Boone’s C to B: An Update

Boone’s C to B: An Update

It’s been nearly a month since we last updated you on Boone’s “C to B” training project. In that previous post, Boone had hit the goal of C to B project, completing an FTP test that put him at 3.22w/kg. And we were asking the question: what next?

While we contemplated what our next goal should be, Boone kept riding, working hard at a mix of VO2 workouts, races, and steady 60-90 minute rides where he grabbed route badges while building endurance.

Here’s an update on Boone’s recent training…

New Goal

Our new goal for Boone is to see him upgraded to a B racer in ZwiftPower. In order to do that, he has to have three races where 95% of his 20-minute power averages out to 3.2w/kg+.

He’s currently ranked as a C in ZwiftPower, and his three best races show 2.91, 2.88, and 2.79 for 95% of 20-minute power. So he’s got some work to do, since he needs to add 0.3w/kg to his numbers in order to get that upgrade!

He’s also set a secondary goal of climbing Alpe du Zwift in 70 minutes. He’s climbed the mountain twice – 81 minutes the first time, 76 minutes the second time. Based on his current power numbers, though, we think he’s probably already able to do it in 70 if he paces it well.

Boone has been riding 4 days a week (M-W-F and typically a race on Sundays). We’ve settled on a mix of five different types of rides.

  • Races: Boone has started doing mixed-category races so he is pushed to hang with the higher-category riders (more on that below).
  • VO2 Workouts: this is the cornerstone workout of each week. Nobody likes VO2 work, but we both agree Boone is getting a lot of benefit from these.
  • Pace Partner Efforts: we use the Pace Partners (C. Cadence or Bowie Brevet) to anchor fun, interactive steady or interval workouts. Lots of options here.
  • FTP Ramp Tests: we do ramp tests occasionally to measure progress via an objective test.
  • Badge Hunting/Recovery Rides: some days, Boone will just need a lower-intensity effort in the saddle. So he’ll ride around 90 minutes at a sustainable pace, building endurance without burning out the legs.

Weight Loss Plateau

If you’ve followed Boone’s training progress, you’ll know he lost an astounding 50 pounds in his first few months of training, dropping from ~265 pounds to ~215. But since then, his weight has held quite steady.

This isn’t surprising – anyone who has lost significant weight will tell you that your body hits a point where the “easy weight” has come off, and the lifestyle changes that got you to this point aren’t enough to take you further. Boone is still determined to get down below 200#, but he’s still working to figure out how to make that happen.

One thing’s for sure, though: he’s enjoying the lighter weight. We played volleyball for the first time this year a few days ago, and he’s jumping higher, moving faster, and recovering quickly – a force to be reckoned with!

VO2 Workouts

VO2 effort in Yumezi

Boone’s Friday afternoon VO2 workouts have been his cornerstone “max effort” weekly ride. We’ve tweaked them as we’ve gone along, but essentially it’s a warmup followed by 5x 3-minute efforts at 110-115% of his FTP.

We’ve started mixing in some stepped intervals, so (for example) instead of 3 minutes at 340W we do 1 minute at 360W, 1 minute at 340W, 1 minute at 320W. Same average wattage over the 3 minutes, but you get the heart rate up quicker with the tough first minute, meaning your HR is in the VO2 range for more of the interval.

In the past three weeks we’ve ratcheted up his FTP setting from his old one (294W) to his new one (310W). Just last Friday he completed the workout at 310W – it put him right on the limit, but he did it! Even the lights and landscape of Zwift’s new Makuri Islands map couldn’t distract him from knocking out those final intervals.

Mixed Cat Racing

Boone and I at the front of the chase group in a recent race

For the past two Sundays, Boone has hopped into the 3R Gotham Grind Flat Race which happens at 2:05PM Pacific Time. We’ve been trying these races instead of his standard Crit City efforts for two reasons:

  • We wanted to get some longer races in, so he has to push himself to the limit longer. These races last just over 40 minutes.
  • These are mixed category races, where all categories begin together. This means he can’t just sit in the C peloton then sprint at the end – he has to push to the max to hang with the front group’s A’s and B’s until he gets dropped!

These races have been a lot of fun, and the two weeks’ results are remarkably similar. In both weeks Boone hung with the front pack for most of the first lap, then fell off into a small chase group of 5-8 riders which finished next behind the front group. In both weeks, all of the C’s except for Boone got dropped early on, so he was in the chase group with A’s and B’s. And he finished well ahead of the next C.

The only downside of this race even is that it isn’t well-attended, with only around 15 riders from each category showing up. It would be nice to get more C’s in the mix, so Boone has more competition on ZwiftPower! But for now, it’s working out well – he’s received around 25 ranking points in each race, since he’s beating some B and A riders each week.

This past Sunday I joined Boone in the race. I raced as a B, Boone as a C, but I was there just to work as a domestique for him, to help him get the best result possible. So I was calling out moves, chasing down attacks here and there, and dropping back to give Boone a while if he was gapped a bit.

He held his own mostly, and in reality probably would have achieved the same result without my help. But it was really fun to work as his sidekick and actually race together for the first time. We’ll be doing more of this for sure.

Race 1 results on ZwiftPower / Race 2 Results on ZwiftPower

Takeaways

Boone is clearly getting stronger week by week, even if he isn’t getting lighter. When it comes to races without long climbs, he’s definitely a “strong C” at this point, although it’ll take a significant jump in fitness to get upgraded on ZwiftPower.

