Maryland Cycling Classic

While you’re waiting for life to happen next Sunday, the 4th of September, you can watch this race. I’ll be there as one of the moto-marshals. You may or may not see me. I do have an Alumni sticker on my moto so I’d be pretty easy to see.

This is the “biggest” race in the US this year. It has an international field, teams are coming in from Europe, and I think Central/South America. I haven’t paid close enough attention to that side.

I hope you get a chance to watch. I’d love to answer questions. The link has a drop down on how to watch online or on TV.

Have fun. While you are doing your moto marshall thing, some of us will be smoking up some ribs, making some baked beans, potato salad, and cornbread for our “game food.”

Adult beverages might be involved. :wink:

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Question: the conventional wisdom used to be that elite conditioning can occur at high elevations and high temperatures. Now it seems more nuanced - lower elevations allow pushing max performance, recovering to a higher base, etc.

Besides being as light as possible, how does training work in high end cycling? Is living in Boulder less attractive than it used to be?

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Lots of HIIT at altitude, while living at lower altitudes. Almost all of the Grand Tour contenders to blocks at altitude, anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks. That’s roughly the length of time it takes for your body to create more red blood cells. The red blood cells, as you recall, carry the oxygen needed to your muscles. This helps with recovery at when at lower altitudes and exerting oneself.

I can anecdotally confirm that live at altitude and go to lower altitudes at how much more you can do. Back in 2000 when we moved from SLC to Austin, the 1st several weeks were great for me as an athlete. I had a lower HR, and felt like I could recover faster. Moving back to Salt Lake, it took me about a month to feel like I could do anything more than just a recovery ride plus some short intervals.

Based upon my reaction to altitude, and what not, I’m not too worried about the football team next week, in that regards. Just worry about them with the humidity/dew points. They’ll sweat alot, they’ll need electrolytes. But they’ll recover fine as long as they take care of themselves and drink optimally.

You are correct in that training has become more nuanced, especially for the elite athletes. I’m enough of a retro grouch that I still used perceived effort, and compare to Watts, Heart Rate, and Cadence. The elite riders will dive even further, testing for VO2 max, and other areas that I haven’t even worried about in years. Nutrition and day of nutrition plays hugely important roles. You may recall that Jumbo-Visma has been doing some supplements that help keep lactic acid to a minimum. They’ve also been using ketones to help with recovery. I don’t know how that works, but the idea is to push past the perceived effort block.

I suspect I could keep going and going. There are libraries out there just on sports nutrition and recovery. When I first started, it was carbo loading, electrolytes, lots of miles (long slow days on road), and only a bit of intervals. As time went on, much less carbo loading, more and better electrolytes, more nuanced nutrition, more HIIT, less long slow days, and more on board tech. Power meters came into vogue in the '00s, but have only recently become more affordable, and in greater varieties (pedals, bottom brackets, crank arms, etc).

But back to your main question. Elite riders do blocks at altitude, still put in lots of time on the bike, but the rides are more structured. Most elite riders don’t necessarily live at altitude, but they do train there. So, yes Boulder is still a great place to live because you can train at even higher elevations. Similar to living in Salt Lake. Many of the Americans like to live in Girona, Spain then go ride in the eastern Pyrenees. Many Euro riders live in/near Monte Carlo (taxes and terrain).

You’ll still run into genetic freaks like Peter Sagan, or Tadej Pogacar, and even Lance Armstrong (who IMO didn’t need to dope, he was that good and his VO2 max is still talked about today). They are just people who are good athletes. Same vein as elite football and basketball players.

Sorry to have created a small dissertation. I know more than I probably need to on the subject, even if I can’t apply it to myself much right now.


Are you kidding me? Highly informative, and applicable to the shared passion we all have.

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Thank you. I do like to share what I know. One of my favorite groups to work with are the new riders, especially if they really want to learn. I’d really like to share more in my local community, but there are a few road blocks. Some are cultural, some is my own health. I really do want to practice what I preach so that it carries some weight with those I preach it to. If that makes sense.

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I’m not an elite anything, but I’m addicted to endorphins & anandamides, and admire the true elites.

Like when Guidry decided to get back into track, his dad got him into a meet in Seattle, he worked out for 2 weeks then won the 60M indoors and had the 6th best 60M time in the world, to that point for that year.

That’s just ridiculous.

Or Sese Ianu, who never really became a DT for us, but benched 465 x 6. (As a reference point I remember Sione Pouha and Steve Fifita getting into a weight room challenge, which topped out at 430, which was crazy by itself.)

The rest of us can learn and accomplish a lot, but it’s fascinating to see legit freaks of nature.

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I do like learning from the best in their area of expertise. I just have to admire what they can do. Doesn’t matter if they’re athletes or in the business world. There is always something to learn and apply.

I’ll use acting as an example. I knew that Matt Damon was a really good actor, but after watching “The Talented Mr. Ripley” back when it was in theaters reinforced just how good he really is. Rewatched it about a week ago, and he does the creepy to the most smooth of characters soooo easily. He really made that movie go.