ 60% FTP
Repeat 3x sets, with 3-5min recoveries between sets
Cool-down (at least 10min)

Power targets are very approximate for this kind of workout, but aim to begin your sets at least at 130% FTP (read more about how to determine FTP here). HR should rapidly reach threshold and remain there through the entire set.

Lactate Stackers & Finishing Sprints
Warm-up
10x reps of 1min @ 130% FTP | 2min @ 70%
4x 8sec sprint | 1min @ 75%
Cool-down

These 1min efforts won’t be hitting any new power PRs, but the focus should be on repeating the high-level efforts and maintaining tempo during your 2min ‘recovery’ intervals. Finish the workout with some ‘positioning sprints’, where each sprint effort should be a near-maximum effort, with the final sprint at full gas, like you’re sprinting around the final few corners of the race.

Sweet Spot Accelerations
Warm-up
2x20min @ 90% FTP
Including 4x 15sec @ 175% FTP every 5-8 minutes
5min recovery between sets

This workout maintains the hard ‘baseline’ effort of a CX race for a full 40 minutes at 90% of threshold. Every 5-8 minutes on an unpredictable schedule, add a big gear acceleration where you shift up two or three cogs (or find a hill) and wind up the gear for 15sec. These can be seated or standing. Then settle back into that “sweet spot” effort. Get 4x accelerations during each 20-minute set.

Masters cyclocrosser Carmen Marin shoulders his bike on a run-up.

#CrossIsComing

So get out on those knobby tires, find some mud, grass, and hills, and start sharpening that summer road fitness into cyclocross power! And don’t be afraid to get your 4iiii Powermeter wet or dirty. With its small form factor and protected location inside your crank arms, and its waterproof, mud-proof and sand-proof seal, you’ll be ready to push your limits this ‘cross season!

4iiii Athlete Profile: Annemiek van Vleuten

In one year, she has won the time trial World Championships, the Giro Rosa, and La Course by Le Tour. Simply put: Annemiek van Vleuten can do it all.

At 4iiii, we are proud to sponsor the women’s Mitchelton Scott World Tour team, which includes Annemiek. After her dominant year on the road, we thought we would publish a short recap of her biggest wins since this time last year.

Rainbow Stripes as World Champion

On September 19 of 2017 in Bergen, Norway, Annemiek won the women’s time trial World Championship. She has worn the rainbow stripes all year in time trial competitions and will continue to wear it until she defends her title next month in Innsbruck.

Her abilities in the time trial would serve her well all year, but it wasn’t only in the race of truth that she was dominant in 2018.

Giro Rosa

In July, Annemiek and her Mitchelton Scott squad competed in the Giro Rosa. As a 10-day stage race, it is considered the most prestigious tour in women’s cycling.

Proving her abilities as an all-arounder, Annemiek was first in the points classification and won three stages, including the individual time trial on stage 7.

But she wasn’t done.

A Thrilling Finish

Two days after being crowned the Giro Rosa champion, the women toed the line for La Course by Le Tour. While fans of cycling beg and plead for the women to be granted a proper stage race, La Course remains a single day affair.

With all of the contenders on tired legs, including Annemiek herself, the final kilometers of La Course did not disappoint and even played host to one of the most thrilling finishes in all of bike racing for 2018.

Watch and enjoy:

Update, Sept 26, 2018: Annemiek just won the World Championship in the time trial for the second year in a row.

With her dedication to the sport and her ability to pull out victories in the most challenging circumstances, Annemiek van Vleuten is an inspiration to young cyclists the world over. We are proud to play a small part in her success as the provider of power meter technology to the Mitchelton Scott team.