He’ll keep plugging away at the weekly training, then we’ll probably jump into some mixed-category Crit City 8-lap races where he can hopefully set some new 20-minute PB’s to get him upgraded to B status. Because Zwift racers know, if you’re looking to cat up, Crit City is the place to do it!

Your Thoughts

Got ideas for Boone, or questions about his training? Comment below!

About The Author

Eric Schlange

Eric runs Zwift Insider in his spare time when he isn't on the bike or managing various business interests. He lives in Northern California with his beautiful wife, two kids and dog. Follow on Strava

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M. D. S. Günther
M. D. S. Günther
24 days ago

Any plans to increase the volume? I would guess 4h a week won’t be sufficient forever.

ShakeNBakeUK
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk)
24 days ago

@Boone The Wringer awaits you ;D

Evan
Evan
24 days ago

Wow! He’s improved so much! His next goal should be sub 1h on adz. While 70 min is a good start, if you average 3.5 wkg all the way up, thats a 55 min time. since cat b is 3.2 -4, it would be a good long threshold for him. just a suggestion

Benjamin Leung
Benjamin Leung
24 days ago

The Japan Zwift Tuesday races are also mixed category starts with decent turnouts, as are the 3R Volcano circuit races on Tuesday/Thursday. I have also found the C category Herd Summer Racing League on Saturdays to be some of the hardest C races I’ve ever done, the points structure really rewards hard racing and they choose an interesting variety of courses.

Eibert van't Hof
Eibert van't Hof (@e_vanthof)
24 days ago

Always love these updates.
But purposely dropping to help lower category riders is a serious no-go in case of fair play.

dan
dan
24 days ago
Reply to  Eric Schlange

you are deliberately interfering with a lower cat.. thats whats not cool about it

Evan
Evan
24 days ago

The thing is, though, he wasn’t really helping Boone at all! Boone finished only 15 seconds behind Eric, and Eric came third in his race. In the article, he even said that Boone could have managed on his own.

Warren
Warren
23 days ago

It’s a mixed category race with the same start for all categories. Everybody is racing each other. If a C managed to win, the C wins the entire race as well as category. If A’s get dropped from the lead group and are in with mostly B’s and C’s those A’s are racing the B’s and C’s for position and any mix of A’s could be working with B’s could be working with C’s – or against each other. I was in this particular race and think it’s great that B’s and C’s (Eric and Boone + a couple others… Read more »

dan
dan
22 days ago
Reply to  Warren

MIXED cat is all riders visible; C isnt racing against B and A isnt racing against D.. otherwise the results wouldnt look like they ARE; A, B, C, and D are separate. Sure you can get in with other groups and race as hard as you can.. BUT your admitted you hung back to aid a lower cat guy do better… why is he just NOT in B with you if that’s the case. you are interfering with the results of other C riders who were challenging Boone. You know this, and “were open to hear other views”

Warren
Warren
22 days ago
Reply to  dan

Ohhh… you’re right! I’m not Eric though. I was in the A race and just thought it was good stuff with the B’s and C’s who were helping each other stay with us for as long as they could. Hmm, I still don’t know about policing or controlling this as the set-up by default allows mixed cat collaboration. Like for example if a B is able to hang onto an A break only by nearly dying and because the A’s decide to take pity on him and ride easier, is that unfairly influencing the B results when the B wins… Read more »

Anti-Sandbagger
Anti-Sandbagger
24 days ago

Eric,
These updates are by far the most exciting thing to read here. Boones progress is very inspiring and would love to race with him as a fellow C cat if our paths cross. I checked out his power curve, which favors FTP riding. If I may suggest, mixing in some sprint workouts to improve his 15 sec power might supplement his current workout regimen quite nicely. Also, 3R Classique Flat Race usually has good attendance both from B and C groups.

ShakeNBakeUK
ShakeNBakeUK (@bakeuk)
24 days ago

newbie gains are over, now the REAL training begins 😀
honestly, there should be no rush to get to Cat B. he’ll be stuck at the back of B for a fairly long time, so might as well have some fun battling at the front of C while it lasts 😉 you can learn a LOT more about race tactics from the front than the back..!
p.s. if Boone breaks a sub-60min Alpe time before me, ima be mad, as I had a huge head start on him :DDD sub-70min is definitely doable, almost setting the bar too low..!

Kenneth Thoman
Kenneth Thoman
10 days ago
Reply to  ShakeNBakeUK

I agree about rushing upgrade into Cat B. I find that jump from C to B to be really difficult if not completely discouraging. You can place top 3 in smaller Cat C races and then get dropped in the first 5 mins in a B race.

I would recommend joining larger Cat C races first, then just trying to hang in cat B races as an objective goal. So stay in the race for 5-10 mins, 10-15 mins, and 15-20 mins. Just finish…

Ste H
Ste H
23 days ago

Try mixed team time trial. So good to ride with faster riders.

Brett Reed
Brett Reed
23 days ago

You could have replaced Boone’s name with mine and this article would have mirrored my story to a tee! From the C to B goals, weight goals, Zwift Power rankings, w/kg, race strategies, etc. I appreciate the program recommendations, gives me some things to think about mixing into my program.

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